Thursday, May 29, 2014

Untold Stories

Today the nation mourns the loss of an American giant: Maya Angelou. Her story carried us into the past and from there rebounded us into the future. As a nation, we were buoyed by her words, touched in the deepest parts of our beings, exposed to our laughter and our tears. She showed us how to exult in our everyday lives. We are grateful for her guidance and will miss her joy-filled face and incredible voice.

I love so many of the words Maya Angelou pieced together into the phrases and stories she shared with the world. This quote especially touches me. It inspires me to continue to write. When my story goes untold, I feel the angst and grief of leaving it buried in my heart.

Sometimes it's not easy to encourage or release my own creativity. Sometimes I struggle with getting the words out, with taking the time to feel them, to get them down on paper or in my blog. What does my story consist of? Who does it include? Is it okay if every once in awhile I focus on a story that is not mine, on words that inspire me, on showing up as much as writing? I often feel as though the exercise of regularly 'showing up' to write is as vital, if not more so, as the actual writing.

In honor of the wonderful poet laureate, I will continue to 'show up' and write. I will make sure my stories are told. I will learn from her creative spirit by keeping mine free.

How do you 'show up'? What do you do to encourage your own creativity? What are the stories you are here to tell?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First Seeing

To look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.
~Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I have probably hundreds of pictures of the full moon. Every month, I'm out on my front porch taking more. I've wondered why the full moon attracts me so. Why every time I see it, I pause to look up into the sky with a grin on my face and a gentle "Thank you" on my lips.

For me, the moon represents that whole experience of seeing something anew ~ as though it's the very first time. The moon shifts through phases, just as I do, and in each phase, it's renewed and glorious.

I set my heart on seeing each day with a newness. Every moment fresh with wonder. I know I fall quite short of that desire, yet keeping desire itself in front of me or even beside me or in my pocket, provides the basis for gratitude and seeing as though for the very first time.

When I let it happen, each day, each moment becomes the very first moment.  Each flower, each blade of grass, each cloud reminds me of the grace and beauty of all of Creation. Yet it's not only the beautiful and wonderful that brings me closer to glory. It's the messiness. The scraped knee, the cat's vomit, the lost girl. All the things that afford a different way of connecting with glory ~ that open me up to love and caring.

What keeps you aware of glory? What represents your connection to renewal? How do you keep those moments in front of you?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Different as Drops of Rain

They say that every snowflake is different ~ a slightly different configuration of frozen water. Looking at this leaf, I see that every drop of rain is different as well. Every rain-drenched spot on the leaf bears a slightly different shape. And every one reflects the beauty of those differences.

On my four-hour drive home from a trip this weekend, I had plenty of time to ponder how those differences I see around me affect me.

I called a friend I hadn't seen in a few months. Over the 30 years of our friendship, we have traveled together several times. She used her wheelchair and/or her walker, depending which provided the most accessibility for her. On one trip, we stopped at the 'accessible' Devil's Tower National Park... which turned out to be a wild variety of accessible. The ramp leading to the trail around the tower may be at the ADA-approved angle, but it is a long gravel path that seems to go on forever. Two gentlemen assisted us from the half-way point heading up, around the Tower, and down again. I was incredibly grateful. The 'difference' with these two gentlemen was that they were obviously partners.

That's one incident with one person. I have been blessed with so very, very many more. Some people talk about the importance of treating everyone the same. I cannot always do that. Everyone isn't the same. Some people are kind, others need kindness extended to them. Some people are loud, others speak rarely. Some people need glasses, others need wheelchairs. Some people worship in a temple, others in a forest. My heart longs to meet people where they are. When I do, their differences, whether openly acknowledged or not, touches me and changes me. I hope and pray that continues.

How do differences affect you? What do you see? What's important for you? How do you treat people you meet? people you know?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Our Contract to Be Here

"A Contract is your overall relationship with your personal power and your spiritual power. It is how you work with your energy and whom you give it to. It is also how much you are willing to surrender to divine guidance. ... Your life is composed of many facets that shimmer and reflect both your physical and your internal energy. ... Just as each fragment of a hologram contains the entire image, your mission is reflected, although maybe from a slightly different angle, within each of these many individual energy rays."
~ Caroline Myss

Imagine yourself as a hologram. Every fragment, every atom of you containing your Contract, the reason and purpose for your being in the world. You are light and reflect the Essence that created you, that named you, that made you whole. What do you do next?

