Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Celebrating Birth and Death Days

What a lovely surprise recently when going to Google's search page. It was personalized for my birthday! On the one hand, sweet and touching to see. On the other, scary that Google wishes its clientele a Happy Birthday ~~ because it does know the birthdays of all who use Gmail or Google+ or Hangouts.... the list goes on.

My birthday was an incredible mix of celebrations ~ birth, life and death. I celebrated my own birthday in person with my partner; received greetings via mail, email, text, phone and social media; and spent time alone, contemplating my life. I played with my new 'toy' ~ a Samsung Galaxy S tablet ~ that I received as a gift. What fun!

My life has been a lovely string of events orchestrated by my parents, by my choices of partners, career and friends and by my daughter. Currently, I imagine hearing Frank Sinatra's voice singing, "Regrets. I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention." Or to remember. It's all been a most amazing blessing.

Lately, including on my birthday, I've been in and around several conversations about aging and about death. One friend posted a picture of her unsolicited AARP card (oh, dear!) bemoaning her aging. Another commented on the number of people she's known lately who've died (or passed over, if you prefer). One wept over her son who committed suicide; another laid a spread of Fall flowers on the ground for a daughter-of-the-heart who died too soon. One spoke about not being able to be around a mutual friend dying of AIDS; another about her fears of her own mortality. One spoke softly about missing her deceased husband; another ranted about her dead father. All of these conversations happened within the past week.

That's the season that occurs around my birthday as well. Death and dying are part and parcel of Fall. Yet there's beauty and harmony in the circle and cycle of life that happens too. We're coming closer to Halloween, All Souls' and All Saints' Days ~ Samhain, the time of year when the veils between the worlds are thinner, easier to pass through. All this is what I love about my Fall birthday.

What do you think of Fall? What do you celebrate on your birthday? Do you think about the fullness of the cycle of your life? How do you feel about it?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Awake Inside Your Breathing

O Beloved,
your way of knowing is amazing!
The way you recognize every creature
even before it appears.
The way you gaze into the face
of every human being
and see all your works gazing back at you.
O what a miracle
to be awake inside your breathing.
~ SYMPHONIA by Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen lived in 12th century Germany. When she was 8 years old, her parents sent her to a Benedictine monastery where she learned to read and write and eventually live out her life. When she was 50, she became abbess of the monastery. Hildegard's life story is a fascinating one. All the more so because she wrote not only books, but also music. She was the mystic of the greening; she saw the intensity of growth all around.

This snippet of Hildgard's Symphonia is lovely. Although she is speaking of God as her Beloved, she could be referring to any of a multitude of Divine beings. I so love the sound and flow of it ~ calling the Divine "beloved" and feeling the awe and amazement of being seen. That's what the Divine does for us ~ helps us to be seen, to be know as an individual.

When I think of the phrasing of the last line, to be awake inside your breathing, I feel the gentle pull and the warmth of the breath of the Divine. I feel the moisture of that life-giving breath. It is a miracle and I am grateful!

What presents you with the beauty of the Divine? What do you love most about it? Do you have a favorite poem that connects you with the Divine?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Color Stories

At a writing workshop, the workshop leader brought Inna Segal's Secret Language of Colour Cards. The directions were to draw one or two of them. When we had the card or cards, we were to use the color or colors in our writing. Here's what flowed through my mind, down my arm and into my pen.

BB bounced into the room, ready for ~~ well, I wasn't quite sure what she was ready for. She was dressed head-to-toe in her trademark black: shirt, skirt, leggings and shoes. The eye-popping difference was the magenta scarf looped at her neck and hanging to her waist.
As I reached for my first glass of burgundy for the season, I observed her. it was difficult to tell what kind of mood she was in. So I took a sip and took a chance.
"BB, hon, where are you off to?"
"Oh," she startled as though she hadn't noticed me in the 8x10 foot kitchen, sitting on a stool at the island in its center. I'm only 6'4" but you'd have thought I was invisible.
"I'm off to the school play," she said, twirling. "How do I look?"
Questions like that are free-floating mines in the ocean of dad-daughter relationships.

Although this may not be a polished story ~ or even a complete one, I love the prompts where the story shows up when bidden ~ even in a certain timeframe. Not always the pattern for for my writing. When it does happen, it feels like grace ~ and a blessing from the Divine. The Divine, for me, is that place of flow and peace and trust. Whatever anyone else may wish to name it, it's the feel that matters.

