Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Morning at the Coast

Another day at the Coast. Today the sky was overcast when I went down to the beach. Yesterday was sunnier; the previous day was glorious with light. Such subtle yet powerful differences in three days!

According to the tide chart, I was there with two hours until high tide. ~ I thought I had time for a quick walk on the beach Ha! When I reached the beach, the rising water left about 10 feet of sand ~~ and it was still rising. I decided to take some pictures and climb the hill back to the house.

How many times in our lives do we set out thinking we have time enough..... for our children, for our dreams, for travel, for .... (fill in the blank), only to find that something has changed? Our children have grown. Our dreams have deflated. Our longings and passions have dissipated. Or that we are no longer the person we once were. Sometimes Nature and natural forces, like the tide, intervene. We need to recognize what we can change and what we can't and move on from there.

What can you change in your life to make it align with who you want to be in 2014? What is out of your control? How will you deal with that out of control part?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crashing Waves

Walking the beach today at low tide, I saw more roiling water and more crashing waves than I experienced when the tide was high. I took this picture of a wave crashing against a small rock outcropping not far from shore. The spray was wild and the waves were powerful.

Afterwards, I thought about the power of the water. It rocks back and forth. It raises and lowers with the tide. It curls and slams into anything in its path.

How does that relate to my life? Sometimes the forces flowing around me crash like the force of the water against the rock. I feel solid, planted in one spot, yet all of this force moves me and keeps me focused. Is it important to move? Is it significant to face the forces of nature within and without? How does a crashing wave fit as a metaphor for your life right now?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feast of the Holy Innocents

During the joy-filled Christmas season, there is one day that is filled with a heaviness and grief. That day is today ~ the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The gospel reading for today contains the following section:
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:A voice was heard in Ramah,sobbing and loud lamentation;Rachel weeping for her children,and she would not be consoled,since they were no more.
 This day and this Scripture passage is often used by Catholics and other Christians to "prove" God's abhorrence of abortion. I have difficulty with that interpretation. These particular "holy innocents" were born, living and breathing. They were murdered because a king was angry. It was not a considered action, it was a rash one. Also, this slaughter occurred because he had the power to do it.

When a woman determines that she is going to have an abortion, it's a singular decision regarding a fetus that is growing within her body. It's not about power or rage. It's about what she needs to do for the best possible future.

What is a more appropriate comparison are the children who die due to malnutrition or as a result of war. Focusing on healing the rifts that cause the deaths of the children who are already living and breathing would be a more significant use of resources by Christians. I hope they find it in their hearts to make the shift.

What do you think? How would you help mitigate the deaths of innocent living children?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice Helleborus

It may be the Winter Solstice here, but my Helleborus is trying to bloom. Despite freezing rain. Despite below freezing temperatures. Despite early morning frost. They look so delicate, so fragile, so beautiful. I'm amazed at how hardy they truly are!

This is so true of us humans as well! We blossom in our own time. Despite pain. Despite failures. Despite grief. All the things we often believe will destroy us or stop us or prevent us from going on. We may appear delicate or down-trodden or desolate, but we find a connection with the deep-rootedness of our souls.

Winter Solstice brings the longest night.... and then the Light Returns! The reason for our blossoming, for our breaking forth from the Earth Mother and reaching for the Stars.

What do you wish for as we begin to emerge into the coming light? What keeps you blossoming? What lights your way from the depths?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pope Francis and Women's Ordination

Erin Saiz Hanna in an article in the NY Times:
In the document [Evangelii Gaudium], [Pope] Francis states, “The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.”
Where Francis misses the mark is suggesting that women are seeking ordination simply as means to gain power. While women’s decision making and leadership is certainly vital, the fact of the matter is women are called by God to serve alongside their brother priests. For a pope who seems so in tune with the marginalized, how does he not see that women are weeping and yearning for justice in the church? How can his sense of social justice not extend to the women of the church and their capacity for ordained ministry?

I find the language of Pope Francis fascinating: " can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general." That sounds like something he should be considering as a reason for not keeping the priesthood a 'boy's club'. Certainly a worldwide organization of men who have protected others in that fraternity from prosecution ~ or even exposure ~ as sexual abusers (using their power to gain what they wanted), it would seem the addition of the balance of genders would be welcome. There is a lot of flowery language around why women's ordination cannot even be discussed, yet I have heard no substance to the edict. It's like a parent saying to a child, "Because I'm the parent, that's why." That's an exercise of power that offers no explanation, no availability and no recourse. It's also the very statement that begins the child down the path of rebellion.

How do you feel when someone tells you 'no' without supporting reason or evidence? What do you think women called to priesthood should do?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hoper of Far-Flung Hopes

A quote from Dr. Who:
We always have choice of how we wish to be in the Universe, how we manage to express ourselves. When things go poorly or badly or we are disappointed by our circumstances, we opt for the 'half empty' or 'half full' view. It's always our choice.

I admit that there are times when I go to the Dark Side, choosing to see the worst case scenario in changing, disappointing or difficult situations. I work to keep that move to a minimum, to spend as little time in Mordor as possible. When I recognize that I'm there, when I discover the darkness clouding my mind and soul, I find something to smile about ~ some small thing ~ the sun shining, the beauty of the clouds, the sharpness of the air, anything that will provide the opportunity to change. The best thing is remaining the optimist!

What do you do to keep yourself in the ranks of hopers?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Impressive Stars

We often consider ourselves to be the very center of the Universe... well, at least of our personal Universe. We human beings very often fail to notice the beauty and glory of nature that surrounds us regularly. It is as though we believe that wherever we are is all that exists....  until that moment when something catches us up, takes our breath away, wakes up our sleeping senses and souls. Then we gasp with awe at the wonder of the stars.

