Saturday, April 30, 2016

Letting Sadness Be

Aleph, Paulo Coelho
For some unknown reason, I felt a great sadness weighing me down part of the day yesterday. It's a moveable feeling. It shows up every now and again, as though I have lost something or someone recently. Grief. And yet not quite to the defined extreme as grief can be.

When I came across this quote, it was amazingly applicable to what I felt. Most specifically, Tears are words that need to be shed. Something inside me, deeper than I knew possible at the moment, needed to be shed. Needed, even called, to be released.

I know people who believe that we continually need to keep our energy and perspective at the highest vibration or level possible. If we continue to focus on the positive and the best outcomes, we draw that to ourselves. That's the Law of Attraction. Although I agree with the principle, my experience is that For me personally, I must let the emotion be. I must call it by name, not to focus energy on it, but to acknowledge it. If and when I do that, I release the emotion into the Universe, into the hands of the Divine, to be transformed. If and when I do not acknowledge it, it continues to knock on my inner door, disturbing my stability.

That brings me to the final sentence of Coelho's quote: Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end. In my life, I have kept tears at bay. I have swallowed them before they ever left my eyes. I have walked away from situations so I would not let the tears flow. Without the tears, and the ensuing words that create and embrace them, dullness takes over. In my experience, I cannot call it sadness because its texture is different. Sadness has emotion and power that arrives with it. What I feel is dullness. As though nothing can penetrate and touch my space, my mood, my being. I would rather let the tears come, let sadness be, know that tomorrow will bring another chance for joy.

What do you do when you feel sad? Do you ever feel a general sadness, without a reason? How do you handle that? How does it feel when you act as though sadness is gone (and it truly is not)? What do you do to work through that feeling?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Retrograde and The Empress

From the guide:
The Empress signifies the female and chaotic power of the universe. She guards the powerful and vulnerable life force, which delicate balance should be protected but not constricted. This sensual and loving archetype teaches us to love and cherish ourselves as well as the world around us. A mother's true love means granting freedom for change and growth, protecting without smothering. As all mothers she juggles many tasks and she succeeds because she draws her energy from the love within her.

Today begins Mercury Retrograde. We're also experiencing Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn Retrograde. We spend much time blaming Mercury Retrograde for everything from our mood to losing a shoe as well as using it as an excuse to avoid certain activities. So what precisely does 'retrograde' mean in our lives? It could possibly have an inverse effect or create a reversal of situations, change of feelings or activities, alter our communications, or affect our ability to discern information positively.

As I knew we were beginning the oft dreaded Mercury Retrograde, I drew a tarot card with the focus question of: What do I need to balance and stay strong during this time? The Empress showed up. What I especially love in the passage from the guide is that She is the female and chaotic power of the universe. So that's the balance and strength I need for this time? I would suppose it is. Even though that is a strong and powerful part of Her, She is also the Mother. She embodies both the universal chaos with its implicit movement and disruption and the eternal mother with its calm, embracing steadiness.

As I read about the other Retrograde companions, I realized The Empress was even more perfect for this time. Looking at this particular image of The Empress, She is strength, love and vulnerability. She's without clothing ~ symbolizing being without guile ~ in Nature. She has an intimate, loving relationship with Her child. She holds a spiral shell of stars over her midsection which symbolizes the fertile, ever-expanding universe. The Empress understands Nature, is free within it, and shares it with Her offspring. I am safe with Her by my side.

How do you experience Mercury Retrograde? What have you heard about it? Even if you don't personally follow astrology, are there times when things go askew multiple ways or times at once? How do you balance yourself during these times? What do you see in The Empress? How could She guide you through your off-balance moments?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Stepping into the Abyss

Quote by Edward Teller
On various occasions in our lives, we find ourselves at the edge of an abyss. Going forward forces us to step into the unknown. Going back is simply not a choice. There is no back.

We arrive at this edge from a variety of paths. Death, anger, divorce, loss, illness, or a wide swath of other possibilities, all of them carrying moments of pain and passages of darkness. Not simply the darkness of a room when the light is turned off or a moonless night or when we throw the covers over our heads. It's the darkness of the deepest jungle at night, the water a mile under the surface, an unlit cave in heart of the earth. A dark we can't comprehend until we are in it.

At this point, with wide blind eyes, we feel our way forward, hear the pebble skitter over the edge and wait to hear it touch ground. It never does. That's the darkness of the abyss. We know it when we hear it or feel it or sense it. Our intuition does not err. So what do we do? Is there a safe way forward? That depends on the definition of safe. Going forward is the only option. So we stand at the edge of the unknown and take one more step.

Where will this next step take you? How far have you come to get here? What lies behind you? What do you feel? hear? sense? Where are you headed?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Choosing Who to Be

Over the course of our lives, we live through multiple opportunities to choose who we want to be. We also have the option to remain stable ~ stagnant, some may say ~ and not alter our way of being in the world.

I've been fortunate to have gone through several of these times, these incredible opportunities. Some of them have been painful. Some have been exciting. Others have arrived because it was time. All of them have stretched me.

When I went away to college, I chose to attend a university several hours away from home. More than that, I'd only looked into that particular university because my best friend wanted to go there.... and never did. The irony of that choice has never left me. That change ~ from high school student, living in my parents house, roaming around a major city where I grew up to a college student in a small college town ~ was bittersweet. I was growing up, as I knew I needed to, and leaving others behind.

Getting married presented me with yet another opportunity for changing who I was in the world. I followed that age-old path only to find, a few short years later, that it was not the path for me. That change was painful ~ yet, like the girl choosing to be a witch ~ I knew things. I learned much about myself and about life. I had the remarkable opening to recreate myself ~ and so I did. Stronger, more secure, more confident. Yet still trusting and innocent. My choice could have been different ~ I could have remained hurt, living in fear of encountering pain again, living small and knowing less.

