What does en plein air mean?
It means it was painted outside, from life, on location. It comes from 19th century France when the impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, etc) because of new portable paint tubes, started taking them out in the field to paint in the open air. So when I go on a plein air retreat, we all get together to paint the landscape outside on location.
What do you think happens to us when we die?
I think we go on, with our soul, along with all our qualities and attributes, intact.
I don’t believe in a heaven in the sky, or in angels with harps. Heaven is a state of mind that is available to us in any now. Jesus came to tell us, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and within us, not someplace we go after we die.
I also believe in pre-existence, that I existed before birth. I feel I’m a spiritual being having an earthly experience, but at some time will graduate from “earth’s preparatory school.” I believe my spiritual being is immortal and eternal, so I work to identify with that more than “my” (so -called) material, mortal body. My understanding of death is that it is only a portal to more continuity. It is more of a problem for those left behind that are sad their loved one has departed.
Death is not to be rushed into however. We have things to learn at every stage. Suicide is so horrible because I do not think death is an escape hatch out of our problems. I believe we still have to deal with our issues either here or hereafter, and I vote for doing it here. Being here is our golden opportunity to make progress, and “judgement day,” I think, comes hourly, encouraging us to be more and more aligned with truth and love.
One of my favorite quotes is by Mary Baker Eddy, who says, “Infinite progression is concrete being.” I focus on the progression part, expressing as many ideal qualities and attributes as possible, being grateful and mindful of ever-present good, dwelling on learning and discovery, and trusting everything else will take care of itself.
How do you cut a butternut squash?
I did a blog post on this back in 2016: How to cut a Butternut Squash
The trick is to cut into discs perpendicular to its length by rolling it forward and back as you cut it. This way you don’t really need any strength for the job. With discs then, the peeling, deseeding and chopping is easy.