Monday, March 31, 2014


Because of my relationship with and comments on the word HOPE in my previous post, I decided to check out the myth of Pandora. Wow! There's a lot of confusion around her ~ who she was, what she was, what she did, whether hope stayed in the container, what the container was..... the list goes on and on!

Here is part of the problem ~~ an amphora in the Ashmolean Museum with a depiction of Pandora rising from the earth. In 1903, Jane Ellen Harrison wrote: "Pandora rises from the earth; she is the Earth, giver of all gifts. This is made doubly sure by another representation of her birth or rather her making. ... Pandora, half statue half woman, has just been modelled by Hephaistos, and Athene is in the act of decking her. Pandora she certainly is, but against her is written her other name (A)nesidora, 'she who sends up gifts.' Pandora is a form or title of the Earth-goddess ... entirely humanized and vividly personified by mythology."

So Pandora begins life as a manifestation of the Earth-goddess Gaea... then loses her place when Hesiod writes about her as the blight of humanity? Certainly, a patriarchal culture would continue that mythos.

Why am I so intrigued by the myth of Pandora? Because I believe it, and other myths laying the troubles of the world at the feet or hands of female characters, instills in our youth a subtle and continuing blame of women. We talk about these myths as though they are simply stories that we can easily dismiss. Yet we continue to read them, to teach them, to use them as instructional tools. We've always used myths to explain natural or cultural phenomena. Why would we think that our teaching of these myths would be any different? Do we use other myths to counter them? Do we teach/share all the variations?

What stories/myths have shaped your life? Which ones still do? How do you want to re-vision them?

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Wisdom of the House of Night: Colette Baron-Reid
From the guidebook:
In the darkest forest, the moon can hide to make it hard for people to see their surroundings, and some are blind to the next step and find that they give in to fear that there will never again be safety or light. ... Have hope, and only good will come of it. Take one step towards your dream.

During darker times of my life, I've felt abandoned by friends, by family, by lovers, by nature, by God/Spirit/Goddess, even by my very self. No light shines, nothing visible by which to see a path, a way forward or a way out.

I made it through these dark times and found one of the most important things carrying me through, waiting for me to allow it to shine light for me was Hope. Hope dwells in that deepest part of me ~ so deep that I often forget its existence; I certainly forget its power.

Emily Dickinson said it most beautifully:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
Ans sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Hope is always within our grasp ~ even closer than that ~ it 'perches in the soul' whether or not we acknowledge  or even notice it. In many versions of myths from around the world, it is hope that truly saves the day. Hope that allows brightness and light into the darkest corners so we recognize our own way out.

How has hope appeared to you? When you have allowed hope in, what has changed for you? How important is hope in your day-to-day life?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Five Herons in Two Days

With two days of rain in the area, the ground's wet ~ around here that means a near-reclaiming of the wetlands. On the patch of grass next to the on-ramp, there was a heron standing there watching traffic pass by. There were two herons in another low spot that often turns to swampland this time of year. Two herons stood in a field ~ also reclaimed wetland. There may have been another one or two that I saw as well; these stayed in my memory.

In the Animal Wisdom Tarot, the themes for Heron are Inner Vision, Trust, Timing, Balance and Resolution. The message of Heron is "Take time to feel deeply and choose wisely."

Most notable in the inner vision of the herons over the past two days is their absolute Presence. Each one stood solo, looking around, awake, aware. The sense of Presence and Balance and Rightness was tangible with each one. They reminded me of my own need to stand in balance and presence. Like the heron, I am called on to stand alone even when with others, to be aware of and awake to my own dance and my own path.

What animal has crossed your path recently? What message is that animal speaking to you? How do you manifest the power and gift of that animal?

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Things to Give Up

Full disclosure of the obvious type: I did not make up this list (the URL is at the top of the picture).

I like this list. I've returned to it again and again because I get caught up in doing some of these things and freezing myself in time and space.