My choice of cards was random with the cards spread out on the carpet and me grabbing the two that glittered their call to me. When I sat down to write, I noticed the numbers on the cards: 16 and 17. In the 'deck' or booklet, they are next to each other. On the floor they were half a deck apart. Another sweet coincidence. More things to love.

How does flow happen for you? What creative endeavor do you spend time on or with? How do you feel when that creative flow occurs for you?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mythic Storytelling

Wisdom of Avalon by Colette Baron-Reid
I truly enjoy the art of divination: shuffling a deck with a question in mind, then choosing a card. Over the course of many years of doing this, I'm a believer. It's amazing how much I've learned through this method!

My question: What strength will I dance with tomorrow? I shuffled the deck through several repetitions of the query. I felt a nudge to finish with my shuffling and split the deck which I gladly followed. I was left with two choices, the 'bottom' card (the one shifted to the bottom of the deck when the cut is made) or the 'top' one. I wanted it to be the bottom one, but kept feeling that insistent nudge to choose the top one. So I did.

What a surprise! I got The Bard: music, poetry, myth, history, the enchantment of storytelling. What a hoot! I love myths and am a storyteller. My focus is reworking and reclaiming the myths that shape our lives and our world. I call it re-mything. More than that, I am participating in a writing workshop tomorrow where I am certain the mythic will show up. It always does.

Now if you're thinking is anything like mine, I wanted to check out the 'bottom' card to find out if the concepts were similar. That card was The Horse: accepting help from another, delegating authority. Very different messages.

What I recognize is that like most things, the choice is always mine. I can follow my instinct which made one choice or my mind which made a different one. The differences are not always so radical. Other factors often pop in to change it up even more: emotions, memories, chance. Whatever I follow is my choice. I love my choice this time. Nothing against The Horse. I'm simply thrilled with The Bard!

How do you make decisions? Is it different if they're big decisions or not-so-big decisions? If it's something as simple and non-crucial as a divination card, does it matter?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Diary Writing

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been told for a long time that the best proof of being a writer is writing in a journal or diary. Wow. I don't do that. Writing this blog is the closest I come to diary writing. I suppose that makes me less than perfect on the writer scale.

That said, I think I could write diary entries like this image suggests. If I could begin a snippet of either the day or a 'tarot moment' or a collected kledon, use that to begin a story, and run with it, I'd been a happy camper. I will add one thing to this advice: Do what makes you happiest. Do whatever kind and amount of writing that satisfies your soul. Don't let anyone dictate what you should or shouldn't do or say, what you can or cannot write. Name yourself: writer, poet, tale-teller, whatever fits. Believe in yourself. First and foremost. Always answer the call of the muse of writing.

What advice would you give your inner creative? What do you need/want to do to nurture that creative spark? What keeps you from doing it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Good Advice

How many times has someone told you to 'just be yourself' and assured you that everything would be fine? How many times have you given that advice to another?

I heard that phrase multiple times each year I headed into a new school or a new setting. I was the quiet one, the introvert who watched more than participated. Somehow, being myself required that I be more outspoken. Or simply spoke more. Not going to happen. I'm not sure the speaker knew myself well. Being myself often was painful because others didn't approve or like or notice who I was.

Now that I'm older, and presumably wiser, I have an extremely different view of the advice to 'be yourself.' First, I've grown to accept the introvert within me, even to the point of honoring her and holding her close. I've learned how to be myself in the midst of a group and have many friends. My introvert self is bookish and has a wicked sharp wit and tongue. People laugh at my one-liners and find my stories pleasant to hear. Those are all facets of me that thrived within the introvert self.

'Be yourself' is incredibly rich and difficult advice. Our culture, although it holds particular strong individuals in high esteem, encourages us to be more alike than different. From a young age, we are taught by adults and peers around us that looking, acting, speaking and being a particular way ~ like the group ~ will gain for us acceptance, protection, affection.

"Who else can you be?" you may well ask. It's not a question of who else I can be, but of how deeply and thoroughly I can hide significant parts of myself ~ parts that put my individuality on display.

