How to make Christmas last forever (or at least until the end of January…)

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This is a post from a previous Christmas, just as relevant now 🙂 ” This year’s darkness hasn’t been due to the weather but many other things… “As a native of more southerly latitudes, I had to learn to ignore Parisian weather to survive. If I had known before I moved here that my birthplace near Washington, DC, is comparable to Madrid and Rome in terms of sunlight, whereas Paris is comparable to Montreal, that lack of sunshine depresses the immune system and dampens the spirits… I may not have come. Then one day I was ranting about the gray skies to a French friend who said, “Il y a d’autres soleils à Paris” (There are other suns in Paris) and that was a turning point. I learned to love rain even when it falls every day for months as it has this winter, one of the darkest in 30 years.

Living in Paris has made me think that Christmas and Hanukkah lights are Northern Hemisphere responses to winter sun deprivation, and this year they are more vital than ever. So here are my strategies to make Christmas last forever, or at least until the end of January and the gradual approach of Spring…

  • Virtual fireplace on flat screen TV (DVD’s available and now streaming on Netflix!)
  • Epiphany galettes (King cakes) still on sale in the bakeries (collect prizes, wear crowns!)
  • New Year’s cards can be sent until at least the end of the month (and received!)
  • New Year’s resolutions boost energy and project us into the future, especially if updated and tracked
  • Skype faraway friends and family to open presents they sent by mail
  • Sort pictures, print some to send with New Year’s greetings
  • Play with presents: make a list of who gave you what and what you will do with each one in the new year, include thank you’s in New Year’s cards
  • Keep a log of good times over the holidays, in your appointment calendar, and relive them by journaling: funny things people said, conversations, realisations, issues to clear up?
  • Food memories: recipes new and heirloom, to share in New Year’s messages
  • Food continued: bake cookies and send to older and younger loved ones
  • Keep the tree and decorations up even as the tree folds inward like a shriveled umbrella and begins to look like a biological equivalent of Miss Havisham’s wedding cake (in Great Expectations)
  • Make un-decorating part of the holiday, set aside lots of time, enjoy treasured ornaments, as mementos and promises of future holiday celebrations
  • Keep the music playing: all the oldies you didn’t listen to when it was really Christmas, laugh at Bob Dylan and Elvis holiday albums, discover Yuletide gems by Lynerd Skynerd, Louis Armstrong and the never-obsolete Frank Sinatra. If that’s too much, fall back on instrumental “Winter Solstice” and “Celtic Christmas” collections from Windham Hill and others…
  • Recycle your tree in any of Paris’s parks until January 28th (and beyond), knowing it will become fragrant mulch for gorgeous spring landscaping…
  • Hibernate without guilt, perhaps with the help of a carefully selected winter virus, just severe enough to keep you on the couch in front of the “fire” with herb teas and soups,  but not requiring antibiotics or ER trips…
  • Continue your creative and professional work when the fog clears
  • Start thinking about Valentine’s day…”

Merry Christmas!

To be continued, love xxxxx Aliss

 

 

You, Darkness

adventFlame on a December morning:

You, Darkness

Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated from the German by Robert Bly

You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything:
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! —
powers and people —

and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.

 

Summer Reset

Minnewaska

Minnewaska

What I look for in summer, refilling my inner lake… Time with family and friends, time in between without appointments of any kind, let my thoughts wander, let ideas come to the surface, let synthesis take place, and source new energy…

Food for poetic thought, an image from the I Ching:

Tui

I Ching Hexagram 58 – Tui / The Joyous, Lake

Hexagram 58
Above Tui the Joyous, Lake
Below Tui the Joyous, Lake

The trigram Tui denotes the youngest daughter; it is symbolized by the smiling lake, and its attribute is joyousness. True joy, therefore, rests on firmness and strength within, manifesting itself outwardly as yielding and gentle. The Joyous. Success. Perseverance is favorable.

To be continued…

xxxxx  Aliss

When in existential doubt, look at pastry

pastry

It was a toxic afternoon: a lunch date gone terribly wrong, a miscommunication with a friend, a big tech glitch, all this after a hectic end of spring, beginning of summer, heat waves coming and going, bad news, end of world atmosphere…

Didn’t even have the heart to photograph street scenes, no eye-popping beauty jumped out and grabbed me.  Came across this recent pic on my phone and got an immediate physical lift. Never even tasted these works of art, merely immortalized their colors and shapes as I passed the shop window. Now fantasizing about shrinking like my namesake and strolling around inside this display like an edible city, breathing in the flavors, taking an occasional mind-boggling bite.

Haven’t solved any of the world’s problems yet, but approach the subject with a fresh attitude.

