Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 2016 Full Moon in Sagittarius and Other Wonders

©2014 ML Monroe
We are currently under the strong and immediate influence of the Full Moon in Sagittarius. The Moon has a great impact on us. We are always looking to the heavens for reasons we often don't fully realize. The light on the night of  a Full Moon captivates us.

May's Full Moon in Sagittarius is the first of two in Sag this year. June's Full Moon will be in Sagittarius also. So we'll have twice as much time to process the power of this event.

This particular Full Moon is about shifting perspective. It may not be as significant as a change. It may be a small 'aha' moment when something comes into clearer view.It may be finding the opportunity for further or deeper self-care. Whatever it is, this Moon offers encouragement in a positive light, illuminating the Big Picture for those who notice it. This is a time of challenging us to recognize truth from fiction, fantasy, lies and illusions. Even, and perhaps especially, the ones we tell ourselves.

For the next month, until the June Full Moon in Sag, we'd be well served to remember to ask ourselves these questions before we speak: Is it kind? It it true? Is it necessary? Is it of positive benefit?

The other wonders happening at this moment: Mercury goes direct today. Whew! We made it through another retrograde session. Since it is only the first day, go gently into communications and interactions. Remember the lessons learned.

Another wonder: Black Moon Lilith has entered Scorpio. She reminds us that there is no light without darkness. It's important to stay aware of the shadows that even the brightest light creates. They are what gives life its variations and facets, its gumption and guts.

As I researched Black Moon Lilith's movement, I found much on Her darker aspects and almost nothing on the positive that they may bring. The feelings or expressions we judge as wrong, negative or evil are also expressions of our wild nature, our deep humanity. They provide us with understanding and compassion as we feel them raging against challenges or suffering with suppression or oppression.

Lilith was the first Goddess to come to me, to touch my life with her darkness and depth. My introduction was discovering the gas chambers in the death camps of World War II were called Lilith's Caves. I wanted to know why. Who was She? Why was She so dark? What I discovered was Her story, which I tell elsewhere. What I uncovered was that She stands with those torn by grief, burdened by depression, exploded by rage, broken by guild. Her comfort is not to take these things away, but to be the One Who remains fully present, witnessing our every step, every tear, every shudder, without denial or looking away.

Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio is Her stepping into the Dark, into the Abyss, of Her own volition. She is quiet and fully present. Scorpio is depth itself, governed by Pluto (currently in retrograde), God of the Underworld, and Mars (also in retrograde), God of War. Sitting within that place, She absorbs and reveals the shadow side of life. Can we sit there with Her?

What are you feeling during this Full Moon? What are you willing to release? What does the Darkness reveal to you in the Light of the Full Moon? How do you balance the two? How has Mercury retrograde affected you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Destiny Orientation Redux

This picture was taken over two years ago ~ and used in my blog at that time as well. Finding the image again, I chuckled. How far ~ and not ~ I've come in these past nearly two and a half years!

Running around the tech floor of a building, I spotted this sign on the wall outside a computer lab. On my first pass, the words didn't immediately register... until I swept into the office where I'd been headed. Upon leaving the office, I determined I'd get a picture of the sign.

Destiny Orientation? What in the world was that? Whenever I recall the sign, I grin and shake my head. But it makes me think as well. Do we need an orientation for our destiny? How do we know what our destiny is? Can someone else orient us? or tell us what or where or with whom we are destined to do or be? How long does the orientation last?

For the past two and a half years, my destiny has been pointing to an upcoming moment. My orientation has been a compass point ~ the 'due north' direction of retirement. However, retirement is not in itself a destination. It's a rite of passage, a gateway to the next phase of life. As with all rites of passage, we see it on the horizon long before we arrive. And we have a need to ritualize it, to make the passage a sacred one.

My entire life is focused on ~ as with most of us ~ living into my destiny. My definition of who and what I am shifts like the dunes of the Sahara. Even though my core being remains stable, I continually reorient myself to accommodate the height and movement of those subtle changes. I breathe through the disorientation of those shifts, remembering that my destiny lies not only on the path ahead of me, in the perpetual movement around me, but also within me. It will always be so.

