Synchronicities

By Larch On March 18th, 2013

A friend who is from India sent me this piece, and I must pass it on. It is a Grand Conversation between Twins in Mother’s Womb:

Baby 1: And you, you believe in life after birth?
Baby 2: Absolutely. It’s obvious that life after birth exists. We are here to become stronger and to get ready for whatever awaits us next.
Baby 1: This is absurd. There is nothing after birth! What would life look like outside the womb!
Baby 2: Well, there are many stories about the other side. I’ve heard there is a blaze of light there, an intense and profound feeling of joy with deep emotions, thousands of things to live for… For example, I’ve heard that we’ll eat with our mouth there.
Baby 1: That’s silly. We have an umbilical cord and that is how we eat. Everyone knows that we don’t use our mouth to eat! And, on top of that, no one has ever come back from the other world. Those stories are all coming from naive people. Life just ends at birth. Period. That’s the way it is and we must accept it.
Baby 2: Alright, then allow me to think differently. That’s for sure, I have no idea what life after birth looks like, and I can’t prove anything to you. But I like to believe that in the next world, we’ll be able to see our mother and that she will take care of us.
Baby 1: “Mother”? You mean that you believe in “Mother”? Oh! So where is she?
Baby 2: Everywhere, don’t you see it! She is everywhere, all around us. We are part of her and it’s thanks to her that we are living right now. Without her, we wouldn’t be here.
Baby 1: This is ridiculous! I’ve never seen any mother so it’s obvious that she doesn’t exist.
Baby 2: I don’t agree. That’s your way of seeing things. Because sometimes when everything quiets down a little bit, we can hear her sing. We can feel her hugging our world! I’m pretty sure that our life will start after birth.

The boundary between worlds is actually very fragile, delicate, and permeable. When we were inside our mother, we had an ear to the door, listening to the vibrations in the air world. Now, living in the air world, once again we approach the door while watching the world of thoughts and light. Our thoughts begin to synchronize with what is on the other side of the door. Synchronicities. Omens.

