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Celtic Wisdom: A Captivating Spiritual Legacy

Posted on December 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

The lyric melody of celtic music is captivating to the senses. At the very least, it can lift our spirits and lighten our hearts. At best, it can assist us in transcending our limitations and connecting with a higher consciousness. Music in general has the singular power to bring about an immediate attitude adjustment. For that reason, music is sacred in all spiritual traditions. Constant chatter gives way to interior reflection as the music plays. There is a spiritual component to celtic music that mirrors the essence of celtic wisdom. As music attracts and transforms us, the celtic experience of nature with fully attentive senses is also considered spiritually sacred.

To walk the hills and valleys of the earthly landscape, mindfully, is a spiritual act. In our own lives, an appreciation of the world outside the walls of our home or office offers us an opportunity to reconnect to something that is more beautiful and glorious than our usual, limited perspective of the world.

The complexity of modern life and perhaps the lure of materialism all contribute to the estrangement we often feel from our spiritual selves. We look outside of ourselves for answers or solutions and rarely consider entering the silence within.

Interior meditation is a practice embraced by several spiritual traditions and it requires that we turn away from our hectic pace to give it a try. Start by endeavoring to awaken your awareness through the simple act of stepping outside. Can you remember a moment in time when the beauty of the world took your breath away? Was it a snow-capped mountain, a sunset masterpiece or an animal in the wild? Recall how you felt during this awe-inspiring encounter.

If anything, a true perspective on life was restored and we remembered that life is a precious gift. Treat yourself to a walk very soon. Focus on whatever it is that catches your attention. Try not to think, instead quiet your mind and engage in appreciation. You may be surprised at what you learn.

The world can be a very alienating place; we need a sanctuary where we can restore our souls. For matters of personal responsibility, we need to be out in the world yet, it is equally important to step off the beaten path, still the coursing thoughts in our mind and reflect on spiritual truth.

Celtic tradition points to the connectedness of life. Not only do we affect each other through our thoughts and actions, but we affect the living earth. We all have something to offer, this is our birth right. As we look up at the stars, listen to the waves as they crash ashore and feel the sand underneath us, we are active participants in this connectedness.

We can learn from spoken truth as readily as we gain knowledge from the miracle of a seed sprouting into visible life. The old Irish saying: “isn’t the hand of a stranger, the hand of God?”; supports this notion of connectedness. Therein lies our true destiny. In this life, it is incumbent upon us to nurture our own soul growth, be of service to others and leave the little patch of earth we call home better than we found it.

However, if we are trudging along through life and ignoring the promptings of our soul, how authentic is our path? Working towards harmony within ourselves and with each other, as we acknowledge that we are part of something much larger, is the road to inner peace, and it is within our grasp. We are personally responsible for our own happiness in this life. We possess all that we need to achieve our dreams, survive day-to-day and live life to the fullest. We began to connect with this power the moment we decide to journey within our own interior silence.

We may be unable to singlehandedly end violence, pollution and discord, but we can clean up our own act. Celtic tradition tells us that ancient wisdom already exists within us. One does not have to come from a line of celts to possess this wisdom; it’s available to all.

The celtic way is but one of the paths to follow. For those of you with celtic lineage, this path may speak truth to you on a very deep level. A famous Irish Saint, St. Brigid, was known for her love for the land. By entering a sanctuary, be it outside or in the next room, we are able to examine our life, transcend our limitations and tap into that ancient wisdom within.

Dedicate this day to a new beginning in your life. Consider it an opportunity to implement a change. What self-imposed or self-imagined limitation do you wish to transcend? Build upon your self-improvement by remaining fully engaged with truth, reality and what it is you must work through to arrive at a better place. Remember, that which is worthwhile and valuable in life is not given to us – we must do the footwork and put in the time to advance ourselves on the path.

It is through the presence of balance in our life that we experience harmony. Listen to the complaints that you might speak only to yourself throughout the day; herein lie the clues to the possible extremes that keep you off balance. Clarify to yourself, what it is that constitutes your personal truth. What feels authentic? What feels strained? What would you change if you could? Contemplate your unfulfilled desires. What is holding you back? Procrastination? Time? Money? Cast aside these concepts of lack and limitation and begin, simply begin.