What determines your destiny? How do the tiny or enormous shifts in the dunes of your life change that? On what do you depend for your orientation? What is your current 'due north'? How is it different from what it was two years ago? What is the 'lab' from which you draw your orientation?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Created by Our Past

When we are in the midst of growing up, everything around us helps build us into the person we will eventually become. Some things are simply part of our nature: introvert or extrovert, tall or short, spontaneous or ponderous, etc. Either by genetics or some other natural event, these characteristics are within us from birth.

Then there are those events that happen to, with and around us that shape us as well: critical significant adults, abuse, illness, socio-economic status, etc. These are different sorts of variables in our lives. Yet they shape us as surely as our genetics do.

Yesterday, I had a conversation regarding someone with whom I've worked fairly closely for a number of years. Whenever this person feels pressure, someone else also feels it ~ and I've been one of those someones. As I'm leaving the situation where all of this has occurred, our conversation revolved around two of the latest encounters as well as who may be their next someone or target.

I realized as we chatted was that, although I've felt hurt and even angry after the encounters, my long-term residual awareness was of their woundedness. Something in the past left an ugly, painful mark. The pains from my own past were also reflected in our encounters. I allowed the hurt and anger to rise. I talked about the encounters to others in order to feel better about myself. I played out the poor me role to whatever extent my hurt feelings projected it. I acknowledge we are both playing out roles created somewhere in our past. I am interested in growing beyond the need to play those roles, in letting go of the elements in my past that created them. We'll see if I can do that before I leave.

What wounds from your past create upsets in your present? How can you let go of them? or heal them? What purpose do these upsets serve in your life? What can replace them?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Finding Freedom

Have you ever been so intimidated by your own fears, apprehensions and anxieties that you lost track of your goals, perhaps even your spirit or soul?

Many times in my life, I've opted for what might appear as the easy way out. I've let fear overtake my deeper desires and sense of self. It hasn't always been as clear or easy a choice as it may seem. I've struggled. Tossed and turned, whether asleep or awake, with the questions. Prayed over it. Rarely released it.

Then there have been those times when the decision to move forward, to move in the direction of the fear rather than away from it, was clearly the best choice. Wow! Tough options to feel my way through.

One of those decisions happened shortly after a cross-country move. I was married at the time of the move. My husband had many challenges in his life. He was depressed and an alcoholic-addict. These things weren't evident to my young adult self when we met, dated and married. They blossomed after we went through an emotionally traumatic year when his father was diagnosed with cancer, my father died suddenly of a heart attack, then his father died after a brief and brutal period with the cancer. I became stronger from the experiences. He, on the other hand, lost himself. So when we moved cross-country, away from our support systems, we intended to start afresh. That didn't work. The pain within him traveled cross-country with us. Before we had been there a year, I moved out and filed for divorce. It was not an easy decision. I knew he was in pain. I knew my strength could support him. I loved him dearly. I was afraid of the judgment others would pass on me for divorcing him. There was no single determining factor in my decision. I only knew, deep in my soul, that I could not carry him to wholeness. He had to do it on his own. Or not. Depending on me would not help him heal. My decision freed us both to move on to a new life.

Another decision stemmed from a co-worker suggesting that I go overseas to teach. He told me about his time teaching in Germany and said it was a great experience. At the time, I was single and he thought that would be a good move for me. Within a month of his suggestion, I was heading to an international schools hiring conference in New Orleans. By the end of the weekend, I had a contract to teach computer tech in Cairo, Egypt. I'd never taught computer tech before, but I convinced the interviewers that I could. I was going to live in Cairo! Doing that on my own, I was later to find, was the most wild and wonderful adventure I could ever have chosen. But what it meant in the short-term as I prepped to go was facing a lot of apprehensions and fears. What would I need to take? Where would I live? Would I be able to teach the full range of students? What support would the staff require? Where would I store the things I was leaving behind? How would I continue to pay my bills? The list went on and on. One by one, I faced them down and never looked back.