Last year at this time, Nina and I were at the Fisherman’s Forum in Rockland, and we had spent the day talking to people who came by the seaweed booth. After the Forum, we were scheduled to be in New Hampshire the following day to give a talk on seaweeds to a group of organic farmers and gardeners. On the way to New Hampshire we stopped at Whole Foods in Portland. It was dark as we walked through the parking lot. I looked up at the night sky and thought, “Karen, send me a sign.”
I had once taken care of Karen for a year and a half while she had breast cancer. She lived in Portland. During the time I knew her, she rediscovered writing and dancing, and I put her on the massage table in the evenings and helped her to relax all tensions. She wrote poetry, seeing herself as a shooting star, a blaze of energy traveling across the universe. One night we had stood on a bridge over water and watched a meteor shower. A shooting star had streaked low over the tree tops. When I thought, “Send me a sign,” it wouldn’t have surprised me if a shooting star had streaked over Whole Foods. You see, I am Baby 2 in that conversation. For me, the boundary between worlds is very permeable.
I walked into the produce section. Carl, Karen’s brother, walked up to me and gave me the most recent family news. Synchronicity.
I said to Nina, “It’s Shamou’s birthday. I’m going to get him a birthday cake, and we can drop it off at his house.”
Shamou is a 6’7″ tall Persian percussionist who is our friend.
“Do you know his house number?” Nina asked.
“We’ll get it,” I replied.
The pastry chef asked me, “What would you like me to write on the cake?”
I said, “Happy Birthday Shamou!”
She wrote the words in frosting, and she popped a plastic dome over the cake. Going through the cashier’s line, the clerk looked at me and said, “I used to be a drummer in Shamou’s band. Have him call me.”
“Right,” I replied. “What’s his house number?”
She gave it to me, and we delivered the cake.
The next day at the conference in New Hampshire, I talked to the people who came to hear me about synchronicities and how it works in my life. I told them about the year I opened up to my father’s spirit and asked him to guide me.
That year, six people who all had my mother’s birthday came into my life, and I discovered that May 4th, my mother’s birthday, is called The Day of Nourishing Support. The astrologers said, “Your father has given you a mega-dose of the original mix that you are. Enjoy the ride!” One thing led to another, and finally a medical intuitive channeled my father to me to let me know that he was always available for a consult. He had his own path of evolution, but he was always available nevertheless. He said that the alaria I was harvesting would have helped to heal his cancer. One of the May 4th people that year was a cancer researcher who verified that alaria is useful for strengthening the immune systems of cancer patients.
Then I told the group that yesterday after the Fisherman’s Forum, I had an experience in synchronicity. I talked about Karen and Carl and Shamou without mentioning any last names.
After the talk and the video presentation was over, a woman approached me. She said, “I want to give you a hug.” I smiled and opened my arms, “OK…..” She approached me with the equipoise of a dancer, and she gave me a heartful hug. Suddenly I felt the presence of Karen.
I wanted to know who this person was. Her scarf was covering her name tag. I moved her scarf aside to see her name, and her last name was the same as Karen’s family of origin’s last name. I explained it to her and said, “This is a synchronicity.” She beamed and laughed as Karen and said to me, “Well! There you ARE!”
It had taken less than 24 hours between my request for a sign, beamed to the heavens, and the delivery, in person.
This is a ledge encrusted with barnacles on Eastern Island. This is taken at high tide. At low tide, there’s actually a large tide pool, just beyond the ledge. One day when I was working in the tide pool with my sons, a helicopter landed right where my wet-suit jacket is in the photo, and a man got out and said to me, “I film Maine from the air. Do you mind?” I said, “Go ahead!” The ‘copter swooped low over us a couple of times and was gone. Another time, I took a tai chi master with me to Eastern Island, and he danced graceful tai chi while I worked in the pool. Another time, local WABI-TV in a rubber raft interviewed me while I worked in the pool, and I ended up on the 5 o’clock newscast. Another time, I discovered a lobster trap that had washed into the pool during a storm, and there was a live codfish inside the trap. That day, as I released the fish, I was the benevolent jailer. Another time, a lump fish slowly approached me like a large slow-moving orange and white carp, and I gently scooped it up in my harvest basket, keeping it in the water, and we gazed at each other for awhile. The fish remained calm, and I let it go back into the depths of the pool. A lump fish has a sucker plate on its belly, and it can cling to kelp.
I tell you all this so that you will know the richness of memories of place that are in my mind when I go back to the water each year. A visitor sees the barnacle-encrusted ledge, but I remember helicopter, graceful tai chi master, WABI-TV, codfish, lump fish, and a little girl discovering her first baby seal.
One fall my mother died. I took care of her estate like the dutiful son, and because I was the only heir, it all fell on me. I hadn’t started to grieve yet, and I had a conversation with a friend who is a Unitarian minister. She said, “My mother asked me to preach her funeral, and I replied, ‘Mom, I can’t do that. I’m your daughter, and I think of you as my mother. I don’t know your adult values. I would have to have many conversations with you about that.’ Mom replied, ‘OK, let’s talk.’ We talked for several years. I learned who she was, as an adult. She died, and I preached her funeral. Like you, I was the dutiful child, and because I shouldered all that responsibility, I didn’t start to grieve, as her child. But I had two sisters. One of them used to talk to Mom on the phone, and one of them liked to write letters to Mom. They would say things to me like, ‘I wish I could talk to Mom today. It feels like she’s close.’ or ‘I wish I could write to Mom today. It feels like she’s close.’ And on those days, I would grieve. So don’t worry about it. Grief will kick in, and you will go through it.”
After my Mom died that fall, my friend J.D. died. The following spring, the weather was gray and melancholy, and when I would be on the water, I would feel grief about my mother and J.D. I actually heard J.D.’s voice, and he was frustrated about not being able to reach out to his son. His voice inside me was saying, “Larch, I’m so goddamned depressed, I don’t know what to do.”
J.D. had worked many years on the water with my friend, David. I went to David and I said, “Do you sense J.D.’s spirit is kinda hanging around in a low orbit? I’ve been getting his voice inside my head, and he hasn’t made a smooth transition to the light world yet.” David replied, “Well, you know, J.D.’s not too subtle. There’s been a moose that’s walked up to his house and looked in through the windows, three days in a row.”
Next day, I went back on the water. It was gray, and once again, I was grieving Mom and getting J.D.’s voice. I decided to land on Eastern Island, and I walked to the tide pool. There beside the pool was a baby seal. It wasn’t afraid of me. Sometimes they are so young that the teeth marks from the mother are still on the umbilical cord. This one was young enough to simply gaze at me with its dark liquid eyes, and so I settled down beside it and had a conversation, sometimes in its language, sometimes in my own. You see, I’m bilingual. Finally I said, “Your mother is right out there in the water, and she will come back as soon as I leave. And my mother is right up there…..” I was pointing toward the sky. Suddenly I realized that J.D. had sent me an animal for my comfort. In a flash, I clapped my hands and said, “Hey! J.D.! Thank you! I’m all right! Go to the Light!” I clapped again. Then I said, “Mother! I’m all right! You don’t have to worry about me! Go to the Light!”
That day, grieving stopped. Later on, my mother was channeled to me, and she is blue light. Now she occasionally appears as a fleck of blue light in my left retina, and when that happens, I just watch my thoughts, and there she is, showing delight.
By the way: One night when I was typing the story of Karen to a friend, I got a streak of white light across my left retinal field. That one amazed me because it felt so internal. But what is external/internal? All of us have the clarity of a crystal ball rolling across a colored table cloth, and while we roll, the colors of the table cloth appear to be inside us. There really is no inside/outside….and yet there is. That’s one of the paradoxes of this world. Or perhaps I should say, “That illusion of separateness is one of the great hallucinations of this world.”
So here’s my question: What moved the moose? What brought the seal? What streaked across my retina when I wrote about Karen? What moved Carl to be there at the right time? What moved that woman to give me a hug from Karen? Baby 2 might say, “The Beloved, and we are all immersed in and surrounded by The Great Presence. Relax into the Great Perfection that you already are. Relax all tensions. Stay open.”
Most of you are to the south of me, and it’s warmer where you are. Spring hasn’t arrived here yet. This Wednesday I’m going to be testifying to a group of legislators on the Marine Resources Committee, and they need to hear that the seaweed you have received from me is good food and medicine for your life. Send me a short email on that topic to hanson.larch@gmail.com. I’ll present them with a pile of letters, and then I’ll launch the boats and begin the harvest season. Usually I look for an omen, and I have a hunch that this year, you all will be the encouraging omen. My apprentices look promising. If you place an order at www.theseaweedman.com that will help me make their payroll.