It's exciting to get 'be yourself' as my Teabag Tarot' advice today. It gives me a reason to review how much of myself I choose to show, how much I choose to hide, and how thoroughly I know who I am through it all.

How fully do you follow the advice to 'be yourself'? What facets of your personality do you feel a need or desire to hide? With whom can you more fully expose who you are? Where do you find yourself hiding?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon that's so clearly and recently arrived barely rests in Libra and is conjunct the asteroid Lilith. Much of the power flowing through it carries the rebellious feminist energy of the Dark Goddess Lilith accompanied by the Divine Feminine energy of Athena. With both of these Goddesses active, the clearest theme is your relationship with yourself. Be comfortable with yourself. Allow every aspect of your inner goddess to shine forth.

Be ready to start something new, something that calls to your deep inner desire and brings you into a healthier relationship with yourself. That may be walking, dancing, eating healthy....anything along the usual path of 'healthy.' Or it may be reading a book, going for a massage, or taking a class. Whatever brings you peace and a stronger sense of well-being. Move forward from this New Moon with confidence, grace and ease. Feel the subtle strength of the Goddess empower you. See yourself as a Conqueror!

What does the title Conqueror conjure in your mind? What do you do to mark the passage of the moons? Which goddess speaks most clearly to you? Why and How?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Venus Chasing Luna, part 2

There is much of the Goddess of Love in this time of year as we enter Sol in Libra. Venus rules Libra. She is all about relationships and balance.

As I watched Her continuing to watch and chase Luna another day or two, I knew She understood the challenge faced. I pondered what Venus could or would do.

Venus Chasing Luna

Venus returns to the Court of the Divine. She is distracted by what She has seen ~~ and by Her unspoken promise to help. She struggles with deciding what to do.
On the one hand, She is the Goddess of Love. As such, She is often called upon to help lovers. The supplications are generally from one of the lovers and not the other. She rarely intercedes. It is Her policy to only affect a relationship where both lovers approach Her with the same request. In this case, neither lover requested Her assistance.
On the other hand, She is aware that Jupiter has chosen to keep the two lovers apart. He wanted Luna for Himself ~ as He does with many beautiful women and goddesses. Luna was not interested in Him. When He pursued Her, He discovered She was seeing ~ and in love with ~ Sol. Her unavailability only made Her more desirable to Him. Luna continued to shun Him. In anger, Jupiter devised a way to separate the two lovers. Since He ruled the skies, He put Sol in charge of lighting the day and Luna lighting the night. When one was fully in the sky, the other could not be. From what She saw, that did not keep the lovers from loving each other, only from being together.
Venus smiled at Aurora as She approached. A plan was beginning to form.... maybe there was a way.....

Have you ever offered help to someone without being asked? Why did you do it? What was the result? How did you feel about making the offer?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Venus Chasing Luna, part 1

As I left for work one morning earlier this week, I looked into the brightening sky and saw the image of a bright speck following on the heels of the waning moon. The day was not as dark as the image shows ~ the camera's eye could not capture the colors and subtleties that my eye could see. I am thrilled it captured what it did.

Venus Chasing Luna

Luna faces away, moving higher and further into the brightening sky. She searches for Sol, hoping to meet Him, to be able, for whatever time possible, to touch and be touched by Him. Deep in Her pursuit, Luna is unaware of Venus trailing behind. With a subltety unusual for Her, Venus stays behind Luna's back, in Her shadow. She is intrigued by the movement of the Goddess of the Night.
"Where does She think She is going?" muses Venus. "Aurora rides the horizon. Luna becomes a shade soon; She cannot hold Her shape much longer."
Yet Luna continues Her upward journey. She is determined. Even Aurora's strong, bright presence cannot dissuade Her nor drive Her from Her chosen path. Ahead of Her, barely visible on the horizon, rose Sol. Luna stretched forward to reach Him before She faded away. On seeing His beloved Luna, Sol also stretched forth to reach Her. At the last moment, almost touching, Luna's form faded into the bright glow of Aurora as She drove the night away to prepare for the coming of Sol and day.
Venus, as the Goddess of love, was deeply touched by the heartbreak that played out morning after morning and night after night for the two lovers. She determined to help them have time to be together.