What decision points have you faced in your life? What part has fear or anxiety played in your decision? Have you discovered a place of freedom from your choice? Do you have any regrets? How do you deal with those?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Warning and Perspective

Wisdom of Avalon cards by Colette Baron-Reid

From the guide:
The Wasp
anger, retaliation, jealousy
The Wasp has a stinger that hurts with poison when confronted. Be mindful of how you address the world when the Wasp appears on your path. If you're not careful, you may sting or be stung. The Wasp reminds you that pain is a choice, so don't waste your stinger on a petty quarrel. Are you jealous or envious or the victim of someone who is? Jealousy and envy are the children of fear and lack---send love, light, and compassion, and stay clear of the sting. Mind your own business today, and save it for a life-and-death situation. Chances are that whatever comes up today is smaller than you perceive it to be in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, when you feel the sting of a wasp, be smart and swat it away! Defend yourself! The wasp sends an omen of warning to protect yourself as well.

What is it that I need to face the day tomorrow? That was my focus question as I chose the card for today. I was stunned to silence by the choice. What? Me? Wanting to retaliate? Well ~~ truth be told, there are moments when I want to 'get back at' someone for an injury or wrong I believe has been committed. When I feel that way, I'm not always careful with my words or with my actions. I'm attempting to snatch back something that was never mine in the first place or something that, under other conditions, I wouldn't care to have. Usually, it's my sense of the spotlight or recognition or acknowledgement. Most of the time, I don't care if people notice or acknowledge anything I do. I do what I do for another reason ~ because I want to do it or because it's the right thing to do. Occasionally, I want the spotlight that is focused on someone else to be focused on me. When that happens, my words and actions can sting ~ and once I recognize what I'm doing, I regret it. The sting comes back to me.

Then there's the sting I receive from others. I've experienced someone recently publicly taking me to task for something about which she did not have full information. Others saw, heard and steered clear of the chastisement. Although I felt affronted by the verbal slap, I knew it came because she did not have control of the situation and was stung by that herself.  It's not easy to take a step back and recognize those injured feelings ~~ and turn around to wish the person well, to send love and light, to recognize that whatever that person is feeling, whatever is causing the lashing out, is his or her own pain. I am only the target, and perhaps the trigger, but not the creator of the other's pain.

The sentence from the guide that jumps out at me is: Chances are that whatever comes up today is smaller than you perceive it to be in the grand scheme of things. It's a variation on a question I was asked by a mentor years ago: In a hundred years, what of this will matter? Most of the time, I can reduce it to: In five years, or even next year, what will this matter? Perspective makes all the difference. So for now I will heed the warning to protect ~ and defend ~ myself and not go looking for someone to sting!

What is your response when you feel attacked? What warns you that there is an attack? What is your preferred method of retaliation? If you're being honest, how do you respond when you feel jealous or challenged? Have you developed a practice of taking a step back? of adjusting your perspective? Try doing it consistently for several days. How does it change your responses?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Becoming a Hero

As I was flipping through pages on the internet, I came across a catchy statement: She needed a hero, so she became one. I searched for an image with the quote and found this one with a variation on the theme.

We often think of heroes in terms of war. There's always conflict and a reason for someone to enter the fray and save lives. Even our love of superheroes, be they Marvel comic heroes or otherwise, illuminates our sense of needing rescue.

What most attracts me to this image is that she is revealing herself to be Superwoman. She is visible and unafraid. Her head is up and she has a determined look on her face. She is unshakable. She is also beautiful ~ and she exudes confidence and awareness.

She defies the concept of the helpless female crying for the bulging-muscled, ripped abs male hero to save her. Or of the princess looking for the handsome prince to awaken or complete her. It's clear that she creates herself in the image of the hero. Or perhaps creates the hero in the image of herself. Either way, she recognizes that she can become one. She doesn't need rescuing by anyone; she stands up for herself, takes care of herself, watches out for herself.