Warming Recipes

By Larch On December 25th, 2012

This is the dark cold and wet season when we celebrate affection and mercy. This past summer, my daughter Sarah signed the consent papers for my surgery when I was unable to make that decision. I had accidentally bonked my head, and I had a subdural hematoma. The doctor advised that two quarter inch burr holes drilled in my skull would relieve the pressure. “I decided that you could put up with two holes in your head so that you could still talk,” Sarah told me after the surgery. Well, I’m still very much talking, (and working, fully recovered) and I’ve decided to show you all some affection and mercy by NOT mentioning the “S” word in any of the recipes I’m about to share with you. You see, I operate like a CSA (community supported agriculture), and customers are welcome to come for a visit (there’s no charge for an overnight or a weekend stay) so that they can discover for themselves the source and spirit of these wonderful “herbs of the sea”. (See? I didn’t mention the “S” word!…..After 40 years of harvesting them, I’m entitled to a day off!) Well, let’s get to it. This is the kind of cooking that keeps me warm while I’m working in water temperatures that are 40-45 degrees F., and this is the kind of food that can keep YOU warm during the holiday season! If you want more recipes that incorporate vegetables from the sea, you can always go here.

rawroastedroots

finishedroastedrootsRoasted Roots

Large chunks:
Potatoes
Beets
Parsnips
Carrots
Rutabaga
Turnips and
Garlic cloves

Drizzle olive oil.
Toss with
Rosemary
Thyme
Salt
Bake at 400º until tender (poke with fork).

So simple! So good!

Here is a Marinade that works for salmon, white meat fish, shrimp, or scallops:

scallopmarinade In the juicer:
Generous ginger
Four carrots
Dash of tamari
Then squeeze one lemon
and Voila!

Rinse seafood and 
soak in marinade for half an hour.

Then poach seafood in the marinade in covered pan (sprinkle black pepper) until cooked tender.

So simple!
So good!

finishedscallops

pesto

Pesto!

In a food processor,
chop one bunch of parsley
with juice of a lemon
2 Tbsp of olive oil,
and one clove of garlic.

When thoroughly blended,
add ½ c of walnuts
and ¼ tsp salt,
blend again.
Presto! Pesto!


slicesdices Carrot Salad

I found this suction-cupped un-electric beauty at a yard sale. It slices, it dices….
The finer you can shred a carrot, the sweeter. When you’ve shredded enough, the dressing is ginger juice to tastejuice of a lemonjuice of an orange, topped with dried cherries & raisins (rehydrated in the citrus juice), toasted pecans and toasted coconut.
Yum!

carrotsalad

Delicata Squash

…baked at 400º until tender with pears, filberts, butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon, until tender. Need I say more?

delicatasquash delicatasquash

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while you’re at it, core some apples, stuff them with raisins and pecans, top with butter and cinnamon, and bake them along side the squash at 400º until fork-tender.

greenhouse While a meal is baking, I often go out to the greenhouse. The greens inside may be frozen, but kale and many other frost-hardy greens survive all winter in that condition, ….freezing, thawing out, freezing again, until it’s spring, and they shoot for the sky, going to flower and seed. Today I find kale, smooth and frilly, various mustards, parsley, chard, radicchio, an onion, and chickweed.

greens

The greens are so beautiful today that I just had to make an arrangement and show you, before cutting them up and steaming them.

cutgreens steamedgreens

When I came back from the greenhouse, Nina had decided to make cornbread!

cornbreadCornbread

1 c cornmeal
¾ c flour (wheat or gluten-free baking mix)
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

1 c buttermilk or milk
2 beaten eggs
2 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or barley malt
¼ c melted butter

9″ iron frying pan

Preheat oven to 400º

Melt butter in the pan in the oven as oven preheats. Watch carefully to prevent burning!

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

Beat eggs, milk and sweetener of choice in a separate bowl.

When butter is melted, remove pan from oven. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wire whip. Carefully add and stir in the melted butter from the pan. Pour batter into hot pan and return to the preheated oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the cornbread feels firm to the touch and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan.

cranberrysauceNina is making Cranberry Sauce!

It has sliced apples and pearsfrozen blueberries and little sprinkle of cinnamon, and, oh yes, cranberries.
Add half a cup of water, simmer in a covered pan until the cranberries burst.
Sweeten to taste with maple syrup.