Life allows the availability, the presence to make these choices on an irregular basis. Whether or not we choose, who we are reveals itself to everyone we encounter.... even if we believe otherwise. Personally, I like being a witch.....!

What has life put in your path? How did you choose? Why? Are you aware of any changes coming in the near future? Do you use any particular process to make your choice? Are you happy with being "a witch"?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Power and Love

I could live on Rumi poems..... then again, I could live on many poets' writing. Something about the brevity and clarity of their words.

Personally, I have total belief in Rumi's commentary. I've experienced the power of travel over and over again throughout the course of my life.

Most recently, I took a three-day journey to another part of my state. Another person traveled with me; we met another at our destination. It was a very low-key time. We did simple things: shopping, walking around, a hike through a local park, a play, shared meals. In the context of travel and being together in a shared environment, we did these things with more consciousness than if we were at home, even performing the same acts. We noticed the beauty of our surroundings. We left the mundane behind. We enjoyed the rain, the chill, the sun, each and all in immediate and different ways. We talked about mundane as well as significantly important topics. At various times, I breathed deeply and spoke about how enjoyable and wonderful our shared time was. All of us agreed. It felt refreshing, invigorating, empowering. As we shared time together, we also felt the gentle spirit of our love.

Could we have experienced that together at home? Perhaps. Yet the effort it often takes to be fully conscious, fully present can feel heavy and interfere with the uplifting power when in a place where our responsibilities are reduced and shifted. Travel is a gift we give to ourselves and that, too, is loving and powerful.

How do you feel when you travel? Where have you traveled most recently? How are your interactions with others different when you travel? How does travel empower you?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hair-pulling Stars

From the time I was a child, I would go outside alone at night to listen to the stars. Although some may have considered it odd, no one ever denied that the stars sang. Somewhere along the line, I simply stopped telling people why I was wandering alone in the dark staring up. It was becoming a common practice for many people. Enough so that people stopped questioning it. When sitting with a friend in a hot tub late one night, I shared with that I was listening to the stars sing. She sat quietly for several minutes, looking up at the stars. Eventually, she asked how she could learn to hear the stars. It was only then that I realized the stars didn't sing for everyone.

When I read this quote from Anais Nin, it brought those memories quickly to mind. Its words reverberate in a language I recognize. I'm restless. That's so very true. It's a restlessness born from the wild calling of the stars. I feel closed up after a time of being inside. Like a bud reaching for the light so it can to bloom. Things are calling me away.

The line that nearly brought me to tears was the final one. My hair is being pulled by the stars again. I love the terminology, the imagery. I can see the hair-pulling stars. When I wander outside, it is almost always at night. I am forever looking up, taking pictures of the moon, watching the planets gather and pass. For me, it's not my hair being pulled. It's the call of the stars and the planets echoing in my ears. It's my personal symphony; my music of the spheres.

What part or parts of nature call to you? How does that call happen? What sense experiences it? How do you respond? What happens if you don't?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Life and Courage

Great gratitude to the tea companies that provide me with Teabag Tarot! This one arrived attached to a my tea yesterday. It resonated deeply with me.

Despite the words, I do not believe this is truly saying life itself doesn't matter. It's the details of life, the day-to-day stuff that happens, that is less important. In the long run, it won't matter if your work colleague took credit for your idea or if your lawn was mowed every weekend or if you had the highest gpa in seventh grade. What makes a difference is what you bring to the adversity you face. How did you respond when someone put you down? What did you do when the doctor gave you a worrisome diagnosis? How did you face the rapids when you were whitewater rafting?

Courage is a force within each of us. It shows up in different ways. Sometimes it's the moments when we break down, weep and wail over what's been lost, and continue on. Or the times when we find we need to turn our backs on a painful situation and move on. Or the times when we step in to fully embrace a new situation. Courage comes into our lives in times of change, whether radical or subtle, desired or resisted, adventurous or mundane. It does not reveal itself the same way in each person or in each situation.

We value strong shows of courage ~ and the people who exhibit them. We often don't recognize the less flashy kind. The mother whose child is born with a disability, whose courage is a daily movement and coupled with love. The youth whose dream is to be an artist and continues his art, no matter what. The surgeon who leaves her practice when she realizes her hands are no longer as steady as they once were. These are courageous moments too. They are the day-to-day decisions we make about how we will go on. Courage comes from a deep place within us, a wellspring we often don't know we have until we need it.

In what situation has courage arisen in your life? How do you recognize it in others? What kind of practice might cultivate courage for you?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Changing Your Story

Colette Baron-Reid, Wisdom of the Oracle

Self-criticism; the wounded ego; unnecessary dramas
The Oracle's message: There is a story woven through the imperfect fabric of life that tells of hurt and loss, rejection and humiliation, self-loathing and arrogance, and all manner of suffering born of unnecessary dramas. It is the old story whose refrain is that you cannot do this, must not go there, should not say that - lest your world come crumbling down. .... Distorted guidance is preventing you from being true to yourself. You are not your story, and the narrator is simply the voice of your fearful part, small and vulnerable and easily soothed.
Relationship message: ...Right now you have an opportunity for important healing, but you must reflect on the stories you weave.... Not only do you need to begin a new story; you need to forgive yourself for telling yourself the old ones.

What are the stories we tell ourselves? How long do we choose to hold on to them? What good do they do?

Anyone over the age of two tells stories. Once language begins forming in us, so does storytelling. It's part of our nature, part of our connection to others. We determine how we fit into our communities through our place in the stories.