The quote touches a deep place in me. Growing up in an era where women as a group, rather than individually, were beginning to see themselves as independent and capable, the notion of needing a man remained a subtle subtext. As time marched forward, that subtext became smaller and much less legible. My daughter, another generation completely, operates in a world where being your own hero, your own superhero, no matter who you may be.

Who are your heroes? How are you a hero? Do you continue to look to others to save you? How do you rescue others? How do you define a hero?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Listening and The Lovers

Shapeshifter Tarot

The Lovers
The Lovers is a card about perfect communication, about finding something your soul requires. When this card appears, you are being told to trust your instincts, to choose this career, challenge, person or thing you're so strongly drawn to, no matter how scary, how difficult, irrational or troublesome - without it, you will never be wholly you. It's sudden and unexpected, and it means a complete change in plans; but this is LOVE. True love. Go for it!

Before drawing this card, I focused for several heartbeats on my coming week. My question, the center of my focus, was: What strength will I need and have available to draw on in the coming week?

The very first part of the statement about The Lovers card attracted me: perfect communication. That's often easier said than done when working with others who are clearly not reading my mind, nor I theirs!

Trusting my instincts is something I am consciously developing. Instincts don't always follow our thoughts, our conscious minds. We call them 'gut' instincts for a reason: we feel their pull, their truth, deep within ourselves ~ at a place that requires us to be still and listen. Our minds are constantly chattering at us. Even though our instincts may be communicating, it is our minds that we are used to hearing.

What draws me most, at the moment? Obviously, writing. I've been writing in my blog daily (with one exception) since the beginning of April. I am encouraged by the numbers of people reading what I write. I find that I write to please me as much as to please others. The feedback I receive is wonderful and reassuring, yet I am prompted to put words to paper from a deep, internal space.

I also find myself reaching for my camera more. Not at work. When on walks, driving in the car, looking at my surroundings. I am amazed by the wonder and beauty around me ~ the blessing of it all. My gratitude challenges me to capture it in some way through my photography.

These two passions spur me onward. Drawing The Lovers card reinforces me ~ reminds me that I am listening to that still, small voice within. That I am responding to the instinct to create.

What do you see in The Lovers card? What draws your instinctual self? How do you respond? What reinforcement do you need to follow your instincts? What defines perfect communication for you? How will you pursue it?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Happy Mother's Day!
One origin story of Mother's Day in the United States begins with a Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, by Julia Ward Howe (who also wrote the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic). She wrote:
Arise then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own, it says, 'Disarm! Disarm!' The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession."
As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means where by the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Every time I read this, or consider this origin of Mother's Day, I am reminded of a talk I had with my own mother. She, Dad and I went to visit her sister and brother-in-law. Both Dad and my uncle had served in WWII. They were discussing the current conflict, Vietnam. As a vociferous teen, well versed in the war and politics, I entered the discussion. Both men lived in the age of my-country-right-or-wrong. I was of the age of dissent.

As we were driving home from our visit, Dad began to chastise me for being so vocal and, in his opinion, disrespectful of my elders. He also said I didn't know all the facts about the subject. Mom, for the first and only time I ever recall, stopped him in disagreement. "It's her friends who are going into battle and dying. She has a right to speak her mind about Vietnam." The subject ended there.

Later, when I brought it up to her, thanking her for supporting me, I was in for another surprise. She put down her coffee cup, looked directly at me and said, "This is the one topic on which your father and I will always disagree. If your brother's number comes up for the draft, I will do everything in my power to get him to Canada. Your father believes he should go to war. I pray it never comes to that. It may destroy our marriage." In that moment, I saw a side of my mother I never had previously. I will never forget how strong, sad and serious she was. I will be forever grateful my brother's number never came up to test her strength.

What do you recall of your mother's strength? What did she teach you about peace and war? What other lessons did she share with you that surprised you?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Learning from Pain

Yesterday I went to the medical center to have a small, simple procedure. When I went in for prep, the nurse put on a wristband in case, for some reason, something went amiss and I had to be admitted. I signed a release for them to give me a blood transfusion, should that become necessary. Neither of these were disturbing. My mind fully understood that they were routine. Even when the patch was placed for the heart monitor, I thought nothing of it. These pieces of the prep were non-invasive.