And while Nina is making cranberry sauce, Larch is making stuffing to go with a couple of Cornish Game Hens roasted with carrots, onions, and potatoes at 350º for an hour plus. Sprinkle with thyme and sage and salt. Take the lid off for the final 15 minutes to brown the hens.

gamehens

Larch’s Stuffing

Peel 20-30 cloves of garlic and simmer them in half a pound of butter. (Do you know anything that can’t be improved by adding butter?) Slice up mushrooms, celery, parsnips, and onions and sauté them in a small amount of sesame oil with thyme. Set aside. Cube half a dozen slices of whole grain bread and sauté with the butter and garlic cloves until brown. Add the sautéed vegetables and some pecans and dried cranberries. Sprinkle with sage and salt, add a cup of water, cover and steam.

stuffing

Nina decided that we could have three varieties of Sauerkraut and Kimchee on the table today. They are essential to good digestion because they supply friendly flora. We’ll show you how to make them when you come for a visit.

picklesplates

juice Nina Juiced
six carrots
a medium beet,
a big cuke,
2 stalks celery,
and a tomato.

Long life!

Oh My! Nina is making Pie!

pie

pearsApple-Pear Pie Filling

6-7 c thinly sliced organic apples and pears
½ c brown sugar
3 Tbsp Minute Tapioca
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp grated organic lemon peel
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl combine with a fork:
1 egg yolk
splash of cold water

Preheat oven to 450º.

Combine all ingredients except the egg yolk in a large bowl and stir well. Allow to stand while you are preparing the crust.

Pie Crust

2½ c flour, whole wheat or combination of other flours if desired
1 tsp salt
¾ c unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened
⅓ c ice water
1 tsp maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.. Cut in soft butter with a pastry blender until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal.

Sprinkle water 1 tbsp at a time over different parts of the mixture, tossing with a fork, until evenly dampened. Form into two balls and roll out on well-floured board.

Makes one 9″ two-crust pie (or if you’re clever with rolling out crust..a 10″ pie)
Assemble pie and brush top crust with the egg yolk mixture. Bake on the BOTTOM shelf of the 450º oven for 15 minutes.

Remove pie and turn the oven down to 350º. Place pie on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes more or until the juices are bubbling in the slits of the crust.

Remember that carrot salad? If you still have some left over, you can use it to make soft Cookies! At any rate, 3 cups of carrot shreds ties it all together, and then there’s the mortar:

cookies1 c rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
3+ Tbsp powdered ginger
2 Tbsp molasses
Add water to mix the mortar.
(adjust ingredients to taste),
add the carrot shreds,
and then fold in:
1 c toasted coconut shreds
1 c roasted nuts
1 c soaked raisins

Form and bake at 350º for half an hour or more.

Enjoy! And remember:
Never binge alone! Show yourself some mercy!

Transformation

By Larch On December 1st, 2012

Some seaweed companies sell seaweed incorporated into candy or chips. Some mix it with spices and sell it in shakers. Some sell it in small retail packages, and the price per pound is more than $100. If the packages are exposed to direct light, the pigments will degrade. Call me a purist if you like, and thank me when you do, because my intent is to deliver the essences of various seaweeds to you, bone dry when appropriate and protected from humidity and direct light, and offer you recipes for using them. Most of the recipes at theseaweedman.com and larchhanson.com are wet recipes because iodine is a volatile, and roasting kelp or alaria will drive off the iodine. The soak water and the cooking water should be used. This water transfers the iodine to people, and since we all need iodine to protect our thyroids in a world of failing nuclear reactors that emit radioactive iodine, this is the most important point. Seaweed candy, spice shakers, and chips won’t deliver the iodine necessary to health.

So here’s a recipe using Soup Mix that is designed to deliver all the nutrients:

Read the rest of this entry »

Into the luminous dark, with Spirit

By Larch On October 13th, 2012

I’m healed, back to normal. Many of you have sent healing thoughts, prayers, and light to me, and I am grateful for your love. Thank you for your love. Some of you have asked, “How did you do it? What helped you heal?” The rest of this post is about the patterns of thought and action that helped me heal, for what it’s worth. If you don’t have time to read it now, how about checking your supply of seaweeds and ordering something you need at theseaweedman.com? My birthday is October 13th, and I have hospital bills to pay. I’m shameless about asking for help. Will you forgive me? I promise to stay at the work as long as I can. You know I love the Work, and I love all of you, too.

A subdural hematoma (bleeding within the membrane surrounding the brain), is a serious injury. In my case, it all started when I was loading boxes of seaweed into a Dodge Caravan in the dark, and I bumped my head underneath the open hatchback door. At one point in the process, my brain was displaced an inch and a half to the left by fluid pressure, and that pressure was also forcing my brain stem downward through the hole at the bottom of my skull. I could have ended up totally paralyzed or dead. For awhile, I was on the other side of the veil.