Can something so ephemeral save us?

“Hope is always accompanied by the imagination, the will to see what our physical environment seems to deem impossible. Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.” Poet Jericho Brown, interviewed in the Kenyon Review:

https://www.kenyonreview.org/conversation/jericho-brown/

https://onbeing.org/programs/jericho-brown-small-truths-and-other-surprises/

And for another way to feel good, plant some trees, please:

https://www.americanforests.org

Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.

Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organization has saved over 23 million acres.

Reduce your paper and wood consumption. Double-check with Rainforest Alliance that what you’re buying is considered rainforest-safe. You can also purchase rainforest-safe products from the alliance’s site.

Tree planting in France:

http://www.yves-rocher-fondation.org/plantons-pour-la-planete/?fbclid=IwAR1MVdct9Aoq-uHUEhEEz_aZCNM01YpE2SRYuqmio9WEzROdIUpjVmKJSSE

http://afac-agroforesteries.fr/le-programme-plantons-avec-la-fondation-yves-rocher/?fbclid=IwAR1kkthW6soYWFbUZVeRcEhV1bgKry45lsz-rc-LHWJyvkxQrJpu7sIgMQg

http://ecotree.fr/en/

I may not have solved any of the world’s major problems yet, but approach the subject with a fresh attitude.

xxxxxxx Aliss

Soulgasm

Baltic

Finding myself

Above the Baltic

Between Saint Petersburg and Paris

Where is the sky

Where is the sea

Imagined arms in first position

A ballet beginner

Embracing a ball of light:

I’m not a nationality

I’m not a passport

I’m not a language

A country

A political party

A religion

An addresss

A family member

A marital status

A gender

A weight

A height

A skin color

A diploma

A job title

A news cycle…

Maybe a visitor

A soul in a body

A person

Spaciousness

©Aliss Valerie Terrell 2019

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day

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Thank you everyone for your warm reactions to my Return to Russia story on Facebook and Instagram, May 1st to May 8th.

http://www.facebook.com/aliss.terrell

http://www.instagram.com/aliss.terrell

This photo may seem strange for Mothers Day, but it expresses many things for me. It’s a statue at the Baby House near St Petersburg, Russia where I found my son on Nov 12th, 2007 and finally picked him up on May 8th, 2008 after three years of obstacles. The statue needs repairs, like the Baby House, closed down ten years ago.

I send love to all our mothers, all of us blessed to raise our own children and those of us who raise children whose mothers couldn’t. We stand on a fragile pedestal of joys snd challenges.

And love to my beloved daughter, who first made my wish to become a mother come true…

Happy Mother’s Day

xxxxx Aliss

Still, Look Up

DomeGalLaf

(Glass walkway and trampoline under the dome at Galeries Lafayette, this week)

Horrendous world news… What to do? Vote, donate, vote with our spending, listen, support any way we can and keep looking up… From all the brain research I’ve read, literally directing your eyes upward stimulates the frontal cortex, center of creative imagination and projecting ourselves into the future. MRI tracking shows that when this area is activated, the brain functions as a whole, harmonizing the fight or flight and emotional areas, with the inventive part. So this is what we need to design a different world.

xxxxx Aliss

Notre Dame

Reposted from March 2017Point zero*

Embedded in the cobblestones in front of Notre Dame Cathedral is this marker, the starting point of all main roads leading to French cities and the endpoint used for measuring their distances, the very heart of the country. DSC03304The cathedral itself is a visual encyclopedia of French culture and history.DSC03305

Beside the main altar stands a 14th century statue of the Mother. No matter what tradition you come from, she is the incarnation of compassion enfolding soul,  reminding me of Kwan Yin, (Guanyin) the Buddhist bodhisatva, sometimes compared to Mary.

I’m grateful to have this sanctuary nearby, to sit in silence, in candlelight, sending and receiving love through this portal, always, but especially in times like the ones we are living.

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

*Photo: Jean-Jacques Breton, Paris à vos pieds, editions Parisgramme, Paris 2013, p. 106. (Scan and color-adjustments, Aliss Terrell)

Margaritas at Midnight

margaritas thumbExcited to share “Margaritas at Midnight” my first music video as DIRECTOR (AND singer songwriter) 🙂

Recorded with the British band Rough Score, guaranteed tequila buzz with bluesy lounge beach music…true love, shamanic dream or cautionary tale?…

Includes DIVINE margarita recipe demonstration 🙂

Here’s the link:

Now on i-Tunes

http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1449311127?ls=1&app=itunes

And Apple music

http://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1449311127

More soon!

xxxxxxx Aliss