Herbal candy, homemade

Several weeks ago I got a sudden idea to make herbal candies even though I’d never tried it before. But it cannot be so difficult, right? Sugar, herbs, water and probably few drops of lemon juice.

First time, I was obsessed with violets. No matter it was after midnight, I found a small amount of dried flowers from last spring remaining and this was a great opportunity to use them.

I made a strong tea from violets, which got after adding lemon juice a beautiful pink-purple color. I mixed it with large amount of sugar, cooked to thicken with constant stirring and poured into a silicone mold. They were yummy!

Before I could eat them, a friend came and complained about troubles with vocal cords – tension and too much mucus that needed to be released. So I offered her my new candies because I assumed that violets’ healing effects could complete their mission. I was right and happy when she confirmed that the candies did their job perfectly.

Then I made other batches – chamomile, elderflower, elderberry, pine, lavender – and always came somebody whom I gave most of them. I am still learning how to get the best consistency, but I don’t have complains about taste yet.

I feel like Columbus when he discovered America, even though it existed long before he arrived.

Today, I prepared a small batch from sage and wild thyme. Maybe tomorrow someone comes with cold or flu.

Do you have an experience with homemade herbal candy?

With love, Ivana

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Frozen Snowdrops

Unlike other parts of the world we have a mild winter this year. In my place I have seen snow rarely, but I live at the altitude of 250 meters above sea level (about 800 feet), so this is the last place in the country where the snow arrives.

Until last week there was almost no frost, and my body was slowly preparing for spring. The same signals I saw in nature, among others a great number of beautiful snowdrops.

I love and admire these hardy flowers that pop up their white heads even under snow when their time comes. Year after year they assure us that darkness of the winter ends and sunny hope of spring starts soon.

I felt so happy to see the snowdrops a week ago, and I didn’t pay enough attention to weather forecast that reported strong frost. Unfortunately, meteorologists were right and the frost destroyed the living splendor.

Snowdrops are still in the place, white and green on colors, but you somehow know that there is a dry emptiness inside instead of juicy enthusiasm. I wondered how many of us did the same. Meeting crisis and still looking healthy, even though grief, regret or sadness are eating our soul.

And like the frozen snowdrops we need time to recover. A year could be just right.

With love, Ivana

Playing with the Elements, Part 4 – Earth

Earth is the result of all previous elements. It is a solid mass with internal structure and growing potential. Even if it’s cold on the surface, there is always a hot core inside. Like the planet and its hot magma.

Meeting rules, discipline and responsibility usually means meeting the cold surface of the Earth. We don’t like them, trying to get fruits of results even without them. Or we tend to take too much discipline and responsibility, trying to improve what is natural. In the first case, you see the effort to jump directly into the hot core without protective suit and suitable skills, while in the second case you see the effort to wear too thick protection that prevents access to heat. And the most important lesson of the Earth element is to learn how to balance it.

Growth belongs to the Earth for sure. Depending on the project, the growth can be microscopic or giant. Viability of the Earth is measured by growth not by the result in absolute value. So don’t be hungry for too much, the healthy growth must be reasonable.

The first and necessary condition for the growth is the roots. We easily understand if we talk about plants. But talking about the roots of us, we need to consider our own history on personal, family and/ or national level. Before we change anything, we need to accept our origins without hesitation. Then our roots are healthy and we can get a bigger harvest with less effort.

Harvest is the golden point of the Earth element. And it doesn’t matter if you want to harvest grain, money, children or houses. Always you need to follow specific rules and invest each of previous elements. And because we are all unique, there is no exact recipe how to proceed and how much to add. We have to try and learn from our own mistakes.

Talking about the harvest, there is another important lesson. Do not eat the whole crop and always save a part of it as a seed. Taking care about seeds is the promise of future harvest. And that’s why the protection of women and children is important.