I ended up going through three surgeries. But I repeat: I’m healed, back to normal, and beyond. Here are a few slices of life from the past few months that will help you understand my healing, for what it’s worth: When the hematoma occurred, I didn’t realize that I was bleeding internally. I had a headache, and I just slept a lot. Finally, my speech slurred, and I shuffled when I walked. There are two days of my life that I don’t remember, when other people were taking care of me, finally rushing me to the hospital for the first surgery. Nina and my daughter Sarah and my neurosurgeon Dr. Rosario saved my life. That first surgery was two quarter-inch burr holes drilled in my skull to relieve the pressure. I was almost a goner.

“Where did you go?” Nina asked. “Into the luminous dark, with Spirit,” I replied. “You have to sit in the dark awhile, until you get used to it, before you can open and sense the Light. I knew it was there. I just rested in the dark, motionless, waiting for the tide to change.”

I have lived in this forest beside the sea for forty years. During the early years here, I didn’t use a flashlight at night because I wanted my other senses to open up. My feet felt the trail. The area around my eyes sensed more. My palm, open toward the path, would sense an animal near me before I actually heard it rustle the leaves. That was a type of opening up. Later on, I would journey at night on the water for three miles or so, staying open to my father’s guidance from the other side of the veil (he had been a navigator in the south Pacific during WW2), and I would find the kelp bed I intended to find, harvest it in the dark, then come home at first light, cold, calm, and feeling gratitude as the sun arose. That’s another kind of opening up.

Then there was the time I read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and its exploration of the dark and the Light. That exploration led me to a Tibetan teacher who spoke of dark retreats as an opportunity to discover something about our own nature, and I started to open up in another way to the dark. That teacher taught me a practice for the night so that I could maintain Presence throughout the night. Sleeping in Clear Light is a very restful experience. I require less sleep. I’m not troubled by karmic dreams when I follow that practice…..no anger about past, no worries about future….just resting in open clarity.

Back in the 70’s when my daughter Kai was child-snatched, a friend who was a dowser taught me how to dowse with my heart so that I could find her. I would go down to the bay on a clear starry night, hold the question in my heart, open my arms, and turn to the four directions, like a human compass. Eating greens, the hemoglobin in my blood became very strong. Only one element in chlorophyll needs to be exchanged in order to create hemoglobin, and each red corpuscle containing iron is a miniature floating disc compass unto itself.

My entire circulatory system felt Kai’s electromagnetic field. The heart is 60% neurons, an organ of perception in its own right! That process opened me up in a profound way. As my intuition opened, my anger fell away. Anger just got in the way of clarity. I wanted the clarity, above all else. I started asking more intelligent questions, and I was more able to face difficult people. I sensed some of the negative patterns that were destroying the mother’s clarity, and I just worked around them as best I could. I drove across Canada and dropped into California, and I located Kai. I realized that I didn’t have to pursue justice, though it was necessary to use the courts. No. In many situations I have often felt that I don’t need to pursue justice, because as soon as my opponent develops a negative intent, that person separates himself or herself from all the positive energy that is available in every moment. It may not be apparent, but justice is immediate! That potential energy which is available to us is enormous, and much of it remains “in the dark” because we so often refuse to quiet ourselves enough to open to it! Quieting and opening are part of a powerful process! So when I said to Nina, “You have to sit in the dark awhile, until you get used to it, before you sense the Light,” I had already developed some capacities for being quiet and open in the dark which is luminous with infinite potentials.

The bleeding didn’t stop. The CAT scans showed that there were actually two hematomas. One was old, and had resolved on its own. Last fall, the pipe handle on a farmer jack suddenly swung up and hit me on the side of the head, across my ear. I remembered when that one had occurred. The more recent one was a slow bleed. The brain will tolerate a slow displacement, up to a point. If it had been fast, I would have been dead before anyone had time to intervene. The second surgery was a washout process, using the burr holes that had already been drilled. My neurosurgeon and I were still hoping that I could resolve the hematoma on my own without more surgical intervention. Recovering from that second surgery in intensive care, my sleep was often interrupted by nurses checking me or doing various procedures like shining a flashlight in my eyes to make sure my pupils constricted. I didn’t have pain. A homeopath had prescribed arnica 1M and I used it. I managed to stay submerged in restful sleep most of the time. The mantra was, “I want to live in gratitude. If I die, I want to die in gratitude.” After all, that has been my life on the water for the past 40 years. No need to change course now. We die as we live.

And again, the bleeding didn’t stop. The CAT scan of my head showed that. Now it was necessary to do a craniotomy. When I was in college, I worked 32 hours per week as an orderly in a hospital in a neurosurgery and physical therapy ward. I knew exactly what was coming. The neurosurgeon would cut an access door in my skull and cauterize the blood vessels that were leaking. He would also remove excess tissue that my body had created in an attempt to heal. I remained in Presence, as has been my daily practice for many years, even as I transferred from gurney to operating table. The operating table was covered with a bean bag mattress which was useful to the surgeon for supporting my body in any position he needed me to be in, in order to accomplish the surgery. I asked the anesthesiologist about the three syringes and what was in them, and then I said, “All right, go ahead,” and they put me to sleep.

