JoeThorntonHappy September, my friends! Are you ready for change?

We are experiencing enormous changes that will impact every aspect of our lives. Obviously, we’re soon to be headed from summer into fall. That seasonal change is just around the corner. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

There are some other changes we’re going through as well. We have recently lost a cultural icon, Miss Aretha Franklin.

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin was, for most of us, a major part of the soundtrack of our lives. She made us dance and sing from the sixties all the way till this decade. She has sung at the inaugurations of Presidents, she has entertained royalty and she has always stood for women, people of color and for everyone with a strong, pure and loving heart.

Aretha taught us to RESPECT ourselves, to stand tall and to have the strength to put our arms around each other. She taught us to sing from our souls and to live with courage. She was always ahead of her time.

Aretha.jpgAretha came up in a time when blacks, and especially black women, were considered nothing. But she had conviction and courage and lived her life the way she wanted to live it, on her own terms. And by seeing how she treated others, how she insisted upon being treated herself, she showed us all that we can do and we can be anything.

With the passing of the Queen of Soul, we are charged with moving from having and relying upon such powerful people and role models to becoming role modes ourselves. Now, more than ever, we need to stand tall. Stand for what is right. Stand with an open heart and a loud voice. We must now carry the legacy of RESPECT and live it.

autumn leavesI think it’s fitting that we make that transition when our world is about to make a transition of its own. The days will become cooler and the nights crisper. The leaves will begin to change color and blaze in the trees before decorating our paths. Earthy colors will take over our landscape just as the smell of spices will engulf us and whet our appetites.

The flowers and plantings of summer are soon to die back; the grass and trees will go dormant as we transition into the glories of fall. We’re entering a time when the world rests and prepares itself again for a new season of growth.

To many we’re coming up on the season of Pumpkin Spice flavored everything. But to me, we’re coming up to a time of beauty, sweetness and heart. I love the cooler temperatures. I love to snuggle under a handmade afghan and drink hot cocoa or apple cider. All the bounties of harvest, both physical and spiritual will be all around us.autumn pathway

Before fall actually arrives, let’s all take a good look around at the wonders and colors of summer. Let’s go for one last swim or barbecue outside. Let’s make the most of the seemingly carefree summer. And lets prepare to take that step into a transitioning world full of joy and beauty and change.

And let’s take that step into a new season with pride and dignity. Let’s take that step with love for our fellow man. Let’s live with RESPECT. Click to Tweet

Joe Thornton, Great Conjunction Co-Founder

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When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.  -Malala Yousafzai Click to Tweet

ChiChiRiveraMy quote for this month comes from a young woman who inspires me with her humility and ability to stand up for what she believes in. If you haven’t heard of this young woman  yet, where have you been? She is a force to be reckoned with. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan in 2012 at age 15, on her 16th birthday she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and she has since started a charity to help educate girls, gone on to attend Oxford University and she opened her first school on her 18th birthday.  Movies and books have been written about her.malala yousafzai

Oddly, we share the same birthday. July 12th. Though when I was 15, I was dreaming of getting babysitting gigs and buying a car. She was known as an activist and was shot for her beliefs.

Malala’s quote made me think about something, the world is rarely silent.  I can count on one hand the times when I recall the world around me being truly silent. I’ll share one example.  One time, I was in Sedona AZ, at the Stupa. What is a Stupa you ask?

The stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. Stupas are mostly found in the East, where Buddhism first took root and flourished. They are indeed rare in the West. A stupa is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and as such represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit for all living beings, and the mystical accounts of the healing powers of stupas are well documented.

stupaSo, I went hiking (YES, I hike, lol) and up the mountainside I went, to emerge in a clearing about the size of a football field. Where there were hundreds of people walking around in a circle, in silence, or meditating. Hundreds of people. I was in awe. Honestly, I had never heard of a stupa before. I had never been somewhere where it was so powerfully silent. YOu could hear a pin drop, and I do recall that the only sound I could discern was the occasional flap of a peace flag. I remember thinking to myself “nothing but the sound of peace” over and over. That calm feeling stayed with me for weeks. Even one small whisper during that serene time would have rippled through the crowd. My point is, one voice makes a difference. One whisper could make a difference. One conversation could make a difference. Perhaps her quote is to inspire us to start talking to each other about matters of importance. We could talk about our humanity and also what connects us? Maybe a spark in conversation will make a few more people realise that we can figure out a way to help. I don’t think it NEEDS to be silent for your voice to make an impact on the world, but if you never speak up, we will never know.

Here’s the picture I took at the stupa in Sedona, as inspiration.

In Love and Light,

Rev. Marjorie Rivera Kain

www.Pittsburgh Medium.com

cupsworldAnnette Noyes Head Shot 2September 2018

Two cards came into my fingers this time around and they combine into a pretty exciting prophesy for the month of September!

