Welcome Spring: Ode (and owed) to Fairies

The Fairy Queen
(anonymous)
Come, follow, follow me,
You, fairy elves that be;
Which circle on the greene,
Come follow Mab, your queene,
Hand in hand let’s dance around,
For this place is fairy ground.

(Download a free 1-page printable  Fairy Poems PDF )

Happy May Day Beautiful Creative Monkeys!

The English celebrate the first day of May through many beautiful traditions like dancing around a may pole with ribbons and flowers, and watching Morris dancers in colorful outfits bang sticks together as they dance.

I am from England and when I was a wee one, I remember celebrating May Day in a parade with my dear Dad, who was wearing a funny Morris dancing outfit. I made tissue paper flowers with my beautiful Mum to decorate our parade float. Thus began my passion for tissue flowers, and may have been the seed that led me to use these flowers in Monkey Chi Monkey Do table decorations and our packaging.

May Day is a special day to celebrate the flowers of Spring and the forthcoming fruits of Summer. It makes me think of my sweet Granny, my beloved maternal grandmother who parted our earth on this day; whenever I think of her I think of Fairies.

You see, when I was about 6 years old, Granny told me all about the fairies who lived in her garden. I remember walking with her through seemingly endless rows of flowers, as she showed me exactly where they lived and how they helped us. I have only ever seen one fairy in all my life, and that radiant sprite has kept me on a quest to find another one ever since!

I told my daughters all about fairies and of course we have numerous books detailing fairy likes/dislikes, and what they do exactly and how they help all things in nature, principally caring for the flowers and small wild animals. Fairy Magic orchestrates so many things in our beautiful world, and as an Ode to Fairies and the beautiful magic they do on our behalf, we share this Togetherness Project: a Magic Fairy Garden.

(For those just joining us, togetherness projects are projects that you do completely connected with someone you love, and disconnected from phones/handheld devices and basically anything that could pull your mind, body and spirit away from the person you are with. Click here for a more thorough description.)

Supplies needed for a fairy garden. (Not pictured: your imagination.)

Supplies
♥ flower pot (we used a long planter so we could put lots of goodies inside for fairy joy)
♥ potting soil
♥ your choice of flower seeds (we used forget-me-knots, sweet Williams & sweet peas)
♥ a few flowers already in bloom like pansies, phlox and marigolds
♥ assorted rocks, crystals, shells, pebbles, beads, and bits of wood–anything that you think will attract the fairies, as fairies simply cannot resist sparkly pretty things!
♥ Chia seeds, like from chia pets. These little seeds are nutritious to eat like flax seed–and can be found in most natural food stores– but they also sprout and grow quickly, creating beautiful radiant grass, perfect for fairy circles. If you can’t find Chia, you can use regular grass seeds, or skip altogether, but it’s good to use especially if you or your partner are eager fairy gardeners.
♥ Optional: paint and brush to decorate bits of wood, doll house furniture, silk flowers, marbles, whatever your fairies desire.

Fill your flower pot with soil. Plant 1 or 2 flowers, sprinkle some flower seeds and cover lightly with soil. The girls wanted to mark where the flower seeds were and used some rocks and little wood fences we found at a craft store. Emma included a teeny clay doll house chair and table, and a little doggie for the fairies to play with. Abbey filled a large seashell with water, and dropped a crystal quartz stone into the pool so fairies could have  a little pool.

After we set up the fairy gardens, we determined where best to put the fairy grass (Chia seeds). This was messy and mucky and fun (and I’m still finding chia seeds in my hair and dried on my legs, hahahah!. I filled a glass jar with about a cup of chia seeds and then added some water to make a mucky paste.

Let's hope these seeds grow!

Watch it … the seeds expand and get very slimey.  The girls loved it and took the seedy mix and spread it over the areas free from other flower seeds.

One word: MAGIC!!!!

In one hour we had such fun making our Fairy gardens. I read a few poems about fairies ( here’s a free printable I made just for you Fairy Poems PDF), to get us in the mood and to attract any other fairies in our general vacinity. (Fairies have exceptional hearing!)

Abbey told me a fairy has already visited her garden tonight, as the little seat she made out of cardboard was wet- a fairy had danced in her seashell water pool and then sat down to take a rest.