After that surgery, I joked with the nurses in intensive care: “I have a cat flap door in my head. Say……… did you know that The Great Wall of China has a cat flap door every two miles?” I could see the gears grinding in their heads. Then I would say, “That fact comes from a book, More Lies to Tell Small Children.” The gears meshed, the tires squealed, the nurses smiled. They would say, “Honestly, we don’t know why you’re here. You’re much too well to be in intensive care.” My neurosurgeon had said something like that to Nina: “He’s 66, but his blood work and his vitality are like that of a man who is 46.” My decision, early in life, to remain in the world of physical labor and to pursue a healthy lifestyle had helped me greatly. Nina brought me sauerkraut and kimchee pickles to counter the lethal effects of antibiotics on my digestive flora, and more than once, she cuddled and took a nap with me in my hospital bed. We had the best technology available, and I had the best of family care. During the first surgery, Sarah had sat bedside with a hand on my heart while we talked. After the third surgery, my son David came for a visit, and he pulled up a chair, saying as he placed a hand on my heart, “I’m going to pull a Sarah…..” It didn’t take him long to get comfortable with the idea.

When my neurosurgeon would visit me in the hospital, he would say, “I’m praying for you.” That helped me enormously, knowing that he recognized the energy of the spiritual world and our connection to it. Everyone in the hospital spoke highly of him. He worked nonstop at all hours of the day and night. I’ve worked five years in hospitals, two years in respiratory therapy on night shifts. I know what it’s like to remain alert and caring, upbeat and present, while others are sleeping. It’s a discipline of body, mind, and heart. I honor that man, Dr. Rozario, and all the dedicated workers at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, Maine.

After that surgery, I lost fine motor coordination in my left hand. My balance wasn’t good. I was all whirly inside, feeling a bit drunk all the time. My doctor had me on a prophylactic anti-seizure drug for awhile, and I didn’t realize that some of my balance problems were caused by the drug. I couldn’t manipulate silverware, I couldn’t write (I’m left-handed), I couldn’t button my clothing or type with my left hand. My left arm and hand felt heavy and thickish, numb and tingly.

I had worked with stroke patients when I was an orderly, and I knew that the more stimulation my left hand experienced, the better. I kept stimulating it with anything interesting I could find: the cat’s wire brush, a bumpy rubber ball, you name it. I danced, being as expressive as I could be with my hands. It was all about “extending the phantom”, just like the below-the-knee amputee who stimulates his stump before strapping on the prosthesis. He feels the phantom limb extend fully, as though he has a foot and toes, and he walks competently as though his foot is on the ground. If he forgets to extend the phantom before strapping on the prosthesis, he stumbles all day. This story from Oliver Sachs’ book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is important to me, as is Deepak Chopra’s remark that the whole body IS the prosthesis that the soul picks up at reincarnation, and the Great Work is to extend ourselves fully, to engage with this world. Rudolf Steiner was on the mark when he described young children as raw will incarnated, and he said that in the first seven years of life, it is important to encourage children to extend their will by energetic running, shouting, laughing, hugging, and attaching to their family. They are learning how to operate the body-prosthesis. Don’t try to cram them into desks, don’t try to cram them into their heads with heady concepts. In other words, keep them out of school desks. That strong will to live, extend, and attach, developed in the first seven years of life, can then mature to become a strong will to extend love in later life. I continue to challenge myself with the question, “Do you want to open, Larch? Do you want to extend your love?” I do. So I worked with the assumption that I was alive and still had work to do. After journeying halfway across the universe for this life on earth, somehow my brain would find a pathway to connect to that hand, and I would heal and extend my love again.

Freud wrote that “People need work and love.” I had both, but you know what? In capitalist Valhalla, the dream is, “I will be so rich that I won’t have to work.” Capitalist “success” equates with owning more than one’s fair share of the world’s resources, while other people give their time and sweat, or go without. That’s not love. Is it any wonder that our miseducated society is not thriving?

One day while sitting at the computer, I discovered that if I listened to crisp piano music while I was attempting to type, the process improved. This is because when I was a child, I had a piano teacher who sat me down with a copy of John Schumann’s “Five Finger Exercises for the Piano”, and she taught me to how to “attack the keys”. I feel gratitude toward her now because in actuality she taught me how to extend my will as a spirit, through the body, in a very specific way. Thanks to my mother, too, for encouraging me to learn music. In truth, earth is a school for souls, and we are all learning how to extend our love in very precise and skillful ways. When I give a seaweed talk, I often end up using personal storytelling to help people realize that they are spirits having a human experience on earth in order to extend love.

When I teach structural bodywork to amateurs or work with a client, I am teaching how to extend the spirit through the body, all the way out to the far reaches of the universe, using image/imagination, movement/dance, breath/will, and heart/sound.

What do you think I am doing when I pull on the oars and breathe, feeling the oars as extensions of my arms, touching the water that is the life of our planet, the water that is also in me, also in you?

You see, I don’t just row, I extend my love THROUGH the oars to customers who are very real to me.

I’m working for YOU! I operate my seaweed business like a CSA (community supported agriculture), and customers are welcome to come for a visit so that they can discover for themselves the source and spirit of this food.