Have you ever felt yourself chasing after something or someone who always seemed out of reach? Did you give up your chase? Were you aware of anyone else around you?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dreaming Goddess

The Dreaming Goddess or the Sleeping Goddess of Malta. She was found in an incredible structure called the Hypogeum. The figurine is small, but the rounded body of the Goddess is clearly in a position of rest.

This image of the Goddess touches me in ways other images do not. It provides an example of what appears to be a very human side of the Divine. One that clearly shows rest, sleeping, dreaming as aspects of the Divine and activities ~ or non-activities ~ not only approved, but also participated in by the Goddess.

Reclining, resting are shown as valuable undertakings ~ or the Goddess would not be doing them. Dreaming, allowing for that heartbeat of rest where you open to the thoughts of the Divine flowing through you. I am thrilled that this is so clearly something acknowledged by the Divine.

What are your first impressions of the reclining Goddess? How do you participate in the rest and dreaming suggested by this Goddess? What does She call forth from you?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Between Moons

We recently experienced the third Super Moon in as many months. This Full Moon was in Pisces ~ cleansing the deep emotional realms all the way to the karmic level. With this moon came heightened sensitivity and an unearthing of old wounds for the process of washing away the residue of whatever you need to leave behind.

As the moon wanes, we are left with the 'afterglow' ~ the deep questions that the emotional cleansing brought to light:
What is my truth? Who am I called to be? Why did I incarnate in this very moment in history? Can I leave behind the old ways? Can I embrace the new? Where is my intuition leading me? Will I find my way through the darkness to the new dawn?

We have slipped just past the Third Quarter Moon on our way to a New Moon. The time is ripe for continuing to focus on removing any blocks or negative energies that may inhibit the ability to manifest goals. As we sit between the Phases of the Moon, I continue to shed everything that no longer serves me.

Do you use the phases of the moon as a guide throughout the month? How do you work with the phases of the moon? How do these mini-months shine light into your world?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ideals of Beauty


from an article in The Independent:
Could the "lady of Villers-Carbonnell" represent the neolithic ideal of female beauty, long before the coming of fashion magazines, airbrushes and Photoshop?

Now there's a fascinating question. Look at that body. Nothing like the ideals of feminine beauty we've come to culturally admire. The breasts are too small and the hips too wide. Yet through the ages prior to our own recent past, round hips were admired and breasts did not have to be large and bursting out of clothing.

There have been more and more articles recently addressing our cultural obsession with slim-hipped, busty female figures. We seem to forget that the wide pelvis (translating to rounder hips and buttocks) generally provides more space and protection for a growing offspring.

Yet I find myself wanting to balance the picture too. Some women naturally fit the cultural ideal; others do not. Perhaps what we need to do is design the cultural norm to be less of a singular image and more of a sliding scale. Allow for the diversity of our human population. Stop attempting to squeeze or stretch everyone into the same mold. We allow that for men. It'd be great if we could allow it for women as well.

How do you feel about the ideal of beauty in our culture today? What do you think of the different standards for men and for women? What does the neolithic statue express to you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Become Infinity

Aahh. Another 'Teabag Tarot' moment!

I love the simplicity of this thought. Open up to infinity. Open up to the Divine. Open up to joy. Open up to ..... whatever it is you want to manifest in your life.

If you open to infinity, to infinite possibility, you choose having that in your life. It's easy to continue in the mundane processes of our day-to-day existence and pretend that everything is 'just fine' ~ forgetting that there is so incredibly much more to who and what we are.

What does it mean to 'become infinity'? For me, it means to partake of the universe, to allow for all the possible wonderful things to occur in my life. Becoming infinity. Wow! What a concept! Allowing my soul, my spirit, my deepest part of my being, to expand to a place and point where I don't recognize my surroundings. Where life is multidimensional, as in more than 3D. It means to flow in the moment, to let go of the parameters I place on myself, the expectations of limitation.

I know how 'woo-woo' that sounds. It's not about seeing anything other than what's already there. For me, becoming infinity encompasses new definitions of what is possible and I like that feeling.

What does 'becoming infinity' mean to you? How would you open yourself to infinity? Why would you open yourself up? What good can come of it? What risk?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Storyteller Within

"Mouse. Mouse! It is not safe to go near Owl! It is dangerous!"
Mouse heard the chattered warning from the other woodland creatures as they crawled, slunk or flew away. Yet Mouse was not afraid.
Owl was the woodland storyteller, the ancient one who remembered the Whens and the In-the-beginnings. Mouse wanted to hear those stories again. Mouse wanted to become a storyteller herself. So she scampered up the stump carefully and quietly so as not to disturb the sleeping Owl and waited for the Storyteller to awaken.

