Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Mystery

From John O'Donohue:
It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone. Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits.
What do you see in this picture? What is it of?

This picture exemplifies O'Donohue's above quote. A range of emotions arise in me as I look at this: awe, wonder, curiosity, glee, calm. The more I look at it, the more the branches, and even trunks, of the trees sway as though blown by the wind. The golden streak slashing through it glows like a streak of flame through the trees. The image pulls me in and insists I stay outside and watch all at the same time. It demands focus then sways with an invisible breeze. What does it do for you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wetland and Heron

A year ago, walking through a farmland-turned-development near my house as dusk was approaching. As I walked in one direction, two women were walking toward me. I was watching them approach when I saw something with huge wings glide by right behind them at head height. Whatever it was landed in a marshy patch of knee-high weeds to my right. The women never even noticed it. My mind raced to name it: an eagle? a hawk? an owl? I walked forward, straining to see into the tall grasses on my right. As I came abreast of them, I saw a lanky, long-billed bird standing there: a heron.
Returning from my walk, I looked up Heron as a totem and found it held balance, independence and fierce aggressiveness, and read this advice: "You know what is best for you and you should follow that path. Be aggressive when opportunities present themselves - don't let them get away from you."

Tonight, I walked that same route. I noticed they've built houses around the space where I saw Heron. My heart broke when I realized the marshy suburban wetland where Heron stood waiting for me was now a man-made grassy hillock. Achingly, I apologized for what we allowed to be done to Heron's small wetland space.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Inner Freedom

 Inner freedom and the capacity to actualize this freedom outwardly is the essence of spirituality. This freedom is not, however, a state to be achieved; it is not a goal to be attained. Rather, it is a way of being inwardly which is awakened out of its dormant state by our untying of knots that limit and distort our vision of who we are.                             ~Christina Feldman
 Inner freedom ~~ one of those elusive traits or ways of being that disappears the moment we focus on it. If we think about it, if we attempt to reach it, that immediately invalidates it. Why? Ah. Well, there's the rub.... if we're truly inwardly free, we are not attached to being so. Funny thing that. Once we focus on it, we show our attachment to it and, poof!, it disappears.

I also love the thought of 'our untying of knots' internally, spirituality, thoughtfully. What are some of those knots? For me, one is my desire to please others. Not all the time. And, if one had the opportunity to ask my mother, she'd say that I was contrary and rarely cared to please others. But that's not true. I've struggled for years to resist the easier path of 'going along'. Not just to resist, but checking in with my heart, with my soul, to learn what MY path was.

What knot in your life do you need to untie?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gaia's Garden

from Colette Baron-Reid
Wisdom of the Hidden Realms

"In Gaia's Garden, you have everything you need to make your dreams come true. ... Gaia...represents the abundance of Nature. ... This is also a sign to remind you to ... maintain an attitude of humility and gratitude as your greatest good now manifests in you."

What a fascinating card and interpretation! Things are coming to fruition. In conversation with a friend, we were chatting about the necessity to remain humble, and the consequences when we do not, when we forget to thank Creator for gifts given and others for their support and guidance.

We all have a deep connection with the abundant Goddess of the Earth!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Warrior of Light

The warrior of light has dreams.
His dreams carry him forward.
But he never makes the mistake of thinking
that the way is broad and the gate is wide.
Paulo Coelho
Warrior of the Light: a Manual

Remind me again, she said, what is a Warrior of Light?
A Warrior of Light is one who is willing to lay everything on the line for the Light.

What is the Light? she asked.
The Light is one word we use to encompass all things good: truth, freedom, community, justice, joy and love, among other wonders. None of them are possessions. All of them are far more important than anything we can hold onto physically.

Can I become a Warrior of Light?
I don't see why not. Everyone has that possibility within them. It is up to you, sweet child; it is your choice that will lead you there. That and the guidance of Spirit and all the Warriors who have come before you.

Will you guide me too?
If it is the will of Spirit, I would be honored to be one of your guides.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

With mixed emotions, I begin this blog... I've lived in many different spiritual worlds throughout this life. Ash Wednesday arises from the realm where I began....