What scene woke you up lately? When did you last find yourself walking amongst the stars? 

Friday, November 22, 2013

11/22/1963 ~ 50 Years Gone

  Those of us "of a certain age" remember the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 11th, 1963. It was a moment when our entire world stood still in shock and grief. When we wondered what could have altered so dramatically in our lives that we could be witness to the killing of a popular president.

Kennedy's death rocked our sense of safety and well-being. It made us realize that even the 'mighty' and those who lived in Camelot could be torn asunder.

There was another death that occurred that same day. This man was older, perhaps wiser, certainly more experienced, and British, although he died in Los Angeles.  He is known to most of us only through the works he wrote, particularly the words of Brave New World:

  • Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced.
  • But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
  • I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.

What do you remember of each of these men? How did their lives ~ and their deaths affect you? How did their words affect you?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Portal to Another Realm

What do you see when you look at this picture? What's your first thought? What changes after looking at it over time?

When I first looked at this image, I thought I was looking at a stylized drawing of an MRI tube. Now that I've said that, do you see what I'm talking about? Isn't it fascinating to hear what someone else perceives? How does that affect what you perceive?

For me this place is a portal to another realm of existence. I can look at it for a brief time and see a table ready to be set.... or an eye looking over a card, perhaps a Tarot choice.....

Every day we see, we dream, we imagine images like this one. Rarely do we allow the scene to grab us and pull us in, close enough to smell, taste the moment it arrived.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


from the teaser:
"One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love."

Insurgent is the second book of the Divergent trilogy. It picks up the story at the precise point where Divergent left off.... and it continues with Tris struggling to be true to herself as she's finding out more about who and what she is. This seems to be a common theme in dystopian literature. Another theme is that it's the young who will save and provide safety for the world as it will be in the future. The youth take on seriously adult roles, make very tough decisions and fight incredible odds to survive. When things are really, really bad, the youth are the only ones who can lead and fight through to a better tomorrow ~ even if it's only minimally better.

Why is dystopian literature so popular? What is it about a world in pieces, being pieced back together by youth, that fascinates us so much?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I cannot rest from travel

From Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees.
All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea.
I am become a name....

Much of the poem Ulysses relates directly to the warring, searching nature of his travels. These few lines ring with a sense of truth for me and a sense of description of the lives and love of several friends.

I cannot rest from travel ~ I have always been a traveler of some sort; a gypsy in the midst of the city. I marvel at so much in the world, even in places familiar.

I will drink life to the lees ~ My goal, though not always realized, is to be fully alive. I want to be awake and aware of all that is around me. There is so much that I miss on a daily basis, yet I feel full and enriched by all that's around me.

I am become a name ~ What power there is to that phrase! For me, it means that through all this, I have earned my title, my name. I have passed through whatever elemental there may be and come out the other side, recognized, acknowledged, named.

What do the lines of this poem mean to you? Do you have a poem that speaks powerfully to you?

Monday, November 18, 2013


image by Daniel Danger
In many of my dreams, I find myself walking or running or simply floating in the air. I'm out of reach of those who are seeking to harm me. I'm also in a position to see what's happening below which enables me to decide what kind of action to take next: keep rising into the air, move in the air in one direction or another, shout a warning to those below me, find my way down to the ground.... lots of choices.

"Flying dreams and the ability to control your flight is representative of your own personal sense of power." ( I've found this to be so true! When I feel like I'm being chased or 'shot down' in the dream, I realize that it's due to my feeling somewhat out of control in the awake world. I've loved the sense of empowerment that being airborne and in control &/or out of danger gives me. I reinforces my overall sense of well-being.

Which of your dreams affects your sense of well-being? What do you do to reinforce your self? and your sense of personal power?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Passing Grief

Late last week, I learned a friend had made the choice to take his life and was no longer with us. Besides the sheer shock of loss, many questions flitted through my numbed brain. What did I miss seeing? Could I have helped? What was happening within him, around him, in his world that was so overwhelming that he saw suicide as his only response?

There was, and is, no judgment in any of those questions. No judgment of myself, of others, or of my now-absent friend. There's simply an overwhelming sadness. So many things will remain absent in my life: discussing the book he borrowed from me; talking about his latest trip 'back East'; laughing at other friends and at their jokes; listening to music together; hugging each other in greeting or farewell. My mind's eye still sees him smiling at a friend, laughing at a joke, startling at the picture of a beautiful girl, moving a chair over so I can sit next to him..... I have not yet learned how to let go. It's too soon.

How do you handle grief? How do you, as Camus says, "live to the point of tears"?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Learning to Fly

A poem by Christopher Logue:
Edges are often scary places to be. We look up at them, look over them, avoid them. We rarely bring ourselves to the very edge, to the brink. We like to consider ourselves safe ~~ safely avoiding anything that may frighten or hurt us. What we often are in those safe places is less than what we can be.

Another side of edges is that they are taking off places. We can learn to fly, to spread our wings, to let go of whatever it is that holds us back. Edges also teach us to trust. We have to trust whoever or whatever brings us to those edges as well as trust ourselves when we are perched on the edge, ready to go over. 

Learning to fly is a good thing. Trusting the deeper voice within us is a good thing. Trusting God, Goddess, the Universe, the Unknown, whatever name we give to the Mystery that is within and beyond us, is a good thing. Trusting those who push us over is a good thing too.