I love this thought, this image of who and what I am as a program in every particle of my very being. I have choice to move on one path or another. Yet within my very DNA is my Contract ~ no matter which way I turn, no matter how often I attempt to deny it, that Contract courses through my heart, my mind, my soul. Essence ~ God, Goddess, Allah, the Universe, whatever name I use ~ continues to remind me of the purpose of my life. As long as I surrender to Its guidance. As long as I let go and re-member the meaning of my connection. Gratitude abounds.

Can you imagine yourself as a hologram? How do you feel about your Contract? Do you believe that it lives within each cell of your body? What do you want to do?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Experience the Mystery

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence - as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."
~ Albert Einstein

This beautiful double rainbow graced one of my recent visits to the coast. The sun was bright and the rain was soft. The expanse of the double rainbow ranged across the ocean. My camera couldn't capture it all and do it justice. In reality, the colors ~ narrow washed out bands in this image ~ pulsed with life and vibrancy. Although I have heard and read scientific explanations about the cause of rainbows, and even double rainbows, what I felt in the moment was awe. Knowledge trumped by Mystery.

My life progresses as a series of these kinds of moments. Perhaps not contiguous moments, yet ones that, if and when I allow myself to notice, spark life into each day. From the first light glimmering through my window in the morning to the flowers blossoming in the yard to the redtail hawk soaring overhead to the glow of the moon in a night-dark sky. From the purring of my cat to the beat of the music as I drive to the sounds of laughter to the burble of the fountain to the heartfelt 'thank you' from a co-worker. I could go on and on and on. When I notice, when I take the blinders from my own eyes, when I stop planning and remembering and pondering, I am blessed by the love of Mystery.

When do you feel awe? What do you notice that brings you joy? How do those feelings express themselves in your life?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Follow Your Heart

Follow your heart.
Sit in stillness.
Seek answers to your questions.
Listen quietly.
Feel the answer.
Trust your heart.

So often lately, my heart seems to be in the midst of darkness, like a warm glowing ember in a tenebrous empty room. I strain toward the light, toward clarity and understanding, yet my pulsing heart remains hidden. Much of what I crave lingers just beyond my grasp.

Even so. The glow from my heart light steers me in the right direction. I begin again to trust my intuition. The unnamed region where I find myself slowly takes on form. Much fear and anxiety live within the confines of that dark space. My heart pulls me forward toward the answer to my yet unspoken question. I know it's the right path.

Where does your heart lead you? How do you decide when to trust in the dark? What do you trust?

Friday, May 23, 2014


Freshness of dew drops in morning air,
wisps of earth fragrance dancing on my tongue.
Like peoples of ancient times,
I honor the glowing orb renewing my world.

Every morning feels new. Light filters stealthily through my open window. My eyes gently blink open to a room awash in the dawn. How I long to never take this moment for granted.

Morning light creates a new palette of color each day. Barely visible steel-blues on rainy mornings. Radiant white slashes across the wall on cloudless mornings. Warm yolk-yellows and pale oranges on early waking morns. Each new day begins with color.

I walk outside on these mornings, viewing the renewal of the earth in the sweep of light awake and aware of the beauty infused in the day. Dawn is one of my favorite times of day!

How do you greet the new day? What time of day is your favorite? What do you notice around at that time of day? Why is it your favorite?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Only One of You

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
~ Martha Graham

In all of creation, there is only one of you, only one of me. Only one who can do the work you or I are in this world to do. Sometimes I forget that.

One reason is when I stop believing in myself. I lose sight of the vitality that makes me special, individual, one of a kind. More than that, I see my uniqueness as a detriment, as something that negates rather than adds to life. Those are the times when the 'cultural norms' seem almost large enough to attack my soul.

A second reason arrives quickly on the tail of the first: I pause in my belief in my own worth. I forget that there is a reason, a soul purpose to my being in this world. I may not always know what it is or see where it's going, but that purpose drives my life force onward and forward, upward and outward. I forget that it does not always show itself or define itself in terms that the world understands. It does require that I remain open and with a crystalline belief in myself.

It's okay when we lose sight of that, when our view is the diminutive version of who we really are, as long as we allow for the moments when that clarity shines through again. During our low times, we need to remain open to connection with the people who believe in us, who encourage us, who love us, and let them buoy us into the next moment of awareness and openness.

