Fabulous field trip just for adults! On this special day the Vernal Equinox and a full moon overlapped for the first time in 19 years. My friends and I visited Land of Medicine Buddha (LMB) retreat center in a sacred forest in Santa Cruz to celebrate by hiking.
There is a popular trail in LMB which is open to the public, called "The Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail" - a short meditative loop designed to help hikers calm their minds and contemplate Buddhist teachings. While you walk among the big redwood trees and plants, you will find the eight verses written in script on signs posted every 15 or 20 minutes along the trail. They are the thought transformation by Langri Tangpa, and each verse is accompanied by an explanation of its meaning by Dalai Lama. It's a very peaceful meditative trail.
A lot of Japanese like to visit temples, shrines or places that are believed to have some powerful vortex energy during special occasions for purification. So, it was a perfect day for us to hike, to meditate, and to have an experience of "Shinrin -Yoku" all at once. The word of "Shinrin-Yoku" means "forest bath" in English. It means soaking yourself into the forest air while you walk in the mountains.
It is a therapy that was developed in Japan during the 1980s, becoming a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The Japanese researchers suggest that we can get beneficial substances called phytoncide when we breathe forest air.
Phytoncide is the natural aroma of the forest which is emitted by plants & trees to counter from harmful odorous substances such as carcasses and excrement of animals. Japanese researchers found this pytoncide has also the power to counter illnesses including cancer, strokes, gastric ulcers, depression, anxiety, and stress. It also boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and aids sleep. Here's the more information about a research study on "Shinrin-Yoku". .
After we enjoyed meditative walk & "Shinrin-Yoku" at LMB, I took them to a natural foods store in Santa Cruz and introduced them to a few items that I use for my macrobiotic cooking. Then, we had special vegan lunch boxes (OBENTO) that I prepared early in the morning to celebrate the full moon & Equinox. It was such a beautiful day, and I'm so grateful for all the ladies who cherished this special day together with me. 🙏
I catered Japanese sweets - traditional sticky rice cakes called BOTAMOCHI to the Japanese community in Scotts Valley & San Jose.
Today is the first day of the spring equinox week. It is a seasonal week-long event in Japan. Spring equinox is the day when the length of day and night become almost equal. It means that the energy of Yin & Yang reaches the highest point of the year. It is the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. As it is a turning point of the season, our lives are also going to shift accordingly.
During the week of HARU-HIGAN (the spring equinox week), we have the custom to visit our ancestor's grave and offer BOTAMOCHI and flowers. It is a week to respect and honor all our ancestors who paved our ways and celebrate all the livings together.
Since I currently live in California, I can not physically visit our ancestors' graves in Japan. However, I have my sacred space in my house where I can pray every morning and night just to thank and celebrate the ancestors, friends, family and mother earth.
Also, cooking is another form of prayer for me, so the kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. I think while you are doing something you love and enjoy, you have the moments of connecting to the power of something great. For me, it is cooking. While I cook, I forget everything, and so often lose track of time.
So many people are saying that the flow is changing dramatically in so many ways from this year forward. And I have to admit that I see the sign everywhere even my small world. But, I believe as long as I eat good quality of food, my compass inside of me will not blur and lead me to the journey where I want to go. It is simple but so true... The food guide your destiny! I hope everyone has a great week of the spring equinox. Eat well and chew well!
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