Wishing you many magical creative togetherness moments!

Becky and the Monks (and the fairies too)
 

P.S. For readers who may not (gasp) believe … I can’t even finish that sentence! Well, let me rephrase: For those who may need more evidence of Fairies: Have you ever noticed picture frames or wall hangings in your home are straight one day and then somehow crooked the next? How do you think that happens? Well, I absolutely know! Your house is blessed by Fairies! There you have it. Need I say more?!

P.P.S. I’ll post pictures when the flowers and grass are in bloom, and of course if we see any fairies!

P.P.S. Are you a Monkey Musings subscriber? If not, please sign up at the top right-hand side of the page and click “I LOVE Monkeys”. EeEeEe!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Don’t I look Mahvahlous!?

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I ♥ You, You are just you!

 

Hiya Creative Monkeys!

I LOVE mirrors. I remember when I was a kid I used to play with two mirrors together: Did you ever create that cool effect where you can see yourself looking at yourself, looking at yourself looking at yourself … a reflection within a reflection within a reflection to infinity? (E-mail me if not, and I’ll tell you how it’s done, so cool!) It’s fascinating to consider how EVERYONE in our society looks in the mirror at least once a day.  Mirrors are kindof like altars, where we unconsciously practice the daily ritual of getting our appearance ready for the rest of the world to see, all the while saying affirmations about our look to ourself in our head while we look in the mirror.

I am fascinated by this self talk that happens in front of a mirror. (I talked a little about self talk in the New Year, Renewed Chi entry.) Think about it: Typically, when we look in a mirror we tell ourself things. These messages are influenced by everything; how we were raised, magazines, marketing messages that are … well … EVERYWHERE, the Web, billboards, our friends, TV, and even video games. Our self talk–perhaps most significantly–stems from our self identity and worth. If we stop to think about our thinking, we can reshape our thoughts and be kinder to ourselves and ultimately live with more joy!

Here’s a random sampling of my self chatter–the words that go through MY brain–when I look in the mirror, at different times: (I’m cringing over a few of these….)
Oh, Becky, you look … (each separate comment happened at different times)
Tired.
Happy.
Calm.
Rushed.
Good.
Pretty.
Did this shirt shrink?
I like my natural look.
I look just messy!
Can I steal a shower today?
Natural’s not workin’ for me today. I need some makeup.
My face looks thin.
Tired.
My face looks plump.
I’ve got a pimple.
Hello there Gorgeous!

I need to do something with my hair.
I LOVE my life and everything in it!
How’d THAT get THERE?
I’m glad I don’t dye my hair. I love my natural color.
Gosh, maybe I SHOULD dye my hair?!!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my whites, my wisdom is showing. uhhh, but why do they have to stand up like that?!

Ok, that was a truthful, raw, brutally honest (and brave, don’t ya think?) look at my mirror talk. Yes, there’s room for improvement. How about yours?

Ok, what to do about this? To create a new habit we need to break a pattern. Visual interruptions are great way to jar our habits and create a pause in our thinking long enough to let some sunshine in. So it’s time for a little Monkey Chi Monkey Do magic!

This togetherness project was inspired by the thoughts I’ve shared here already and the books we’ve been reading at our house. I’m reading a book called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and the girls are reading the Harry Potter series by the magnificent Joanne Rowling.  

The Four Agreements shares ancient Toltec wisdom about the power that words have to shape our personal happiness. Ruiz emphasizes the importance of the “First Agreement,” to Be Impeccable With Your Word. Words manifest our intentions. Words are the beginning of our creative power. Words can create and words can destroy.

This book got me thinking about how I use words with others. At our house, we try to be mindful of the words we choose. We tend to use words to lift people and try not to use words that limit or judge folks. So, it seems our out loud words are mostly good and empowering. Whew! That’s good.

Hmmm. But what about the words that we don’t say out loud?  Those words that cruise on auto-pilot through our brains, our own self talk? Our mirror talk?

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Chapter 12), Dumbledore tells Harry about the Mirror of Erised. He says that the happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised (desire spelled backwards) and see himself exactly as he is. He says that the mirror gives neither knowledge nor truth, and that men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, driven mad, not knowing if what is shown is real or even possible. Whoa … Rowling is such a Writer Goddess! Talk about the power of metaphors!

