Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dreaming of Fall

Hard to believe it's been 5 months since my last post. The time flies. Having fun or not! These days I've been ruminating mostly, rather than working towards change in the physical world, instead my wanderings have been in the air, so to speak. Too much thinking is no good, however. In the meantime, the garden has grown into a wild jungle and the recent heatwave has been some cause for alarm among the green creatures! Lugging hoses about 1/2 acre of property is a chore I don't relish in 97 degree weather, despite the fact that's when the grass could really use a good dowsing! I'm trying to think "green" and so saving water ... but in the end it's causing "brown" ... I pray for fall, which is, as a good friend of mine recently said, my time for spiritual renewal. Yes. It has always been my favorite time of year.

The full moon came on Friday and now, halfway through the following week it wanes in a pale sky. Since Friday night, we've had humid, sweltering days, thunderstorms, a crack of lightening that stole our power for several hours, black clouds, and then fits of hail and rain, white, fluffy clouds, violent winds and sun again ... the weather is really trying to keep us guessing.

On another note...I recently finished a wonderful book I highly recommend, especially if you love dogs, but you don't need to love dogs to love this book; The Dog Years by Mark Doty. It is a gem of a book and so beautifully written and I think every other page will leave you in tears and smiles. Dogs (any of our animal friends, really) mark eras of our lives, being so (sadly for us) short lived as they are ... in my own life I recall the Colby years and Milo years and even going way back... Sherman years. Each beloved wooly friend like a beautiful book mark wedged between the pages of my life. Now I am living the Emmett and Seersa years ... but of course one never forgets the dogs who've been.

But onward...As summer wanes like a bone colored moon, the poet, Pablo Neruda said it first...and fall moves in filled with brilliant, fiery rythym and color... I think those of us who favor the cooler days, such as I, come alive even as the earth seems to dwindle around them. But it goes out with a flurry, doesn't it. Still those same stray winds of Halloween and Thanksgiving that toss leaves and down power lines also whistle into our hearts and enliven us to do great things, while most of the world sleeps.

Don't be late, Fall! I'm ready now!

In the meantime, read a good book and be of good cheer!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some Spring Cleaning Is In Order

It's been so long since I've been inspired, or worse, had the time to make an entry here. I miss that. I feel disconnected in a way when I am not writing. And despite the fact that there are very few indeed who visit here, I still feel that someone hears and someone wants or needs to know or simply enjoys whatever few words I am able to extrapolate from my heart and my soul and the ethers for the purpose of connecting with fellow travelers.

Since returning to work on a full-time basis, I realize that I have put aside those pursuits that unburden me. Those creative doings, whether to write or to paint or to read, and to meditate, which is to feed my soul ... instead I see myself coming home at days end and feeling seriously tired and uninspired to do much more than flop in an easy chair. My meditations end in my head tilting backwards and my mouth lolling open in a loud snore! You'd think I'd been hauling stones from the quarry all day. Fact is, I sit most of the day at a desk and work at a computer and talk on the phone and send a good deal of emails this way and that, while the more creative side of me settles back somewhere in the recesses of my mind where it hides and waits for a more suitable opportunity to show itself. But I've also learned, over the years, if one doesn't let the soul out for exercise regularly, she atrophies, like an unused limb. Not good.

I decided that pulling out my Course in Miracles book would be a good way to restart my creative engines and began a stoic attempt to read it nightly, but kept falling asleep mid sentence. My ego mind lazy and annoyed, having grown secure in its prolonged respite. I realize how easily we can fall away from the path! I remember the days when I ravished the book from start to finish in one week of heart fluttering, stolen moments! I couldn't put it down and when I did, I couldn't wait to get back to it. It was a revelation. It seemed I'd been awaiting those words for all my life. And yet, how easily I'd fall back into old habits and despite "knowing" something was not right, continued with an easier path. Like a tire in a rut. It's hard to pull out and turn away.

But I stuck to pulling up and out of my self-imposed harness, because I know I must. and suddenly little things begin to happen that I recognize as "assistance" from my invisible crew of helpers. Such as: when I fall asleep mid sentence or in the midst of meditation, a loud clap wakes me up, a gentle poke in the back of the head, my name is shouted... and I wake up and see no one, but I have to smile and acknowledge that they have acknowledged my "attempt" and seeing that I am serious, they have stepped in. Then there are the accompanying dreams, the gentle humming of spinning chakras, and other physical, tangible changes that remind me I am not a body, but an essence inhabiting one, ultimately a creator. I believe our helpers will allow us to falter as much as we desire. If our desire is in earnest, they will help us along in the way we wish to go. But walk in the direction of truth and there are powerful arms just waiting to lift us quickly towards that goal.