What edges are you facing? Where do you choose to stand: near the edge? far from it? Who or What pushes you to or over the edge? How would it, or does it, feel to fly?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Autumnal Beauty

Autumn is about endings... wrapping up the Summer, shortening the day, preparing for Winter darkness. We end our seasonal time of play, when we take our vacations. During the longer Summer days, we play and spend time out of doors. As the Autumn arrives, temperatures drop and weather patterns usually shift to include more precipitation.

At the end of a gentle Autumn day, we watch the sun's glow with a wistfulness we don't need in Summer. Sunsets are earlier and we have less time to enjoy them. There's a crispness in the air a well.

What is it that you perceive as ending when Autumn arrives? How do you deal with the loss/es?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Yesterday, I worked on a very specific and significant piece of my self-image. I shuffled Colette Baron-Reid's Wisdom of the Hidden Realms deck, focussed and asked: What is it that I need to get past this particular issue? Chose a card from the deck and, viola! The Wise Woman of Wonderlad appeared. "She lets you know that as long as you're in the flow of honesty and being true to your word, she keeps you under her protection and care. ... you can never lose what is truly yours." Perfect!

Self-image issues can be about doubting oneself or thinking one is not important. My issue was a long-past one: others treated and saw me as something I was not. Yet I understood why they saw me that way. Something I meant one way was perceived differently. I reflected: Was I that other person, the one I was perceived to be? Drawing this card as I focussed and asked that question reminded me that I followed my path in an open and honest manner. Others' perception of me had more to do with them than it did with me. What a gift!

Are there perceptions or projections others have of you that affect your self-image? How do you stay true to yourself? How do you stay in the flow of honesty and integrity?

Monday, November 11, 2013


"The only major aspect today is ... when recently-turned-direct Mercury in Scorpio trines retrograde Neptune in Pisces, .... Mercury/Neptune is inspirational, creative, intuitive, spiritual and compassionate. Aligning our minds with our Higher Hearts is recommended right now! Pay attention to dreams and psychic impressions as important information/messages can come in from the most unlikeliest of places! With Neptune stationing the veil between the worlds is thin this week. ... Take time to listen to your Inner Voice and attend to your emotions."

What an incredible time this is! Think about the Mercury ~ Neptune combination as they are aligned in this very moment, in Water: Deep Emotions and Deep Intuition running and flowing together. Listen, Listen, Listen. Feel deeply in your Heart and in your Gut, and ground yourself on the bedrock deep within both. Be aware of what you feel, sense and experience. Check it with your Higher Heart to be clear that it is Your Deepest Self and not the voices from between the worlds. Listen carefully. Make sure the Voice you hear comes from Within ~~ and let it lead you into the Truth and Beauty you seek. It is a powerful time for  Spiritual Movement!

Where is your Inner Voice leading you? What are the next steps to get there?

Gathering Blue

from Wikipedia:
The central character, Kira, who has a twisted leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society that normally leaves the weak or disabled exposed to die in the fields. In Gathering Blue, Kira needs a reason for the Council of Edifice to keep her in the village and not take her to the Field (which is certain death at the hands of The Beasts). Kira has a gift for embroidery, and the Council keeps her around to mend and update a beautiful robe that shows the history of their society. In the course of the book, she begins to learn the art of dyeing thread different colors, except for blue, which nobody in her community knows how to make. She also learns the truth of her village and the terrible secrets they hold.

Gathering Blue is the sequel to The Giver. There are more communities with different sets of rules and ways of being in the world created by Lois Lowry. Kira is orphaned, her father being killed by The Beasts when she was barely born; her mother through getting ill. Kira is strong-willed, yet has no one to speak for her. This story of a young girl discovering and uncovering her way through an often duplicitous world captures most people who read it. The created world is fraught with dangers.

Why read about dangerous worlds where innocence is challenged by power? Why are so many young people drawn to this story?

Sunday, November 10, 2013


The 'teaser' from the book:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue-Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is-she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

Divergent is the latest rage in young adult dystopian fiction. It's written from a first-person point of view ~~ and that 'first-person' is 16-year-old Beatrice Prior. She talks through every thought and feeling she has. Throughout the story, we know everything she knows about herself. All of this makes her feel incredibly real to us.

On the testing day, before the chosing of the faction, Beatrice is told she is Divergent. She doesn't fit into any one particular Faction... she fits into multiple Factions. She has no clear idea what this means... and that takes her places she never would have thought she'd go.

Why are young people reading this kind of fiction? What's so striking about Beatrice Prior? or the world she lives in?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dystopian Literature, The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

The first dystopian labeled novel I read and discussed with my young daughter was The Giver. It now stands as one of the classics read and discussed in many 6th or 7th grade classrooms. The reading of it is easy; the understanding and content, not quite as much.

Jonas' world is controlled, safe, predictable. Families consist of people chosen to be together and young who are determined to be with the Nurturer parent. Jonas doesn't feel ready for the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve where he and those of his age will receive their community jobs/roles. Jonas becomes the Receiver ~ a role that only one person in a generation is ever assigned because that person carries forward the memories of the entire community. As he receives the memories from the Giver, he finds that his safe and comfortable world is really very dull.

Why would The Giver be read by 11- and 12-year-olds? What lessons could they learn about their world from reading about Jonas and his?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stargirl 4

What qualities makes you a star? What do you offer the world that's unique ~ totally your own?

When I consider these questions, I find myself thinking that there's nothing about me that's so unique that I'm important or needed in this world. Truly, life would go on without me. That's not depression talking, it's a kind of realism. Yet... yet.... it doesn't tell the whole story. It leaves out some significant pieces of the picture that I'm part of.