I knew I was going to get an IV. I thought the needle stick would be in my arm, at the crease of the elbow where others have been. But, no, the nurse felt (both physically, with the tapping fingers, and mentally) that the best vein would be in my hand. I was mildly curious about this. I have the commonplace fear of or aversion to needles. In general, I realize the pain goes quickly so I wasn't too tense about it. She placed a hot pack on my hand and sprayed a topical anesthetic on it as well. When she stuck the needle under the skin, it felt like she was driving a nail into my hand. I could not believe the sensation. She stopped fairly quickly and asked, "Do you want me to continue? or take it out and try again after giving you another shot with an anesthetic? That will definitely numb it. I'm not even in the vein yet." I hesitated about two seconds. "Take it out." She gave me the shot and everything went well. She added that I was lucky to get her because most of the other nurses were not trained to do the anesthetic shot.

The remainder of the procedure was a walk in the park, comparatively. Wow! If someone had told me when I was going in that the needle stick would be the most painful and problematic part, I would have laughed. No longer.

What came to me afterward, even as she was going to get the new needle and the anesthetic, was an image of friends in the hospital with bruises on their arms or hands from multiple needle sticks. I found myself marveling anew at their courage in facing even those repeated sticks. Along with that, I discovered another moment for prayer for them and gratitude for how strong and courageous they are.

Each of us faces pain, both physical and emotional. For each person, the pain is different. I endured the dental jackhammer used to remove a tooth a couple of years ago. Yet this needle stick overwhelmed me.

This put another issue I face into perspective as well. Currently, there is a bully in my life. Although I recognize she is in pain (because that's what makes bullies), I thought she should be able to easily overcome it. This event for me revealed that I am probably incorrect in my assumption. Maybe, whatever the emotional pain she is suffering, overwhelms her like the needle stick did me. Another teaching to ponder.

What pain overwhelms you? How do you handle moving forward with it? What do you do to get beyond it? How does your pain help you understand the pain of others?

Friday, May 6, 2016

New Moon in Taurus

This New Moon is in Taurus. Although the constellation of Taurus is masculine, the zodiac sign is aligned with Mother Earth. It would seem that this New Moon brings with it the balancing of Feminine and Masculine.
Taurus is also about wildness and fertility which are prevalent everywhere you look in Nature at this time of year.

The New Moon in Taurus is about grounding deeply into Mother Earth and discovering the best ways of being present. Being present is probably one of the most difficult tasks we have. It requires us to stay awake and aware. This is also a time of the sacred pause in the midst of movement. That pause affords us the time to be present now.

Remember all the retrograde planets: Jupiter until May 9th, Mercury until May 22nd, Mars until June 29th, Saturn until August 13th, and Pluto until September 26th. Lots of pausing in the world around us in order to be aware and alive with Presence. The retrograde planets provide the opportunity to dig into our past and clear it out so we can move cleanly and positively into the future.

As we pause and find that sacred space to be present, we focus on our internal motivator. We can also refine the direction we want to take and discover if where we're going and what motivates us is in sync. We have the opportunity to connect with what triggers us and let go of the ways of being that no longer serve us.

What triggers you? What are you ready to let go of? How will you take the time to be more fully present? How will you determine what serves your objectives at the moment and what does not?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Growing with Growing Things

We are having our plant sale this week ~ and next week. The greenhouse is overflowing with plants: a variety of herbs (including parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme), tomato and lettuce starts, hanging baskets, ground cover, echinacea, lavender, irises, lilies, snapdragons, and lots of succulents. The sales at the greenhouse itself are busy, but fairly simple and straight-forward affairs. We are finishing up our sales at our district office tomorrow. It'll be the third time we have taken van loads of plants there to sell. It's a lot of work. The first day went spectacularly; the second not so well.

I don't consider myself much of a gardener. I've learned some over the past two years, and there is much more that I know I don't know. I am fascinated by the amount of love and care others put into the greenhouse... and by what it produces under their watch.