Release the need to be validated by the world. Step out into the open air, breathe deeply and chart your own course. Refuse to be constrained by rigid opinions; be they your own or those belonging to others.

Dare to walk in the direction of your dream as impossible as it may appear from the perspective of your present circumstances. You are not alone. Your life is connected to all there is or ever was. The path of celtic spirituality is best initiated outside, in view of the sunrise, while the leaves still cradle morning dew, like precious jewels. Begin your personal journey in touch with the beauty God has created and take it with you as you start your day.

Choosing the Right Patio Furniture For Your Outdoor Living

Posted on December 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

The patio is one of the best places to entertain visitors especially during the warmer seasons. You and your visitors can enjoy fresh air and the great outdoors. The patio can also add to the value of your home in case you plan to sell it. It is therefore important to make sure that you design your patio well. Choosing the right kind of patio furniture can definitely make your patio stand out.

When planning to build a patio, the kind of furniture you are planning to use will definitely affect the design of the patio. For some people, they plan their patio depending on the kind of patio furniture they like. For others, they buy furniture which blends with the theme or design of their outdoor living areas. The important thing to remember is the furniture should bring a homey feeling to your patio.

Kinds of Patio Furniture:
Patio furniture usually includes a dining set, benches, rocking chairs, throw pillows, cushions and other accessories. Many stores sell furniture for outdoor living areas in sets. This means that customers can usually see different furniture with the same designs. For those who do not want uniform designs, they can mix and match from a wide array of furniture.

Most shops selling furniture for patios usually categorize the furniture pieces to help customers pick the best furniture for their patios. Some of the categories include: Modern, Classic, Contemporary, Luxury, Functional and Traditional. There are also some shops which categorize the furniture depending on certain themes. Customers who are budget conscious can also find some furniture divided depending on the prize range.

The most common patio furniture includes dining sets (tables and chairs), benches, chaise lounges, settees and rocking chairs. Others are bar stools, picnic tables, porch swings and hammocks. There are also several accessories you can add to make your patio more relaxing and comfortable. Examples are cushions, throw pillows, outdoor lightings and storage deck boxes.

Materials:
Furniture for patios and other outdoor areas are made of different materials. The most common are wood, teak, wrought iron, wicker, rattan and aluminum. Some are also made of steel, bamboo, plastic and Adirondack. When buying furniture for your patio, you should consider the material which best suits the design of your home. You should also think of the weather condition and the location of your patio.

Where to Buy Patio Furniture?
Because of the popularity of outdoor living areas these days, many shops are selling furniture at an affordable price. Watch out for sales and discounts at your local furniture store if you are planning to build or remodel your patio. In addition, there are many second hand furniture stores which sell furniture in good condition. Moreover, you can usually find unique and antique furniture at second hand stores.

Choosing the right patio furniture for your home is not easy especially if you are not following a certain design or plan. Fortunately, there are many good sources of information such as architecture magazines and online sites. In addition, you can also ask help from designers.

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What to Look for When Shopping for Patio Furniture

Posted on December 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

Patio furniture is a type of furniture specifically designed for outdoor use. It is typically made of weather-resistant materials. In fact, we see examples of garden furniture dating all the way back to the days of ancient Pompeii. Examples of this would be furniture such as chairs, tables, settees, or loungers, all of which are suited for use on a patio. Shopping for patio furniture is easy if you keep in mind what kind you are looking for and the style, price, and maintenance. All of these outdoor furniture pieces help make your outside entertaining more enjoyable.

Types

There are several different types of outdoor furniture, and each serves their own purpose. Here are the different types of patio furniture and what they are used for.

Patio Chair- A patio chair is used to sit outside on a patio or deck. It is usually made out of plastic, metal or wood. Many times a chair cushion is used on the chair to make it more comfortable.