The ones appearing most recently in my life are #3 Being indecisive about what you want, #4 Procrastinating on the goals that matter to you, and # 8 Making excuses rather than decisions. These are my personal free-roaming 'Gang of Three.' They feed each other. My excuses allow for my indecisiveness which fuels my procrastination. One version of it goes something like this: "There's too much going on and I really only have time to do one of the things on my list. But I don't know which one to do." *fret-fret-fret* "Now it's getting/gotten too late to do any of it....." *whine-whine*

When I catch myself doing that routine, I stop mid-fret, mid-whine, mid-thought and DO something that moves me off that particular track. Most of the time, I do one of the 'things' on my list. It lifts my mood ~ and I actually accomplish something. It doesn't have to be a lot or the entirety of my list or even the task. Whatever it is, it something rather than more non-movement.

Which of the "10 Things" gets in your way most often? Or is there another way you sabotage yourself and your forward movement? What do you do to shift your direction?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What am I Giving Up?

After reading some of my recent blogs that reference Lent, a friend said, "I thought Lent was about giving up something." That made me think about what I was giving up.... and whether that's what Lent is really about.

What am I giving up? As I was growing up, it was usually food of some sort: chocolate, sweets, soda, potato chips. I tried giving up spinach one time, but Mom wouldn't let me. Notice the pattern? Giving up something that's not necessarily good for you anyway. This year I've determined to give up excuses for not writing in my blog. Or not writing period. It's easy to say (or whine) about being busy or tired or not having anything important to say or.... need I continue? I've managed to miss only one day since Ash Wednesday. The excuses are wearing thin.

Lent provides a venue for me to reflect on where I'm stuck and what I need to leverage for things to flow freely again. That's true whether I give up food of any sort or an attitude I may have or excuses keeping me from doing what is in my best interest and for my highest good.

What Lent is about is reflection and awareness, looking for new growth and greening. It's about preparing ~ for whatever comes next.

What new growth are you seeing in your life? What else would you like to see? What hampers your flow? What could you give up to improve the flow?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sacred Vision

Colette Baron-Reid: Wisdom of the Hidden Realms 
After pulling yesterday's card, my question shifted to "On what do I need to focus for the coming week?" The Altar Priestess showed up.

From the Guidebook: "(T)he Altar Priestess brings the ritual of reverent interaction with the mundane world. You're being required now to see everything as sacred..."

My personal practice of Lent has been to re-connect and re-member that everything around me is holy, that everyone is a blessing to the world. That's not always easy. There are a variety of incidents in the world that often do not appear to me as holy ~ as a matter of fact, they feel downright horrible: war in Syria, mudslide in Northern Washington, train derailment at O'Hare Airport, 'disappearing' Malaysian flight. What of these situations is holy? What about those injured, killed or left behind? It's easy to see the holy in an opening rose, the smile of a baby, a fresh cup of coffee. It's not as easy when we know that pain is involved. I don't know how to see it any differently than it is. I continue through this week praying for the gift of sacred vision to be able to see the holy moment.

What do you see in those most difficult and challenging situations? In those moments, how do you find the holy? Is sacred vision important or relevant to you?

Monday, March 24, 2014


Colette Baron-Reid: Wisdom of the Hidden Realms
As I've continued with Practicing Lent, I find myself often feeling solitary. My immediate family, friends and close associates are either not Catholic/Christian or are not observant of the season of Lent.  I jumped at the chance to share the ins and outs of the practice, yet even that remains a fairly singular experience. I'm noticing the deep and amazing sense of solitude in this practice.

Imagine, then, my surprise upon drawing the Web Weaver card this morning when my question was: What will serve me  this day? From the guidebook:
"Just when you need to make a connection, like magic, synchronicity occurs. Music reverberates through the web and plays in harmony with your  own. This is the sign to trust in the connectivity between all events. magic is afoot for you!"

Throughout my life, I've believed in synchronicity, in the coming together of the Fates to produce magic and teaching that is beyond compare. As "Hannibal" Smith of the A-Team repeats, "I love it when a plan comes together!" For anyone who hasn't seen the A-Team [especially the TV series version], usually the plan he references has gone wildly wrong ~ and somehow still works. My life occasionally works that way too.