How do you view yourself? What vitality do you bring to the world? What unique gift do you have that no one else can bring to the world?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Core

Hubble: Core of globular star clusters 8,200 light-years away in Ara
"Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened. You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don't want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' It is never too early, either."
~ Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect

I grew up totally sure that I was far from perfect. I didn't fit in to my family. I was what Clarissa Pinkola Estes labeled the "misplaced zygote." There were three other wonderful people in my family who were so incredibly different from me. I was moody, passionate, intense as well as an introvert. How could I be part of this group? If they were good ~ and anywhere near perfect ~ and I was so very different, I must be wrong.

From that place, I went to a kind of rigidity. Sometimes, I was so concerned about being different from others that I did my best to fade into the background, to be as close to neutral as I could be, to not stand out. And you know what happened? That very behavior made me stand out.

I like that I am okay enough to make mischief, to have fun and to be contrary. I hope that means I have a deep core rather than a black hole. I want to be what I might have been. I want to be that every single day. And on the best of days, I succeed.

Where do you fit? Are you one to walk your own path? or do you want to be like others? or do you want to fade into the upholstery of life? Do you know "what you might have been"? Do you want to be that?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Complicated

"What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications."
~ Nora Ephron

How do we begin again? How do we get started on a path to renewal and hope? It's complicated. It's messy. It's one of life's stranger moments..... finding the route to the higher thoughts and the positive directions.

So I begin. I imagine myself as the person in the picture: on a high wire looking at a complete and total crazed mess that I need to navigate. I feel exposed and vulnerable, confused and anxious. Where will this lead? What am I risking? Does it matter? What is the risk of not moving?

I put one foot in front of the other. I let myself feel the exposure and vulnerability. What difference does it make? Actually, it makes a lot of difference. When I allow those feelings, I breathe more deeply and more fully. I can be present to what is happening. My vision is clearer because I'm not in the struggle to change either what I see or what is happening.

Walking that crazy, loopy stretch of cording is scary and crazy-making rolled into one. It's amazing when I can choose to see it differently, to see it with new eyes, to embrace it as an adventure rather than resist the unknown.

What do you think of when you put yourself in the position of the person in the image? How do you feel? What happens to your breathing? Have you ever felt that way? What good came of it?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Heights of Experience

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
~ Emily Dickinson

Whenever I'm walking and see a door ajar or a gate or garage door partly open, it feels like an invitation to investigate, to enter and look around. Admittedly, I feel that way with ladders and outside stairways as well. My inner voice switches to auto-note: "Hmmm. I wonder where that leads?"

Most often, I've stopped myself from actually following through on the investigation. Another voice advises caution ~~ I generally opt to listen to that one in this form of reality. My mind creates the adventure beyond the barely open entry or stairway. It encourages my creativity.

What Dickinson says goes another step beyond ~~ to making a choice to leave the soul ajar, inviting experiences of the Divine to enter.  Can I welcome that? Sometimes, I can; other times, not so much. The ecstatic experience, though rich, passionate and wonderful, leaves me vulnerable as well as out of control. I love the feeling and fear it in equal measure. I guess that means I need to experience more of them so the joy outweighs the fear!

Do you allow yourself to be open to experiencing the Divine? How do you experience It? How open are you to leaving your soul ajar? What does that mean to you?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Investigating Adventure

Over the past several nights, I've awakened from the same dream scenario:
I'm at the edge of a wood looking down a sand dune onto a beach. On the beach is a white horse, obviously waiting for me. I walk/slide down the sand dune and get on the bare back of the horse.

There have been slight variations to this beginning. In one, there are a number of people emerging from the wood with and/or behind me. There is a sense of camaraderie and cooperation as we move forward onto the beach. I have the strong sense I'm leading the people somewhere safe and important.

In another, there are people waiting for me ~ or for someone to mount the horse and ride. The feeling senses are similar: camaraderie and leadership and safety.

Whether alone or with others ~ who often wind up on their own horses' backs ~ the strongest feeling is freedom.

In Dr. Steven Farmer's Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals, the horse is about an unexpected adventure ~ and quick movement into that adventure once it begins. It's also about freeing myself from any constricting aspects of my life, having stamina, strength and power, and carrying a strong and balanced warrior spirit.