Unique about me ~ well, doing this blog. Others may be doing something similiar, but they aren't doing the same blog. Another unique quality: being the mother of my daughter. She is who she is because I am who I am ~~ and because I've been a significant part of her life. No one else could have interacted with her, taught her, loved her, the way I have. I also have a unique skill set ~ not an odd one, just my own particular combination of skills that make me a unique friend, teacher, partner, parent, healer, learner. All ME.

So, what makes YOU unique? What's your inner star?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stargirl 3

"At the same time we held back. Because she was different. Different. We had no one to compare her to, no one to measure her against. She was unknown territory. Unsafe. We were afraid to get too close."
~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Have you ever met someone who throws you so off-kilter that you don't know how to react or interact with him or her? Have you ever been that person for someone else? Different. Odd. Unsafe. Undefinable. Someone who also make you think, makes you question your definition of yourself and the world around you, makes you see it all in a different light. Those people are the gems in our lives. They are the creative and free spirits that give us hope as much as they make us shudder with the edginess of their difference.

Do you want to be counted as one of the different ones? Why or why not?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stargirl 2

"We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past 'weird' and 'strange' and 'goofy'. Her ways knocked us off balance. A single word seemed to hover in the cloudless sky over the school:
~~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

Here she is again, that difficult-to-define Stargirl. As time progresses, being difficult to define means that the definition can become something like: "odd" or "crazy". Others have difficult capturing a clear image. She's ethereal. She is not like everyone else. Jealousy dictates at least some of the words. How do you work around the fact that she keeps you off balance? That she is both as attractive and as repulsive as a magnet? Our minds cannot deal with it.

What throws you off balance? Who do you know with characteristics that you find attractive yet are afraid of?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


"She was elusive, She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew."                                               ~~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl
Words used to describe Stargirl strike chords deep within our own psyche: "She was today. She was tomorrow." Who wouldn't want to have those words used to describe them? Someone who wields so much power of diversity, influence and change? Even so, she is observed, noted, labeled. Stargirl is a dream.... a different sort of person.... one who defies definition.

How would someone define you? Would that be different from how you would define yourself?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Modern Life

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. --Thomas Merton, Trappist monk
 When we are clear in our thinking ~ when we are reasonable and reasoned, our lives are filled with care. Our time is measured by moments of doing and moments of being. We have the capacity to flow into and  out of sync with the rest of the world around us.

Merton's comment about the rush and pressure of modern life being a form of violence is startling. Our culture demands a life that is filled with flying here and driving there and biking somewhere and .... There is a constant flurry of motion, only some of which actually accomplishes something of value. Yet, yet.... when we find ourselves simply moving from one task to another, from one cause to another, even doing 'good deeds', we often do not have or take enough time to focus our energy. Then it scatters to the four winds and leaves us less than we were before with nothing to show for all our work.

What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you participate in violence to yourself?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beginning Afresh

Yesterday marked the finale of the triple days of honoring the Dead. Early this morning, a New Moon arrived in the House of Scorpio, often associated with Darkness, Hidden Things and Death. It appears the Universe suggests that we continue to face the Darkness within and around us.

In the midst of this liminal and deeply imaginative time, I woke to a full double rainbow over the Pacific Ocean at Nye Beach. By the time I got outside to take this picture, the rain had begun and the glorious colors were already beginning to fade. That's how things are in life ~ beauty, glory, wonder, awe for whatever time it comes, then it fades into torrents of rain.

Our culture tends to loo]k at rain, wind and snow as things to have occasionally; sun is preferable and adored. Fascinating concept, yet I find it true. It's why we created Daylight Savings Time [does anyone really believe we're 'saving' daylight?]. Somehow, we believe we can have or take control of Nature. We do not need to face the Darkness.

Nature, the Universe, God, Goddess, whatever you call that Other, tells the story differently. We must face the Darkness in order to appreciate and understand the Light. There must be Balance.

How will you face the Darkness today? What is the Darkness in your life?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thinning of the Veils

This is the time of year where we clearly talk about and accept that there is a thinness to the veils between the worlds of the living and the dead. There are also those who are no longer living, yet have not yet fully embraced the world of the dead. They too step between the veils more readily at this time of year.

I've long been amazed and amused by the three days that join together during this time. Three, a number sacred to God and Goddess alike: Trinity, Trident, Triple Goddess.
Found at
     31 October: Hallowe'en: unofficially recalls the souls of the damned.
     1 November: All Saints: set aside to officially honor the Church Triumphant.
     2 November: All Souls: set aside officially to pray for the Church Suffering.
In these three days, we have the opportunity to acknowledge those who have gone from this world to the next. We can choose to be present to the comings and goings of our ancestors, our friends, all those who have gone before. We can choose to listen for their voices in the wind, in the dreamtime, in our memories. We can create ceremony and ritual to honor the wisdom of those who have gone beyond the veil.

What presence will you make available for your ancestors? How will you honor them?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Solitary Preachers

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.
—Hermann Hesse

Have you ever found yourself staring at an image, a painting, even a landscape, and marveled at how the living creations within it grew there? How did they happen to be in that spot, at that moment, within that view?

I love Hesse's words about the solitary trees: "...they do not lose themselves there..." Solitary trees are the silent preachers in our world. They speak of survival and standing one's ground. They are the emblem of life that has carried on from far in the past and that will likely outlive us far into the future. They show us that it's good to be rooted as well as soaring into the sky.

What piece of nature do you admire most?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dystopian Literature, Introduction

The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal society, or utopia, and the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society, or dystopia. many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres, and arguable are by definition a type of speculative fiction.
One thing I've observed over the years of raising a daughter to college age, is that dystopian literature is very much alive and a distinctly strong choice of reading for many young adults. The first one we read together was Lois Lowry's book The Giver. My daughter was perhaps in fourth or fifth grade. We read it together, went to a gathering with Lois Lowry, and later saw the world premier of the play.