So, how the element cycle works? First, we need a flame of interest and feed it with wood and oxygen, and later build a shelter for it.  Oxygen means Air and Air means thinking, moving and socializing. At this stage, we feed the original interest with information, share it with other people and flexibly adjust it. The warning point – don’t lose the origin because of too many influences. If you decide to give up, return and find another flame of interest. But be sure it is your flame and no one else.

Once you have your own flame with enough oxygen, let it bubble into the water. Water means emotions, dreams, intuition and time. Don’t hurry, let your heart and inner voice comment and slowly adjust. Don’t forget that water is lazy and quiet. You cannot listen while loudly thinking. Water often speaks through images or music, so don’t expect the same language like from the mind. Be alone with your project for a while. Let it sit and be sure on the level of water before you continue.

Then recheck that your original flame of interest is still alive, keep feeding it by appropriate amount of oxygen, and keep honesty of your emotions about it.

Pour this blend to the potential of your roots, and with regular work and patience you should harvest enough. Most of the harvest is for eating and living, you deserve to celebrate the success. Never skip the celebration! And part of the harvest is the wood and shelter for another flame of your interest. It is the seed for future.

And this is how the cycle works. Once you understand the steps and the order of them, you can apply it to anything in your life.

I would appreciate your questions or comments.

With love,

Ivana

In case you missed Playing with the Elements, Part 3 – WaterPlaying with the Elements, Part 2 – AirPlaying with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

 

Playing with the Elements, Part 3 – Water

Water is lazy, quiet and cold. Therefore it represents sleep, silence, darkness and even death. Water cannot move on its own. Its movement is always caused by external forces such as gravity or Moon in the case of high and low tides.

So, why we do say that healthy water must flow? And that standing water is an opportunity to grow molds and diseases? Because the external forces of nature and the Universe never stop. And if the water stands, then something acts against those natural or universal forces.

We humans love to act like this. Here are some examples of how we block the natural flow of water in our civilized lives.

On a macro scale, I would mention a boom of concreted riverbed which didn’t respect the original streams and which, a few decades later, cause disastrous floods.

Inside of human body, we often block natural sweating, which is the most effective way to get rid of toxic substances through the largest body organ – the skin. Instead we massively use inappropriate deodorants that block the sweat glands and forbid them natural working, which is the exact parallel to the amount of concrete used in the artificial riverbeds.

I understand that the sweat can smell badly and we live close to each other, especially in cities. On the other hand, the amount and smell of sweat depends on what we drink and eat, how our metabolism works, and how much stress we live in. If we focus more on these improvements, we don’t have to use devastating deodorants, but only light natural versions.

Emotions like sadness or regret require natural flow of tears to overcome difficult situation. But the common social habits often demand to hold tears back. Again, it is close to the parallel with concrete riverbeds. If you block the flow of tears for a long time, there is born a retention tank of emotions that will rupture in future for sure. And then all the pain pours at once.

Sleep is another good example inside the water element. Naturally we are set up to sleep at night, silence and darkness. In such conditions, the body really rests and gains enough strength for the next day. How many of us respect biological clocks and go to sleep with the sun? First I admit that I am a night creature and I don’t want to get up early in the morning. Even though I know it is bad, and it spoils my metabolism and water levels in my body. This is definitely my weakness.

But that’s not all yet. Night sleep should be in silence and in dark. But where to look for them, especially if we live in cities? Unfortunately we live in constant light and sound smog, so darkness and silence become unachievable ideals. And so the water element is spoiled a bit more every day, and thus our physical and emotional health. In the long-term it is definitely worth to invest in the light and soundproofed bedroom.

I prefer to stop with negative examples now and present a few positive tricks how to improve the quality of the water in our lives.

Dreaming is a nice quality inside of water element. And it could be a lucid dreaming even though it seems very useless. Fantasy is an eternal ally of water, so use it as much as possible. You can start with drawing or painting, let be inspired by fantasy rather than reality. No matter of the outcome, the process is beneficial.