I assume what happens when we fall away from our path is much like what happens when we say the Rosary or a familiar prayer so often that it becomes rote and suddenly our lips are moving but our minds are elsewhere... on the unfinished laundry or unpaid bills ... the ego mind is clever and much prefers to busy itself with the meaningless. It takes over quite easily if one fails to be diligent. Autopilot is really a sort of shock, it is the walk of the sleepers, the dance of the dead.

So, I've pulled out of the rut again and have made a pact with myself, my soul to be diligent only for truth the remainder of the year. I believe it is necessary to have milestones along the way so that we may double check our progress. Never allow yourself to think it is unimportant or doesn't matter. Because, it is really the only thing that does.

Each day is a rebirth of sorts. Rebirth, after all, is foremost in our hearts this time of year, made visible by the Earth in her annual rituals, and in our own rituals, with the celebration of Easter. Easter is clearly the epitome of rebirth and renewal. It is designated to arrive the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, when due to the Earth's revolutions, the sun's rays are concentrated along the path of the equator and day and night are exaclty the same length for one 24 hour period. This special day has been celebrated by all religions as a time of rebirth, certainly Judeo-Christian... I recall the Easter Sundays of my youth dressed up with shiny Mary Janes, Sunday School (which I dispised) and breakfast out, Easter egg hunts, baskets filled with candy ... but certainly the ancient "pagans" celebrated this time, too, and many of their traditions are our own, thus the rabbit and eggs so clearly expressing fertility, and the word itself clearly originated from the name of the Mother Goddess of the Saxon people... Eostre, or the Teutonic Goddess of Fertility who was called Ostare.

I've always loved Easter because it truly heralds the new year moreso than January 1 ever could. I look outside today and daffodils and tulips push through the soil, despite the fact that we had a light snow last night. Winter hangs on! I hope you will join me in this time of renewal and pull yourself free of any ruts you may have fallen into. Regain your own path to enlightenment. Your Teacher awaits you within! There's no need to shout it out, or let anyone know, which only feeds the ego or opens you up to persecution anyway. It's best to hide the newborn child. Keep it your own secret, the ego hates that most! Be a quiet example. Be cheerful and serene!

Here's an affirmation I made up that helps me to remember... "I turn away from the ways of the world, I tread lightly upon the earth, and despite the obvious predicament of being here in the world... I am not of the world, I am merely passing through. May I be as a light unto those who would see."

Each one who changes, changes another ... it's like a domino effect! The wonder of it all!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stepping Into the Unknown

My 48th year on this planet is winding down at an unprecedented rate of speed. I've watched it go by from the sidelines it seems, just as I have a good deal of my life. These last few months, however, I feel as though I've taken some quick and dirty dips in the stream of life, caught my breath, was amazed and inspired. I realize that when we walk forward into our fears, they fall away. Completely fall away! But knowing that doesn't make it any easier to face them.

I talked to my father last night about this very subject; my fears, looming decisions that petrify me and seeming burdens that disable me. He sat on the bed and listened while I talked. Sometimes I felt his arm around my shoulder or his hand on my forearm, punctuating those bolder, more freeing thoughts and ideas that needed reinforcing, or those feelings of hopelessness that required reassurance. He always seems to know when I need him. Whether it be in my dreams in or when I'm alone and missing our deep, morning conversations. He arrives out of nowhere, bringing with him the earthy smell of coffee and wood smoke, deep-boned warmth, and a comfort that knows no boundaries.

He reminds me that life is to be savored. That it is not a test, but a gift. That every deed is to be undertaken with gratitude, that every loss is a blessing in disguise and every achievement reassurance of our inherant divinity. Examine your life, he said. Hold it as you might a shimmering glass ball, look inside with curiosity and reverence, and above all, be joyful in all you do. These words he spoke during our last conversation on my kitchen floor (of all places) where we sat, backs against the wall, just before the light came in the window and I was forced to wake.

