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." (dreammoods.com) 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


from http://www.divineharmony.org/cosmic-insight/weekly-astrology-forecast:
"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 http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost12aa.html:
     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?