Being alone and in silence is always a tool for harmonizing the water element in your life. Therefore, prayer, meditation and relaxation techniques are so effective.

And how about influence of the previous elements?

Fire and water are of course opposites. But the life needs both of them. Water is quiet environment, which needs to get a fiery spark to create a fetus. Water represents woman, waiting for male (fiery) sperm. And do you remember that Air represents socializing? If a man and a woman socialize well, then they create a new life.

Frequent topic is the relation between emotions and mind, i.e. water and air. Take real elements for help. If you don’t saturate water with oxygen enough, your water environment would be dead, even it has appropriate temperature (fire). So using only emotions without oxygen of our minds doesn’t keep us alive. Then we could tend to stay alone, dreaming, without connection to other people. So much water takes the life spark out and we become more dead than alive.

In the case of too much oxygen in water you can see big bubbles, so the water looks more like soda water full of wild whirlwinds, where isn’t even one quiet thing. This is a parallel of overestimated mind and underestimated emotions, which means a stressful life without rest.

And both examples above worked with appropriate temperature. Imagine there is not enough fire, so the water becomes ice. And this represents situation, when emotional person doesn’t put fire into the water. From warm feelings, hardness or even cruelty become.

And that’s why we should maintain balance among the elements. Sometimes is useful to implement small tricks and so to change the sequence of other events.

Next, I will speak about the Earth and the mutual influence with previous elements.

With love,

Ivana

In case you missed Playing with the Elements, Part 2 – AirPlaying with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

 

Playing with the Elements, Part 2 – Air

Imagine the real air. What qualities does it have? First, it’s invisible. Second, you cannot touch it. It’s all around us and can even expand if we give it space. It’s in constant motion, never stops. So, where to look for the air parallel in our lives inside of the 4-element system?

Our mind if full of thoughts that are invisible and we cannot physically touch them. They are definitely moving constantly and sometimes they even expand exponentially. So, our thoughts belong to the element of Air. And if we talk about pollution in case of the real air, we should talk about pollution of our mind as well.

What can pollute our mind? All the useless information we often starve for! Living in the information era, we are obsessed with information and we often forget to put filters in order to keep our mind clear and healthy. Never ending stress on production and/or consumption of information is the most dangerous source of pollution in the segment of Air.

How to reduce it? Breathing and exercise (which leads to better breathing) are good ways how to clean the mind, and both belong to the Air as well. There is a wide range of breathing exercises, some of them are very aerobic, but you can be successful even with the quiet ones, based on yoga for example. Or you can walk regularly. Especially when you walk in nature, it’s a good way how to clean your mind and reduce the information overpressure.

I believe that is what you are exactly doing already. Perhaps you just didn’t realize it was compensation inside of the Air’s element.

Talking is a very similar issue. Communication also belongs to the Air, as well as all the social bonds. If we tend to overwhelm our lives by talking either in a virtual or in real world, we simply need some physical exercise again. We need to move and breathe.

If we want to achieve a balance across all the elements, we need to learn how to identify them in our lives. So, what else belongs to the Air?

All kind of invisible waves meets the condition of being invisible, untouchable and in constant motion. The sound is a good example. If you think your place is too noisy, go outside or anywhere to the silence. Breathe deeply.

The same definition and solution is valid for the electromagnetic waves. They can pollute your inner Air system and cause damage. We cannot do much, but we have to count with these omnipresent waves in total sum.

Finally, I would like to mention cooperation with the previous element. Let’s go back to the real air, for better imagination. The air is a good tool to keep the fire alive. Breathing to the fire is a way how to wake up the flames. On the other hand, too much of air means a danger for the fire. You can either kill it or spread it out of control. And that’s why is important to keep the Air in reasonable limits.

Too much thinking, talking, collection of useless information, being in noisy places or in places with huge density of electromagnetic waves can kill your joy, laugh, excitement and even your vitality. Or it could spread sparkles of your interest into million directions, so you became lost.