How does the plan of your life come together? How does synchronicity play a part? What is the flow in your life between connection and solitude?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Adventure in Artistry

"This is the sort of adventure that rips you open, dripping with life-force. Delivers you to mystery. Unfastens you from what comforts you. Frees you to allure you to the edge, to the liminal, misty, in-between-space and time where soul thrives, madness bubbles, heart tears open, where women and men heal, sob, tremble hard, and learn to serve soul, humans, other-than-humans and the earth with fierce care and solid artistry.
Artistry is a way of living. ... We are naturally evolutionary artists of soul -- individually and collectively. Our work, perhaps, is to remember this. And to share the remembrance lavishly. No holding back. No apologies."                            ~  Melissa LaFlamme

Living in and with and within artistry is an incredible adventure. Sometimes I sit at the edge of that adventure and stare wide-eyed into the hazy spark of life. I stutter and make false-starts, finding myself drawn in and scared away all at the same time. This is the type of adventure that has ever described my life. Not flying down a hill on skis or jumping from an airplane in free-fall. My personal adventure ~ and artistry ~ is internal, deep and full and expansive in so very many ways.

When asked what I want to do with my life when I grow up ~ though I am far beyond the physical 'grown up' phase ~ I say, "Write" or "Breathe" or "Travel" or any of those places and spaces that continues to take me on that ever-adventure of inner-outer to outer-inner and back again. I have lived a blessed life. My goal is to use? ~~ no, wrong term ~~ ride out the adventure as a blessing for myself and for those around me ~~ as a way of bringing wholeness and healing into the world.

From that place, I honor the final thoughts of Melissa's poetry: "No holding back. No apologies." Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your words ~ and allowing me to continue the sharing!

You can find Melissa and her words at

Friday, March 21, 2014


What a glorious day! It's the Friday after the Spring Equinox. Daylight is extending itself more and more into the night ~ until it reaches the Summer Solstice. Green is springing up and out all over. Flowers are blooming. What a beautiful time!

It is also the beginning of Spring Break. The day is overflowing with celebration of both Spring and Spring Break. Travel plans begin for many. Others are doing Spring cleaning or gardening or simply relaxing. Most plan to s-t-r-e-t-c-h their winter-weary limbs in the outdoors.

More about the Practice of Lent ~~ the only season in the Christian traditions (for me, specifically Catholic tradition) based entirely on a seasonal quarter. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. So Lent is 40 days before that. Everything guided by the Lady Moon and Spring. I've always loved this season best. Even before I knew how it was determined. I liked that it changed, that it wasn't the same date year after year. But something about the rhythm of when it arrived felt natural and real. Which of course, it is.

How much of your life is based on natural rhythms? How much on artificial ones? How do you celebrate the coming of Spring? and Friday?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Whale & The World

from Animal Wisdom Tarot
In my practice for Lent 2014, I've been exploring a variety of spiritual expressions ~ many that I've used over the years, some that are new to me. The Practice for me is connecting d-a-i-l-y. It isn't always simple ~ yet it is always good.

Drawing from the Animal Wisdom Tarot, the question in my mind and heart was: What strength do I need for the day? The card I drew was Whale, the All-Encompassing.
"Whale dreams large, an expansive awareness that enables travel to other worlds and dimensions. ... Diving deep, leaping high, Whale inspires us to experience all of life - and enjoy." Its message is "Welcome home."

I certainly wasn't expecting anything suggesting completion or achieving a goal. The message surprised me. As I thought about it, I recognized that it was not necessarily saying I reached completion. Rather that this was the strength I needed. I'm willing to let it float through my day. Do I need to complete something? Or do I need to recognize that I have completed something? Or perhaps that I am complete, not broken or damaged or needy? As the day progresses, I will watch for the deeper meaning to surface for breath and bring its dreams and awareness with it.

What would this card be saying to you? What does the message of "welcome home" mean to you? How does that show up in your life today?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Joseph's Day

When I was growing up, it seems like St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day were feasts in competition with each other. Not sure it was ever clear as to why. What I recall is the feeling.

St. Joseph ~ the human father-figure in the life of Jesus ~ is so incredibly much of an unknown figure. What I like about this particular picture is that he's not an old man. I think he was pictured so often as an old man so the Catholics could continue to believe in the virginity of Mary. Why would she ever want to be intimate with that old codger? Hmmmm. I'm guessing they didn't think about the attraction of a young, nubile woman for some old men.

But I blaspheme..... Picturing him as an old man gave me pause in thinking about him as a carpenter, particularly one who could make a living at such a physical trade. Everything done by hand, using a variety of tools, with a variety of woods. As a child, I dreamt of Joseph teaching the young Jesus to work with wood... hand over hand, showing him how to be firm and gentle with the wood, how to coax form from it. I believe that helped form his steadfastness in his ministry.