I am reminded, he wasn't quite so bearing of comfort in life. But by the time I really got to know him, which wasn't very much at all, I knew him as an extremely grumpy old goat who loved a good argument, and who's rudeness often sent me packing. But once in a great while, something else came through. An inspiring introspection and breadth of knowledge and mental openness that was nothing short of other-worldly. Somedays, I caught him at the right moment, and that's the person who held me spellbound. That was the man I knew I would miss the most when he died in 1989. I would miss our conversations, for surely, there was no one else with whom I could confer on such levels.

Shortly after his death, I began noticing little things. A warm hand laid on my shoulder, despite my being completely alone. Waking to someone's hand crossing my face and pushing back my hair. Weight plunging down at the foot of my bed. Then the dreams came. Usually when I was struggling with decisions or taking life too seriously. Here we found a common ground to meet and where our talks could continue ... freed now of his human cloak, the angry old goat who was filled with physical pain and mental demons, was now a sage and a mentor. He is with me now as I write this, hoping I will also include his sense of humor, which is as silly and irreverant now as it was then.

Several years back, before I truly understood what was happening, I received a flyer in the mail to take a two day course in mediumship with John Holland. I jumped at the chance, knowing that opportunity is fleeting. After our first day's class, we were to meet after dinner for a demonstration. In the hotel room, I said to my father, "If you come through, give me a sign, something no one else would know." Of course, the class was full of others hoping their own loved-ones would come through, I knew he wouldn't call on me.

The show was spectacular. The energy in the room was kinetic and for some reason I began to shake. Within minutes, Mr. Holland stood in front of me and said, "I have an older male, has your father passed? Eugene or Gene?" I nodded, my eyes teared up. He began speaking quickly about the leak in my roof in the upstairs closet, about my dogs who were with him, he told me my writing would be public, but in a different genre (I wasn't blogging then) ... to tell his son (my brother) he loved him, that the decision I was considering would free me, but I needed to act on it. As I shook in my chair, tears raced down my cheeks, John Holland said Gene was telling him to back off because he was upsetting me now, he moved on to someone else as another who'd transitioned stepped forward to make contact through the medium.

The reference to my writing stunned me, though. I'd just finished a novel and thought it was my mother who stood over my shoulders those many nights I pounded the keyboards, she being the family "writer". But ... she died when I was 13 and I truly hardly knew her. So, perhaps it had been my father all along. I'd stored the novel, unable to make further changes to the draft, I'd grown so sick of it, but still wasn't sure if it was good enough to submit. It still sits on the top shelf of my closet to this day. Where, by the way, I checked for a leak when I returned home from my weekend mediumship course. Sure enough, a water stain loomed. Strangely though, that stain never grew and we've never replaced the roof in all the years we've lived here.

The decision I was struggling with then, was one I struggle with now. I've always struggled with the big decisions in life. The little ones I turn on a dime, it's the big ones that get me. Cause me to faulter. I've finally come to the realization that I must move forward if I desire the kind of change that is monumental, otherwise, I might fluctuate back and forth until doomsday. Such a concept! Still, it's hard for one so adept at being unseen. Despite my age, my fears and the unknown. Perhaps, as my father said beyond his death, it will be freeing.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

good friends are angels made visible

I returned from my show Thursday morning, in fact, rose at dawn, packed up and headed home. I couldn't wait to get back to the dogs, birds, cat and humans who share my life. The problem is, since my return, I've been lingering over a difficult decision that continues to play itself out inside my head ... should I give 100% to making and selling jewelry, or give it up to a hobby only, in lieu of steady work, pay and benefits. Let me first say, I've lived a life of steady work, pay and benefits... this year was the first for me to throw in the towel and give art a chance. For sure, my husband assisted me in this endeavor by fronting a great deal of the expense money.

I've always been an artist of sorts,since I was a child, always drawing, painting, photographing and writing; always seeking new avenues to express that more subtle part of myself that if given half a chance, is in truth the more colorful part of me, certainly more capable of imparting just who it is I am. The other part, just as real but not necessarily as viable, is a survivor. Nothing more. A part of me that does not thrive, but merely ... does what is necessary to get by. I learned young how to survive.