There is a place deep within each of us where we ourselves become the teller of the tale of our being. Mouse awaits the awakening of the Storyteller to hear once again Owl's stories of the woods. What are Mouse's stories? What can awaken the Teller within her?

What do you think will happen when Owl awakens? What of your own internal storyteller? Is yours awake? What are the stories you tell?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Llama Stability

Animal Wisdom Tarot

Elements: Air and Earth
Qualities: Steady, Patient, Practical, Receptive, Balanced

Llama's messages:
Center your body, free your mind. Stand firmly and securely on Mother Earth. Climb slowly and carefully. Do not rush. Persevere when the going is difficult. Accomplishing dreams takes effort and hard work. Be aware of subtle changes in the atmosphere. You can adapt to any situation and manage any loads you are carrying. Focus on yourself. Priortize your personal growth and connection to spirit. Follow your heart rather than your ego.

As I shuffled and drew the card, my question was: What quality or qualities will I need in the coming week or two? I wanted to know what would serve me best and what I could count on to strengthen how I walked in the world.

For me, Fall is a time of new beginnings and renewed energies. The playful warmth of Summer draws to a close and the preparation for Winter propels a new kind of movement. In this busy environment, it's good to be reminded to slow down and focus on what's truly important, on what arises from my heart. Even though I have lived with the reality of my ability to adapt and to persevere, I often forget in the midst of activity.

I appreciate the stability of Llama showing up in my life. That no matter the rocky slope or the thin atmosphere, she is steady and sure-footed. She brings me back to the remembrance that at the core of my own stable being is the Divine undergirding my world, catching me as I slip and slide in my spiritual practice. I am grateful for the reminders.

How do you approach Fall? What is your sense of the season? How do you deal with the rocky slopes of life? What undergirds your sense of stability?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time to be Grateful

At work the other day, I asked one of my co-workers about his toddler. He responded that he was worried about the child. As the conversation progressed, he described worries of the general kind: the current respiratory illness going around, the possibility of falls toddling around, ways to keep the child safe.

He said, "I must sound like a real goof with all my worries."
I chuckled and said, "Not at all. You sound like a normal parent. And this is just the beginning."
He responded, "I know! If I knew what I was signing up for, I don't know that I would have been so anxious to have a kid!"
We both laughed.

Another co-worker overheard part of the conversation and said, "We are living in the greatest times ever! We don't have to worry about being raped and pillaged on a regular basis."
I responded, "Maybe not you. Women still have to worry about rape."
Both co-workers agreed.

Later, as I thought about the conversation, I realized the second co-worker was correct with the first part of his statement at least: we do live in generally safe times. A book I recently read was describing the influenza epidemic of a century ago. Although I'd read about it in the past, it put the deaths of millions of people into a different perspective. Men who were apparently healthy left the house in the morning for work and dropped dead, or nearly so, on the street before they could return home that night. People were instructed to wear surgical masks when they went out. Many forgot. Public events were canceled. Then, when they thought the worst was over, the next wave came through. Imagine being a parent during those two or so years!

I'm grateful for the times in which we live. The truly negative side is the news putting too much focus on the negative and the deadly without adding perspective to it. Yet overall, our times are so much better and safer than the past that it's easy to forget to be thankful. I'd prefer not to forget.

How do you feel about our times? How do you deal with the discrepancies between those in different socio-economic standings? What is your biggest worry today?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spider Teaching

After shopping, I returned home to find that a spider had made a web across my front door. I wouldn't have noticed it but for the movement of the spider itself in the center of the web. Wow! It was preparing for a big catch!

It's funny when Spider shows up in my life. I'm usually alone and often feeling stretched or stressed. It's as though Spider comes to tell me that I'm stronger than I think, that I'm creative and, strangely, that I am enough to take on anything!

Spider speaks to me clearly about creativity ~ in a way different from any other. My creativity comes from deep within me. It flows out of me when I need it. Sometimes it seems invisible to others. Sometimes I want it that way.