As I continue on my path of Practicing Lent, I focus on who this man Joseph was ~ who raised a son as his own when he knew he wasn't; who remained by the side of a woman whose reputation he questioned at one point; who believed in and followed the advice given in dreams; who was quiet and strong; and about whom we know so very, very little. May I be that strong, giving and humble.

Who are the saints in your life? What have they taught you? How is your life different for their presence in it?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reaching for the Moon

©2014 Mary-Lynne Monroe
I love the full moon. Any full moon. Every full moon. I have taken more pictures of the full moon than any three people I know.... maybe more. In truth, I love the moon ~ any time, any where, any way.

Coming off the freeway while driving to work on St. Patrick's Day, I saw the full moon huge and beautiful ~ and I couldn't stop to take a picture. My heart sang, "Please be visible at work." My mind breathed, "Thank You for letting me see Your beauty."

Lo and behold, when I arrived at work and got out of the car, there She was ~ still big and bright and beautiful. I took a couple of pictures through the trees ~ gorgeous images ~ then went upstairs, unlocked the office, dropped my stuff on my desk and went out on the deck surrounding the office. I took several more pictures. Among them, this one ~ an incredible image of the tree top reaching toward the glowing moon.

I recalled stories about the moon. Myths, dreams, fantasies, truths, fictions. What comes most easily to mind is a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher written on a card on my altar at home: "I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." I know the truth of that statement. Every place I've been, from Egypt to China to Ireland and the rest, I've looked upon that same moon and felt a sense of home. And every one of those places contributed to re-forming me into who I am now.

Like the tree in my picture, I continue to reach toward the moon. For me, the moon isn't a goal to reach, it's a harbinger of growth, change, familiarity. It's an apprehending of home, in every sense of the word.

What does "reach for the moon" mean to you? What is your relationship with the moon? What does the moon symbolize for you?

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 2014
The legend of St. Patrick contains the story and image of him driving the snakes out of Ireland. Although snakes were not prevalent in Ireland when Patrick lived there, the myth remains. Many speculate about the persistence of and reasoning behind that particular element of his myth. My personal favorite: Many cultures connect snakes with the Goddess. Since a snake sheds its skin without dying, it is also considered a symbol of regeneration.

The image to the left is Eriu, the eponymous matron Goddess of Ireland, one of three Goddesses who ruled Ireland together. Eriu is considered Goddess of Sovereignty.

That particular assignation left me smiling. My blooming theme for Lent this year is related to sovereignty: autonomy, choice, responsibility. Although I didn't go in search of this Goddess ~~ or know Her story when I found Her ~~ I know She will reveal more about the reason She appeared in my life at this time. She is strong, powerful, balanced ~~ all qualities fitting my Lenten theme.

Who shows up in your life for St. Patrick's Day? What does s/he reveal to you about yourself? about your path? Who does s/he encourage you to become?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Full Moon and Writing

Today's Full Moon in Virgo is about belonging to oneself, deciding when one wants to join in with others and when one wants to maintain autonomy. It's about knowing oneself deeply.

Spending time at a writing retreat yesterday revealed more about who I am and what I value about myself. My comfort level strong enough to opt not to follow the prompts... or to opt to follow them when they spoke to me. I've experienced many writing sessions where the leader/teacher would say, "Follow the prompt or not, as you choose. Or write about what's important to you." Sometimes, though rarely, I followed the 'not' part of that direction. Mostly, I did as instructed. [Good student type]

Yesterday's writing was about autonomy ~ total choice. Even in the midst of the group, I chose what I was doing, when I was doing it, and whether or not to share it. It felt as though I was coming into my own.

What do you do when someone you respect and have given authority gives you a direction? What if you don't feel like following that direction? [This does not apply to bosses, who have a different level of authority!] How do you decide when to join in, follow directions or remain autonomous?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Writing and Silence

Today was an incredible day of retreat: meditation, silence and writing. It was offered in a beautiful space on the Washougal River. The space we used for meditation and gathering opened onto a porch that overlooked the river itself. And the river was in beautiful, burbling form. I loved having the time and the space to focus on what might move through my mind and into my pen. I found that I didn't always follow the prompts, but I wasn't far away either. I could take the time for myself, write what I want and be content.