The Air, as well as the Fire, is a good tool, but dangerous master.

Next, I will speak about the Water and the influence of the Air and the Fire to the Water.

With love,

Ivana

In case you missed  Playing with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

Playing with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

As I have already mentioned in the article Seasonal clock, I work with four elements on many levels. It keeps me fascinating how several basic principles can be applied to something such complex as life.

Speaking of the 4-element system, the players are fire, air, water and earth. Each of them has its own spirit and each of them is needed. If we learn how to identify them in our lives, we can find a way how to reach balance more easily.

Although many say that water is the main player and without water it would not be life, I will start with the fire because only the fire warms the water to the temperature suitable for living. And this is also a nice example how the elements affect each other and cannot even exist separately.

The fire is the first spark of life and the feeling we are still alive. It is a small flame that may become a torch. Depending on conditions and our will, the torch brings the light and heat as long as we feed it. To keep the fire we need to supply oxygen (the element of air) and fuel, for example wood (the element of earth). On the advanced level, we also need to make the fire safe, having some shelter for it. And this belongs to the earth as well.

The fire represents everything that warms or burns or what brings the light. The fire means interest, curiosity, joy, laugh, activity, competition, excitement, passion, enthusiasm, etc. For simplicity I would call interest as the core of the others. People like the fire, being attracted to it by invisible forces, but they are also afraid of being burned. Then they build the shelters in the name of safety, too tight for life. And then, they complain that there is not enough joy or success in their lives. Or that they miss the sense (light) in their lives.

How to solve it? Anything that arouses your even small interest is a flame whose future you have in your hands. Is there enough oxygen and suitable fuel for it? Which kind of oxygen and fuel is needed for your particular case of interest? And are you willing to feed it? Then just try! No fire is dangerous from the very beginning. And only when you taste and like the first fruits it’s the time to think about the shelter, no earlier. So you avoid many disappointments and energy losses.

The fire itself isn’t positive or negative, it is neutral or better to say natural force whose priority is to shine and warm. No good or evil inside. It is our will and experience which make the fire either a tool or a weapon. Trying to separate from the fire means the same like to separate from the life, dying alive. It is only fair to accept it, just as the fact that accidents happen.

Finally, I must say that having a lack of fire is just as dangerous as having it too much. Imagine how difficult is to keep living in desert, how much suffering it costs. So if you don’t balance the fire of your excitement and desire, your life may turn to desert. In my case, I tend to be too enthusiastic sometimes and forget to eat, drink and even go to toilet. The subject of my deep interest can claim the fire so urgently that simply switches other requirements off, including basic biological functions. So I know that I have to be careful because all kind of addictions work on the same principle.

What to do? If you have too much fire inside, find a way to let it out. It is better to diversify methods and make regular breaks across your activities. Never hold the fire back! You would create a volcano with uncertain date of explosion.

I will bring the fire topic throughout the other elements again, speaking about their mutual influence.

Looking forward to your questions and comments,

Ivana

The New Year is coming

No matter what we are going to do, no matter if we like it or we are angry, the New Year is coming. I hear the clock ticking and realize the quiet power of time. There is probably no other quality in the whole Universe that has such power over us and that awakens so much passion in us.

Is it because we cannot corrupt the clock ticking and we cannot steal any extra time? We can only watch the regularity and accept or celebrate the imaginary milestones like when we officially change the number of year in the calendar. And although there are other numbering systems too, we enter the gate of 2018 tonight.

Passing milestones on the life path is always an opportunity to refresh senses and recheck directions. That’s why so many people make a list of resolutions. I have never done such a list, but I like to know how I feel where I am.

And I am glad I decided to open the door for blogging, to have a space for sharing part of myself with all of you. Thanks for reading, commenting and/or stopping by! I appreciate the time you spent with me. And believe me, I don’t regret the time I have spent with you, reading your posts. Thanks for enhancing my life, bringing me a new inspiration.

With love, Ivana