Nudo: Adopt an Olive Tree in Italy

I just received my first set of olive oil tins from the olive tree farm that I adopted from Italy. The farm, Il Fico is owned by Nicola who is dedicating his time and efforts to take care of his family lands producing olive oil. 
 
Taken from NudoAdopt website,
 
“Nudo Adopt is a collaboration of small scale, artisanal producers. The programme is a platform for these micro-producers to bring high-quality, speciality food to a wider audience. Each farmer keeps responsibility for the care of their olive grove and Nudo helps give security to the farmers by making the link with the customer. This in turn helps to keep traditional farming practices alive and protects the countryside from intensive and destructive modern farming methods.”
 
More details on Nudo can be found in the below links:
 
Happy to do my small part in supporting a family small scale business of Nicola in Italy. 🙂

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My Tree Friend, “Joy”

Riitta took some amazing pictures of my Tree Friend, “Joy” in March adorned with peanut “necklace”. Wanted to post those pictures then. But was busy with my new job and settling in that job. Now is the time.

Isn’t Joy a beauty? 🙂 🙂

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Other links:

Program called “Halipuu” (https://www.halipuu.com/)

General Information of the “Halipuu” initiative…https://www.halipuu.com/what-is-halipuu/
Who is behind this whole program? https://www.halipuu.com/who-we-are/
Terms and Conditions: https://www.halipuu.com/terms-and-conditions/
Tree as a gift: https://www.halipuu.com/gift-trees/
Tree Selection Process: https://www.halipuu.com/how-to-select-your-tree/
Visit Your Tree: https://www.halipuu.com/visit-your-tree/

 

*Not only that, we humans tend to fuss or worry about this and that. Trees do provide a “listening ear” to all our worries. Huolipuu (the worry tree) takes care of this. Head to this link: https://www.halipuu.com/worry-tree/ and write down your worries. No one reads your worries, but your worries will be brought into the Halipuu forest and they get burnt on the Seita-stone. The burned ashes are then scattered to the roots of the Worry tree. You have now brought your worries down to our earthy friend….nothing to worry about!!

 

Read and Reflect: Embrace the wounds and “scars”…

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pottery

All of us at one stage of our life will be “broken” and tested to the extremes that it can give us wounds or “scars” that can be temporary or permanent.

Instead of “masking” those wounds or scars, why not try to embrace it with an open mind and a new thought?

The Japanese believe in repairing broken things with gold – embracing the flaws and acknowledging it in a beautiful way. They call this Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi. You could have seen many potteries being adorned with gold lines, in order to repair it or give new meaning to it. Why don’t we do the same too to our life?

Acknowledge all those hurts and broken times. Be prepared to face it, with “gold”. There will be lessons we could have learnt from it that will make us stronger and wiser.

In other words, embrace the wounds and “scars”, not hide it!

kintsugi

kitsugi

Courage : Weekly Single Word Inspiration

Courage: Weekly Single Word Inspiration - Esther Neela Blog

Courage!  

Most of the times, we want to be safe and doing the usual, familiar things – that is being in our comfort zone. What about the time when we need to be in the “unknown” zone? What about the time when we need to try something that is different from what we have done in the past and what we are already familiar with? That is when fear, helplessness, and doubt creeps in. We tend to lose confidence in ourselves and in our ability. To overcome all of that, we need courage. 

As Osho once said, 

“The new is unfamiliar. It may be the friend, it may be the enemy, who knows? There is no way to know! The only way to know is to allow it; hence the apprehension, the fear.” 

Each of our life will definitely present to us situations when we have to bring out the attribute of courage out. When we open ourselves up to new adventures, the end result might be success or failure. We will never know that until we try. But our focus should not be on results only. The fact that we have already stepped out of our comfort zone to do a work, is something to be appreciated. 

