During this month so heavily drenched in gratitude, it almost seems redundant to remind my readers that each and every one of the ancient mystery schools I have ever studied has echoed the same sentiment regarding two specific words. All these teachings say that these two words -- "thank you," intoned in any language -- carry almost as much power as any one of the 100 names for God.
It's long been believed that anyone who offers constant gratitude for positive circumstances in their life are performing the magically manifesting feat of attracting to themselves even more to be grateful for! So, yes, "thank you" are two exceptionally potent words.
But ancient traditions say there is another word that's actually believed to be even more powerful!
This word is "hu" -- the pronunciation of which rhymes with the male name Hugh. Along with "om" and "ah," the sacred sound of "hu" is said to bring about awakening, enlightenment and an elevated state of consciousness, as well as a personal connection to all things divine.
You can chant hu's seed sound either silently or aloud. Some schools recommend doing this for 20 minutes; others say you should chant it for only two. And there are mystery schools that recommend chanting this sacred sound 108 times in order to be blessed with all its promised benefits.
Aside from differences in opinion regards hu's method of repetition, the one instruction all these teachings do share is that repeating this sound for any amount of time -- any time of day -- will open your heart to divine love and transform your very existence. When you chant hu, expect to experience more love, joy, freedom and, yes, even more to be grateful for than ever before!
And that's about as good a reason as any to continuously and gratefully say "thank hu!"
There's one color in particular that's most associated with the energies of November: orange. More than just the predominant color of leaves as they turn scarlet, red and amber during late autumn, orange possesses a deeper influence on our health and happiness -- and even on our prosperity. After all, it's believed that Lady Luck herself wore orange!
Wearing orange is thought to encourage creativity, while also bringing balance to emotions during times of stress. It also promises a willingness to embrace new and creative ideas, as well as a sense of exploration, enjoyment and play!
Orange is considered to be a "power color," and a healing one as well. It's known to lift spirits and moods, and can bring anyone up off a low limb. It stimulates enthusiasm, endurance and vitality, and can really lighten things up when life becomes too serious.
Since it's so fun and flamboyant, why not don some orange this month when you wish to radiate warmth and energy?
Even though Thanksgiving is an indulgent holiday celebrated only in the United States, this month I nonetheless offer you several effective indigestion remedies from all over the world!
Chinese medicine suggests that if you overdo it on the mashed potatoes and pie, you should massage the tender areas at the sides of your knees, just below the kneecaps. As you massage these spots, the tenderness should decrease at the same rapid rate as your stomach ache.
Another remedy for quick digestive relief comes from India, and dictates that you should crush one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, then steep them in one cup of freshly boiled water for five minutes. After that time, strain the liquid and sip slowly -- after which all indications of indigestion should be gone before you can say, "Please sir, may I have some more?"
And there's a simple remedy that comes from my old Irish lass of a grandma, who used to instruct us to mix one tablespoon of honey and two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of hot water, then drink it down to stop bloating and gas.
Finally, Feng Shui philosophy says that meditating on the color yellow can help heal all digestive problems. Simply lay yourself down with your head elevated, close your eyes and imagine the color yellow shooting rays of golden light into your achy stomach. (Personally, I think that imagining Big Bird doing this same thing would be a very apropos image on the foodie feast day of Thanksgiving, because after all, birds of a feather ... well, you know the rest!)
Dancing skeletons on parade, marching through the streets carrying tiny coffins and/or skulls with tinsel eyes -- this is all part of Los Dios de los Muertos, Mexico's annual "Day of the Dead." This annual mourning celebration takes place on November 2, a day on which the dead are tempted with their favorite foods to return to their families.
This ritual emerged from an ancient Aztec belief that life is more important than dying. On this day, families gather in cemeteries and at other gravesites to decorate the resting places of the dead with marigolds and calendulas -- and of course, with the deceased's favorite foods. Of course, these food offerings will vary from family to family, but invariably they are bound to include some sort of chilies. Indeed, other than corn, hot peppers are one of the most important culinary contributions to emerge from the southwestern part of the Northern Hemisphere.
According to Native American herbology, chilies were added to combinations of herbs as an appetite stimulant; they were also used as a circulatory aid, as well as a remedy for sprains, strains and bruises. Blended with garlic and water, these legendary hot peppers are even thought to be an all-natural and effective bug repellant for plants!
And what better time than the chilly days of November to hang out with this hot veggie?
CHILI CON CARNE
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 to 1.5 pounds of lean stew beef, cubed
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 teaspoons of chile powder
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of dried mint
1 12-ounce can of plum tomatoes, broken up
1 one-pound can of pinto beans, strained
1 one-pound can of black beans
1 small can of green chilies
Shredded lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes and sour cream for garnish
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick stew pot or kettle, then add the meat. Brown slightly before stirring in the chopped onion and garlic.
2. Saute the mixture for 5–8 minutes before adding all herbs and spices. Cook over heat for 3 additional minutes.
3. Add stewed tomatoes, then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Add all remaining ingredients, then cook until meat is tender (approximately 45–60 minutes). If necessary, add beef broth liquid to keep mixture from sticking.
Serve in large bowls with garni to taste.
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go -- but first, we bathe!
Yes, you read right. Feng Shui says that if you're embarking on any sort of trip -- but particularly a long one -- you must take a shower or bath before departing. This ritual is believed to wash away any malign and/or negative energies that could be clinging to you as you make your way toward your destination.
In order to ensure your trip is both positive and peaceful, you also need to be equally sure your feet are thoroughly clean. This philosophy espouses that the energies associated with your feet are quite enmeshed in your travel experience, so cleansing them with intention will additionally wash away any challenges or travel obstacles you may have collected along the way.
Clearly, if a journey of a thousand miles really does begin with one single step, it would greatly behoove you for that foot to be clean!
Sometimes when family and friends assemble for a holiday celebration, harsh words can make it onto the menu, making the ensuing meal a bit hard to swallow. (Indeed, "I've got a bone to pick with you" might not be referring to the one where pinky wishes are silently made.) Yes, we know that holidays bring families together ... but what happens when those who are supposed to go the distance end up being driven apart?
Well, Feng Shui suggests that by using yellow mums as your floral decor of choice and placing them strategically all throughout your home, you'll usher in both tranquility and peace -- while also bringing a handy dash of recognition for turkey and fixins well done!
Yellow flowers are often used to enhance and "wake up" a room, much like the rising sun does for your own consciousness each day. Stay with that idea, because yellow flowers are also believed to bring a bit of sunshine to the spirit of any room, lightening and brightening while also creating a cozier environment.
Now, if you're visiting someone else's home this Thanksgiving holiday -- and lucky you if you are! -- go ahead and present your host(s) with yellow mums. If you do, you'll be wishing them a heaping helping of harmony and happiness, and that's something that will practically guarantee your friendship is something they'll always be grateful for!