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of what has long been my favorite season of the Catholic calendar. Those words, all are from the dust, and to the dust all return, echo through my very soul on this day. I believe in the Circle of Life. I believe that all things begin from Mother Earth and all things are eventually reclaimed by and returned to Her.

Therein lies the cause of my mixed emotions about this posting: my Catholic upbringing included honoring Mother Earth. I am drawn to both Father God who resides in the heavens and Mother Goddess whose very body is the earth. I have danced with both and find no difficulty or dishonor in that.

Being from the dust, returning to the dust reminds me of one bare truth: impermanence. It is the one day of the year when I confront my mortality and am humbled before my Creator and Creatrix. As I breathe in the ashes of memory, I breathe out the peace that settles my soul. Amen.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope resigning

Astounding all the buzz that's out there in the world over the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign at the end of February. He's a religious leader of a sect of Christianity that has, in recent years, lost more and more context in today's world. Still, he holds a position of amazing power.
He leaves behind a church that is deeply conflicted, both with itself and with the outside world.
The church is facing massive cultural and demographic changes. Its staunch positions against contraception and the ordination of women make it look out of touch in a changing world.  []
That is an understatement ... it not only looks out of touch; it is out of touch. This pope, perhaps more that his predecessor, sees the writing on the wall and doesn't quite know how to cope with the change. One can only hope that the church he leads is beginning to see the necessity of change also. It's spent so much time establishing itself as an earthly power that it's forgotten that it's true charge is to spiritual. Those two things are often juxtaposed to each other rather than paired.

In just over two weeks time, there will be another conclave and another papal election. It will be the first time in 600 years that the previous pope will be alive to see that vote and change occur. I wonder what his influence would be? Who would he support to be pope after him? What direction would he council? or perhaps will he council?

What a time we inhabit!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Happy 71st Birthday, Carole King!
When I was a teenager, we danced, sang and lived to the rhythm of Tapestry. Her music slipped inside the edges of my life and lit a candle that shone into the carefully hidden corners.

We sang to each other ~ "You just call out my name and you know wherever I am I'll come running to see you again." We bounced around on the bed, on the floor, in the hall.

When one broke up with her boyfriend ~ or he broke up with her ~ we sat around and crooned, "And it's too late, baby, now it's too late though we really did try to make it.... something inside just died, and I just can't fake it."

Her music wove its threads into the tapestry of our developing young lives. What amazing memories! Thank you, Carole King.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mountain Lion, part 2

In the darkness last night and early this morning, Mountain Lion wandered. Her large paws and languorous steps padded softly in the background of my dreams.

In one I wandered through a vast cloister. No one was there. The vaulted ceiling was sage green; the cupolas and archways were saffron; the pillars were light with long shadows crossing them and playing across a wide open floor. A fresh breeze stirred long gauzy curtains that covered the arches leading to the yard beyond the cloister. I felt at peace and at home. This was my sanctuary. Through the billowing curtains, I saw forest and beyond that, hills. In the moment, all was still and silent.

I stopped beneath one of the domes, breathed deeply and felt my arms rise from my sides to an upraised position. My sleeves were fastened in cuffs around my wrists; the rest of my garment flowed nearly to the floor; I was bare-footed on cold marble. My garment, sleeves and a shawl or scarf I wore blew in the gentle breeze.

I have no idea how long I stood that way; it seemed only a moment, yet when I lowered my arms and opened my eyes, the shadows had deepened and I could no longer tell what color things were within the enclosure. It was through these shadows that Mountain Lion came. She padded noiselessly, yet I knew precisely where she was. She walked into the cloister grounds from behind me and gave wide berth to where I stood. She wove in and out and in and out through the pillars, never getting too close. Finally, she was just to my left in front of me, facing me. Had she come closer, I could have easily rested my hand on her back. Her head, erect, could easily rest on my belly. I felt the rumble of her purr.

No other sounds passed between us. She stood solemnly a dozen feet from me. I had no fear, just a deep sense of deference and awe. My sense was that she bore a parallel feeling: no fear and total confidence.

Then I awoke with that sensation permeating my rising. What a way to greet the day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fierce Power

From the Kabbalah:
The fierce power of imagination is a gift from God.