Patio Table- A patio table is used to offer a place to gather around with the patio chairs and enjoy a meal or play a game with family and friends. Many times an umbrella is used over the table to provide shade.

Patio settees- A settee makes a cozy little seating area on your patio. A settee resembles a bench, usually seating for two. Many times it is accompanied by a chair and small table that resembles a coffee table. It is a great setting for a small outside get together.

Lounger- A patio lounger is a long chair to rest your feet upon and lay down on. The back of the lounger usually can be adjusted for reclining back or sitting up. Many times these can be used for sunbathing or just relaxing on a nice day.

Now that you know the different types of patio furniture, choosing what you need will be easier. Next you need to choose a style.

Style

Choosing the style of patio furniture you want starts with the material it is made from. All outdoor furniture can be made from plastic, wood, or metal. If choosing a wood piece, the color will depend on the type of wood it is made from. Types of wood used are maple, oak, cherry, pine, teak, and cedar. There are also different types of metal that patio furniture is made out of, such as aluminum and wrought iron.

Once you have chosen the kind of material you want your furniture to be made out of, there are other small details that will add to the decor of your patio furniture, including chair cushions and also umbrellas. These can be changed with the seasons and when you desire a change.

Price

The price you pay for a piece of patio furniture will depend on the quality of the furniture. The higher the price you pay, the better the quality will be. The patio furniture will be more durable and will last longer than a cheaply made piece. Shopping different stores and comparing prices will help you save money. Many times stores and websites will have sales and markdown the price of the furniture either due to overstock or end of season bargains.

Maintenance

It is also very important to know how to care for your outdoor furniture. Keeping your furniture clean will help you retain the life of your furniture longer. It is important to store your patio furniture in a dry place such as a garage or shed in the late fall and winter months. It is also important to buy furniture covers to keep your furniture in good condition when not in use.

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Legacy to Cloud, What You Can Learn From Netflix, Intuit And Adobe

Posted on December 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

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A Legacy for the Future: The Moroccan Argan Oil Industry

Posted on December 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

“I’ve found that some of my best projects have been started, not on the basis of rigorous prior analysis and planning but simply from an impulse that says, “Here is a chance to do something good.” “

Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty
The industry of the Moroccan Argan oil production bears a striking resemblance to the humble beginning of Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank, a microcredit organization that brought financial services to the poor who wanted to start little businesses of their own. As with Yunus’s vision of providing a stable source of income for the impoverished, especially the women of Bangladesh, the production of Moroccan Argan oil is also seen to involve the ultimate goal of providing livelihood and eventual empowerment to the women of the traditionally male-dominated society of Morocco. It has given the women employment that assures them of continuous income for it involves a form of labor which at the moment had been proven to be only possible with the arduous work of human hands.

Growing Independence for Women
The primary and most apparent benefit of the increasing popularity of Moroccan Argan oil as a product is the increasing demand for the labor that would be necessary to supplement the growth in the production, which would inevitably follow as supply, must adequately meet the growing demand for the oil as a commodity. This is the most basic of market conditions; an increase in demand must be met with an increase in supply. There would be an increase in the number of women given employment and this would naturally lead to the development of women’s independence and give them a greater sense of self-esteem as they find themselves equipped with the means to earn their own incomes. They now have the option to spend on acquiring a higher education, on getting better nourishment for their families, or on saving to invest for the future. Any of these options would help them in fighting poverty, one simple step at a time.

Carrying on with tradition
With more women necessary for greater production, the uniquely Moroccan tradition of the Argan oil extraction is now certain to be passed on to more members of the next generation. As it has been proven that it is a stable source of income, it is highly likely that mothers would encourage their daughters to continue the practice. And even if one is not introduced to it as part of the family business, the increasing popularity of the Agran oil as a valuable exported product would still attract more to join the ranks of those employed for its production and the attention given this tradition would only increase with time as the Argan oil production becomes more integral in the livelihood of the women.