So when we begin to tell our personal stories, we place ourselves in relationship to the rest of our world. Stories are words, and words carry power. The old playground adage of sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me is a falsehood. Words hurt us far more than any physical wound. This is true for the stories we tell ourselves as well.

I'm in the process of rewriting one of my personal stories. The details aren't important, but the feeling they created is. It was one of those "poor me" stories. You know the ones: I'm so left out or I've been hurt so much or I'm so misunderstood. The themes are constant and recurring even as the characters change. Even though I cannot change the past, again with the details, I can change how much energy I put into it. That energy drains me ~ and I wind up having less of it for the more positive stories in my life.

The difference for me at the moment, as I work on making the changes, is that I am in relationship with some of the characters in one of the tales. Currently, we are in dialogue about those past moments ~ and working cooperatively to face and make the changes, to own what was our personal reactions as opposed to what was true (not a good word choice in stories) or perhaps what was happening inside the mind and heart of the other. It's a blessing to have this opportunity.

That said, even without those moments of connection with the other, it's about learning how to forgive. Forgive the other. Forgive the gods. Forgive myself. Because holding onto the negative energy of those stories can be a killer in the end.

What stories have you told yourself? Have you changed any of them? How have you done that? How does the energy of those stories effect you? What can you do to begin the process of change? How can you learn forgiveness?

Friday, April 22, 2016

One Perspective

When I was twenty-nine, I discovered a book titled An Interrupted Life and its author Etty Hillesum. A small, paperback volume. The diaries of a woman who died in Auschwitz at twenty-nine. She spoke so eloquently of life in its day-to-day messiness as well as its deeper mystical qualities.

For me, this quote is a reminder as much as an acknowledgement. It is a reminder to breathe. To notice my body taking in deep breaths. To acknowledge the pause, the rest, between the breaths. In those moments can lie the entire universe. It is in that place where I meet the Divine, where all Creation comes together with the Creator. Not the place where I might hold my breath, but the place where my breath naturally shifts from in to out and from out to in. The place where I don't know in which direction the air is moving. As another mystical writer, T.S. Eliot, put it in Four Quartets, "At the still point of the turning world."

Sometimes, when the world seems at its maddest point, noticing that resting point can return everything to its essential perspective. It doesn't have to be as mad as the Holocaust. It can be overhearing the neighbors argue ~ again; or losing an important paper for work; or waiting for the results of a test. All of those moments are madding. Each speaks to me, to us, of fear or loss or overwhelm. When I can return from those moments, slow the world to more reasonable pace, pause and notice my breath, the madness pauses with it. Although the breath flows both ways, the madness passes and I relax.

How do you read this quote? What do you see/hear in it? What creates madness in your life? How do you recognize the madness? When was the last time you noticed the rest between your two deep breaths?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 2016 Scorpio Full Moon

Every Full Moon has its own special characteristics.... much like the people in our lives. As with those people, we sometimes don't want to recognize those attributes.

This particular Full Moon in Scorpio ~ while the Sun rides through Taurus ~ has a wild variety of options in its wake.

Scorpio brings out and up hidden things ~~ deep in the depths things. Not necessarily to shine light on them.... more to shine them up, like Crow, and see who notices. Quietly. Think about what rests within you that this Full Moon is getting ready to shine up, to bring into the light.

There is a great deal about this Full Moon that also brings Light to hidden dynamics and things long avoided. It's pulling us into the powerful darkness with the promise for renewal and deep, dark change. Its potential is to shape that change with the power of personal imagination.

Scorpio is an all-or-nothing sign. Risk. Surrender. Reward. It also thrives on ritually marking changes ~ and healing in the process by facing demons, confronting and walking through fear, embracing every aspect of the experience. As this happens, so does the true and deep magic that Scorpio brings.

Full Moons are about completion and moving forward. Scorpio is about transformation. This is the dance happening in this Scorpio Full Moon. Are you up for it?

What has a psychic hold on you? Are you ready to find out what lies hidden within? What needs to transform in you? Where do you need to own your power? What have you completed?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dream World Solitude

Anais Nin ~ one of the world's most incredible diarists ~ had much to say about solitude, quietude and exaltation. She lived her life to the brim ~ and often overflowing. She was also a very strong, confident and self-reflective writer.

This particular quote of hers surfaced when searching for quotes about 'letting go' ~ her unique point of view.
"In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude."

Solitude arises as I set out on my journey into each day. Mornings bring quiet and light and nature's sweet waking songs. Joy bubbles into those moments. Not only the lighthearted passing moments of appreciation of the beauty of the day, but also the deep-set, amazed joy bringing warmth to every beat of the heart.

I wake within the dream state. Mostly, I recall my dreams in that instant of awakening ~ barely stepping into the interstice between the veiled world and the solid one. Sometimes, I record the dreams. Generally, I grope my way into them, allowing the sensations to wash over me. My constant expression is gratitude. Thanking the Divine for the gift of dreams, memory, veiled world, and breath.

No matter that I wake alone or with another. In the moment when I awaken, I am in solitude. Totally. Completely. I feel the Glory of contact with the Divine, the Breath of the Divine entering my body. Connection.

How do you feel when you dream? when you wake from a dream? Do you like solitude? Do you appreciate it? Does it feel more like joy? or loneliness? Do you feel awake? aware? lost? afraid? How do you relate to Anais Nin's view of dreaming, solitude and joy?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Held by Courage

"I am the Shaman of Courage. Whenever and wherever you need me, I will be there to help you discover the resources that lie within you ~ resources you may not know you possess. I am there to support you in times of need, when challenges become overwhelming, when strength is required to make even an inch of progress along the way. I journey into fear and at its heart find courage to overwhelm it. This courage I impart to you, and will guide and protect you if ever you are in danger."