Spider speaks to me about fears. I have had a changeable fear of spiders. Sometimes I really want them somewhere other than around me; sometimes I give Spider a wide berth; sometimes I draw close enough to watch the web-builder at work. Even when my fear isn't at its strongest, it still exists as an apprehension, an avoidance. Spider provides the opportunity for me to face my fear, to re-evaluate its necessity or reasonableness. And from there, the chance to face other fears as well.

Every time I come face-to-face with Spider, I ask what Spider means to me now? Is it different in this moment? What do I need to know/learn? Why has Spider arrived now?

What enters your life repeatedly with a message? Is the message the same each time? or is it different? How do you feel about Spider? What message does Spider have for you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Internal Noise

ML Monroe

It is a paradox that we encounter so much internal noise when we first try to sit in silence.
~ Gunilla Norris

Have you ever attempted to sit in silence? I have. More times than I can count over the years. Each time I start, the noise comes. It's as though my brain waits for me to sit in meditation before it opens the floodgates of internal dialogue. It often begins with lists of what I 'should' be doing: laundry, dishes, reading a book, writing.... it goes on and on. Sometimes it goes on to a discourse on why I should be doing ... whatever else. Then there are the conversations I begin to have with others: "Why didn't you clean out the litter box?" pops into my head with an image and the dialogue is off and running. I could go on and on and on with examples. 

I've decided to let the chatter slip into that space that becomes 'white noise' ~ it's not as loud or pressing there. I don't fight it. Sometimes, I say to the chatter, "Sit over there a while. I'll get back to you when I'm done." Occasionally, it even responds positively by doing what I ask. Then the next time I sit down, it might begin again.

The internal noise is like the bubbles rising to the surface on the water. Sometimes they're visible, they catch my attention. Sometimes I'm focused within the depths and don't notice them. Either way, I am okay with the thoughts and rumblings existing. It's all part of the journey of my life.

How do you treat the internal noise that comes when you attempt to sit in silence? How does it feel? Does it whisk your attention away? How do you feel about the noise?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Eye of the Beholder

Colette Baron-Reid
From the guide:
Examine your perceptions. Do you see the world as perfect and beautiful? Can you retrace your steps from your past to now and see the perfection in the way reality has been created? Truly, perception is everything. The Eyes of Beauty remind you that if you move forward with conviction, all is well now and always will be. You will see true prosperity as a result. Expect to see beauty and you will attract prosperity as a result. Expect to see beauty and you will attract your highest good.

There's a commonly used phrase that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." If that's as true as we claim, then everything is in the eye of the beholder ~ beauty, grace, joy; and, of course, their opposites. Our perception is the most significant decision-maker for us. We have choice as to how we see people or situations we encounter. 

The other day I saw a friend I hadn't seen for awhile. He was rubbing his eyes, his head down, his face looking solemn and kind of scrunched up. I said, "Tired?" He picked up his head, looked at me and said in a mock hurt tone, "Thanks. Do I look that bad?" I explained why I thought he was looking tired. His response was that it was allergies making him rub his eyes. The remainder of his appearance was part of the reaction to the allergen. 

What a lesson! What I'd intended as a comment of sympathy turned into a misconception. I realized that it was my interpretation of what I saw. That gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate how I see things, how I interpret what I see, and my choice in how I react.

What story do you have of your own misperception? How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Watching Like a Cat

In myth and lore, magic and mystery, Cat has nine lives, curiosity, independence, cleverness, unpredictability and healing, and is at home in the dark, often associated with fears. Cat helps people move through their fears efficiently.

The energy field of a cat rotates in a counterclockwise direction, the opposite of a human energy field, giving cats the ability to absorb and neutralize energy that affects humans in a negative way. This is part of cat's healing medicine.

I'm always fascinated by the poses my cats take. Lazing across a chair on a hot afternoon, this cat practically hangs his head over the edge of the chair, surveying his domain. He looks half asleep, but if anything moves, he's up and ready to pounce.

One of the qualities attributed to cats is patience. I've found that patience is and is not a cat trait. On the one hand, it often appears Cat can wait forever for something to move. On the other hand, if something moves elsewhere, Cat shifts focus to the new movement. Personally, this exhibits Cat's propensity for being in the Moment. "Well," Cat seems to conclude, "if there's no movement or life here, maybe the movement over there will be tasty." Yes, I also believe everything Cat does is related to its stomach.... Why else does it need to pounce?

