Posts Tagged ‘Rita Perea’

Taking a Time Out in the Garden

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

meditation garden image 2 for blog post

Let’s face it. Executives, business owners, managers and directors are busy, busy people. Some days life can be a blur of meetings, commitments and fires to put out. With email, voice mail and snail mail all vying for our attention, things can pile up quickly until we feel like our personal and work lives are out of control.

What can we do to get our lives under control again? To feel productive again? To feel less stressed and harried? Try taking a time out, also called meditation, during your day – every day. More people than ever are doing some form of this stress-busting meditation, and researchers are discovering it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly. When taking a time out in a garden, in a park or in nature, people feel even more relaxed, grounded and connected to that which is beyond us.

Time outs can last as little as five minutes or as long as an hour. The focus of a time out is to quiet your breathing, relax and rejuvenate your overworked mind and body. I have been meditating regularly for over ten years with great results. I like to begin my day gently with an hour of meditation. The result that I’ve had with regular time to quiet my mind is that my days flow smoother, I am more creative and productive. I have found that if I do not make the time to meditate each day I feel frazzled, scattered and unorganized. I feel forgetful and distracted. Life presents speed bumps, not the open super highway.

Neuroscience has now proven that just a few hours of quiet reflection each week can lead to an intriguing range of mental and physical effects. Consider that meditation is now accepted as a useful therapy for anxiety and depression. It’s being explored by schools, pro sports teams and military units to enhance performance, and is showing promise as a way of helping sufferers of chronic pain, too.


Finding Peace at the Lake Shrine Garden

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

One of the most intriguing gardens I have visited is at the Lake Shrine Retreat Center in Pacific Palisades, California. Developed and opened to the public in 1950 by Paramahansa Yogananda, the Lake Shrine inspires thousands of visitors each year to be mindful and at peace in the garden.

Only two blocks from the ocean, plants native to the California coast grow thickly amidst the paths, benches and meditation spots found nestled on the grounds around the central lake.

Ghandi Peace MemorialPerhaps the most stunning and meaningful site on the property is the Gandhi World Peace Memorial, a wall-less temple open to the sky. A brass coffer containing a portion of Gandhi’s ashes was enshrined in a stone sarcophagus at the 1950 dedication of the Lake Shrine. On both sides of the Gandhi Memorial are beautiful marble statues of Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. Kwan Yin is the Chinese representation of God in the Divine Mother.

The Gandhi World Peace Memorial is incredibly important to the Lake Shrine Garden. In the Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda describes a 1935 visit to Gandhi’s ashram in Wardha, India. At Gandhi’s request, he was instructed in the spiritual science of Kriya Yoga at the ashram. Can you imagine having Gandhi as a teacher?

When I visited the Gandhi Memorial I could almost feel the energy emanating through the ground from the wall-less temple. I stood in front of the temple in contemplation and gratitude for Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and peaceful change.

Strolling around the lake to the meditation chapel, I was grateful for the absolute silence in which to sit and meditate. The beautiful and inspiring sound of the rushing water from the large waterfall could be heard from inside the chapel, further inducing a meditative state. (Click on the video player to experience the peace-filled sound of the Lake Shrine Garden waterfall.  It is a little escape from your hectic day.)


If you have the opportunity to visit the Santa Monica-area of southern California, be sure to leave a few hours to experience the peacefulness of the Lake Shrine Garden and allow your travel stress to just melt away. You will emerge from the visit re-energized, serene and inspired to continue on your path.

© Rita Perea.  All Rights Reserved.

Caring for The Magical, Mighty Oak Tree

Friday, February 26th, 2016

mighty oakAncient Celtic druids venerated trees, but especially the Mighty Oak. They believed that because trees are living beings, each had a spirit. This spirit was depicted as “The Green Man”, a peculiar face that looks like it is peering out of the tree trunk, found on the decorative carvings of churches, cathedrals, city buildings all over the U.K. and Europe. The Green Man, often seen depicted with the seed of the oak, the acorn, represents growth and rebirth.

In  my neighborhood, my neighbors and I  love our trees, especially our oaks, some of which are well over 100 years old. Like the Green Man who may be peering out from the bark, our magical neighborhood oak trees have seen many changes in the landscape throughout their life spans. They have provided us, our gardens and the wildlife that we enjoy with shade, refuge, acorns and majestic seasonal beauty. We want to honor their years of stately labor by keeping them as healthy and disease-free as possible.

According to certified arborists Scott Bailey and Dylan Kimsey, owners of Bonsai Tree Care Company, there are some tips that we can keep in mind to keep our oak trees healthy and happy for many years to come.  (more…)

Philodendrons are Fantastic Indoor Garden Plants

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

philWhen the snow is falling outside, I love to spend quiet meditative time indoors admiring my interior garden.  One of the houseplants that I adore is the philodendron. It can look beautiful in your home or at your office all year round. Timeless and classic, the deep green native tropical philodendrons have been soothing our souls for generations.  This plant is easy to care for and can live for years and years.

Philodendrons are not flashy.  They do not bloom.  Instead, they are vines that climb.  Their common name translates into “tree lover”.   They are tried and true with the ability to survive neglect and adverse conditions.  Even the most inexperienced gardener can have success growing a philodendron as a houseplant.


Gotta LOVE Those Garden Catalogs

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

seedThe frigid February deep freeze can produce the “winter blues” in many people.   The general feeling of being down or discontented by the inability to get outside and dig in the dirt is even more pronounced in those who love to spend time in their gardens.

Imagine feeling irritable, blue, longingly looking out the window to the frozen tundra and wishing you were able to be outside with your plants.  Suddenly, something magical happens… the mail person leaves a big stack of seed and garden catalogs.  At once you’ve found heaven.  Oh, you thick, glossy, full-color beauties filled with new and exotic plants to shop for!  Come to Mama!  Lovingly holding your stack of catalogs in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, your spirits are immediately lifted. You aren’t so blue anymore.  Shopping and plants all rolled into one afternoon.  Could anything be better?  You sense that there is hope that spring WILL arrive after all.


Beating the Winter Blues with Plants

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Botanical Garden sprouts photo for SOG Neighbors

When I think of winter, an old nursery rhyme rattles around in my head:

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then,
Poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.


I can relate to this little robin and his mighty effort to stay warm. Along with the blowing north wind and snow, gardeners, who love to spend time outside digging in the dirt, may feel a little “blue” to be stuck inside and away from nature. I wanted to share a few tips to help my gardening friends beat their winter blues.

Hellebores are Winter Heart-warmers

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

helleOne of the splendid benefits about living and gardening in my neighborhood is the number of beautiful, mature trees that provide a shady refuge for my favorite plant- the Hellebore.  December is the perfect time to celebrate the uncommon majesty of the winter-blooming, and heart-warming, hellebore plant.

The species Helleborus Niger is commonly known as the Christmas Rose due to its peculiar habit of being in full bloom with beautiful white flowers during the winter months. Other names for the helleborus niger include the winter rose, snow rose, Christ herb and melampode. Each of the various names carries a lovely story that includes a lonely sojourner shedding tears for the Christ-child which turn to white flower petals when they drop to the ground.


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