When I drew this card, I chuckled. Prior to drawing a card, I picked up the deck and found this same card turned over on top signifying that it was the last card I had drawn. Shuffling the deck, my focus was to draw a quality that would serve me in the coming week. I cut the deck and turned over a card ~~ the same card that had been on top when I began shuffling. Amazing how those qualities find their way into view.

The past several days have drawn me into the circle of the Shaman of Courage. As my status continues its trajectory of shift and change, it is valuable to find the resources within myself, to be reminded that those resources are present and available. Some level of fear is generally present when dealing with change. Whatever is surfacing is unknown territory.

Stepping forward is heading into the Darkness and the Mystery. It insists that I operate with trust ~ which was once one of my greatest strengths. In my forward motion, I am reclaiming that trusting part of myself. The part that knows things are bound to get better. As I step forward hand-in-hand with the Shaman of Courage, I see my wholeness and know that it is more than the sum of its parts. It is the depth out of which I continue to move.

What is shifting and changing in your life? How is your status different now from what it was in the past? How do you feel stepping into the unknown? Have you let go enough to step fully into that Darkness? What do you want from the Shaman of Courage?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wheady Mile

From Byegones, May 20th, 1874:
'A wheady mile, a mile beyond expectation, a tedious one';...a long mile, a mile longer than it seems to be. And thus, too, every task or labour which turns out to be greater than was at one time anticipated, or anything that is peculiarly long, tedious, or wearisome, is a 'weady job,' or described as 'mighty waydy.' Anglo-Saxon wide, longus. The common word to wade is probably akin to this.

When the term wheady mile showed up in a Facebook post, the very sound of it struck my fancy. I determined to uncover how it might apply it to my life as well as to define it.

I am in the process of completing a wheady mile in my life.... one of those places and spaces ripe with the readiness to move on, yet I have not. This one involves my job. Being a teacher is not only what I do, but strongly who I am. Yet there are many pieces of the puzzle of public education today that have less to do with connecting with students and their learning than with proofing a product for college or employment. Each curve of the path lately turns back upon itself and provides shorter-lived moments of joy than previously experienced. It shouts to me of the need for shift. I am stepping away from the wheady mile and find a new path.

Can wheady mile apply to emotional states too? I'm bone-weary of waiting for changes to happen. Sometimes, the distance between making a plan, implementing and fulfilling it, is longer than expected. As I await this expected change, ready to move on, other opportunities percolate into view. I recognize some of them from past moments along the way. Others are totally new and offer a perspective not previously noticed.

I also feel more awake and aware now. My dreams have shifted as well. I spend time in preparation within them ~ cleaning debris away from a three-way intersection; directing people on how to cross a busy crosswalk-less street; hanging rugs and tapestries on huge lines in the sun; herding people into well-stocked, comfortable trucks for an important and necessary journey. Each of these are snippets carrying a similar theme AND each part of the whole speaks to an integral shift. The feeling is akin to sitting in an unfamiliar vehicle, preparing for a road trip: mirrors checked and adjusted, seat adjusted, steering wheel set-up and all gauges checked. These are slight shifts from getting into my own vehicle ~ common adjustments to fit me rather than the previous driver.

What does wheady mile mean to you? Is there something happening in your life that feels wearying to you? Is there a shift needed? What messages from your dreams align with this?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Nonjudgmental Reflection

Wisdom of the Hidden Realms by Colette Baron-Reid

From the guide:
The Lady of the Mirror is both Ally and Challenger, asking you to see yourself in the mirror made by the events in your life. She represents the powerful force of the Law of Attraction and reminds you that what you are is what you attract. .... Certain events are fated to test our faith. Rather, find yourself within the web woven through your life, your relationships, opportunities, desires, seeming failures, and successes. Observe how you've responded to life's challenges, great and small, and be aware of what is familiar in the present. Release all judgment, and accept things exactly as they are with love. The Lady of the Mirror asks that you honor every part of your story as essential to your highest unfolding. 

This card comes at the perfect time. (Isn't that always the case?) I've been touched by several new experiences lately. My deepest reaction was non-blaming and nonjudgmental ~ and it surprised me. It's as though I already started on the path of the Lady of the Mirror.

One phrase from the guide caught my attention: "...what you are is what you attract." If ~ and when ~ I'm tense or nervous or stressed, what arrives on my doorstep is usually something reflecting those same qualities. It becomes a downward spiral ~ or even a slide! People around me respond accordingly as well. They show more agitation as a reflection of mine.

On the other hand, when I am calm or reflective or joyful, what shows up around me is generally much the same. I feel more positive and more upbeat in my responsiveness and those around me often show up with the same upbeat manner.

I was also attracted by the final statement to "honor every part of [my] story as essential to [my] highest unfolding." In truth, there are some pieces of my recent experiences and story that I would prefer to leave behind. Yet these words speak clearly to me about every part of the story being significant. Each piece, whether or not I find value in it, has value to the greater picture. I continue to breathe in this nonjudgmental moment. This does not always come easily to me. My human instinct is to evaluate, and with that evaluation, to judge events and the people in them good or bad, right or wrong, helpful or harmful. These past few days, I have had the pleasure of nonjudgmental reflection and reaction to my experiences.

How does nonjudgmental reflection show up in your life? Are you exactly where you need to be on your path? Do you love what you see in the mirror? Can you perceive your part in your reactions and the motives behind your current inquiry? How honest are you with yourself?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Have I Gone Mad?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice remains one of my favorite characters to follow ~ down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass, either works for me. She moves with cool confidence and commonplace expectation through a landscape of dream and adventure. Her questions reflect the juxtaposed juncture of 'mundane' and 'exceptional.'