If life presents to you an occasion when you had to step out of your comfort zone, always say “Yes!” Do not worry about the results yet. Just be in the present moment and live your life fully…

Who knows? The situation/occasion that calls you to be in might bring you new opportunities…

Have confidence in yourself that you are capable to handle anything that comes along your way. Have faith in yourself. 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? 

We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. 

We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, 

at whatever cost, must be attained.” 

~ Marie Curie ~

Courage: Weekly Single Word Inspiration - Esther Neela Blog

Read & Reflect: Advice from a Tree

Read & Reflect - Esther Neela Blog

 

Advice from a Tree

By Ilan Shamir

 

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud

Sink your roots deeply into the Earth

Reflect the light of your true nature

Think long term

Go out on a limb

Remember your place among all living beings

Embrace with joy the changing seasons

For each yields its own abundance

The Energy and Birth of Spring

The Growth and Contentment of Summer

The Wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall

The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

 

Feel the wind and the sun

And delight in their presence

Look up at the moon that shines down upon you

And the mystery of the stars at night.

Seek nourishment from the good things in life

Simple pleasures

Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty

Drink plenty of water

Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes

Be flexible

Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Advice from a Tree, By Ilan Shamir - Esther Neela Blog

 

Moments of Gratitude: Family & Friends

Moments of Gratitude: Family & Friends - Esther Neela Blog

Everyday is a gift….

Today, let us be thankful for family and friends around us. There is no need to think about tomorrow and the future.…just for now be in gratitude that you have some company.

What if you are alone? No one is alone. We are always surrounded by nature and her elements. And depending on what you believe, you also have angels, Saints and God.
Spend some quiet moments connecting to them in positive ways.

A gentle reminder: Live life fully in your own way and always be in the present moment…..

“You have an appointment with life, and that appointment is in the present moment. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Read & Reflect

Read & Reflect - Esther Neela Blog


“You may control a mad elephant;

You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”
~Paramahansa Yogananda~

Reflection:

On a daily basis, our mind tends to run “wild” with numerous thoughts which in turn influences our emotions. Not all thoughts will be positive. Some thoughts can be negative too. The more negative thoughts we have, the more negative emotions and feelings we carry with us. As such, it is necessary to constantly to “tame” the mind. We can tame the mind with various techniques – such as meditation, breaths, prayers and more.

By observing our own thoughts throughout the day, we are actually making conscious efforts to tune our thoughts to something more positive and beneficial (if it was negative). Failure to take care of one’s own mind (that is the thoughts) not only disturbs our emotions, but indirectly our life too….

Spend some daily moments to “stop” and observe your thoughts…..it might not be an easy task at first. If we do it consistently to “check” on our thoughts, it becomes a good habit gradually.

Halipuu and My Tree Friend : Adopt and / or Hug a Tree

I wrote some days back that I shall write more about the tree I have adopted. I have adopted a young birch tree in Finland and I have given her the name “Joy”.

This adoption was made possible by Pappas and his family via a program called “Halipuu” (https://www.halipuu.com/) in Finland. The whole family gets involved in various ways. Pappas daughter, Riitta does the maintenance of the internet site and takes care of the practical operations. The person who is communicating to me with regards my tree friend is Riitta.

General Information of the “Halipuu” initiative…https://www.halipuu.com/what-is-halipuu/
“Halipuu” is in Finnish for hugging tree. One can adopt his own hugging tree from forest in Finnish Lapland for a period of five years from wherever you are….

You are also free to visit the tree and of course hug it! 🙂

Not only that, from wherever we are, we can choose the accessories we wish to decorate our adopted tree and it will be done.

Once adopted a tree, we will be sent information on the tree (such as the exact location), image of the tree, certificate of adoption and the tree gets marked with our preferred name.

Other links:
Who is behind this whole program? https://www.halipuu.com/who-we-are/
Terms and Conditions: https://www.halipuu.com/terms-and-conditions/
Tree as a gift: https://www.halipuu.com/gift-trees/
Tree Selection Process: https://www.halipuu.com/how-to-select-your-tree/
Visit Your Tree: https://www.halipuu.com/visit-your-tree/

Despite the winter season, Riitta took amazing pictures of Joy and sent it over to me…..