Angels

By Larch On August 19th, 2012

While I’m healing, I have at least five books to write. One of them is stories connected to 40 years of seaweed harvesting, of course, and another is a cookbook about what we eat while we are doing the work. One of them is a book about reform of the family court system. Another is about spiritual practices that actually work. They transform us slowly over time because they involve all three aspects of being human, that is, they require that we engage our body, mind, and voice/heart. If a spiritual practice doesn’t engage me at all three levels, I usually find myself losing interest as time goes by. Then there’s a book called The Annotated Larch, and it’s stories from my life. Here’s a story from The Annotated Larch. Tell me what you think about it. If you like it, I’ll write some more.

There was a period in my life when I was a structural bodyworker, and during the winter, I worked in a retreat center in California. This was back in the mid-70’s. I was hired to work as a massage therapist, and people who signed up for a massage often didn’t know that I was capable of doing deep tissue work as well. In other words, I could lengthen and unsnarl the contractions and tangles that I found in the fascial system, the organ of support that runs throughout the entire body. There are only three systems in the body that give the shape of the entire body when they are dissected from the body: the fascial system, the nervous system and the circulatory system. When one part of the fascial system is improved, this is felt throughout the entire body.

This particular night, a man came to me with his shoulders jacked up to his ears, complaining that his neck was stiff and hurting. I said to him, “My neck would hurt, too, if my shoulders were riding just under my ears. You look like this…..” and I jacked my shoulders up to my ears and mirrored his posture so he could see what his body was doing. He didn’t believe me at first. He said, “I don’t look like that,” and I continued to mirror him, saying, “Yes, you do.” I said, “Your arms are hung from attachments at the base of your skull, and if we could just lengthen the whole fascial train that is shortened up into your neck, I think I could get you out of pain. Do you want to give it a try?” “Sure,” he said, “what do I do?” “Well,” I replied, lay down on the massage table and imagine that we’re going to slip the bones of your fingers, hand, and arm into a long pair of gloves like a woman wears with an evening gown. I want you to circle the bones of your hand and fingers around and around as I work along various lines in your arms, stretching the fascia-that’s the long glove. I want you to just keep extending your bones into the fascial glove as I work to smooth it over your bones. Pretty soon, you’ll start to feel freer movement, and your arms will begin to feel longer, all the way up to your neck.” This man was a quick study, and soon we were working nicely together to lengthen and free up his arms. He was enjoying the ever-increasing mobility that he was feeling in his fingers, hands, and arms. His muscles were, in fact, learning a lengthening response. I said to him, “As we get older, we tend to lose the ability to make circular motions in our joints. Old people often have joints that only work like hinges. You’re starting to regain circular motion, and that’s beautiful. People with a solid yoga practice know what a lengthening response is. A muscle can be taught to lengthen beyond its normal length when it is ‘at rest’. Yoga can overstretch the ligaments of a joint. Deep tissue work has the advantage of lengthening the entire fascial system, and I coach the breathing, encouraging the person to feel what has happened in the body, (you have to feel it to heal it), and encouraging the person to extend and re-inhabit the parts of the body where the person has withdrawn and contracted because of injury or emotional contraction or the stresses of gravity, misalignment, repetitive hard work and life in general.”

This man had very thick forearms. The tissue was very meaty and dense. It had a ropey quality. I decided that I wasn’t going to wreck my fingers, so I oiled his forearms with coconut oil (what I call “mercy oil”), and I began to use my elbows as a tool to lengthen the muscles of his left forearm. I discovered that this ropey tissue went all the way up his arm, through his neck, and down through his right arm. It seemed to be a continuous strand of tight contracted tissue. The man looked at me and said, “I know what this is about.” I said, “Well, I don’t, so tell me.” He went on, “I’m an electrician. It was noon time, and everyone had gone to lunch. I stayed behind, to finish up a job. Somehow I grabbed on to wires that were alive with 220 volts, and I couldn’t let go.” “So what I’m working on here is a burn,” I said. He replied, “You could say that I got welded.” “How long were you on the juice?” I asked. “Long enough to do the life review,” he said. “I thought about my wife and kids, and how much I wanted to stay alive.”

Then he chuckled and said, “I think I am a true electrician, because I kept the arc out of my brain and out of my heart.” I could visualize him raising and lowering his arms, to make the electricity take the shortest path, through his arms but not through his heart or his brain.

Finally I asked, “So how did you get out of that?” His eyes went dead flat as he gazed off into space, and his voice was monotone. He said, “Oh, someone just…..appeared…..and turned off the juice. He…..disappeared…..before I had a chance to thank him.” The hair stood up on the back of my neck, as it always does, when I am exposed to something that is paranormal. I thought, “If I had been the person who turned off the juice, I would have stuck around, to see if the electrician was OK, or to see if he needed resuscitation or an ambulance.” I went home that night pondering the mystery. I told the story to a friend, and I said, “I really don’t know what a human being IS. Did this man project himself, or was this an intervention by an unseen entity? I really don’t know.”