He also has a particular section on the White Horse:
"You're very well protected from any negative or harsh psychic attack.
You're being called to investigate other spiritual realms and dimensions through meditation, a vision quest, or shamanic journeying.
Let go of any shame or guilt that is the result of childhood conditioning."

As I read this, I felt awash with peace and knew that my current choices and journey are the right ones for me. I felt protected ~ if and as I let myself move into those other realms and call on that protection, the spirit of the White Horse, to carry me forward.

There are some changes on the move in my life currently. Although I've been open to them, I've also been avoiding them ~ aware that they are leading me into unknown territory. Since the dream continues to recur and to bring the White Horse to lead and serve me, I am committing to investigating the adventure of change.

Are there changes happening in your life? Are there changes on the horizon for you? What adventure would the White Horse bring you? How would you feel about it?

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The first time I read this quote ~ many years ago ~ I found myself wondering: Why would it be different for a woman than for a man?

Having been a feminist for most, if not all, of my life, it wasn't because I believed everything was the same in the world for men and for women. The question rose because I wondered why a woman could understand global citizenship and a man might have difficulty with that consideration.

As I've encountered this quote over and over again, I've grown to realize it is about a sense of belonging. Once I understood, intuitively understood, how small and fragile and strong our world is, I could no longer simply consider myself a citizen of one small corner of it, of one nation, one state, one city. What I do, or what I choose not to do, affects far more than me and my immediate surroundings. I feel a kinship with women throughout the world.

Considering myself a citizen of the whole world holds me accountable for my actions in a vastly different way. I am responsible for learning more about how people live in the rest of the world, about how politics affects their freedom and their access to goods and services that I may take for granted, about how my consumption patterns ripple to affect availability of food and water for others.

This point of view, this rejection of belonging to a country with arbitrary boundaries and artificial borders, gives me pause to accept and embrace belonging to something grander, on a larger scale, to belonging to the entirety of humanity. It's different for me, as a woman, because I feel a kinship with women in other countries already. Girls are kidnapped in Nigeria and I weep, knowing the horror I'd feel if that were my daughter. Women are raped as part of a war in Syria and I weep, feeling the violation ripple through my own body. In South Africa, 49% of maternal deaths are attributable to HIV/AIDS, and I weep, knowing men keep the information and protection away from women and children lose their mothers at an early age. When I think of myself as belonging to the global community, then the release of the final Hunger Games movie and who wins the NBA finals or if California Chrome is going to win the Triple Crown slip into an entirely different context.

Where do you find a sense of belonging? What emotions emerge when you think about that place? when you are actually there, if there is a physical place for it? Do you feel more comfortable as a citizen of a particular neighborhood? city? state? country? or the world?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Full Moon in Scorpio

The Full Moon in Scorpio ~~ Mysterious.... Magical.... Alluring.... Elusive.... Transformational

Scorpio, like the Triple Goddess, shows three faces: Scorpion, Eagle, Phoenix.  Scorpio is fearless in its exploration of the deeper and darker emotions of our psyche. Scorpion crawls and hides until threatened. Eagle can be similar in its nature of hiding; its territory high in the sky rather than low on the ground. Both strike quickly and efficiently. Phoenix is the epitome of transformation: life rising from its own funeral pyre. Within that fire lies the secret of immortality and resurrection.

The Full Moon in Scorpio is about facing what needs to die and acknowledging what wants to live; about accepting Don Juan's wisdom to have "death as our adviser." It's also about endurance and the long haul with no choice but to go deep ~ or go home. This Full Moon connects with Saturn to intensify the themes of delving into the Shadow in order to accomplish that release of what no longer serves ~ and transform, be reborn ~ continuing to realize not to get too attached to one's personal story since it is, does and will change.

What do you have in your life that is changing or needs to change? What skeletons are rattling in your closet? How will your story change?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More of What Matters

Rumi. One of my very favorite poets. One of my favorite commentators on life.

What is calling me has changed from what called me 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. My life situation is changing ~ has changed ~ and I find myself looking deeply in a different direction. There is a new-found silence that bubbles from a well I'd almost forgotten lived within me.  The spot had grown so very, very still that any movement or noise drowned it out.

Recently, the bubbling began. And I knew that the Wild Iris bloomed within me, in the dark forest of my soul. There's a beauty there that draws me ever deeper into it. When I get there, I wonder if there will be another direction, another calling, pulling on my soul?