Think about that ~~ fierce power. What a strong phrasing. We often reference the power of the imagination when we talk about the arts. Without the imagination, much of what we produce that is considered beautiful would not exist.

Or we talk about the wild imaginings of children who can see things so differently from adults. I wonder who sees truly and who has less ability to see? Perhaps as we grow older, we buy into the cultural norm and lose the wildness of the imagination.

But we don't talk about imagination's fierce power, or that it's a gift from God. The definition I'd probably choose at the site is "furiously active or determined." That was before I checked the origins of the word: "Middle English fiers, from Anglo-French ferfersfiers, from Latin ferus wild, savage"...

Yes! The power of the imagination is wild! The wild is what feeds the power and creates the force that explodes as the imagination. And... it's a gift from God. Or Goddess. Or whatever you choose to call that Ineffable One.

In the current temperament of our culture, there is an overwhelming squashing of imagination. Arts classes are cut from middle school, junior high and senior high schools. Teaching to the test negates the adventure of taking risks and getting messy and exploring our incredible imaginations. We've forgotten that those imaginations are gifts and have been our greatest gift as a culture. Just imagine where we'd be without the creativity of Harriet Tubman, John Muir, Albert Einstein, Aaron Copeland, Marilyn Monroe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs and so many others.

As for me, I love the wildness of that fierce imagination. I continue to encourage it whenever and wherever I see it. Now, I will also remember to thank the One for that fierce gift expressing through each person. Amen.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Commitment, part 2

Another aspect to commitment is passion. Passion moves us beyond thinking to acting ~ taking the steps necessary to stand up for what we believe or to work beyond the schedule or simply to move forward to accomplish a task.

The quote by Murray says the moment one commits oneself, providence moves to assist in fulfilling that commitment. The quote comes from his book The Scottish Himalaya Expedition written in 1951. Murray was a mountaineer who found himself fully committed to an expedition by booking passage to Bombay as the first step. He committed his money and his time for the trip to Bombay. Those were the first steps. Then providence took over as plans came together for the rest of the trek.

One must take the first step, take an action, in order to move forward into the realm where providence, the universe, lays out the next step. Commitment is about not sitting still and waiting for the world to arrive. It's about going forward to meet the world face-to-face. It's about stepping into the flow and finding that it carries us along.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Commitment, part 1

Commitment is defined by as the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled. Impelled or driven forward by our obligations or emotions.

So much of what we do is by chance. We dance forward with an idea or a relationship or a task. If at some point it no longer serves the need or desire that originally attracted us, we leave and move on to the next attraction.

When I was younger, we referred to this as having the attention span of a mosquito. Recently, I've discovered that mosquitoes have significant attention spans because all their entire focus is on food. That's commitment in mosquito-land.

Only human beings can choose whether to commit or not. Only human beings can choose their focus, their commitments. Only human beings can be wishy-washy, bored or apathetic. Or afraid to commit, to make a stand, to choose.

Friday, February 1, 2013


A couple of days ago, I messaged a friend on Facebook. She had recently lost her partner and I simply asked how she was doing and if she wanted to get together. Just let her know I was thinking about her. She responded almost immediately with, Yes, let's get together.

After work today, we met. I didn't know the details surrounding her loss; hadn't asked. Sometimes they aren't the most important things to know. Our conversation bounced from dissing a boss we had both known to our individual work paths to grief groups to the horrific shooting of children in Newtown to the suddenly gorgeous weather. In the midst of this bouncing, she shared what had happened, how her partner had died. In the breath after a comment on the whereabouts of a former colleague, she simply stated the facts.

It took my breath away: the suddenness of it, the simplicity of the statement, the manner in which it was set, parenthetically, between two common subjects like peanut butter on toast. In that instant, I saw the rawness of her grief, how sudden and shocking the fact of it had been, and remained, for her.

What I felt was awe. Awe that she honored our moment together by sharing it. Awe that she was still quietly sitting there. Awe that she could function at all.

What I thought was, If I ever face that same sudden loss, I hope and pray I have a fraction of her courage. She is my shero.