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Living in Season
The official newsletter of School of the Seasons
September 22, 2008
Welcome to my semi-monthly newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life.
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September Calendar Update
The September calendar has been up since September 1st and there are still plenty of holidays to celebrate including: Autumn Equinox, Mid Autumn Day, Navratras, Michaelmas and Rosh Hashanah. Learn more about these and many other holidays here.
My Season: Some of My Favorite Things
One wonderful thing about having a birthday is the chance to indulge in your favorite things. And that's what I did on my birthday. Which is one of the reasons why this edition of the newsletter is arriving so late. I thought I'd share some of my favorite things with you, with the hope of setting a good example.
On my actual birthday, September 4, I took off from work and spent the day being a tourist in downtown Seattle. I visited my favorite store (Lushif you don't know about it you should) where I bought a violet-scented bubble bath and a clove-scented shampoo bar. I realized while perusing the Lush catalog that what I love about Lush is their dedication to organic and natural scents.
Then I went across the street to Sephora where I indulged in artificial scents, trying on various perfumes. My favorites were by Guerlain so I went home and ordered some samples from the Perfumed Court, a favorite perfume company that sells small and thus affordable decants of name-brand perfumes. Perfume blogs are one of my secret obsessions. I especially love Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin and Glass Petal Smoke.
Then it was off to the Seattle Art Museum to see the Impressionist show, with a stop for some coconut and crËme caramel gelato at a little shop I passed on my way, Gelatiamo. The show was beautifulI especially loved the flower paintings, naturallybut I also enjoyed the current bead exhibit which featured a video showing one bead artist making beads out of dried up tangerines. Now I know what to do with those old Christmas decorations!
My downtown excursion ended at my favorite independent bookstore, Elliott Bay Bookstore, whereI met a friend in the cafe to talk about her book, then spent a happy hour choosing books to buy with my Christmas gift card.
I managed to stretch the birthday pleasure out over almost two weeks which included three fabulous dinners, and a trip to the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon a few weekends later. It's a haven for book lovers: an old hotel where every room is named for a particular writer. We stayed in the Oscar Wilde room, where everything was imbued with the spirit of that witty man, who was one of my heroes in college, because of the way he dedicated his life to art. The hotel encourages hours of quiet reading (and writing) and fosters a community feeling by serving delicious family-style breakfasts and dinners. I was off the grid for four luxurious days: no TV, no phones, no internet. I finally caught up on my reading of some of my favorite magazines: the Sun and Orion.
And although I missed seeing my birthday flowers on my actual birthday, I was happy to find them the next day. If you don't know about birthday flowers, you can read about them in my blog: http://livinginseason.blogspot.com/2008/09/birthday-flowers.html
May you indulge yourself on your birthday and every day,
Slow Time Book News
In honor of Take Back Your Time Day (Oct 24), I'm presenting a free Slow Life workshop on Sunday, October 26 from 1 to 2 PM at East West Books in Seattle. Cecile is the author of Slow is Beautiful and one of the pioneers of the Simplicity movement. Come out and join us.
Last month I learned that my print-on-demand publishing company, Lulu, considers books bestsellers once they reach the 500 copy mark. My book is now at 459thanks to those of you who bought books last month when it was at 438. Help push it into bestseller status by buying a copy for yourself or someone you know who needs more time:
If you'd rather read my Slow Time book slowly, I'm posting the chapters, one a month, on the Slow Time book website. The ninth chapter, "Passing of the Years" will be posted on September 25. Which means you have three days to download the eighth chapter, "Living in Season," if you don't have it already.
Living in Season: Back to School
II was one of those kids who thrilled to the idea of returning to school, to structured days, to homework assignments, to new books to read. In elementary school, the fat textbooks crowded with pictures. In college, the trip to the college bookstore, scanning the aisles to see what textbooks my professors had chosen.
While doing research on time for my Slow Time book, I learned there's an identifiable upsurge in intellectual activity twice a year: fall and spring. This was measured by the number of books checked out of libraries, scores on tests and amendments to patents. Kay Jamison in her research on creativity discovered a similar rhythm: artistic and other creative works peaked in early fall, with a smaller peak in spring.