Like this one: "Have I gone mad?" She's asking this politely of the Cheshire Cat who occasionally reveals himself to be only a grin. In the mundane world that very action would be the answer to her query!

I love his response: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret... all the best people are." As Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was first published in 1859, it was likely the first book to use the term 'bonkers' to mean crazy. Looking up the word's origin, it is claimed as 'unknown' and has it originating in the 1940s or 1950s. Clearly, most of those looking at its origins have not read Alice..... how sad for them! I digress ~~~

Being bonkers, mad, crazy, whatever term one chooses to use, is a good thing. It describes lightness and play in one's heart ~ a capacity to express oneself in ways that are beyond the normal. All creatives are thought mad at some point or another. All dreamers are too. This kind of madness, though, is both blessing and curse. Name-calling generally leaves one feeling judged and out-of-sorts. Yet it is also a way to explain the feverish directed passion that can overwhelm someone when they catch, or are caught by, the creative spirit.

How do you feel about being called 'bonkers'? Are your creative moments planned? or overwhelming? or timely? Are you glad to be in the company of others with that moniker? or do you steer clear of those with a creative passion bent?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Wild Places of the Mind

How I discovered Katherine Mansfield and this quote from her Notebook, I have no idea. No matter. It is here and so am I.

"The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind."

Prior to reading this, I did not ponder any specifics of  the mind I love. Over time, I have chosen friends and lovers whose minds could match and challenge mine. I did not want to be bored.

My mind is awash in the creative language Mansfield uses ~ the fullness of the Wild Places. Without copying her specific terminology after the wild places, I consider the mind I love ~~~

The mind I love must have wild places. They ring with crimson bells and resound with the voice of the loon and crow. They focus bright white full moon light on darkly rippling water. There must be a lilac wood for the unicorns and high stone ledges which dragon fire cannot harm. Snakes and snake charmers, suns and stardust alike shimmer at the edges. The labyrinthine depths draw me farther in and closer to the heart.

I have met this mind. I have danced to its music and floated on its clouds. Its gypsy wild howls bring me ravenous joy.

What about you? How would you describe the mind that you love? What kind of wild places would you associate with that mind? Is there more than one? Would they have similar wild places? What is a wild place within your own mind?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dancing with Gumby

I woke one recent morning from a dream of dancing. The beat of the music was captivating, the dance floor full, the light softly glowing. The band was on a step-up stage not very far in front of me. As I looked across at my dance partner, I saw a rubbery and smooth movement from almost prone on the floor to full standing in front of me. My partner was also kind of green. I started to giggle as I realized that I was dancing with Gumby.

My giggling probably woke me up. Really? Dancing with Gumby? What does that mean? I felt happy ~ there was a bubbling sensation that remained even after the giggles stopped.

My daughter played with Gumby and Pokey at one of our favorite breakfast places when she was a toddler. I knew, and still know, very little about the characters. So I was surprised to find Gumby could dance so well and was my dance partner.

As I was curious about this fun dream, I decided to re-enter it at a later time. My goal was to find the meaning..... or one meaning. Sometimes there are many. When I did the re-entry, I discovered that more of those on the dance floor were either characters of some sort or in costume. I couldn't make out the specifics of the costumes so I did not find out what other characters may have been there. What I eventually noticed was that I was also 'in costume' ~ I wore a tulle skirt that floated around me like my own miniature cloud. Underneath the skirt, I wore light blue leggings or tights. I also wore a woven jacket of some sort.

After observing all of this, my mind asked my dream self why I was dressed as I was.
Dream Self: Because it's comfy. Besides the skirt floats when I dance.
Mind: Why are we here?
Dream Self: We were invited, silly! Don't you remember?
Mind: No. Tell me more.
Dream Self: Things are changing. There is a great celebration happening. It's time to dance. It's time to be with others who are like us.
Mind: Who are these others?
Dream Self: Others with gifts. Others expressing their creative, deeper selves. Others practicing being heroic by being seen. We're here to support each other.
Mind: That sounds good. Is it just one time? or can we return here?
Dream Self: We can return here whenever we need or want to. It's the place where we remember our creativity. That's why it's important.
Then my Dream Self danced away from me. I knew our conversation was done. For the moment.

I like that I was dancing with Gumby. I enjoyed hearing that one meaning of the dream was that it was a safe place to practice creativity, to allow room for the less staid side of me to flow. I hope to return there again in the future!

Have you had dreams with characters in them? from TV shows or movies or books? How did you feel in the dream? How did you feel when you woke up? Have you ever attempted to re-enter a dream? What did you find out? What would be your interpretation of the character/s in your dream/s?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cutting Through Obstacles

Nahualli Animal Oracle cards

From the guide book:
"The very first god that Star Skirt ... created was not a god, as we think of gods, but a tool: the sacrificial obsidian knife, Itztli. .... Itztli is a cutting energy. The force of cutting through obstacles and bad habits is here for your use, but you must be willing to use it. When you pick up the blade of Itztli, it must be with a unified purpose and a firm hand. If your conscious mind is willing, but your subconscious is fearful, you do not have a unified purpose and your ability to wield the force of this Night Lord successfully will be lost. Both your minds must be united, and then your cut will be clear and true."

As usual when I do divination, I asked for guidance and for a strength which might be necessary or useful for the coming week. As I shuffled the cards, a gentle focus and quiet slipped into the room. I cut the deck one final time and turned over the top card ~ not my preferred pattern for drawing cards. I noticed the Divine Stone immediately.