The Giver is the beginning of a trilogy of a very different sort. Usually in trilogies, the timeline is nearly, if not perfectly, continuous from one volume to the next; but in Lowry's books, time passes between each of the volumes: The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger. In each of them, someone important gets injured or dies. That's one of the features of dystopian young adult literature. The young people who are the focal points of the novels go through tremendous losses ~ and still find reasons and the means to hope.
Have you read these novels? What do you think of them?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Voyager 1 Has Left the Solar System

artist's rendition from 
Here's something to ponder: Voyager 1 is the first human-made craft to travel beyond the Milky Way solar system. Over 9.5 billion miles away. A distance I cannot begin to comprehend. It is traveling through the heliopause, which, according to the American Heritage Science Dictionary, is "the region surrounding the solar system at which pressure from the interstellar medium (made up mostly of hydrogen and helium), and the solar wind can penetrate no further. It is considered to be the outer boundary of our solar system."

What does this even mean? I apprehend the definition, but am totally awestruck by the scope of what it is describing. Something launched from Earth the same year Apple Computer was incorporated, Rod Stewart's Tonight's the Night (Gonna be Alright) was Billboard's #1 Hit, and Harvey Wallbangers were a popular drink in the discos. Voyager 1 is still going.... leaving us farther and farther behind

What do you think about Voyager 1's adventure?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More of the Moon

The Pisces Full Moon ... is a powerful portal for your spiritual growth. This is the Harvest Moon. We are harvesting what we have sown this year. [It] is about faith, spirituality and intuition. You are being asked to dream, meditate and be creative.
Right now, today, this very moment, we are experiencing the meaning of the Harvest Moon: we are reaping what we have sown. This phrase is one which shows up in many spiritual traditions and commentaries. It relates the spiritual world to the physical world in which we live and move. Faith and intuition are the milieu of our spirituality. They give us the broader understanding and form the foundation upon which we build.

I spent many years distrusting astrology and astrologers because I didn't have a very developed faith. I had doctrine, but that's not the same thing. Doctrine relates to the teachings, but faith relates to the understanding, the feeling, the deeper sense of knowingness that moves us forward in the world.

What is the groundwork of your faith? How has it changed over time?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hidden Glow

Did you ever feel as though you were a bright light in hiding? Or that the bright light of your interior self glows between the branches of how you choose to present in the world?

I had a fascinating experience of that today in two separate incidents.
In the first, a colleague took offense at my 'glowing light' as I mentioned a different way of viewing a situation in which the colleague was decidedly invested in personal POV. I found myself undisturbed by the dispute ~ not because I saw myself as 'right' but because I perceived that there were as many differences of opinion as people in the room. I felt open and shining and clear in my intention.
In the second, a different colleague was grateful for my presence at a brainstorming meeting. My input and ideas were appreciated and the flow of discussion was clear as the headwaters of the Metolius River. Crystalline, radiant and boundless.

Where do you find yourself hiding your glow? Where do you find others keeping you in hiding? Is either sense of hiding comfortable? Do you want it to change?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lunatic, Are We?

The current moon is close to full. This really does look full, doesn't it? In another two days, it will be even larger and rounder. Amazing process to watch when it gets this close!
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term "lunatic" came from the late 13th century and meant "affected with periodic insanity, dependent on the changes of the moon," from the Old French lunatique, lunage "insane." (

When standing on my lawn or in the middle of the street or on the balcony of a hotel or on a sandy ocean beach, camera in hand, snapping photo after photo of the various phases of Lady Moon, I ponder whether or not I fall under that definition. Personally, Lady Moon is one of my most photographed beings in the galaxy. Almost a year ago, I began taking snapshots of the Lady in her full or nearly full preen. She is absolutely gorgeous! Her poses in the night sky are awe-inspiring and I never tire of staring at Her either in the night or in my pictures.

What natural phenomenon do you like? Do you take pictures of it? Why? How do the pictures influence you?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

You Matter

When this image crossed my Facebook page, every facet of my being focused on it. Entirely. I realized these few statements expressed the current of my way in the world. The flow of who I am.

The formatting of this image doesn't highlight the words calling my heart: Purpose, Story, Dreams, Voice, Impact. When I give VOICE to the PURPOSE arising in and from my DREAMS, it IMPACTS the STORY. How would you use those words to express what is important to you? Would you use others either instead of or along with those that jumped out at me? How would it sound?

I believe in listening to every voice I can hear in the world: people, animals, the wind, the rain, thunder, traffic, etc. Sound is significant. Only in that listening way can I hear the purpose of the owners of those voices, the ones who often want so desperately to be heard. The content of what is said gives rise to the dreams and stories which continually impact each other's dreams and stories so that our interdependence shows and flows.
What do you dream?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Secret of Genius

Aldous Huxley was one of the great and open minds of the 20th century. When he died on November 22, 1963 at age 69, he left behind a legacy of having the 'secret of genius' of which he speaks here. It takes remarkable strength and resiliency to maintain that spirit of the child: the innocence, trust and wonder that animates the child's movements through his or her personal world as well as the more expansive outside world. Those characteristics are the reason for childlike enthusiasm.