So ~ like the reader/writer I am, I found quotes that struck me as I continued to marvel at the lushness of the season.

The first is from Marcus Tullius Cicero:
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Ha! Certainly something I believe. Without the library, I'd be a bit more lost. The idea of sitting in the garden and reading sounds marvelous.

The second is from Russell Page:
If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. 'Green fingers' are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.

Whew! Under that one, I guess I could be in trouble. I don't have 'green fingers' ~ or at least not to any great extent. I'm in the process of practicing the use of them.... we'll see how that turns out.

The last is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work.

Here's one that reminds me that breathing and being patient may pay off in the end. Nature is a She ~ a creatrix who wants others to appreciate her handiwork. And to acknowledge the beauty and wonder shining through. I think I do little with gardening and plants right now because I don't feel or think I have the time to sink into the silence to watch and let the garden companion me.

Do you have a garden? What do you grow? How do you feel when you are in it? Can you slow down enough to be a good observer? What can you do to improve that?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Why Meditate?

When I saw this image, I giggled. And I knew that I had to use it in my blog. Because, really, in today's world, what is there of more mythic dimensions than Google?

We live in an age where more and more research is being done on and about the brain. There are more methods of seeing the various centers of the brain and experimenting with how a variety of input effects it.

Meditation changes the brain. Lots of research available on the internet tells you that. The most significant information I discovered what that the brain without meditation is stuck on ME. There is a Me Center in the brain that connects it with the bodily sensation and fear centers of the brain. Without a meditation practice, the strongest neural connections are within that Me Center and between that Center and the fear centers. That keeps us focused on how much all those sensations mean there is something wrong in MY world and with MY safety. It keeps us stuck in repetitive loops about our personal mistakes or how people might feel about us or whether or not a pain in our bodies means something is terribly wrong.

When we have a meditation practice, we can see more clearly. The connection stretches and relaxes between part of the brain that focuses on how things are for or with ME and the bodily sensation or fear center. That allows anxiety to dissipate and calms down the neural path connections. It means we can more easily ignore the sensations and allow the responses to relax and weaken.

Also, we begin to strengthen our empathy for others. We stop perceiving them as Other and see them as more like us. It encourages our ability to understand where another person is coming from by allowing us to use the part of the brain that relates us to the other person in terms of motivations, state of mind, woundedness, etc.

A daily practice of only 15 minutes makes deep and abiding changes in the connections of those neural pathways. It's funny that science now can prove what people who meditate have always known: meditation strengthens our brain's ability to better assess our interactions with others and within ourselves. It moves us from taking things personally to empathy and understanding others. It relaxes and changes our connections with the bodily sensation and fear center so our reactions are more balanced and holistic.

My personal practice has wavered and often shrunk to almost nothing only to expand to 20+ minutes a day over the years. I feel and see the differences. And I know that sometimes, when I look for answers and quick responses, Google seems so much more knowledgeable. I have to remind myself to trust the knowing within rather than the factoids outside myself.

What is your daily practice? Do you find meditation helpful? Have you been meditating regularly? What are your responses to others? How do you perceive aches and pains in yourself? How do you want to perceive things in the future?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wait Out the Storm

The Enchanted Map by Colette Baron-Reid
From the guide:
Now is not the time to engage in any activity that brings unwanted chaos or drama into your life. This kind of storm can be destructive, and you'll regret your actions later. Hurtful words will be carried on the wind and bring a tornado of betrayal, anger, and unnecessary angst. Find shelter. This turbulent weather will pass, and your house will be untouched. Say no to drama. Wait till the storm blows over--only then will you be heard.

When I was a child, we lived in a place where there were many fantastical storms. Other than winter snow, most of them blazed with thunder and lightning. My mother would gather us and take us into the basement, where we would weather the storm. We had games there and snacks and a radio. It was a quiet, peaceful time.

It was more difficult to gather us if I got outside as the fireworks of the storm began. I loved the lightning shows and the booming of thunder. I would stand at the back door of the attached garage and stare across the yard and into the whirling dark sky. Storms entranced me.