A pattern in my life is in the process of significant change. I need to cut through the obstacle keeping me bound to the old pattern. It's an important step so that I can move on. Yet... I am aware that my conscious and unconscious minds need to be unified before I take the blade and cut the cord. My heart wants the cut to be true.

I believe the Ancestors and the Divine set my hand on this card to reinforce both my decision to change the pattern and my intuition to have a unified purpose. The card now sits on my altar as a reminder. Two words beat their cadence in my mind: Unity and Gratitude.

What pattern in your life calls to be changed? What obstacle do you need to cut through? How can you move forward? How unified are your conscious and unconscious minds in wielding the Obsidian Knife?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Don't Go Back to Sleep

Five mornings a week through every season of the year, my drive to work takes me directly into the sunrise. [The rest of the year, it's either full dark or the sun's already above the horizon.]

The scene is often breath-taking at dawn: fog rising off a river, hillsides covered with greenery, clouds playing peek-a-boo with the light. Of course, there is also the traffic, the mile markers and the exits. Yet through it all, what I see, what wakes me up, is the beauty.

These things make up my version of Rumi's world. As I drive through these adjoining worlds ~ akin to Rumi's doorsill ~ I often find myself seeking something. I ask for guidance for the day. Or I express gratitude for the beauty. Or I request blessings on friends, co-workers or loved ones in distress. Until I found and read this poem again, I didn't realize that I was following Rumi's advice to "ask for what [I] really want." The moments of growing light are the grand doorway to the world's beauty. Beauty captures the heart and leaves it grateful.

One of my favorite phrases of Rumi's has always been his charge: "Don't go back to sleep!" In the midst of that morning beauty, it is easy to express gratitude. It is a wonderful reminder of the glory of the Earth and the great gift of Life.

I start my days that way because it is so much easier to 'go back to sleep' later in the day, when the beauty is not quite as breath-taking and visible. If I practice gratitude and awareness first thing in the morning, it creates a rhythm within me to continue to be awake, or to return to wakefulness, later. Rumi reminds us to be mindful of the 'breeze at dawn' because those are the moments when we can breathe in that awareness of the side-by-side worlds before getting bogged down in the mundane routines of our day. It helps keep us focused.

How do you begin your day? What is your 'breeze at dawn'? your 'doorsill where the two worlds touch'? What did you ask for today? How do you make your requests? How do you remind yourself to not 'go back to sleep'?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tender Collapse

The recent sunshine and warmth juxtaposes with and accents the process of grief and letting go. It is not simply the passing of winter or the season of Easter, it is the encounter with death and loss that continues through it all.

Spring is about re-birth and new growth, life reasserting itself after winter's passing. Although that sounds wonderful, it is also a time of great challenge and change.

Have you watched a plant breaking through the ground? It creates a chasm all on its own. Under the surface, it's broken through the covering of the seed or bulb. Then it pushes its way through the dirt separating it from the air and sunshine. As it splits the surface, it creates a miniature mound of earth as well as the breach through which it will poke its strong yet fragile head.

We are like that when we grieve. We push toward the Light, toward the Breath. Each movement is natural yet a phenomenal struggle. We continue to act as though everything is normal and ordinary. Within us moves the same struggle, unseen, edging forward, up and out. Occasionally, in order to break through into the light, into healing, we feel the seism along the fault line within us. We have no control over it. Eventually, something small, quiet, dark bursts forth through the surface and we wail with its appearance.

When we are most fortunate, most blessed, love also appears ~ often in the guise of family and friends ~ and witnesses our tender collapse without attempting to pat the dirt back into place or dig out a larger hole. Simply witnessing. Then when we feel more whole, or not, perhaps we will be able to stand in witness of the unique tender collapse of another.

What is breaking through in you? What grief are you holding? releasing? How are you standing in witness to others' break-throughs? What else is growing in your life this Spring?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Abracadabra Creativity

As I was growing up, 'abracadabra' was an often used word whenever a change was being called forth. It was a magical phrase. We used it to help find lost toys, to reveal favorite treats, to make the TV station work.

When I was a young teen, it was uttered when an emotional response needed shifting. It was easier, more palpable, to hear abracadabra when I was on the verge of exploding or bursting into tears or laughing hysterically than it was to hear any other redirection or correction. It became our catch-word for change.

Coming from that background, it was startling to discover that it truly is a word of creation. We used it to create a new direction, a shift in the journey we were on, in the direction in which we were headed. It was great to be able to make those minimal shifts ~ which eventually led to more significant change because each incremental alteration of emotional response kept the family dynamics running smoothly.

Now that much more time has passed, I understand more and more about the power of words. I've learned that I can create my present and my future with the words I speak. I can change my mood by singing my favorite songs at the top of my lungs in my empty house or my moving car. Abracadabra shows up in my dreams to point out new directions for me to take or people for me to contact. My family no longer uses the magical word even though its power remains written on my heart.

How have you heard abracadabra used? How have you or people you know used it? Is there a word that shows up in your mind when you are ready for a change? Would you want one? What words have a special or magical power for you? How do you create your own journey?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Addicted to Story

When was the last time you had a conversation and no one related a story? My guess? Never. Whether we talk about our jobs or our last trip to the store or the latest sports scores, stories emerge. We share our lives, our interactions with others, our impressions. Each of those moments is a story. Even our gossip around the proverbial water-cooler emerges into story.

This quote says we are addicted to story and in terms of addiction being "...a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior..." that is certainly the case.

Yesterday, I wrote about a friend's upcoming choices regarding a gift of travel. I asked her to keep me informed about her decision. My reason for asking? My personal addiction to story. I want to know the rest of it. What did she decide? Why did she make that decision? How did she let Uncle Joe know? If she chose to go, where would they go? and when? Did she have a picture of the rented house? For me, the story ~ HER story ~ is what's of interest. Yes, I'd love to do the travel myself, but that's not the point, is it? The point is in the tale.