I suspect this connection between autumn and learning is deeply embedded in all of us who grew up starting school in September. Every year I feel this urge. This year, it's been hitting me harder than usual. While looking at the Impressionist paintings, I wanted to take an oil painting class. And the only reason I didn't immediately look for such a class is because I'm already enrolled in four classes this autumn: a yoga class, a writing class, a class in Nonviolent Communication and a herb class.
The herb class is being offered at my local natural pharmacy, Rainbow Natural Remedies. And how wonderful is that? It's a class in herbal home remedies, taught over a period of ten weeks. In the first class, we learned to make infusions, decoctions and standard brews. The second class was all about hydrosols, spritzers and flower essences. The third class featured spa treatments: scrubs, masques and foot soaks.
The teacher, Crystal Stelzer, is fantastic: she can talk knowledgeably about a variety of herbs, while demonstrating how to carry out the techniques she's teaching and offering us samples. She told us she got her degree in Herbal Medicine at Bastyr University and she teaches there as an adjunct, offering a longer version of the class she's teaching us as well as classes in Materia Medica (in which the students earn the properties of plants by family).
I was so enchanted by the idea of deep immersion in the plant world that I went home and immediately starting researching Bastyr's degree in Herbal Medicine. I discovered to my chagrin that I don't have any of the prerequisites. I was a lit major in college and took the "easy" science classes of Geology and Astronomy. To enter the Bastyr program, I'd have to take biology, botany and (shudder) chemistry. It's possible to take some classes as a non-matriculated student, but I'm so in love with the program, I'm actually considering taking chemistry.
I've taught classes on Life Design for many years (I used to call them Wishcraft after the wonderful book by that name by Barbara Sher; in more recent years, I've called the class Follow Your Bliss. This winter I'll be teaching one called Design Your Ideal Life with my colleague, Whitney Keyes.) I always worry in that class when students suddenly decide they are going to go back to school. So many times the impulse to return to school is an impulse to postpone actually making a commitment to a new direction.
So I always ask those students to design their own course. What would they take, if they could create their perfect educational program? Who do they want to study with? What classes would they take? What books would they read?
It's a question I ask myself as well, whenever I find myself longing to enroll in a doctorate program (I've been eyeing the one at California Institute of Integral Studies for over twenty yearsthat's how long I've known that I want to write a doctoral thesis on the origins of obscure Italian saints). It would be possible, I think, to do the work as an independent scholar, or to enroll in a college that offers a distance learning programs.
Do you have any longings to take classes this Autumn? Could you design a learning program that would allow you to study the subjects closest to your heart?
May autumn offer you many opportunities for learning,
Autumn Online Course
Speaking of classes, if you're interested in studying Autumn in the School of the Seasons, you can still sign up for the Autumn course. You will receive packets of information on various Autumnal topics including Magical Skills, Harvest, Teachers, Shadow Work, Dream Work, Ancestors, and Days of the Dead.
You can receive the packets via email or you can order the print versions to be sent via snail mail or you can join the online class, which will give you an opportunity to share your homework with other students and with me online.
The cost for the online class is $99. Click here to register.
Harvest Holiday Packet
The Harvest holiday packet contains over 50 pages of ideas on how to celebrate the Autumn Equinox, including the:
You can view a sample from the packet at:
It is available in an email version for $10 (sent within 24 hours) or via snail mail for $15 (please allow 10 days for delivery).
Autumn Natural Planner
At the start of the year I rather ambitiously offered a product I called the Natural Planner, designed to help you align your goals for the year with the rhythms of the season. Like many of my projects, I was making it up as I went along and I have learned a great deal, thanks to the forbearance and feedback of my first wave of customers.
At the start of Autumn, I came up with a new vision of how the Natural Planner will work and I'm looking forward to offering a print version next year. Meanwhile, you can still sign up for the Autumn and Winter modules of this year's Natural Planner. For each season, you will receive a 20+ page booklet asking you a series of questions, designed to help you clarify your goals for the season and plot them using the months and moons as a guide. Autumn will be sent immediately and Winter in the middle of October.
If you are interested in signing up for these workbooks, go to:
Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
This is a graceful way to incorporate spirit and seasons into your life. Use it along with your usual planning tools and calendar to help you:
Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.
Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.
$26 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. To order or to see a sample reflection, click here.
Signs of Autumn
The leaves are falling in Seattle. Send me your signs of the season and we will post them on the website at Signs of the Season.
Copyright © Waverly Fitzgerald 2008
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