This Little Piggy Went to Market – In Thailand

Today was a day of incredible markets and unusual experiences. In Thailand like in most markets, they are not just a place to purchase food, goods and pick up desirables. It’s a place to commune, connect, and perpetuate community. This is more than evident in the markets we visited today.

First stop, the Maeklong Railway Market just outside of Bangkok proper in the Samut Sakhon Provence. There is no other market like this one in the world. The story goes that the market was originally on land that became too expensive for the merchants, so they decided to relocate to place that would be free, the railroad.

This market is set up on either side of the railroad tracks and when the train comes through (eight times a day) everyone has the clear the tracks and make room for the train. For shoppers this merely means moving out of the way. For the merchants this means, winding in their awnings, rolling back the carts that their wares are on (a foot or two) and then there are other items low enough to the ground that the train passes over them without harm. It’s a most unbelievable experience.

Once the train passes, awnings are rolled back out, crates with wares are rolled back into place and the shoppers are once again all a bustle. Everything you might need for creating a dish is there, vegetables of all sorts, as well as fruits, seasoning, fresh fish and seafood, meats of all kinds and young girls stringing the worship garland of marigold and jasmine that I purchased and wore around my neck.

The second stop was the Floating Market in Dameoen Saduek. We drove another half hour or so to arrive at the dock to take the long nose boat to the floating market. This is a canal that was dug by hand which is incredible to imagine considering the length of the canal. We were on a pretty fast moving boat for at least twenty minutes.

Two of the elements of both of these markets are the incredible heat and humidity and this is true despite the fact that we began our journey at 7:00 to avoid the height of the heat. Despite that the heat was quite intense a somewhat draining. Thank goodness for the air-conditioned tour bus. The other element consists of droves of people, locals shopping and tourist from all countless far away lands. The largest groups are tourists are from China.

Last stop wasn’t your usual market; it was small and was actually a cocoanut processing compound. At this stop we were taught how the cocoanuts grow, the many ways it’s processed for oil, to make sugar, syrup, soap, oil, milk, juice and of course we were able to purchase, fresh, young coconuts to drink. Most Thai food includes some element of the coconut. As a special treat for us, our wonderful tour guide, Nok, purchased some plantain bananas that were rolled in cocoanut shavings and deep-fried. It was very delicious.

At this stop we were also able to go inside of a traditional Thai home. Made of teak wood, these homes are on stilts to raise the house to avoid flood, to house the water catching device and because having the house high off the ground, makes for a cooler home.

Inside each home is a shrine to the Buddha, in varying degrees of elaborateness.   There are also shrines outside of every home and business. Each home has two shrines, a shrine to the land elements (soil, air, water, plants, all botanicals) and a shrine to the ancestors. The ancestors have their own home outside the house because they are not allowed to live inside the home; they have their own home.

The land shrine is on a single pedestal and the ancestor shrine is typically on six legs. There are offering made to the shrine daily of acknowledgment and prayers, incense burned, food offered and worship garlands made of flowers like the one I purchased. I wore mine all day long and was just enchanted by the fragrant aroma of the marigold and jasmine. I can only imagine the ancestors loving this fragrance too. It’s jasmine that is the primary essence in the Anu Essentials Sea Scape Perfume, a fragrance that has easy access to my heart.

Also, this home, market had many animals, monkeys, birds, roosters, dogs and a cacophony of insects, which made for quite the sound system.  We finally arrived back to the hotel and just as I was about to prepare for a nap, veteran globe trotter Kay called and asked me to go with her to an antique mall.  That would take a whole other blog post if I could even find the words to describe one incredibly fabulous store with antiques that are just mind blogging. That’s another post for another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally there was a delicious dinner with my two veteran, globetrotting friends who planned this incredible trip, Kay and Patricia at the night market on the river front.  Yes indeed, the market remains a hub for people to come together, to be together, to live and enjoy life.

Maintain Your Inner Independence

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me. While many of us know this childhood jingle, we cannot all say it rings true 100% of the time. Words are very powerful and typically say more about the person speaking than the person listening. Words change lives, can ignite healing or provoke dis-ease, if they are abusive. This is true not necessarily about what is said, but how we handle or process what is said. However, no one should willingly expose themselves to demeaning or abusive communications from anyone under any circumstances.  No, not even from your employer.  That would be a sure sign that it’s time to move on.  But I digress.