What pulls on your soul? How do you silence the noise enough to hear the calling of your soul? What blooms within for you?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Matters Most

The past several days have been hot.... well, maybe not truly or incredibly hot, but certainly a rapid change from the cool Spring temperatures that had been hanging around for awhile. I am not overly fond of the heat and sometimes find myself either very quiet or somewhat inexplicably crabby. Finding this quote at this particular moment was providential.

Different traditions use different words, yet the sentiment is essentially the same. What matters most is not me or the heat or the acquisition of stuff or even my personal happiness. What matters is loving well. For me that means putting aside the pettiness that often creeps into my mind, words and heart. It means looking at the welfare of others first, but not out of a sense of obligation ~ instead out of a sense of love, honoring, devotion.

How fully I live matters. Not whether or not I'm happy or I have everything I could ever want [which never happens]. It's about awareness.... being in the moment, aware of the joy, sorrow, laughter that is life. I believe it also means being aware of the impact of humanity on Mother Earth and understanding that I am a part of that grand circle of all living things.

The last point ~ deeply letting go ~ is probably the most difficult. I like hanging on to the cuts and scrapes my ego has endured ~ and telling everyone how wonderful I am for having endured them. It keeps me hanging on to the negative aspects of people and situations far longer than I ever needed to. What I really need and want to do is experience, breathe in, the fullness of what is happening in the moment and let the rest fall away and into place on its own.

How do you decide if you love well? or live fully? or let go deeply? What do you do if the answer to any of those queries is "no"?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Enlightenment and Reality

As I was looking on the web, I came across the name of someone whose work I read many years ago: Anthony de Mello. This quote came from his book, Awakenings: Conversations with the Masters.

I don't have a continuing grasp on seeing Reality as it is. Sometimes I totally get that there is no water around ~ no threats or negativity coming toward me. Other times I believe that I'm drowning ~ my world coming apart at the seams. 

What I've come to realize, in bits and pieces, fits and starts, is that Enlightenment is about how I choose to perceive the world. Occasionally, that's as far from Reality as I can get. That negative energy that blocks the true perception of Reality isn't from anyone else; it comes from my own thoughts, my own soul.

How do you perceive Reality? Is it always the same way? Are there differences on different days? or at different times? How do you return to the right view of Reality ~ and Enlightenment?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Starting Over

Every now and again, I get the feeling that it's time to start over. Time to renew my commitment to myself so that I can be better and stronger and braver as I step forward into the world. Today is one of those days.

Recently, I've felt a bit lost, a bit confused, and more than a bit scared. Those feelings were caused by patterns of thoughts about my shortcomings and lacks. Those were the emotions of negativity. When I feel that way or think that way, I have difficulty connecting positively with the world. I'm a bit more paranoid about those around me ~~ "They must see how ____ (fill in with nasty, self-derogatory word/s) I am."

I don't feel that way about myself now. I've been working on those thought patterns and recognize that stress and loss can color how I see myself. And with those new patterns of thought come a renewed sense of purpose and belief in myself, in my capacity to be strong, to learn, to love and to keep moving forward. I don't know that I expect it to be easy and have no pitfalls or slips into the negativity. What I do expect is that I will become more quickly aware of the moments when I dip into that kind of thinking and feeling and make the choice to change to the 'higher vibration' of thought.

What do you do when you begin to feel bad about something you've said or done? How do you treat yourself at those times? How quickly or slowly do you forgive yourself and move on? Does it make a difference in your life?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Do It Now

Nike has a motto: Just Do It. My objection to that motto is that it sounds not only trite, but also marginally demeaning. How one hears the statement depends on the tone used when another person actually says it.

So different from that is this quote. It has a lead in statement: Time is moving along; "someday" or "one day" is a future time that may never arrive. Do the things you want to do now. Stop putting them off for that chimerical "one day" and do them in the present time, the time you know you have.

I'm good ~~ well, mostly good ~~ at planning for tomorrow, for that future time. I want things to happen at a pace that I can tolerate, that won't throw me into that scary space of the unknown. Sometimes that can be good. Being a mom means doing the best I can to provide consistency for my daughter. Now that she's in college, that responsibility falls more and more to her. My responsibility is to step fully into the next phase of my life... whatever that may be!