Huston Smith wrote the following to honor the 25th anniversary of Aldous Huxley's death:
He loved the desert, he told me, for its symbolic power. Its emptiness emptied his mind. "The boundlessness of its sands [I paraphrase] spreads a mantle of sameness - hence unity - over the world's multiplicity in something of the way snow does. The nothingness to which the Deseret fathers were drawn is not a blank negation. It is a no-thing-ness in which everything is so interfused that divisions are transcended. Pure light contains all the frequencies of the rainbow, but undemarcated. The Void is the vacuum-plenum complex, grasped by its vacuum pole."             And Live Rejoicing, p. 161
May you always carry that spirit of the child within you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Higgs Boson, part 4

"The Higgs field is like the air, or the water for fish in the sea; we don't usually notice it, but it's all around us, and without it life would be impossible. And it is literally "all around us"; unlike all the other fields of nature, the Higgs is nonzero even in empty space. As we move through the world, we are embedded in a background Higgs field, and it's the influence of that field on our particles that gives them their unique properties."
~ Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe, p. 136
Wow! This statement explains, in part, why the media call the Higgs, the God Particle. First, it's a field, an expanse rather than one little speck. Second, and more significantly than we can imagine, it's everywhere. Like the air. Like the water for fish or shrimp or whales. Something all pervasive and without which everything we know and see and feel in the physical world would not exist. Not even us. It's not that we live within it, it's that without it, life as we know it, is not. Period.
Sounds like the New Testament's Acts 17:28 ~ 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Which also comes from an older source: Epimenides' Cretica ~ "But you are not dead: you live and abide forever, for in you we live and move and have our being." Either way, commentaries about a deity, a god. Physicists may argue the term God Particle is not apt, yet for ordinary folk, it may be the only way to grasp the expanse of what the Higgs seems to be.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Playing Small, part 2

"There is no passion to be found in playing small ~ in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
~ Nelson Mandela

There's been some craziness going on in the ethers lately. At least that's what I've read. All I know is that I seem to have more physical energy than I have in the past; none of which is directing itself to writing or blogging. Yet... yet... when I sit down to write, words flow in a manner I love to experience. It's as though my system resonates with something greater than me.

When I think of that, when those moments of awake show up in my being, I recognize a much deeper truth regarding the concept of playing small. Nelson Mandela's quote sums it up quite nicely: there is no passion in it. We move forward without thinking, without being awake or aware, without feeling passion. Not that we aren't busy or chock full of emotions. Only that the passion, the zeal for life, isn't at the core of what we're doing. Days go by as though they are meant to be simple. One day we awaken to the thought that we've missed actually living a huge chunk of our lives.

I have friends who live their lives in the fast lane with lots of things happening: travel to exotic places, writing books or plays, making money hand over fist ~ or a variety of other things. Sometimes realizing their dreams, sometimes not. I find myself wondering if the fulfillment of our personal dreams is what we are intended to do. If so, what happens to those of us, those around us, who do not do this? Does that mean we are living small?

What does living small mean to you? Why?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Do You Have to Say?

Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.
~~ Barbara Kingsolver
Consider that: What we have to say is the one and only thing we have to offer. Maybe that's true; maybe it's not. When we read comments such as this one, written by authors we may admire, our default position is generally to accept it as true, to believe those with famous names truly know something more than we do.

I take exception to the face-value of Kingsolver's statement. Face-value is that what we speak is what we have to offer. Really? Our words are important, that may be true, yet what is even more significant are our actions. What we choose to do, how we choose to express our lives in the world, how we choose to interact with others ~ these are our most vital and vibrant offerings to those around us.

What of our words? Those are important also. I recall an adage I heard in college: "Make your words sweet, for you may be required to eat them." It's not that we speak what others want to hear; it's that we speak our truths respecting that those around us have theirs as well ~ and there may be differences.

What do you think? What is the 'one and only thing you have to offer' those around you?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Saturn's Moons ~ Mimas & Pandora

Saturn moons Mimas & Pandora taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
What a spectacle: Images of the moons of Saturn as well as its rings! How distant this truly is ~ approximately 830.1 million miles! ~ yet how immediate and intimate it appears.

Mimas, the larger of the two and having a visible crater on its right side, was first seen in 1789 by William Herschel. Over 200 years ago, this moon was 'discovered' with a 40-foot telescope. Today, this image comes to us across the span of space from an unmanned craft. More of those enchanting distinctions.

As I reflect on this, I am thoroughly fascinated by the span and intimacy of All That Is. Looking at this image strikes me dumb with awe. Love. Fascination. Awe. Hope. Power. Spaciousness. Vast. Spectacular. So many words flow through my mind. None of them enough. What do you think?

Friday, July 26, 2013

True Healer

"The true healer lets go of the senses and moves from the center of intuition; blameless, she gives herself permission to be exactly who she is."
~ Haven Trevino in The Tao of Healing

Are you a 'true healer'? Are you interested in being a healer? Have others told you that you have a healing way about you? Love makes healers of us all. The traditional tale of 'Mommy kissing the boo-boo/owie and making it all better' comes from that source. A mother's love for her child guides her to do what's necessary to ease the pain. On the other side is the child's trust of the mother. Healing is a two-way street ~ and sometimes, it's only the psyche that receives ease.

Intuition rests at the beginning of being a healer. Following my intuition to the core of what is blocking wholeness has been the primary calling and method of my healing work. Over 35 years ago, I began my healing work ~ energetically with my hands ~ to heal a car.