Years later, I told this story to a waitress, and she said, “It was an angel. I’ve got an angel story for you. After you hear it, you’ll understand.” The waitress said, “I used to work night shifts in an air conditioner factory in South Carolina. I’d go to work at 11 p.m., and my work was quality control. Do you know what the condenser coil looks like on the back of an air conditioner? It’s a pipe that goes back and forth, back and forth, just like the condenser coil on a refrigerator. My job was to plug in a rubber hose that supplied compressed air at one end of the assembly, and to plug in a rubber stopper at the other end of the assembly. Then I turned on a valve to pressurize the coil assembly, and I took the coil off an overhead conveyor with hooks that held the assembly while I was pressurizing it, and I submerged the coil in water, to check for leaks. If I saw any bubbles, that meant the assembly leaked, and I had to reject it.”

“One night I had just hooked up the compressed air, inserted the rubber stopper, and turned on the compressed air valve. A voice behind me said, “Step to the left. The cork on the right is loose!” I stepped left, and the cork shot out like a bullet at eye level. It could have blinded me. My friend who was standing behind me saw what was happening, and he lunged toward me, hoping to take me out of the line of fire. In so doing, he also took himself out of the line of fire. Two of us were taken out of harm’s way. I turned around to see who had said that. You know how people say that angels have colors? This was an angel with colors like I had never seen before! And he was BIG!”

“I didn’t believe. I turned away. Then I turned back, to see if he was still there. He was pacing back and forth, as though he were waiting to make sure that all was well and clear. I turned away. When I looked back again, he was gone. I told my friend what I had seen. I said, “Did you see what I saw?” He said, ‘No, but by the way you’re talking, I believe you.'”

“The 2 a.m. lunch break was coming up, and I said to my friend, ‘I need to talk to somebody. I’m going down to the lunch room.’ My friend said, ‘I’m coming with you!’ As we walked down the hallway toward the lunch room, I looked back. Every place that I had stepped, there were golden footprints, disappearing.”

“When we got to the lunch room, I felt myself being drawn to various people. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but the words came clear as I approached them. The messages I delivered that night went something like this: ‘Mother wants you to know that she is OK. There’s a letter that she wrote to you that she wants you to have. Go up in the attic, and look in the third box on the right. It’s tucked into a book near the top of the stack. Be at peace. She loves you.’ The person I was giving the message to would typically burst out in tears of relief.”

“I realized that I was delivering messages from those who had passed over to the other side of the veil. This went on all through the lunch break, and then I stopped and went back to work.” I asked the waitress, “Have you ever had an experience like this again?” “No,” she replied, “but if you ask me if I believe in angels, I DO!”

Well, that’s a story from a collection of stories that I’m writing, The Annotated Larch. I want to tell these stories so that I can move on, and not become my stories. When someone needs to hear this story, I can simply give them a copy of the story and say, “Here is a story that I think you might find to be interesting. You can read faster than I can talk. Enjoy! My web developer has turned me on to online publishing, and by my 70th birthday (three years from this October), I’ll be able to pull together custom-designed books, tailored to fit the audience that I’m addressing. This is my way of giving my gifts to the world, and moving on. I don’t want to “become” my stories. Perhaps, in my “retirement,” I’ll be passed around, from group to group, practicing my art of structural bodywork, and teaching classes for amateurs who want to learn how to touch each other in more profound and authentic ways while learning to stay in the moment, with the breath, observing, just observing, without praise or blame. If you want to support me as a storyteller and a writer this winter, go to theseaweedman.com and make sure that your pantry and your friends’ pantries are stocked for the winter! If you want to experience structural bodywork, send me an email.

Seaweed talk: 80% of us have type O blood, descended from the hunter-gatherer tradition. Hunter-gatherers are adapted to a lifestyle that is somewhat feast and famine, that is, when there is food, they have the capacity to eat a lot, and discharge any excess quite efficiently, (provided they stay active, don’t get sedentary), and then when they’re on the hunt, they can tolerate being hungry for quite a while. (In fact, being empty-receptive is one of the modes of operation for a hunter-gatherer that develops heart/intuition. The heart is an organ of perception that communicates directly with plants.) Hunter-gatherers can tolerate a bit more iodine, as compared to type A and B people, people whose blood type developed in the warm climate of the Mediterranean in a time when the food supply was more predictable, in the garden, in the pen, and in the field. Type A’s and B’s want smaller but regular meals, well-prepared. Their metabolism is finely tuned like a race car, and that means more complexities. Since digitata has the highest iodine, quite often the Type O’s are drawn to it. Type A’s and B’s are drawn to the summer soup mix which is based on alaria and kelp with their more moderate levels of iodine. I still have some of the summer soup mix in stock, so if you or your friends have Type A or B inclinations (quite often these types are mostly vegetarian), now is the time to order it before I list the winter soup mix once again.

By the way, the flower photos are from Nina. I hope that you have enjoyed the angelic world of color that she brings to life. I am so grateful to have her in my life. She opens my eyes to the angels. We are a good team.