What do you want to do? Are you doing it consistently in your life? Does fear get in your way? How do you deal with that fear?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dancing Lessons from God

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

GyPSy repeatedly told me to turn. Not only the image shifting on the screen, but also the sweetly female robotic voice. "Turn right at next exit."

I decided that I wanted to go straight. So Gypsy ~ with an assist from God, according to Vonnegut ~ recalibrated the route and decided she could take me where I wanted to go by some very strange and twisting routes. Thank you, Gypsy.

I was extremely frustrated. "Why are you taking me this way?" I snapped. Fortunately for my sanity, Gypsy didn't answer. Another left turn. "Wait a minute.... wasn't I just on the street I'm now crossing? Grrrrr." Gypsy responded with "In 100 yards, turn left onto..." I didn't here the name of the street. As I slowed for the red light, I looked left on the street I was going to cross and quickly turned myself into the left lane. There, on the right side of that street was a sign saying the freeway entrance was just ahead.

"Aha, Gypsy! I have proof you're leading me astray! Why are you doing that?" For an hour, I had wound my way around the city, thinking I was going nowhere. When I finally maneuvered my car onto the freeway, my frustration did not abate. It was rush hour. "Why do we call it 'rush hour' when it lasts at least three hours?" I thought.

While still frustrated about being in the midst of rush hour, it began to dawn on me that I was probably at least an hour farther down the road from where I would have gotten on if Gypsy had simply turned me around & told me to get on the 'right' road.

This certainly was a 'dancing lesson' ~ an opportunity for me to take the lead of another, of God in the guise of Gypsy, and follow. Even though I was following directions, I also was watching ~ awake and aware enough to see the sign for the freeway entrance, even though Gypsy was saying and showing that I should go another way. Sometimes, it's good to be alert and flexible at the same time.

Even in the midst of traffic, I found myself chuckling and saying a prayer of thanks for the dancing lesson.

Do you ever find yourself going in directions you hadn't expected? How do you handle it? Is there anything about the situation to be thankful for? Can you see in it an invitation to 'dance'?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Drawn by Love

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to find out what it is you truly love. Not who you love, but what you love. Really.

I've been reaching for what I love for awhile. Nothing big or important ~~ Ha! It's what brings my heart to life.

What draws me? Writing. I love to sit down with pen and paper or with my fingers on a keyboard and write. Sometimes I'm better at expressing what I want to say, but I love to simply get thoughts, ideas, dreams, notions down in some form.

What else draws me? Teaching. When an idea I have presented lights up a student's face it's one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. I want to expand my teaching environment from the public schools, where I've been lucky to teach for a bunch of years, to .... I'm not quite sure what yet. Part time? Private school? A totally different venue? We'll see where it draws me.

What about you? What draws your heart? What have you found that you love? Are you pursuing that path?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Night is Falling

I'm not sure why we use the phrase "Night is falling" because it really doesn't fall. It arrives in stages, gradually and softly. We know it's time is nigh. Yet.... we still invite it to 'fall' on us.

The view from the window shows one phase, one moment in that process. Most of the land is in shadow ~ although when I looked out the window, I could see trees, field and water. The glow in the sky is the start of sunset even though the sun is no longer visible above the trees. A moment before the golden change flowing across the horizon.

What isn't revealed here are the myriad voices of the frogs, the 'good-night' chirruping of the birds, the buzzing of the mosquito and fly against the screen. As darkness arrives, an entirely new world begins to show itself ~ the nocturnal world. I watch it, I listen to it, I embrace it as I prepare for rest. May it bring us safe and juicy dreams!

How do you feel about night? What phrase do you use to describe night's approach? What do you hear, see, smell and understand about the night?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In the Flow

photo by Warren Nistad
Stream of Live
by Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

When I saw this image posted by a friend, several thoughts and feelings occurred at once: I knew where it was taken, I acknowledged that Canada geese are not my favorite birds, I stared at the reflection of a perfect, beautiful sun. What a gloriously evocative image!

This image mirrors wonderfully the Tagore poem. "The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world...." Amazing! That same stream of life runs through the Canada goose and the pond as well. The energy that animates me also animates and fills every other corner and faction of life. Every little piece and bit of it. Every nuance of life. I am nothing more, nor less, that every piece of creation.