The sound of the rapids permeated the entire outdoor experience. When we were outside, I found my feet, my spirit, my soul bounding down the stairs to the bench overlooking the rapids. I wanted the space all to myself ~ and so did every woman there! Although it would seem to be a competition, each had the opportunity to sit or walk with the river and that make the day even more wonderfully special and precious.

Silence on a writing retreat is difficult to say is truly silent. There is the time for writing and the time for sharing. There was time for movement in the breaks. Each moment, each sharing, each trip closer to the center of ME. I felt grounded, content, self-aware. I want to do those again.

Relating that to this Lenten season is simple: it's all about awareness. About being open to the call of Spirit in whatever shape and form it arrives. Growth and change and presence. All three readily available in the retreat!

What settles you in to a deeper awareness of yourself? of your surroundings? Do you write about that awareness? Do you share you those moments with others?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Condor in my Life...

As I was waiting for a massage, I opened a book I had recently purchased, Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals by Dr. Steven Farmer. Being a new book, it didn't exactly fall open. When I grabbed some pages and opened the book, the Spirit Animal I found was the Condor. This is what the book had to say:

Andean Condor (from Wikipedia)
In spite of the dire circumstances you find yourself in or the losses you've sustained, you'll eventually find the gifts in this experience that may not be immediately apparent. It's time to clean up the clutter or messes that you find around you. Develop new and creative solutions to those problems that you or others would prefer to ignore. You'll find that your tastes, cravings, and possibly your entire diet will soon change, so pay close attention to your body's response when you eat certain foods. You need to take all those material items that no longer serve a purpose and either recycle them or get rid of them.

I hadn't been thinking anything in particular, no question in my consciousness. My intention was to check the book out, to look for specific Spirit Animals. When I saw the page, I paused and began reading. What I read reminded me that everything happens for a reason. The Condor speaks to me. Dire circumstances? There's been stress floating through my life... sometimes taking up residence for a while. I need creative solutions to my problems ~~ and how did the book know I'd been ignoring them? What a wild synchronicity.

What better time than Lent to pay attention to food and diet! I noticed that certain things were leaving me ever so slightly uncomfortable (like one of my favorites: Trader Joe's Inner Peas!). Not overwhelmingly so or intestinal distress, simply a bit bloated. Something I wouldn't have noticed ~ except that it was Lent and I was paying attention to details I often ignore.

What new things are you noticing in your life? What changes are happening in your life right now? What animal draws you? calls to you?

More Things to Give Up

Full disclosure of the obvious type: I did not make up this list (the URL is at the top of the picture).

I like this list. I've returned to it again and again because I get caught up in doing some of these things and freezing myself in time and space.

The ones appearing most recently in my life are #3 Being indecisive about what you want, #4 Procrastinating on the goals that matter to you, and # 8 Making excuses rather than decisions. These are my personal free-roaming 'Gang of Three.' They feed each other. My excuses allow for my indecisiveness which fuels my procrastination. One version of it goes something like this: "There's too much going on and I really only have time to do one of the things on my list. But I don't know which one to do." *fret-fret-fret* "Now it's getting/gotten too late to do any of it....." *whine-whine*

When I catch myself doing that routine, I stop mid-fret, mid-whine, mid-thought and DO something that moves me off that particular track. Most of the time, I do one of the 'things' on my list. It lifts my mood ~ and I actually accomplish something. It doesn't have to be a lot or the entirety of my list or even the task. Whatever it is, it something rather than more non-movement.

Which of the "10 Things" gets in your way most often? Or is there another way you sabotage yourself and your forward movement? What do you do to shift your direction?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Married to Amazement

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. Her imagery and word choice are vibrant. This snippet from her poem When Death Comes leaves me breathless. Consider the timing ~ as death is coming ~ and the image of a bride and bridegroom. Not concepts we generally put together. Yet Mary Oliver does. Wow.

I love what follows as well:
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
As I continue through this season and into the year, what courses through my system, finding the rhythm of my heartbeat is that final line: I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. I can easily say that we all want to DO something with our lives, but this one is personal. It sticks to me like salt after a dip in the ocean, like garlic on my fingers after making pizza, like the song that keeps playing in my head. It's not important if I'm visible to others, if I am known for anything in particular. Sometimes I want those things, knowing they fade all too quickly. What is important is to have cherished and relished and lived as many moments in this life as I can. What is important is to be present, and to be awake and aware.