As a teacher  and a newlywed with an unemployed partner, my car was my lifeline to groceries, meetings with and for my students, court for my students, staff meetings, meetings with friends ~ all the usual events one does in a mundane life. Living on the outskirts of a mid-sized Midwest town, I needed my car to be functional. One Saturday, Rory Sam ~ my little orange Pontiac Astra ~ stopped working. From the simple click-click when turning the key in the ignition, it seemed to be a starter problem. There was no money to get it repaired ~ or to purchase a starter kit and find a friend to do the work. I worried about it all day. At a spiritual gathering that evening (friends picked us up as well as verified that we had a bum starter), there was talk of 'true healing'. I thought, 'If it works on people, why not on cars? Has anyone attempted it?' Since it was pitch black out when I got home, I waited until the next morning to try my theory. After attempting to start the car & hearing the click-click of doom, I opened the hood, extended my hands over the engine block, moved them around until I 'felt' a connection with the starter, and focused on healing. After a few minutes, with another to give thanks, I got into the car and turned the key in the ignition. Rory Sam roared to life. The starter never gave us another problem.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Hole in the Crown of the Sun

From the NASA website: Coronal holes are dark, low density regions of the sun's outermost atmosphere containing little solar material and having lower temperatures. A typical feature on the sun, they are important to our understanding of space weather.
Looking at this image, taken on July 18th, I 'see' one of the 12-pound bowling balls from our local bowling alley ~ except this image has a halo around it! Even though it's labeled a 'hole', that dark spot on the north pole of the sun only emphasizes the intensity and beauty of our star. There are bright spots visible ~ solar flares, maybe? ~ and an overall sheen giving it another dimension of wonder. Surrounding the sun is the inky blackness of space ~ certainly different from the view of the sun from my perspective on earth!

The coronal hole ~ a hole in the crown or the aura surrounding the sun ~ what a concept! The north pole of the sun equates to where the crown of our heads would be. This hole makes me wonder: What kind of 'thought' goes through the 'mind' of the sun? How heavy is the thinking and imagining of our star? I perceive this hole as the sun opening itself to us, seeking to communicate beyond the glow. I hope we can hear what it says!

Look at this image for 30-90 seconds without distraction What do you see? What do you feel or experience as you look at it? What do your other senses tell you? Are there any words that come into your mind?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Day the Earth Smiled ~~ View from Saturn

On July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured Saturn's rings with Earth and its moon in the same frame. Earth, which is 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away in this image, appears as a blue dot at the center right; the moon is a fainter protrusion off its right side. The other bright dots nearby are stars. Of 323 images, this is the only one that has the Earth-moon system in it.

Imagine that! This is the stuff science fiction stories are made of! Look at that image ~ and the arrow pointing to the itty bitty dot that is us. We look around our world and perceive ourselves as big and important. We create wars to prove who can be more impressive. In the vastness of the Universe, just how much do we matter?

Yet on this little dot of a planet, all our strutting and showmanship matters because this little dot is where we live and have our being. What emotions are stirred up by this image? Moving forward from today, what will you do differently because of them?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Momentous Day

In conversation with a friend, I remarked that my mother used to say, "A hundred years from now, what will it matter?" The truth is that very little that I do, or we do, today will survive into that level of posterity.

However, today, two things happened which will: the first because it is a constant; the second because its occurrence is less prevalent. 
Royal Birth Announcement
Full Moon in Aquarius

The full moon in Aquarius is another 'super moon' ~ it brings with it an abundance of power and blessings for all who allow it and relax into the flow of energy from it. Full moons happen every month. Although it doesn't sound like such a big deal, the constancy of the full moon has been a guide for humankind for millenia. It will continue to be one for the next hundred years as well.

The birth of a royal son who is third in succession to the throne of Britain has been also been going on for centuries. However, Britain is now a constitutional monarchy and so the import of an heir is more symbolic than real. Its potency will continue to diminish as time goes on.

How do you feel about these events? Are they momentous to you? or to those you know? Which holds more sway, more weight for you? Is there something currently in your life that holds the weightiness of these events yet is more personal to you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Higgs Boson, part 3

The physicist John Wheeler once proposed a challenge: How can you best explain quantum mechanics in five words or fewer? ... When I posed the question about quantum mechanics, the best answer was given by Aatish Bhatia: "Don't look: waves. Look: particles." That's quantum mechanics in a nutshell.
 ~ Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe, p. 33
I love the juxtaposition of the above image: a child reading Introduction to Quantum Mechanics as though it's a bedtime story. Children are often so much more capable of comprehending the Universe than the adults around them! To a child, Quantum Mechanics may well sound and read like the myths and stories they've heard before bed. What they hear is the same: a way to explain the universe.

Then there's Wheeler's question and Bhatia's response. If it's so simple, why wouldn't a child understand it? Why must we see them as difficult?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Who Moves Forward

Two weeks ago, I drove to British Columbia, Canada, for a retreat. The timing ~ as happens with these opportunities ~ was impeccable as well as overflowing with craziness. While driving there, actually when over two-thirds of the distance and one day into the trip, I thought, "What am I doing? I need to turn around and go home! There's so much I need to do!" [Has this ever happened to you when you were taking time for yourself, for your soul?] I kept driving North. Fairly quickly, within the next 10 miles, my desperation slipped away into surrender. A reality check determined that it would be a day's drive back and nothing more would be accomplished that day.     *sigh* .... *SIGH* .... *deep breath and deep release*

I chose to spend the remainder of the trip, three days, focused on me, on what Spirit had to share with, offer to, and teach me.