Joy in wintersleep
My tree friend, Joy – in winter sleep. Picture by Riitta of Halipuu, https://www.halipuu.com/
Joy from close by
My tree friend, Joy – close up. Picture by Riitta of Halipuu, https://www.halipuu.com/
Marking Joy
My tree friend, Joy – getting marked. Picture by Riitta of Halipuu, https://www.halipuu.com/

When I decided to adopt a tree via Halipuu, I had to go through the list of trees that was put for adoption (https://www.halipuu.com/trees.html). There were big trees, but the young birch tree immediately captured my heart and I went for it. No second thoughts for this, it was a long distance love for me! 🙂

Trees ground me…in fact it is important for me to be “grounded”. When I feel “grounded” or rooted, I can thrive and perform better in my daily duties. Trees offer me that and the distance or the place where my tree friend is does not matter. And if you are well versed with chakras or energy points in our body, the root chakra (located at the base of the spine) is the first chakra and its energy is based on the earth element. It is the foundation and is responsible for our sense of safety and security. The tree spirit or earth elements such as trees help us to stay firm to our grounds. Will discuss in detail on this in some other blog post….

I did look up on many other tree adoption programs but Halipuu is what I liked the best. While reading the adoption program offered via Halipuu, I had already established a connection….Perhaps it is the energy of my tree friend, Joy that has pulled me into this…. 🙂

As a regular meditator myself and a former meditation teacher, I instantly can connect to Joy wherever I am when I am in meditation mode. It is such a wonderful feeling of being surrounded by the forest energy and to connect with the tree energy.

In a blog by Jocelyn Mercado, she writes more of “People and Trees: Intimately Connected Through the Ages”.
https://www.pachamama.org/blog/people-and-trees-intimately-connected-through-the-ages

There are many articles such as this….Many have realised the tremendous benefits of connecting to Mother Nature beatiful creation, trees. Does it really matter the location where you wish to be connected to your tree friend? Not necessary….

I am truly full of deep appreciation to be given the opportunity to adopt a tree friend in Finland even though I am in Singapore. All of this will not have been possible if not for Pappas and his lovely family.

*Not only that, we humans tend to fuss or worry about this and that. Trees do provide a “listening ear” to all our worries. Huolipuu (the worry tree) takes care of this. Head to this link: https://www.halipuu.com/worry-tree/ and write down your worries. No one reads your worries, but your worries will be brought into the Halipuu forest and they get burnt on the Seita-stone. The burned ashes are then scattered to the roots of the Worry tree. You have now brought your worries down to our earthy friend….nothing to worry about!!

 

Harmony : Weekly Single Word Inspiration

Weekly Single Word Inspiration: Harmony - Esther Neela Blog

When someone mentions to you “harmony”, what comes to your mind? Or what does that mean to you? To me, “harmony” is to be in unity – it can be among communities, groups, or from a Reiki or Spiritual viewpoint, it can be a unity among the senses or chakras or mind, body, heart connection and so on…

When something is in unity or unified as a single source, there exists happiness. Without harmony or unity, there will be no happiness. Even though we claim to be happy, there will be something that will be bothering us that will cause us to be unhappy or to fuss about.

Just like Mahatma Gandhi mentioned, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” To achieve happiness in a situation or in life, it is necessary to have harmony in our thoughts and actions. For if what we do is one-sided or a sloppy job, harmony will be absent which in turn will start to damage our situation further or our relationship with others.

Before looking for approval and acceptance from others, it is best we start with ourselves. When we are in harmony with our own thoughts, senses and feelings, it is not necessary to look for approval from external people. We also have to remember that other people too have their own matters in life and challenges. Instead of putting unnecessary strain on someone to achieve harmony for our own sake, the easier way is to be in harmony with our self first.