Think about all the mirrors in your house. Mirrors have this magical power to transform our moods, perhaps more often from good to bad, don’t they?

I wondered what my daughters’ self talk sounds like, so I asked them. At ages 9 and 8 I was quite relieved that they have quite beautiful thoughts when looking at their mirror image selves. (Note to self: Investigate this again in a couple years when media and worldly influences aspire to homogenize them and remove their self esteem and self acceptance.)

What is YOUR self talk like? Have you ever asked your partner or child what they tell themself when they look in the mirror? What kinds of things go through your mind while gazing into the looking glass?

Let’s get our friends and family in on an activity to JOLT our self talk and look at ourselves in a different way–literally– with this fun and quick little disconnect-from-technology-and-create-something-together project!

Supply List

♥ Mirrors (all of them in the house)
♥ Water-based or Washable Markers. Test to make sure they will wipe off. If it doesn’t, try rubbing on some magic baking soda (a.k.a. bicarbonate of soda for our Monkey Chi’ers outside the US. I ♥ ♥ ♥ our readers in England, Aussie Land, and New Zealand! If you’re a subscriber from another country, please e-mail me and introduce yourself!)

To draft an inspirational and beautiful Power Talk Word list, simply ask: What words make you feel good and happy? What words feel like word hugs and snuggles? What makes you smile ? If the mirror was your biggest fan, what would it to say to you?

Here’s a sample of what now adorns the mirrors at our house:
Home Sweet Home.
I am HAPPY…I am GOOD!
I LOVE YOU! I LOVE ME!
Parents Rock!
Roses are Red, Violets are blue, I love you, you are just you.

This is COOL!
I love US.
(My Honey made a backwards message that you need another mirror to read, so clever!)
Me Glourius Me (my darling daughter’s spelling … I luv funetic spelling, dowunt yoo?)
A face made out of words that says I’m special. Specialness surrounds me. I love me. Smile. ME rocks! I love me.
Life is life.
I love God. God loves Me.

Oooh, aren’t these words just GORGEOUS and uplifting and happy?!!!!

Come on … I dare you: Break that unwritten rule that says, “Don’t write on your mirrors” and give it a try! Post a comment (use comment linky at the upper left-hand side of this post).

After this rule-breaking self-talk transformer, let’s vow to never nasty negative self-talk ourselves in the mirror, EVER AGAIN! And if we need a reminder, grab the markers and get writing!

Wishing you love love love and the blessings of many wonderful togetherness moments!
Becky and the Monkeys

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A New Year, Renewed Chi and a 2010/2011 writing/drawing project

Happy New Year … Happy Renewed CHI!
Aha … 2011, we are SO ready for you!

The beginning of a new year gives us a chance to pause and fully reflect on the past, and to consider the possibilities and CREATE beautiful new magnificent experiences.

At the core of each of us is our Chi–our life force. We all have some and an equal amout of it! Each of us has unlimited potential to create and be creative, whether we believe we are “creative” or not.  Chi animates us, it’s the creative force at play in each of us.  The secret to fully expressing our creativity is to limit our own inner self-talk and criticism and “Dance like nobody’s watching,” as Mark Twain once wrote.

Whether you’ve experienced happiness or unhappiness, boredom or an abundance of choice in your life this past year, consider how you spend your Chi on a day-to-day basis. Maintaining or changing how and what you spend your energy and time on, can significantly change your experience and the opportunities that come your way, and ultimately how you feel about your life. 

All we really possess in this world is our Chi: how we use or give it and how we withhold or conserve it. Chi really is THE universal currency. How we choose to use our energy, well that’s the secret to our contentment–oooh, dare I say?–our happiness!

2010 was a wonderful year full of blessings, epiphanies, and new creative births in my life. I have profound gratitude to 2010 and the lessons and wisdom born of it.

Thanks to new beginnings in 2010 I continue to meet so many new beautiful souls through this blog and by making our playthings for Monkey Chi! You, my readers are so so so amazing and inspirational to me, and I thank you from the bottom of my toesies for reading, sharing and spending your precious Chi with me in this way! Thank you, thank you THANK YOU! 