My family were all strugglers, none of them understood what it meant to thrive. Life, in effect, required survival. And usually consisted of a bare knuckle approach, a sort of dangling, never fully on the ground, never safe, always worrying about the future. This required working hopeless jobs, my mother as a fry cook and my father as a rigger in the shipyard. Both provided some semblence of security, paid the bills, paid the mortgage, but fully neglected the longings of the heart. Neglecting longings is neglecting the roadmap of desire we were all born with. My parent's fear of abject poverty, sans any attempt at going for the gold, allowed a life to be lived without too much excitement and certainly without risks and mostly, without passion. So, the child who was born out of this failure to thrive, still exists within me and sometimes wakes me up at night to remind me of all the loose ends that I am incapable of fixing. I try to return to sleep with a smile on my face, hoping to impart the calmness of that smile's simple knowing upon my invisible soul, a Taoist wisdom. Sometimes it calms her. But her fears are evident in my life, despite my attempts to supress her. Mostly, she causes me undue anxst. I don't want to let her lead me. Therein lies a struggle.

When we are young, it seems, we are more likely to take risks to find our heart's desire. As we age, we lose site of our dreams, feel our energy wain, sometimes lose hope, our bodies decline and remind us of our mortality, we aren't so pretty as we once were, we lose the power to turn heads, we grow tired. But one thing we have obtained by this time in our life, hopefully, is a handful, or even one, soul friend. A kindred spirit who cheers us on despite appearances that seem to indicate our likelihod to fail miserably. Soulfriends are blessings to be cultivated and held forever dear. If you've found one, don't let go!

Last night, I met with two such girlfriends for dinner at the Yacht club in Silverdale, both of whom I have decided are soul friends. The three of us ordered the special; broiled halibut with red potatoes and sauteed vegetables ... which was beyond wonderful, should you decide to go yourself! Fabulous, in fact, but the best part of all, for me, was just being myself, not particularly elegant or funny or entertaining, among dear friends who know me and appreciate me for who I am anyway.

We talked, laughed, cried, revealed things, swore a pact of secrecy (complete with the linking of pinkies) ... and supported each other in our dreams and hopes and possible endeavors. Supported the dreamer, in effect, the risk taker, the artist in each of us. The survivor of course, needs no support, she gets plenty of it from the nay-sayers who abound in our lives. Reminded of this, I realize we are surrounded by nay-sayers, many who don't even realize they are trying their best to keep us down, to clip our wings, to keep us from trying for the brass ring. And how lucky to instead be among those who tell us we can climb mountains, fly even, and at least encourage us to give it our best shot. Good friends are angels made visible. My friends are certainly angelic.

My hope is that in reading this, you too will take a moment to look at your own life, gather up your true friends, and decide to surround yourself with them; with those who support the creator in you, rather than those who stoke the fires of your fears. I am so grateful to have in my life a handful of women friends who are honest and wise, strong and brave, creative, funny, positive and above all, true blue.

To my soulfriends: I honor you. In my eyes, you are perfect. I am so blessed to have you in my life. I only hope I can live up to your vision of me!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Sacred Poetry of Rumi

If anyone asks you how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,

Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the night sky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,

Like this.

If anyone wants to know what is, or what "God’s fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her. Keep your face there close.

Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.

Like this.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

Like this. Like this.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point

Like this.

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.

This tall. Like this.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.

Like this.

When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.

Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.

Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.

Like this.

How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?


How did Jacob’s sight return?


A little wind cleans the eyes.

Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge of the door to
surprise us.

Like this.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Sun and The Dark Side of the Moon

Today, October 11th, we Earthlings have moved into the lunar phase called New Moon. This is when the moon, in its orbital rotation, lies directly between the sun and the earth. Now it is the sun that experiences its own full reflection off the surface of that glistening pearl of a rock that lights our night sky and regulates our tides. We here on Earth are now full face with the dark side of the moon, with just the very glimmer of the crescent, without which, we might experience a lunar eclipse. The new moon appears approximately every 29 days. I have always been amazed by the science of astronomy and the ability to determine the phases of the moon, constellations and galaxies by way of mathematical equations. I've heard it said that mathematics is the Divine language of the universe. Then again... I was never any good at math.

In most schools of mysticism, the moon is representative of time and the right side of the brain, which is intuitive and creative. The sun to timelessness, spirit, the left hemisphere of the brain and cognition or consciousness. Melding the two hemisphere's of the brain being the goal of meditation, thereby bringing about new or heightened senses, mystical experience, immediate manifestation, hearing the still small voice of our Higher Self, profound "knowledge" or revelation, and ultimately, linking with the eternal mind wherein we share the thoughts of God and experience the peace beyond understanding. Thus, the sun and the moon, as with all aspects of the material world, can be symbolic of the Divine, depending upon our perspective.