How does that single-mindedness relate to me? I often find myself so completely focused on a thought or description or desire that nothing else matters. What I like about Cat's way is that when there is movement elsewhere, perhaps I would be better off with a refocus of my attention. Something new to practice while I laze around on a hot late summer afternoon!

What trait or traits do you see in Cat? Which draws your attention? How does that trait show up in your life? How can you practice it?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Using Your Voice

Today's Teabag Tarot: be heard

Being heard is about using your own voice to clearly express your needs, wants, desires and choices. It's about the firmness and directness of what is said. You don't have to be loud or obnoxious. You don't have to whine or chide. What you have to do to be heard is to be clear.

Of course there will always be people who will run over you with their own desires or choices. Being clear or firm with people like that may not change the outcome (like that co-worker who always follows you to lunch even when you say you want to be alone or you're meeting som). What it does, though, is remove the self-shaming, the self-blame ("Maybe I should have...."). If you''re clear about what you want, need or choose, then it's easier to accept that the response is not your fault.

Being heard is not about blaming others either. It's about personal boundaries and personal voice. It's not about giving you permission to be mean to the co-worker who follows or accompanies you to lunch without your permission. It's about giving you permission to continue to do what you need to do for yourself, to be clear that you are providing boundaries, even if they are being crossed. Eventually, even the most persistent pest understands being ignored and redirected because you are clear.

Being heard is also about speaking up for yourself. If there's a task you would like to do, ask if you could be in charge of that item. Or if there's a task you really don't feel comfortable doing, clearly state that you don't feel comfortable with it. That doesn't mean things will always go your way, but you know you're doing your best by yourself and others when you use your voice.

There are many opportunities each day for me to be heard. I can speak up on my job. I can tell my partner my meal preference. I can express without malice that a sales sign is misleading or misplaced.

How do you use your voice to be heard? How do you feel about speaking strongly for yourself? What next step would you like to take to improve your chances of being heard?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Natural Expectation

©2014 ML Monroe

I'm afraid to live any place but in expectation.
~ Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game

Over the past decade or so, there's been much focus on being in the present moment. Many interpret that to mean we stay focused on today and have no expectations. From my point of view, that's a near impossibility. I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning if I didn't expect the natural flow of time would call me forth to work, to breakfast, to greet the day. Although that sounds simplistic, there is a natural expectation that dwells within all living creatures.

The bee expects to find sustenance when it reaches a flower. Her inclination is to reach for it, to touch it, to check it out. She does that because of her natural expectation around flowers.

Humans have natural expectations too. Infants are born expecting to be fed and nurtured. Most newborns naturally turn toward the mother's breast, open-mouthed, searching for food. They live in that precise moment with a need and an expectation that the need will be met.

Our fears and anxieties are often born out of unmet expectations. Or the thought that the expectations may go unmet. Our thoughts, our creative imaginations, so vital to our life and survival, can also conjure fear.

Understanding that some of our expectations are natural provides balance in the now moment. Expectations mean we are looking for or forward to something. What creates the negative side is our anxiety that those expectations will go unmet. If we live in the present moment, we can acknowledge the expectation and the feelings around it without allowing those feelings to overwhelm us, and without getting upset with ourselves if they do.

What are your natural expectations? How do you feel when you think about them? What feelings overwhelm you when you think the expectations aren't going to be met?

Friday, September 5, 2014


Who wants to find Struggle as a central card in a Tarot reading? I certainly prefer not. When I researched possible meanings, this is what I found:
You may be working through personal issues .... At the same time, you have others around you who have strong views about what you should do .... Just when you think you have a clear point of view, you are challenged on that view or you discover new information, and you change your standpoint again. This process is actually highly beneficial and will help you to come to a well-researched and well-thought out perspective. Know, too, that there is no ‘right’ answer, and whichever path you do choose, someone is not going to agree with it. So, you have to find the most comfortable option possible that sits best with you. It may not be 100% right for you but you need to choose whatever is closest.
I am finding this to be so very, very true. I waffle and waver back and forth, attempting to determine what is the best path, how do I best accomplish it, when do I move forward and in what manner. Each of these could take months to determine. Together, it could be years. Yet a decision needs to be made soon.