What line from a poem, book, speech, or your best friend touches your soul right now?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday #1

Traveller, your footprints
Are the path and nothing more;
Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking.
~ Antonio Machado, Traveller, There is No Path

During this season, more than at almost any other time of year, I feel the traveller, the pilgrim within me, expressing herself more and more. Maybe it's the Spring with its new buds and greenery and lambing. Maybe it's the flow of sap once again after the sluggishness of winter. maybe it's the stretching of the limbs after hibernation. For whatever reason, my pull during this season is to move.

"The path is made by walking." Have you ever walked in a forest or on a hillside or along a road and noticed a path heading off in some unknown direction? Maybe one that was barely noticeable? What did you think? Were you drawn to explore it, to investigate where it led?

Many paths I trod in my life were barely visible markings on the ground. Others were covered with mist. still others were unlit by more than the stars of the night sky. The destination not always assured. Every step an adventure in trust. For each of these I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

First Tuesday in Lent

Isaiah 55:10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my work be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The first reading for today. Isaiah the Prophet. What an incredible metaphor for the importance of our words. Despite this quote referencing the words going forth from a prophet, the mouthpiece of Spirit, they also say much about the power of the words we speak.

If I say "I'm sick", I sometimes begin to feel sick or queasy or tired. If I say "What a beautiful day!", even a bleak, rain-soaked day shimmers with potential. My words, what I choose to say, how I choose to say it and when I choose to speak, carry power with them. That power shapes my world. It can also influence and shape the world of those around me. If I snap at someone "Why did you do that?", she cringes at my tone of voice and the power of those words tears at her confidence. If I smile and say "Let me help you with that!", the response bouys up the other person instead.

That old schoolyard chant of "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" is absolutely wrong. Words can do far more damage to us because the wound is unseen and often unhealed for a longer time.

When have your words blessed you and/or others? When have they cursed you and/or others? What will your words do today?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday #1

With my focus right now veing the practice of Lent, I find myself pulling wisps of wisdom from a variety of sources. For those who really know me, this is how I operate in the world. By this time in my life I've learned that almost everything is connected in some previously unknown way to everything else.

Today was an active, beautiful day. I found myself at peace with my surroundings while getting frustrated with at least one person. What frustrated me was the feeling of not being heard ~ or more specifically, not having my email read thoroughly ~ before getting upbraided. My first reaction was to feel angry.... "Who does...?" and "I already said..." and "What the...?" Fortunately, it was an email format. So I didn't respond. Well, I started to, but deleted what I wrote, knowing it was the exact wrong thing to do. I breathed and let it go. Besides, I was too busy with everything else to pay much attention to it.

Why is acknowledging that incident so important to me? Because I learned something about myself from it. I learned that I can be petty and that I can get angry over little things. Yes, I knew those things about myself. Every time I recognize and acknowledge doing those things or acting in those manners, I come closer to letting go of those behaviors. I don't have to dwell on them or put myself down for having them. Just notice ... and let go.

What actions or feelings or attitudes have you noticed in yourself? Are they helpful? How are you letting go?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Sunday of Lent: Foundations

Yesod Olam
"The ninth sefirah is yesod olam: the divine foundation of the world. ...Through yesod, the divine energy from the upper sefirot enters the tenth, feminine sefirah, malchut, the shekhinah. ...In Yiddish, yesod means basis, foundation, footing, groundwork. Yesoydes is element, Yesoydesdik is fundamental, rudimentary." 
~ from Jewish Mysticism, the Language of the Kabbalah cards

Genesis 3:6-7
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
This morning, I drew a card from a "Knowledge Deck" sitting on my dresser: the Yesod Olam, the ninth sefirah on the Kabbalah Tree of Life. Afterward, I went to the liturgical readings for the day and found the first reading was about the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. In the first, the Yesod enters the Divine Feminine; in the second, the Feminine brings Knowledge to the Masculine. The infinite loop.

Both of these speak to the foundations of faith and spirituality that join, at the very least, Jews, Christians and Muslims. In the Lenten season, we stand at the gateway of Knowledge, a knowledge of our very self. If we watch and pray, fast, remain aware, we find our own foundation, the rootedness of our own faith. Lent is not about finding ourselves in a particular religion or faith, it's about finding the Self. Period. In doing so, we find ourselves face to face with the Ineffable.