The Seven of Cups represents fantasy and wishful thinking. After all, we cannot invent new things, make plans for the future, or create change in our lives until we conceive the idea in our imaginations. This purposeful dreaming is the first steps to the “different than what is now” that we’re looking for. Because EVERYthing is possible in our own imaginations, you’ll need to apply logic, deliberation, and intelligence (granted in abundance by this card) to discern what is actually a viable option and what is merely a pipe dream. These decisions are going to be complicated, so be patient, and be honest with yourself—unrealistic attitudes will only lead you astray.

The World is basically your “thumbs up” validation that you can do this! This card offers even more potential for total realization, expansion, fulfillment, and accomplishment. The special quality of this card allows you to see the big picture made up of all the little, seemingly random, pieces. You’ll be able to integrate the various parts to create your unique whole through practical use of your current knowledge. The World is assuring you that you’re in the right place at the right time, with everything you need, to manifest your dreams. Click to Tweet

Happy September everyone!
Annette Noyes
The Emerald Box Turtle
www.theemeraldboxturtle.com

JoeThorntonIt’s August: the deep-end of the summer, the hottest time of year.

For a lot of people this is an ideal time of year; full of sun and fun. Time to hang out outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and the warmth.

But it’s not that wonderful for everyone.

sitting tumble weedSummertime isn’t all fun and bliss for me and for many others. It feels unbearably hot and heavy and muggy. Your clothes stick to your body. You feel parched and thirsty all the time. Within an hour of taking a shower you feel like you need another one. Sometimes the humidity gets so high you feel like you can’t breathe. Not to mention the whole humidity and frizzy hair thing! This, to me, is not the most pleasant of feelings.

It’s summertime. It’s hot. And when the heat and humidity become oppressive, it can sometimes drag you down. Your frame of mind can become so downtrodden and negative. It’s the exact opposite of people who miss the sunshine during the cold winter months. They need an infusion of Vitamin D and a sun lamp. But I need the shade with a cool breeze and an ice cold drink.

When the summer weather reaches the point where all I want to do is hide indoors, a song runs through my head. Though I’m dating myself with this. If you don’t recognize the song, you’ll at least recognize the feeling…

“Hot town, summer in the city,
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty,
Been down, isn’t it a pity,
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city,
All around, people looking half dead,
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”
~ "Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonfuls

When I get emotionally dragged down by the heat of the summer, I have to force myself to remember all the things I do love about this time of year. I have to consciously adjust my mindset. I have to pay closer attention to the wonders of summertime.

redsunflowerMy favorite flowers are blooming all around our gardens, bright yellow and copper colored sunflowers sharing their beauty and joy. I love to pick fresh blackberries and raspberries for treats. This year I’ve enjoyed watching the robin’s nest with three bright blue eggs… then hatchlings… develop in one of our apple trees.

I’m always amazed by the speed at which things outside change and grow; the miracle of nature. The flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing and the vegetables and fruit are growing. Life is taking over and the world is sharing its bounty.

BlackberriesI am overjoyed by the flowers, fruits and vegetables growing in our yard. I love going for walks on the property and yes, I even enjoy mowing the lawn; it’s very Zen to me.

When I get my head back together and begin appreciating the season, different songs run through my brain:

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine,
Blowing with the jasmine in my mind.”
~ “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer,
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.”
~ “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” sung by Nat King Cole

“Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say,
It’s alright.”
~ “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

So, I guess I’m just gonna settle-in and enjoy the rest of the summer. I’ll pick a berry or two for you. I’m going to appreciate the season all I can… with the air conditioning and a glass of iced cold tea.

Care to join me for my cure for the summertime blues?

Joe Thornton, Great Conjunction Co-Founder

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Annette Noyes Head Shot 2August 2018
kgsurxThe king chosen for this month's card represents mature, action-oriented energy. As in, he knows what he wants and how to get it. The card's suit signifies intellectual activity and analysis. You may be driven by bright ideas and know exactly how to make them happen. You won't see any obstacles to getting funding or approval for your project because you've looked at it from every angle and see a clear path forward.
 
Unfortunately, this single-minded approach to your goal can make you impatient and overbearing. You will need to deal with others along your way, but they'll seem so slow and stupid. Be aware of their feelings. Also, be aware of your own feelings! You may be perfectly nice to everyone else but hold yourself to impossible standards. You can be just as (if not more so) hypercritical and unforgiving of yourself as you can be of others.
 
Therefore, it's vital that you make time to relax your mind by doing something with your body--but perhaps not solitary exercise such as running, biking, or swimming. But, but, but...you do your best thinking on your run/swim/bike ride! That's my point; a rousing game of volleyball will have you concentrating on the ball and your fellow players and not on what's going through your head. Read a book, go to a movie, play fetch with your dog, or anything to get out of your head. This month's mental energy is going to be unrelenting and intense, and therefore you'll need to balance your overactive mind with other activities. Click to Tweet
 
Annette Noyes
The Emerald Box Turtle
www.theemeraldboxturtle.com