Ten days prior to this retreat, under the guidance of the same leader, I'd created this pictured Soul Collage card which titled itself the One Who Moves Forward. The feeling and sense was of one determined to live and to accomplish whatever needed to be faced. Look at those eyes! Serious, determined, challenging, fierce. All great qualities which I found myself claiming on that retreat. I returned home three days later, ready to face the craziness with a renewed sense of purpose and far less internal turbulence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Playing Small, part 1

Last week, I was participating in a renewal/review of a visioning event from the year before. The leader handed us part of a famous quote from Marianne Williamson of which these words popped out:
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
Today, the Rumi quote showed up on my Facebook feed. I believe in the power of coincidence ~ when we choose to notice it. The Ineffable One is saying something here.... something I have resisted much of my life. I recognize there is humility in my hanging back; yet it has grown beyond just being humble to that level of false humility that says I have more than someone else so I need to temper it. What I have is not more of something, it is uniquely my expression of Spirit rather than what others see or expect or express themselves. It is time to unfold.... more to come.

How do you 'play small'? Why do you do it? What is the gift you have that you are holding back from the world? Why?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Latest Lesson in Motherhood

Time of Departure from US: 10:25 a.m. Tuesday
Arrival Airport: London Heathrow Airport
Time of Arrival: 11:40 a.m. Wednesday
Transportation to International Hall, University of London, from Airport: Staying with a family friend and taking the Tube on Thursday
Departure Back to US: 7:50 a.m. Tuesday (5 weeks later)
Time of Arrival Back in US: 6:01 p.m. Tuesday
Travel to Other Countries AFTER Program: Yes, Latvia and Poland
One of the most difficult lessons of motherhood is letting go. From the first step to the first day of school to the first overnight away to the first solo drive in the car to going away to college, motherhood is a series of deeper and more significant moments of letting go.

My 'little one', a 20-year-old college senior, is off to study abroad for a month and spend a week with a friend in Latvia and Poland. Traveling solo. Another first. There have been previous out-of-country trips, but always planned and guided by others. *sigh* I am so incredibly proud AND still learning to let go.

Do you remember your first long distance trip solo? What happened? How was the adventure for you? Parents: How do, did or will you handle your child's first trip a long distance away?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Higgs Boson, part 2

What came to Newton was the connection between the fall of the apple and the motion of the planets. ...the gravitational attraction that keeps the planets orbiting around the sun and the moon orbiting around the earth was the same force that pulls apples toward the ground.
                                                                    ~ Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe, p. 118
Every now and again, I'm reminded that there was a time when gravity was not a broadly understood concept; when falling apples and the motion of the planets were considered not only vastly separate events, but also were so far removed from normal life that Newton's concept was a world-changer. The incredibly fascinating piece of information is that there are still things being discovered with that kind of impact.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Warrior of Light

Every Warrior of Light has felt afraid of going into battle.
Every Warrior of Light has, at some time int the past, lied or betrayed someone.
Every Warrior of Light has trodden a path that was not his.
Every Warrior of Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons.
Every Warrior of Light has, at least once, believed that he was not a Warrior of Light.
Every Warrior of Light has failed in his spiritual duties.
Every Warrior of Light has said 'yes' when he wanted to say 'no'.
Every Warrior of Light has hurt someone he loved.
That is why he is a Warrior of Light, because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.
~ Paulo Coelho

At various times over the course of my life I have considered myself a Warrior of Light. Not that I believe I can do something others are incapable of doing ~ or that I can save myself from the Darkness, much less anyone else. It's that I believe in the Light and the power and constancy of that Light. My faith in my own capacity to be a warrior wavers, yet what brings me back is the simple presence of the Light and its belief in me.

What about you? What do you believe about yourself and your capabilities? Are you ready to be a Warrior? If so, a Warrior for what?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Higgs Boson Particle, part 1

"When you're six years old, everyone asks these questions, why is the sky blue? Why do things fall down? Why are some things hot and others cold? How does it all work?" We don't have to learn how to become interested in science -- children are natural scientists. That innate curiosity is beaten out of us by years of schooling and the pressures of real life. ....studies show that kids love science up until the ages of ten to fourteen years old.
~ Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe, p. 13
This passage could also be applied to the arts. Children are not only natural scientists, they are natural artists and musicians, sculptors and storytellers. Their curiosity is part of their creativity; their creativity part of their curiosity. They are willing explorers of the world around them in every fashion possible. Their experiments cover the gamut of their world: eating, planting, poking, prodding, putting together and taking apart. That's how they learn.

Scientists, both theorists and experimenters, continue to feed their own and each others' curious explorations and notions. As do artists of every ilk. Our society puts more value on one than the other without noting the connection between the two. 

As for schooling, well, it's purpose is to prepare students to be productive members of society. Some students are encouraged to continue expanding their curiosity and/or their creativity. Others are guided in a different direction. In using the term "beaten out of us," Carroll makes it sound as though everyone would have naturally continued on that path. That's simply not true. Every culture of which we are aware was made up of diverse 'jobs' that its members had. Few seem to have been encouraged within the cultural milieu to pursue being healers or artists or storytellers. Not everyone could or would do the job equally well. That's what creates a full and rounded society.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Super Moon

Tonight's ~ or more precisely, tomorrow morning's ~ full moon is called a Super Moon. Extensive discussions on the internet and in print revolve around whether or not that claim is true. By definition, a Super Moon is a perigee moon: at its closest point to the Earth at the same time, or nearly the same time, as it is at its fullest. It's all a matter of language.

My best guess would be that the term Super Moon has arrived in our language as a result of the current popularity of vampire and werewolf novels which place considerable focus on the full moon. Tonight's full moon will be closer to the Earth than it was last month, yet the likelihood that most people observing the night sky would notice a size difference is negligible. Hence, the birth of a new term to make us "ooh" and "aah" as though we have noticed ~ or as though it's something that hasn't happened in a long time: dozens, if not hundreds, of years. That's just not true.

So what's more important: the coinage of a new term that creates more observers of the perigee moon phenomenon? or the truth that it happens multiple times in our lives, perhaps even every year?