Environmental Implications
Closely following the increasing role of the oil production in the lives of the people of Morocco, there would be the recognition that the Argan trees are a significant and valuable resource which would have to be conserved in order for it to continue its role in various people’s subsistence. Just like any other natural resources, the Argan trees could be damaged with excessive harvesting. An example is that there would be an increase in the people trying to get the Argan nuts, which contain the oil-rich kernels. They would then use the traditional way of harvesting the nuts, which is to bring spry goats to eat fruits from the trees, and then collecting the nuts from the goat’s dung. With more people bringing more goats, unintentional damage could be done to the branches of the trees which would in turn lead to less fruits being borne by the trees. And thus actions to increase awareness of these implications must be taken.

Pre-emptive actions to keep the Argan tree population at a healthy number is also necessary as protecting the trees from getting cut down will lead an improvement in the local environment because the trees have always been of great importance to the local ecosystem. Being an endemic species in the harsh Moroccan deserts, these trees’ structure is uniquely adapted to have the best chance of survival in the dry, arid region. The deep roots of the trees help prevent desert encroachment while also ensuring landscape stability as they prevent soil erosion. The tree’s canopy provides shade for other agricultural produce. The leaves and fruits are naturally food sources of various animals. Lastly, the trees help in replenishing the aquifers, the underground layer of permeable rock from which groundwater is usually extracted from. For such a dry region like Morocco, this is of utmost importance.

A Triumph and Nature’s gift
Acknowledging the potential of the Moroccan Argan oil industry has been the first step of many in traversing the road to alleviating poverty in the region. The conspicuous success of the oil production which is being frequently carried out by women’s cooperatives encourages other agricultural producers to take a closer look into the cooperative model, where people voluntarily cooperate for a mutual social, economic or cultural benefit. It has also brought to the surface the urgency of taking care of our limited resources and their impact to the environment. The fact that the Moroccan women have proven their competence in handling the production of Argan oil had also shed some light to their growing role in their local communities as independent earners and decision-makers. With the Moroccan Argan oil industry flourishing, we are once again reminded of Nature’s generosity as it gives us the chance to learn to harness its resources to secure our future and we are impressed by the ingenuity unearthed in our age-old traditions as the seeds for progress are finally brought to life with the simple idea that we must leave behind something good for the future generations. The future must be something worth looking forward to.

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Experience Plymouth’s Folk Roots and Musical Legacy at the Plymouth Folk Festival

Posted on December 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Bringing together the best of home-grown talent in music, dance and entertainment, the Plymouth Folk Festival is perhaps one of Devon’s best kept secrets. Having dominated the city’s event calendar for nearly a decade, this stripped down musical event explores the best of Plymouth’s up and coming musical and artistic offerings while featuring performances by some of the city’s most popular finds in a celebration of music and talent.

Featuring renowned and newcomer folk acts from across the great county of Devon, the festival aims to shed light on the city’s ever expanding local music scene. The festival typically takes place in the month of June and has seen the likes of Miranda Sykes grace its stage although it is not just limited to musical showcases. The 2006 event for example included an indoor event that featured poets, storytellers and acoustic musicians dubbed A Stone Soup Evening of Storytelling, Music, and Poetry. Other highlights included performances in the city centre at Place De Brest with the attendance of Barbershop singers, Plymouth Morris and Plymouth Maids, Indie bands such as Sangreal and Irish folk punk band Black Friday. The Plymouth Musical Theatre Company also performed in a line up that displayed Plymouth’s multicultural heritage with the attendance of Gujarati Folk Dancers and Thai dancers.

The event on New George Street saw the participation of clog dancers and other local favourites while the Armada Way instalment included the pulsating Samba group Crooked Tempo. Not limited to guitar grabbing crooners, the festival also features musicians with varying instrumental prowess which includes those with a proficiency in the fiddle, cello and of course piano.

Interactive in essence, the festival also includes audience participation activities such as the Tea Dances that were held in the ’06 festival in Lower Guildhall. Open-mike events also encourage travellers and locals to engage in creative exercises of their own while the street performers that dot the landscape during the festival add charm and colour to the historic city rich in culture.

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