In college, I worked for and with a woman whose 25-year-old son loved to chase tornadoes. We lived in Tornado Alley. Several tornadoes formed and some touched down every Spring/Summer. Talking with my boss gave me pause to recall my childhood fascination with thunder and lightning.

When I saw this card, Reversed as it is, and read about the possible coming storm, all those memories flooded in. Many happenings in my life, my world, could easily turn into chaos. Especially if I act impulsively or incautiously. People around me in some of those situations are on edge, wound up, feeling overwhelmed. It's time for me to hunker down, find shelter, be judicious with my words, and let the storm roar past. No tornado chasing for me.

Can you relate to the storm scenario? How do you hunker down when life gets stirred up? What settles the storms for you? Are you attracted to tornado chasing, in all its forms? How do you resist that when it would be unseemly to engage in the chase?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Considering Blessings

John O'Donohue is one of those master teachers akin to Buddha, Confucius and Gandhi. In simple, gracious terms, he describes the day-to-day world and brings it into a new and wondrous focus. This particular quote resonates with all that I am currently sensing.

Yesterday I filled out my retirement paperwork. It's been a long time coming, yet I continued to waffle and waver almost all the way to the office.

Afterward, and all day today, I found myself bubbling over with gratitude. Recognizing the blessings of my life amidst the occasional sense of uncertainty, my heart overflowed.

The blessings showering my life in this moment are many. Here's a few that protect, heal and strengthen me as I continue into retirement:
Foremost among these blessings ~ my family and my friends. I am blessed to be included in many varied circles, populated by much love and joy. I'm blessed to be retiring from a job I loved, that kept me learning and creative; and with a pension plan that is no longer available to serve the young as it does me. My health is good and I am active and strong. While I am retiring, I am not yet eligible for social security. All these things are incredible blessings and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the good, the wonderful, the fullness in my life. As I continue on this path toward a new beginning, many of these blessings flicker in front of me like fireflies on a dark summer night. I am grateful.

I also acknowledge that I am here to create blessings in other people's lives. That's part of the circle, the cycle of blessings ~ receive, be grateful, pass on. It makes life far more amazing and bearable. I receive as I give and gratitude is the grease that keeps the blessings in motion.

Where are you in your current life path? What are you grateful for? What blesses you? Who blesses your life? How do you express your gratitude? Whose life do you bless?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Beltaine 2016

I love this image I found online because it is a Beltaine gathering and dance. My favorite part of it is the Beltaine fire ~ in the shape of a phoenix.

Beltaine is about the fertility of the land. An acknowledgement of the coming lushness. Gratitude for the cyclical blessing from the union of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

It's also about rebirth and resurrection. In Christian traditions, Easter is near to this time. Even closer in Orthodox traditions. In Judaism, it is near Passover, another celebration of release. A rebirth, renewal.

Every Spring, when Beltaine nears, I feel the pull of Oya's dance of renewal. I find myself tugged in the direction of the sea. Mama Ocean calls to me. A bonfire on the shore is a wonderful celebration of this call and this time.

This year in particular, I feel the surge of the Earth and Ocean. I feel the tug of the warming weather and Sun. As Beltaine approached, I found myself nearly tripping over a squirrel, sitting peacefully on the pavement in front of me. As I approached, unaware in my rush, it did not move until I was less than a foot away. Then only as far as under the bush beside the walk. Sitting, watching me, as though to say, Slow down and notice. Good thing I noticed. As I approached my car, a crow was sitting on the ground beside it. I slowed down as it turned its head from side to side, noticing me too. It remained next to my car until I was less than three feet from it. Then it hopped a few feet farther away, turned to watch me and chatter. I spoke back to it ~ of my gratitude for its presence and my honoring of our mutual awareness of each other. It bowed to me as I opened my car door and got in. Then it hopped on a rock and watched me depart. That noticing, that slowing down to breathe, is the expression of celebrating Beltaine for me.

How do you celebrate the coming of the next step of Spring? What do you feel as the weather warms and everything turns brighter green and colorful? How do you acknowledge the gifts of Earth and Sky?