I have personally gone through many stages of my life without harmony at times. During those times, I take regular time out and pen my thoughts down. It is easier for me to pen my thoughts and emotions on a paper. Then I think through exactly what is bothering me. I ask myself lots of questions such as whether my thoughts are in the same direction as my actions. If no, I start asking myself even more honest questions and look at where my life is headed to. At times, it is easier for me to get all answers. At times, it is a struggle as things are not as easy as what it seems. During the times of struggle, I tend to be harsher on myself which I know is wrong. I instantly take a step back and tell myself to be gentle with my good self. I give myself time to think through, and get my internal thoughts and external actions in tune.

It does take time to get in tune to our own self in harmony, but the most important thing is not to give up or get angry or displeased with our self. I feel that if one is unable to be in harmony himself, he will never derive harmony (or happiness) from anywhere. Depending on external factors such as people, situations and environments to provide us with harmony is wrong too. After all, no one owes us anything.

During the process of self-discovery and / or self-analysis, we have to be gentle with ourselves. If we are always in conflict with our own thoughts and emotions, we have to sincerely start questioning ourselves gently and kindly what exactly we hope to achieve and want in life. Not everything we need or want in life will be provided easily. We have to learn to accept things if it is not according to what we wanted or wished for. Once we have accepted things as they are, it is easier to be in harmony with anything around us.

Make a point to be in harmony with your self on a daily basis. And please be gentle and kind to yourself.

To conclude, a quote from Marcus Aurelius, 
“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe”.

Harmony : Weekly Single Word Inspiration - Esther Neela Blog

Reminder Bands from "The Mindful Company"

As a teacher, I do need a daily boost and reminders, isn’t it? 🙂

I found “The Mindful Company” which sells reminder bands. And of course, I was hooked onto some of its items and purchased them. They arrived 2 days ago and I just had time to take a closer look and take pictures…..Below are the pictures I have taken. Excuse the poor lighting as it was taken very early morning and I was struggling with the phone and lighting etc…
I purchased, “Gratitude”, “Trust” and “Breathe” – these 3 words plays a very important role in my life, each with a different purpose. Nevertheless, all of us need to be grateful on a daily basis, and to have trust on ourselves and in the Universe and remember that our breaths alters our emotions and feelings. We have all that we need and at times we forget in the midst of daily life happenings and events.
For more information and professional looking pictures of the items here are the links. Delivery within Singapore is free and they deliver to other countries too. All details can be found in their website. Packaging is great too. You can gift it to someone too….
For the pictures of my purchased items and how it looks on my wrist, here it is! It is easy to alter as my wrist is relatively small in size (though in the picture it can look big! 🙂 ). I am still “learning” how to toggle for the “Breathe” band braid. I am sure that I will get it eventually…. 🙂
The Mindful Company - Purchased Reminder Bands & Braids - Esther Neela Blog
The Mindful Company – Purchased Bands and Braids

 

The Mindful Company - Purchased Reminder Bands and Braids - Esther Neela
The Mindful Company – Closer look of the packaging

 

The Mindful Company - Purchased Reminder Bands and Braids - Esther Neela
The Mindful Company – Purchased Bands and Braids

 

The Mindful Company - Purchased Reminder Bands and Braids - Esther Neela
The Mindful Company – Purchased Bands & Braid

 

The Mindful Company – Band “Gratitude”

 

The Mindful Company – Braid “Breathe”

 

The Mindful Company – Band “Trust”

 

The Mindful Company - Packaging - Esther Neela
The Mindful Company – Packaging
The Mindful Company - Bands and Braid on my wrist - Esther Neela
On my wrist, Bands “Trust”, “Gratitude” and Braid “Breathe”

 

The Mindful Company - Bands on my wrist - Esther Neela
On my wrist, “Trust” and “Gratitude”