I haven’t written on my blog post in over a month now and I finally had to admit to myself, what triggered this pause in posting was a comment made by a recipient of our newsletter. In addition to unsubscribing, she took the time to explain why. Her comments pierced me to the core. Due to the fact that we have so few readers who responds to the newsletter or blog posts in writing, it often feels like I’m just talking to myself. Is there anybody out there???  But while readers seldom leave written comments, many have come up to me in person to say they enjoy the newsletter and blog posts.

Recently a friend on Facebook mentioned her desire to give up sugar and I referred her to my blog post on the topic – Sugar – The Sweetest Poison of All. This brilliant woman who is a published author, accomplished intellectual, a professor at a prestigious university and wonderful person, immediately shared  with me that she loved my blog. And just those few words really meant so much to me.  In addition to my resolve on this matter, they gave me impetuous to say, please unsubscribe.  I only need to speak with those who are interested in what I’d like to share.

It can be very unsettling to allow ourselves to be so easily influenced, like a leaf in the wind. We all know better than that. We would be absolutely miserable if we attempted to live our lives allowing what others say to influence how we feel and what we do based on what they say; when they approve of us then we’re happy and if they don’t approve of us, then we’re miserable. The first rule is, don’t take it personally, as it relates to anyone, but particularly with strangers. This customer (and each recipient) has every right to unsubscribe and explain why they’re not interested in what I have to share. As the good book (I-Ching – Book of Changes) advises – maintain your inner independence – take not gain nor loss to heart.  These words sound so simple, but depending on what it is you’re trying to be centered about and not be an emotional mess, taking this stance can be exceedingly challenging.

This is one of the hallmarks of my spiritual journey,  mastering maintaining inner independence. So how I allowed this one comment to throw me so completely off my center, is something I dealt with in my meditation.  Inner independence is a way of saying, be centered.  Let not your emotions determine how you feel and function. In some instances that is easy.  In other instances it can be such a major cross roads, it can be the difference between living life fully or being totally miserable and spreading your misery to others.  So maintaining inner independence can be a very serious endeavor depending on what’s happening in your life. I have formulated a number of Spiritual Spritzers to address different challenges in life and one of them is called Centering.  It’s perfect to use for those time when you need to maintain your equilibrium. Formulated with both essential oils and tinctured herbs, it instills the energy of oneness, to be single minded, not torn or any matter.  And also it can be used to remind us that all of us are one, from the same one source, God, the Divine, by any name you choose to use.

With the help of my meditations, using the Spiritual Spritzer and the kind words of my friend Imani (a name that means, faith or trust) I have reclaimed my center and I’m back!  Please feel free to unsubscribe to this newsletter and or blog if it is not for you. I know how it is.  We have a limited amount of time and we should spend it doing what inspires us.  I realize that what I have to say is of value to someone and if I am able to encourage just one person to follow the road that will bring that person closer to a healthy, wholesome and or enlightening perspective or inspire them to take a closer look at the beauty they share with this world, then I’ve met my goal. That is my mission. Have a most beauty-filled day!

Floral Flavors: Masters of Social Gastronomy – #BrooklynBotanicGarden

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Last night I attended a “sold out” class at Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden, a real treasure located in the center of this most amazing borough of New York.  The class was a delight in that it began with a free drink, a choice of artisanal beer, rosé or white wine, a botanical base cocktail or lemon & mint flavored water.  This you sipped while strolling through the garden near the lily pond while mingling with other participants.  This part of the experience lasted about a hour.  We were then ushered into the auditorium for the presentation and given a piece of orange water flavored meringue. The educational presentation was taught by Sarah Lohman and Jonathan Soma, two popular food bloggers.Continue Reading

Body Polish For Baby Soft Skin

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Did you know that the largest organ in the body is our skin, making up 16% of our body weight? This means that it is very special and should be treated with the utmost care. For example, the skin regulates body temperature, offers protection from the elements, and synthesizes chemicals. It’s no wonder many of us are attracted to soft and healthy skin; it beckons to be touched and caressed.

Anu Essentials Sugar Polish was created to exfoliate and soften the toughest skin. Made with Fair Trade organic sugar from Malawi in Southeast Africa, it’s a pure, wholesome treat. Our base oils are comprised of almond, jojoba, cocoanut, pomegranate, and vitamin E oils.  High grade essentials oils and resins are use to scent our Polishes and offer that aromatherapy experience. The sugar does the heavy lifting by removing dead skin cells and the luscious oils are added to soften and soothe the skin.Continue Reading