 Togetherness Project Idea

♥ Crayons ♥ Paper ♥ Presence. That’s all you need for this one!

Write it out, set it free on its way to YOU!

Write it out, set it free on its way to YOU!

To fully recount and embrace all that 2010 means to us, we did a simple family writing/coloring creation together. Every member of my family had two blank pieces of paper: On each we wrote 2010 and 2011.

For 2010 we each drew and wrote feelings, memories, and things that we were thankful for that we experienced throughout the year. We looked at photos from the past year to jog our memory. We wrote about what we learned about ourself, and what surprised us the most.

To daydream and create our 2011 we wrote down feelings and experiences we intend and want to bring to our experience this year.

In this togetherness project, I learned a lot about myself and my beautiful family. It was a simple and thoughtful time that led to a lot of sharing.

Hmmm. When you hold last year in your mind’s eye, what makes your heart smile? What did you put behind you? What did you learn and what are you most thankful for? AND what about this beautiful shiny NEW 2011?! What do you want to realize this year? Any inner self-talk or self-criticism holding you back? What do you want to bring into your field of experience? What do you want to give? How do you want to live … to feel? Where do you want to go … and what would you love to eat? Oooh, do tell me, I’m feeling a bit nosy (and hungry)!

One of my wishes for 2011 is to grow our Monkey Musings readership to connect and inspire more people to take time to be fully present and consciously create something with someone they love. If you enjoy our Monkey Musings, I’d be honored if you’d share our page with your friends and on Facebook.

Wishing you STARbursts of creativity and many loving happy memories with someone YOU love!

Becky and the Monkeys

Our Wabi-Sabi Gratitude Tree

Hiya Creative Monks!

Our first get-together-and-make-something project is a gratitude tree. It comes completely from nature (plus a bit of ink marker), and–when we’ve finished admiring it–it will be returned to nature. So very wabi-sabi of us!

What is Wabi-Sabi you ask?

Wabi-Sabi is Japanese expression that doesn’t really have an English equivalent. Wabi-Sabi describes the subtle beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, things that are simple and humble. It’s not really a design style, but rather a way of thinking or being with things.

As so many families have battoned the financial hatches and returned to reusing things or doing without, I thought this was a perfect first project for us to share. It brings the outside indoors, and needs no supplies.

Everyone at our house has so much to be thankful for. We strive to live with thankful hearts and talk about the things we feel gratitude for. As a mom I’m aware my daughters constantly mind record everything I say. I focus my words on being thankful for what we have, instead of spending any energy on the things we are without. As time goes by we create more of what we focus upon, in this case abundance, not lack.

We decided to find a place to showcase the things in life for which we are thankful on our wabi-sabi looking Gratitude Tree.

Get with your family or special friend and go to the nearest woodsy area and look for a felled tree branch. (Best not to break a limb of a living tree, as you may end up harming the tree.) Look for a pretty big one, with lots of little offshoots to hang your leaves on. Emma founds ours…

While walking back, pick up lots of different fallen leaves. We found some that still had some moisture, so they wouldn’t disintegrate to quickly on our tree.

Take your treasures home and find a good spot to showcase your thankfulness. (With our youngest monkey, Colin, being 17 months, we needed a place that was up and out of reach, so we put it by the front door in a large vase.) We put the leaves in a small basket and set out a couple water-based markers to write our thanks on the leaves, when the spirit takes us. Leaves can be threaded through the branches, or tied onto the twigs by making knots in the leaf stems.

Voila! So very wabi-sabi, perfectly imperfect! So far Abbey and Emma have fun adding their leaves of thanks before my hubby or I have added any, that way we don’t skew them into our ideas. It’s been so beautiful and insightful to see the first things they’ve come up with! So far the girls are thankful for
Life, My Daddy, My crazy Dog Jackson, My Silly Brother, My Yummy Dinner, Toilets, the World, Air, Sleep, Food, Our Neighbors and Trees.

Are you going to create a Wabi-Sabi gratitude tree with someone you love? Oooooh! Please come back here and post pictures so others can see what YOU and yours are thankful for.

Sending big LOVE and lots of creative energy your way!
Becky and the Monks

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