We are blessed to have been born in a time when we may choose our own path to God, without being forced to adhere to some other man's view of truth, and without fear of "lethal" persecution in so doing. When I may decide, based upon my own understanding and experience, what is truth as it resonates with my innermost being. On a deeper level, we all have the ability to determine truth. But it does require that we faithfully question our own motives and intent.

Surely, just because a religious text specifies or condones something, doesn't mean it is "Truth." Neither would I denounce or condone something based upon a religious text merely because it makes me feel righteous, in fact, especially if it makes me feel righteous, it is bound to be suspect, and require some soul searching. Perhaps that is why I possess such a deep distrust of fundamentalism. The one aspect all religions were created to teach, is lost in all forms of fundamentalism, and that is the development of a compassionate soul. Intolerance and compassion cannot coexist. It strikes me that written words are symbols, as is the spoken language a symbol, as is the intent behind that ... so how do we reach "essence" which must be where ultimate truth resides. Does it exist in eternity? Surely, that requires looking much deeper.

I am forever considering the fact that all that is written as "Truth" was written by "someone" (men mostly, and mostly, men of their time) and that despite their best of intentions (hopefully) they may have felt at some point it necessary to "clarify" something or other. Certainly, all religious texts contain frightening examples of this. All sacrificial rites, fanatical intolerance's and most of the bloodiest wars have been waged in the name of a "loving" God, albeit angry and jealous on occasion. Based on the writings of men, God is presented as a Jekyll and Hyde, certainly not "someone" I would wish to meet in a dark ally, or in "Heaven" for that matter. It almost seems mankind has a great and dire fear of God, because in all our "manuals" we have created him to be like us. No wonder so many are afraid to look inside, if the one who waits to meet them is as judgmental and vengeful as they. But what if, the books are wrong. What if God neither judges nor condemns. What if we only judge and condemn ourselves? How will we know if we are never courageous enough to look within?

Through the practices of contemplation and meditation, I have found my own avenue for discernment. All true men of God have pointed to our hearts and asked us to look within. The outer world being merely shadows and projections of a frightened ego and noisy mind that thinks it is in competition with God. Meditation is the practice of looking within. Visiting that place of silence wherein eternity lies and essence can be experienced first hand. I've found extreme peace in meditation, having my own experiences of the Divine and realizing that those who say they can explain God as a being or concept, usually cannot.

The best book I ever read on meditation is called The Art of Meditation, written by Joel Goldsmith, a 20th century Christian mystic and healer. He is no longer alive, but has left his legacy in his many books. He is an author I would highly recommend.

The practice of meditation, I realize, requires a sense of reverence and purpose like prayer, the difference being instead of talking to God, making a plea in effect, we are listening for Him to speak to us. I believe it is important to change our practices now and then so they don't become rote, leaving our minds spinning elsewhere while we out of habit maintain the position or speak the usual words without really focusing on what we're doing. I recently learned a new meditation I would like to share with you. It is a guided meditation, in that, rather than focusing on nothing, you focus on something. In this case, it has to do with the sun and the moon, which is where I began this post a hundred or so words ago...

Sitting quietly with both feet on the ground, imagine yourself surrounded by white light. Run a cord of light from your base chakra (base of the spine) to the center of the Earth. Know it will remain in tact. Call your guardian angels around you. You may also call upon those ascended masters you feel especially drawn to, such as Jesus or the Buddha.

Close your eyes. Imagine the Sun in the center of your chest, in your heart chakra. See it golden and burning and brilliant. To the right of that, envision the full moon, huge and bright white and moving slowly towards the sun. Imagine the moon moving into the sun and the sun encompasses the moon until it disappears and is consumed therein. The sun remains burning brilliantly. Continue to imagine this sun in your heart chakra. Focus on it. Relax. Now, think of something you wish to experience in your life. Something you wish to "manifest." Whether it be true love, abundance, health ... whatever it might be. See how that would look and how it would feel. Imagine yourself having that experience. Hold the vision awhile. If it slips away, just gently pull it back it again. You will get much better at visualization and maintaining the pictures in your mind the more you practice.

That's it. Practice this meditation mornings and nights before you go to sleep. You may notice initially you start vibrating! Often not requiring as much sleep. And something wonderful might happen! If you decide to give the sun and moon meditation a try, I would love to hear about your experiences!

Blessings to you,