"It is the same life ... of birth and of death, in ebb and flow." What synchronicity! This week I've been discussing encounters with death (mine and others) and a renewed vision of birth. The ebb and flow of conversation carried me along on its current to a better understanding of the circle of birth, death, renewal, rebirth. The ebb and flow of life shows itself in the blossoming of the trees and flowers all around me.

What helps you through the dark times? What actions in your life show you a direction in which you may head? What do you do if it is different from your expectations?

Monday, May 5, 2014


Much of my life is dedicated to doing, to producing some sort of product for or response in my students. I forget about the essence of dreaming.

There is a quality to being able to dream that enhances everything else that I do. Taking the time to encourage that voice inside of me that gives me counsel is one of the healthiest things I do. It's easy to cut it off and say, "Forget it! You take too much time, too much quiet, too much space!"

Looking at the picture, I flow into that elusive dream state. There's a fairy ... and if you look closely at her hand, she's consoling a dragon. What an incredible beginning to a storyline ~ to a dreamscape!  Dreaming nurtures my creativity. It moves me from today into tomorrow. I brings yesterday into focus. It's the place and the space where I can get closer to the heart of who I am ~ and let her shine!

What do you do with dreams? How does dreaming affect your life? How do you define a dream?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Rose of Hope

Photo by Warren Nistad

The Rose
by Amanda McBroom

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

After some recent days of feeling like a failure, I woke this morning with this refrain echoing behind my eyes. The Phoenix was about rising from that devastating sense of self ~ and of recognition of my own part in the process. The Rose is about hope.

When I focus on the negativity happening in my life or around me, I spiral into despair and paranoia. I find myself digging a hole deeper and deeper. If I shift my focus, if I look up, I see the sun, the sky, the clouds, the stars, the moon ~ anything besides the deep, dark, despairing hole.

I know that some flowers, other plants as well, need the cold of winter to let them know that it's time to rest ~ and then to awaken with the spring. This is Spring. This is the season of renewal. I look around at the flowers and trees that are so marvelously in bloom and I feel a buoyancy in the very air around them. It's a season of awakening and hope. A time of opening and birth. I'm awake and aware and ready to fully experience this time of hope!

What shows up in your life when you feel despair? Is there music that returns you to a place of hope? Are there other venues that lift your spirits?

Saturday, May 3, 2014


"The phoenix must burn to emerge."

~  Janet Fitch, White Oleander

I dreamt of the Phoenix ~ tremendous, fierce, immense and majestic. Then I dreamt of becoming the Phoenix. Every inch of me, every cell and every breath was alive with fire. Wait... what? Alive with fire? Doesn't fire kill? Not this fire. This fire cauterizes. This fire cleanses. This fire births.

I felt the heat and the searing intensity of pain. Like a wave, it washed over me. Bringing me to my knees with its force. Until I had no knees. No body. The wave of fire on which I rode was ferocious, abundant, extravagant. Then there was nothing. A deep void surrounded me. Lub~lub, lub-lub ~ I slipped inside the sound, rising and falling with its rhythm ~ a beating heart. Is this what it's like to be reborn?

As I woke, I felt the seeping away of the heat. It diminished to a warm glow that remained in and around me. It colored my day with gold and orange and the glory of being alive.

What creature or creatures do you dream of? What does it feel like inside your dream? How are you affected or changed?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Feeling Like a Failure

Have you ever had one of those days when no matter what you were doing, it felt wrong? I've had a couple of them recently, including today.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Instead of spending it working outdoors, I was doing paperwork. Holed up in my office ... finishing things that needed doing before my leave of absence ... feeling the pressure of a timeline.

This was just the latest. I felt a sense of failure at two different meetings in the past couple of weeks ~ as though I was on the 'hot seat' and incapable of doing anything right to shift the focus.

I found that I was emotionally beating myself up over these things. Thinking somehow I needed to be perfect or someone needed to rescue me or I was being picked on or I was simply the wrong person to be doing the job I'm doing.

When I begin to feel like that, everything spirals downward. It becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. And I become paranoid, thinking that of course everyone knows just how much of a failure I am.

When I saw this quote, my internal gyroscope straightened ever-so-slightly so that I could see the horizon a little bit better. I recognized that it's not about making mistakes or being perfect or even who sees or acknowledges the mistakes. It's about my own attitude toward them and whether I decide to let them define and defeat me or help move me on into the future.

What makes you feel like a failure? What do you do when you feel that way? How can you change your attitude? What would you change it to be?