That's how we share our lives and how we share in the lives of others. We watch TV shows for their drama and the relationships they build whether the shows are soap operas, sitcoms, dramas or reality shows. More and more books are being written as part of at least a trilogy. Even when we realize the storyline itself in the shows or books is less than stellar, we want to know the tale: What's happening to whom? Why did it happen? Where might it go from here? It is our drive to know more, to hear the next installment, that keeps us involved ~ with books, with TV shows and with the people around us.

What do you value about story? How do you get your story fix? Do you feel the draw ~ the addiction ~ to story? What do you do satisfy that draw? How do you add to others batch of stories?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New Moon in Aries

This New Moon in Aries arrives on the 7th of April at 6:39 a.m. PT. It is also a Super Moon, a Perigee New Moon, at its closest orbital point to the Earth. Along with that, there are other energies making this one of the most intense New Moons of the year. It is time to draw deeply on our own individuality and use our personal freedom and creativity.

This New Moon's Sun/Moon alignment is conjunct Revolutionary Uranus and Warrior Eris while opposite Dark Moon Lilith and square to Underworld God Pluto. Very powerful and balanced with Masculine and Feminine energies as well as Light and Dark energies. These lead us to wholeness.

The Balance that comes with this New Moon carries a wisdom for quiet reflection and strength enough to recognize and acknowledge the times when simply we do not yet know. This New Moon is all about acting for LIFE rather than simply for SELF. It's time to clear out expectations and allow life to gift us with its wisdom along the path.

It also brings caution in dealing with change in our lives during this month. Even though it is a time of transition, we need to enter it with strength for making order from chaos both in our personal lives and in the more global perspective.

We also need to keep in perspective and in mind that all of this comes on the heels of a shatteringly powerful eclipse during the past Moon cycle. Be gentle with ourselves. Feel fully and follow our gut instincts. Stay awake and aware!

How are you feeling as this New Moon washes over you? What are you going to give up during this New Moon? What newness are you going to embrace as we move forward toward the next Full Moon? How will the Balance of Masculine and Feminine, Light and Dark show up in your life?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Journey Time

Having a drink with a recently retired friend, we were discussing the possibility of travel. She and her partner were invited by Uncle Joe (An alias to protect the innocent and guilty!) on a trip to Greece. Uncle Joe planned to rent a house on one of the islands and wanted his favorite niece to come along. Housing would be his treat.

As I listened to the story unfold, I thought, "Wow! What an incredible opportunity! If I were retired, I'd go in a heartbeat!" I said something like that as well.

My friend, on the other hand, was appalled at Uncle Joe's offer. Not because she didn't want to go to Greece, but because she was unclear about her personal money situation. I thought, but did not say, that this was an incredible opportunity and what the hell was she waiting for?          
MY reactions vs. HER reactions. At the core sat the opportunity to accept a gift or to reject it with full understanding. She wanted to travel. Her partner wanted to travel. They liked Uncle Joe and the cousins who were also going. The newness of a freed up schedule, the timing of the offer, and the fear of the expenses all play a part in the decision-making.

When we parted company, I asked her to keep me posted on the trip. She laughed. "You mean the one I'm not sure I want to take? Why?" I told her, "It's the story. I want to see where this particular ride takes you. No matter what, you're on a journey!"

How do you react to an offer of an overwhelming gift? What would you do in my friend's position? Have you ever had an opportunity to do something like this? How do you react to someone else's good fortune? What's the journey you are on right now?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Storm, part 2

The Storm exists as more than one moment in time, more than one Gate we pass through. It is a sensation that shifts all of nature within and around.
"When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."
What about all those stormy moments in life? I don't mean the arguments with partners, lovers or friends. Or the occasional emotional set-back when something gets overlooked or goes askew. The Storm is about those earth-shattering, life-rocking moments.

There have been a few moments like that in my life. Moments that defined me ~ or perhaps more precisely, that honed me more sharply into the person I am today.

One of those defining moments happened when my first marriage shattered, and I knew we were careening toward divorce. I'd had a series of major life-changers: quit a job, moved across the country, started a new job, moved within the city. All of the supports in place in our former hometown were no longer available where we were. When we were left to rely entirely on each other, there wasn't enough glue sticking us together.

Almost hesitantly, I said we needed to go to marriage counseling soon or I'd be leaving. Although he agreed, the appointment was never made. Three months later, I moved out ~ my second move since we traversed the country. Even though change carried my life forward that year, I was graced with stumbling into friendships that continue to this day.

The Storm moments in our lives don't have to be overtly tearing us apart. They can have the intensity of an earthquake, deep and internal, or the overwhelm of a tsunami, quick and drenching. Any way The Storm arrives, it leaves us to rebuild ourselves into different people.

What Storms have touched your life? How have they affected you? How has your life changed since then?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Standing within the Otherness

©2014 Mary-Lynne Monroe

"I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything ~ other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion ~ that standing within this otherness ~ the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books ~ can re-dignify the worst stung heart."
~ Mary Oliver

What a rich and vibrant imagination Mary Oliver has! She writes of the capacity, the ability to stand in the character of another ~ whether that 'other' is human or not. I meditated deeply on this concept, which was a good thing to do. I remembered times when I did perhaps what she writes of, or perhaps something that's only akin to it.