Even though I am the final decision-maker, I find myself asking others for advice, direction, resources and help. I want all the necessary data to make a fully informed decision. Sometimes that means I am overflowing with knowledge, yet slow with choice.

Reluctantly, I must admit, this is precisely where I stand. I have some major deciding to accomplish and often feel frozen in indecision. I am hopeful with the ending of the explanation of the card: "It may not be 100% right for you but you need to choose whatever is closest." The time is coming.

How do you handle struggle? What would you want to say to Struggle in your life? How would make your choice?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Be Curious

This morning's tea bag came with advice: be curious. What a great focus for the day! I began with noticing the way the light played on the grass; the shimmer of bright reflected on the car; the rosy tint surrounding the clouds as the sun rose. My beginnings were about observation. What was different about today? The light? The sound? My focus?

At work I allowed the flow of the day to run its course. We had a meeting and I focused on being present ~ I know that's not the same as being curious, but it led to curious questions along with the discovery that answers were not necessary. Answers were not about curiosity, questions were.
  • How is being present different from sitting there daydreaming?
  • Why would I want to be present?
  • What purpose does it serve?
  • What can I do differently each day?
  • Can I be present every moment?
  • How can one NOT be present in one's life?

That teeny tag attached to my tea bag brought moments of diversion, joy and curiosity to my world today. I wonder what tomorrow's teabag will say....

Do any of your teabags carry message tags? If so, what does your message mean for you? Do you take teabag tag messages as omens? What other signs and wonders are in your life today?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I have lots of 'stuff' ~ not unlike most of the people I know ~ yet somehow I find myself wondering how I got to the point of owning so much that I often feel owned by it.

When I was younger (not so very long ago), I lived fairly simply in a studio apartment and I was happy. It was a simpler time in my life, a more reserved time, a slower time.

When I think about nothing owning me, another sensation passes through my being: this is not only about 'stuff.' It's also about the ideas and beliefs that I have. When I get caught up in them, tangled in the web of 'being right,' I am owned by these notions. I am attached to how right I am in my particular thoughts or beliefs.

What I like about Ali Ibn abi Talib's statement is that it reminds me of the importance of detachment in my life. It reminds me that nothing is important enough to own me; that I need less than I insist on having, no matter what I choose.

What do you insist on 'owning'? How does that ownership in turn own you? What are you willing to do to change that?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Well-Burning Life

On my list of things I've never considered: whether or not my life is burning well. If I had thought about my life burning at all, I would not have considered it a great option. Under most circumstances, burning and life are not positively associated.

If my life is burning well ~~ what does that even mean? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, for me, it means that I am living from my passion, living with passion. My expectation is that my life would shine with excitement. If that's the case, then I haven't been burning well. I don't think that is the case. I believe that passion is what keeps us in forward motion, what keeps us breathing. It doesn't have to be big and exciting. It can be simple ~ and bring us joy. When I find that place, that moment, that space between the breaths, I pause and write. What shows up is poetic and revelatory. I want to capture the moment in words and in images.

My well-burning life keeps me posting on this blog. It keeps me in motion. Speed matters less than intensity and continuity. I am grateful for every breath, every flame, every ash.

What does a well-burning life look like to you? How does it express itself? What is its definition and shape?

Monday, September 1, 2014

World-Ending Meditation

Whew! It's been a while since I've sat for a significant time in meditation. I'd forgotten how altering it was ~ and that forgetting happens almost immediately when not sitting regularly.

When I sat in meditation today, I slipped into that deep, quieter-than-relaxation place. I felt my shoulders drop in relaxation, my breathing deepen and slow, the voice in my mind go still. It was more profound than my words can describe. I merged soundlessly and seamlessly with another dimension of reality.

Shortly after moving out of meditation, a phrase from a R.E.M. song filled my mind:
"It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."
I interpreted that as an intrinsic Tarot announcing itself to me. Like the card Death, meaning a transformation, transition or significant change. Perhaps revealing one that is already present in my life. Meditation set the stage for open awareness, a time to notice what is happening internally and in the world around me.

How do you interpret songs that 'show up' in your awareness? Do you meditate? If so, how does it help you? If not, would you consider trying it to see what happens?