What are you learning from this season? Where is your practice bringing you? What is it that lays you bare? What covers you again? What Knowledge grows on your Tree?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day and Lent

Amazed and chuckling, I found this logo for International Women's Day. Not only is it beautiful, it's purple, as is the Catholic liturgical color for the Lenten season. My laughter flourished with the knowledge that purple is a royal color, and yet, for the church, a color of humility and penance. The church refuses ordination to women for them to wear those purple vestments, yet the very symbol of their day explodes with the Lenten color. Seems the church and the women are resolutely at odds with each other!

On this incredible day, when the world focuses its collective attention ever-so-briefly on women, here are some quotes from a few of our amazing number:
"A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult."  ~ Melinda Gates
May you always have your voice.

"Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us." ~ Christabel Harriette Pankhurst
May you always have your dignity, your courage, and your sisters by your side.

"I believe that it is as much a right and duty for women to do something with their lives as for men and we are not going to be satisfied with such frivolous parts as your give us." ~ Louisa May Alcott
May you always have meaningful work and respectful partnerships.

"Women are the real architects of society." ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
May you always remember your capacity to create on small and large scales.

"We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change." ~ Sheryl Sandberg
May you always have awareness and the flexibility and courage to change.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First Friday in Lent

from Wisdom of the Hidden Realms, by Colette Baron-Reid:

The Dragon's Duel takes place at the proverbial fork in the road. It's both Ally and Challenger at once, as it represents the tension of opposites. Even though the truth is that we love in unity, we experience the duality of faith and doubt, love and fear, right and wrong, black and white. This aspect of your current experience asks you to accept that although you may be going one way, another may call to you to change direction.
Now it's the time to inquire whether it's your ego or your soul leading you. There are always choices in life. Decision making also solves inner conflict. If you're torn between two dragons, the one that you choose to feed will be the one that wins. Which is it? If it's not the one that serves the highest of your intentions, deliberately feed the other and the duel will be won in your favor.

First Friday in Lent. This is the card I draw. Have I mentioned how connected to Lent I was growing up? and even as an adult? So, yes, totally appropriate that I would draw a card that is "both Ally and Challenger at once." Isn't that what Lent itself is? An Ally in providing focus, time and space to look deeply into our being, to find the thorns that have grown there, to pull them out, and to heal. Quite the Ally that.

It is also the Challenger. In providing that focus, time and space, we have no excuse to let the thorns continue to grow. We have to face our own part in planting, watering and nuturing them. We have to carefully extricate them from their intertwined place in our hearts, our minds, our souls.

How is Lent your Ally? How is Lent your Challenger? What image, creature or being would you be facing in place of the Dragon?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

From Mahatma Gandhi ~
The roots of violence:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Politics without principle,
Commere without morality,
Worship without sacrifice.
~ Young India 22 October 1925

As I again explore the Practice of Lent, I find myself drawn to statements or clarifications that resonate with the theme of "sacrifice" in both small and great ways. This quote from Gandhi speaks volumes about the state of our world today ~ and of me as a part of that world. It's always easier to point fingers: "that's the neighbor's problem" ~ "if only the parents did...." ~ "the government should...." For me Lent is about the sacrifice of taking responsibility for my words, my actions, my part in the violence around me. It's easier to say the issue isn't my problem because it's bigger than I am or has been around for a long time or doesn't affect me personally. A piece of my lenten practice is to let go of my capacity to shrug off the issue and my ambivalence in letting violence ~ in word, in action or in inaction ~ continue.

Where are you in your practice? What do you want to see in the world? What are you willing to sacrifice to see that happen?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

Today begins the season of Lent. Every Spring millions of people the world over recognize Ash Wednesday as a turning point in their year, the start of a new season.

For me, Lent has always been the marker of a new year. It's time to reflect on the past without reliving it and acknowledging the twists and turns that led me to this place and this moment in time.

The biblical readings today include one of my favorites from Isaiah 58:6-8:
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."

Even though I have more recently 'grown beyond' my Catholic roots, I feel the pull of this season. What about you? Whether at this time of Lent or otherwise, how do you choose to reflect on the path you follow?