In February of 2014 a friend and I took a short road trip. We arrived late and settled into our room. I woke earlier than she did so I bundled myself up, gathered my camera and gloves, and set out for a walk. The air was clear and crisp with frost covering the shaded bushes. I set a quick pace. Every possible element of nature seen on that walk spoke to me ~ the high blue-shadowed hillsides, the stark trees with their arms askew, the noisy crows. I spoke to them all as I snapped photos. As I was returning to the motel, caws became louder, more insistent and angry. I looked around for the cause of the crow's ire. Sitting in a nearby tree was a beautiful red-tailed hawk. Whispering my gratitude to my beloved crows, I pointed my camera into the branches. The hawk seemed to pause, posing for me, head turning from side to side, body occasionally bouncing forward. I was so engrossed that when the hawk took flight, I could feel my body lighten and lift. Although at that moment, I lost sight of the hawk, I felt the full extension of the wings catching air. Returning to myself, I went inside the motel to prepare for the rest of my day ~ overflowing with joy and gratitude.

Have you had an experience of connection with nature, of 'standing in the character of another'? What was it like? How did you feel afterward? How would you step into nature to find that kind of experience? Are there other authors who have described the kind of experience you had?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rich Transformation

The Nahualli Animal Oracle

From the guide:
"In the sacred Aztec calendar the day-sign Vulture represents old age and riches. Because it is known as an eater of carrion, it is a symbol of the underworld as well. ... Vulture is also associated with the traditional definition of hidden wealth, discovered only if one is willing to do some digging. Vulture takes something that seemingly has no value - a dead animal - and breaks it down so that its elements can be reabsorbed into the earth, providing fuel for new life. Vulture's lesson is that true wealth is all around us, just under the surface, waiting to be discovered. ...
A rich, long life may lie ahead of you. At the very least you can expect abundance around whatever your issue or question addresses. .... Vulture consumes those life-sapping remnants of negativity while helping you find hidden pockets of gold and precious stones in the everyday world that you've lived in since you were born."

My question as I shuffled the deck of cards: What strength is needed for the coming week? What an incredible response! Vulture transforms by aiding the process of degeneration. Any habit that needs to be changed will find a willing accomplice in Vulture. This is an especially powerful time to make those changes ~ it's Spring. Time for deep cleaning, planting, eating fresh and local food. Anything that was put aside during the Winter months. Since it is nearly the New Moon, it is also time to put a plan together for letting go of what no longer serves and calling in what will replace it.

Vulture as a symbol of old age and the Underworld fits in with my current internal spiritual and emotional work. As I work with the Ancestors, I walk in a deeper awareness of the meaning of old age and elderhood. The darkness, pull and power of the Underworld has recently been present in my life which makes drawing this particular card ironic as well.

What does Vulture symbolize for you? What habit of yours has Vulture come to transform? What do you want to see blossom in its place? What is the treasure hidden in your Underworld that is rising to the surface? How will you support it as it rises?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Looking and Seeing

Within the Flower
sits the Bee.

My mind races from thought to thought like the flashing of the pixels on a computer screen. I think everything is still and silent ~ until I am focused on the Bee. Then I recognize that I've been in that strange outer world of technology and light. It's the world I've created, the world in which I operate most of the time. The world of busyness and speed.

There's a difference between looking at something and truly seeing it. While striding past a patch of flowers, heading toward my car, I noticed the bright tones of gold and orange blossoms and the subtle dark green leaves. The stunning contrast caught me up short and I turned to look more closely while grabbing my camera in my bag. This was the first step ~ I looked at the composition of the patch of flowers.

When I stopped to regard the patch more closely, the movement of the bees in flight above it caught my attention. I stood still for the space of a few purposeful breaths, slow and deep, allowing my eyes to travel the bee's dance. That's when I saw a number of the bees landing on blooms, strolling through and collecting pollen.

Seeing the bees land and dance on the blooms, I raised my camera, focused and snapped the picture. The entire process didn't take long, yet it required that I pause my perpetual motion long enough to slide from noticing to looking to seeing. Each step brought me closer to the bright dance of flower, pollen and bee.

I am grateful for the flash of color, for my eyes that saw it, for my mind that recognized its beauty, for the deceleration it brought. My world is full of moments like this.

What do you allow to slow you down? What catches your eye? How do your traverse that chasm from looking to seeing? How often do you notice whatever is in the natural world around you? How diverse are the feelings you have when you slow down?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Loving the Fool

Think about the lessons you were taught as you grew up ~ the scripts that repeat themselves in your ear every time you move slightly off point. Sometimes they were overt statements made by a chastising parent or an angry sibling. Sometimes they were literally scripted by teachers, professors and mentors guiding us along the way. Sometimes they were delivered with all the flamboyance of the religious sermon they were designed to be. The words spoken, yelled or intoned were generally well meant, intended to provide us with a framework for social interactions.

My first reading of this quote had only the first half:
"I must learn to love the fool in me -- the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries."
The words wash over me like a wave in Mama Ocean, knocking me over and leaving me reeling from their power. Loving "the fool in me" was a truly new concept. All those pieces, the ones that I label good and the ones that I label bad, all those swings from one extreme to another, all of it was ~ and is ~ worthy of love. Worthy of my own love. Wow. That stuns me.

The next segment appeared in a more recent version:
"It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool."
That "fool in me" ~ the one I must learn to love ~ also encourages me to allow my too strong feelings and accept my lack of self-control for the sake of my own humanity. She protects me from my overbearing and pretentious self who resides beside her in my soul.

These words lap at my ankles, rising and falling with the tide, keeping the fool afloat and the tyrant at bay. I recognize the power-play within me. As I lean in to embrace ~ and love ~ the fool in me, the power of the tyrant diminishes.

What do you know of the fool within yourself? How do you assist the fool? the tyrant? What do you feel as you read the words of the quote? How will you continue to grow in loving the fool within?