ACTUALLY, I CAN

A few years ago, I started a women’s group. I chose six women who I knew were all on a spiritual path; that was an important consideration to me. They range in age from 60 to 82 and most of us are single. One of my intentions was to connect deeply to women whom I resonated with so that we could build a tribe together, a sacred sisterhood. After fracturing my shoulder in 2015 I began to realize how much I needed other people. Not just to caretake, although I certainly needed that for a while, but also as a support system so that we could be there for one another as we age, and the inevitable passage of time made us more dependent on others for help. I didn’t want my children to be the only resource for me as my body slowed down.

We started by calling ourselves a book club and we began reading, Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond. We have now gone through, Awakening Joy, by  James Baraz, click here and two of Tosha Silver’s wonderful books, Outrageous Openness, and Change Me Prayers. Here  It soon became obvious that however intriguing the books were, we spent most of our time just sharing our lives and our stories. We would meet once a month at each other’s houses. (Since the pandemic it’s become once a week on zoom.) We begin with a brief ceremony that includes lighting candles, sharing our altars, and smudging. Then the facilitator for the week does a brief alignment, connecting each of us heart to heart, Soul to Soul. We end the alignment by silently repeating, “I am one with my group sisters, and all that I have is theirs. May the love, which Is in my Soul, pour forth to them. May the strength which is in me lift and aid them. May the thoughts which my Soul creates reach and encourage them.” (Alice Bailey, DINA 11) After we share our stories we end with jokes, poems, sometimes dancing and singing.

One week, a few years ago, when it was my turn to facilitate, I decided to do something different. I had been struggling with overwhelm…too many decisions to make, too many demands on my time, (before Covid) too many expectations for myself, too much perfectionism operating…. leaving me feeling stuck and helpless. Often when that happens, I run across just what I need to move me forward. So, this time I happened upon an offering online, by a company called Conscious Ink. Click here They create tattoos that are ink based. Easy to apply, they last for several weeks and they provide wonderful affirmations. I took them to my sisters, and we sat around the table and picked the ones that most resonated with us. Here were some of the offerings: I am enough, Actually I can, Courage, dear heart, Be free, Be gentle, Gratitude. Each of us in the circle took the tattoo that most resonated with us and we applied them to our bodies. I took, “Actually I Can,” because at that moment I needed the confidence to know I could handle whatever came my way.  I was completely amazed at how powerful it was.  I would look at it whenever I began to feel fear or lack, or trepidation and it lifted me up. I can do this. I’m not helpless. I am strong. My sisters also reported beneficial results.

Of course, there are many ways to work with affirmations, but I found that having that written right on my body I could look at it at any time and be reminded of my strength. It helped me through that challenging time. Here’s the logo for Conscious Ink…. “Temporary on the skin, Indelible on the Soul.”  Amen to that!!

And of course, the requisite poem.

The You-Shaped Hole, by Tara Mohr

Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.

You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.

You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.

You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t

meant for you.

As if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.

So, you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.

But what if this? What if you are meant

to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track

in just the particular ways that you do?

The world has a you-shaped hole in it.

It is missing what you see.

It lacks what you know.

And so you were called into being.

To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.

Filling it is speaking what is missing.

Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing, and

saying, here, my friends, is the future.

Filling it is being what is missing, becoming it.

You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.

You have to tell your slice of the truth.

You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.

Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around

a light.

The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,

these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.

They are not here to distance you from the world, but to guide you

into your contribution to it.

The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.

In that way you are important.

In that way you are here to make the world.

In that way you are called.

WHERE DID MY MOJO GO?

Several years back, when I was online dating, I felt an excitement that I hadn’t felt in a while. I was almost giddy, like a teenager. I was having so much fun. One day as I was dancing around my kitchen I overheard my daughter say to my sister, who was visiting, “Mom’s got her mojo back.” Fast forward to the night of the Spring Equinox, 2021. At my zoom full moon ceremony, I was asking everyone to sit in meditation and ponder what kind of energy they wanted to bring into the new beginning of Spring. Sitting in the stillness, myself, I heard the words, “I want my mojo back.”

How does one get their mojo back in the middle of a pandemic? It had been a long year of solitude, fear, isolation, and vigilance as everyone struggled to stay safe. I’m an introvert so being alone isn’t hard for me. I thrive on a slow pace with few commitments on my day, but when I noticed I had to push myself to go out on my daily walk I knew that inertia had set in again. Where was the joy of looking forward to the day? Where were the moments of presence that opened me up to the beauty and wonder of everything around me? I wanted lightness, the feeling of being really alive and grateful for every moment. A tall order, for sure.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I experienced some of this heightened sense of aliveness when I started my “nameless Pharmaceutical.” But I wanted a more consistent experience of that feeling of wonder and gratitude. One that didn’t depend on anything external to me. (Scroll to bottom of the page to read that blog.)

In the esoteric philosophy we are taught occult meditation. This is often called meditation with seed, meaning you take a thought, a word, a phrase, into your meditation and after aligning with your Soul, you open yourself up for illumination on that seed thought. So I decided to meditate on “mojo.” The question I posed was, “How do I get my mojo back?” The first thing that came to me was, “Shed your burdens.” It felt like I  was revisiting this whole issue of feeling burdened by  worry and anxiety. The insights continued as I realized that I needed to trust in the joy of the Soul who knows and understand that “all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)

This was not the same as the giddy, adolescent joy of my earlier years or the dancing around joy of dating in my 70’s, but a deep Soulful joy that comes from knowing and living my purpose and believing that I am right where I need to be. It asks me to TRUST, to RELEASE, to IDENTIFY with the light that I am. The questions came: How deep is your trust? Do you deeply believe that there is nothing to fear? Nothing to worry about? Nothing to be anxious about? When I could sink into that deep trust, I felt the lightness enter my body. I opened my eyes and noticed the beauty in my yard, the flowers, the colors, the birds, the trees. I felt lifted up, out of the inertia. The feeling carried me through the day in a new way. A quiet, calm joy that felt like freedom.

Then a few days ago I was at my acupuncture appointment. David Martin is an MD, acupuncturist, counselor, and a great dream analyzer. I shared with him my mojo ponderings and I also brought him a dream I had had a few nights earlier. He spent some time on the dream and contemplating our conversation on mojo. Finally, he said, “I think the theme of this dream might be about your caretaking. In every case, in this dream, where someone seemed in distress, or upset, or in danger, you rushed in to comfort, and support and take care of them. I wonder if the dream isn’t in response to your question of where your mojo went? Maybe this is part of the feeling of burden that you carry?”

We’ve had many sessions on my tendency to be toooo helpful….jumping in sometimes before someone even asks for help. But I had never connected it to a feeling of being burdened. I realized that when I am stuck in a role, however altruistic my motives, that there is an attachment to being only that way and that can be stifling. The vigilance it requires is exhausting. The constraints are numbing. Where is the real me in that? And who am I, without that role? It’s definitely a work in progress as I try to become more mindful of old patterns that no longer serve me. I must go back to shedding and trusting and remembering that all shall we well.

Then I ran across these words from Pema Chodron:

The ground of loving -kindness is this sense of satisfaction with who we are and what we have. The path is a sense of wonder, becoming a two-or three-year old child again, wanting to know all the unknowable things, beginning to question everything. We know we’re never really going to find the answers, because these kinds of questions come from having a hunger and a passion for life—they have nothing to do with resolving anything or tying it up into a neat little package. This kind of questioning is the journey itself.

And you all know that I couldn’t write a blog without some poetry. So here’s an excerpt from, Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, Sonnet IV.  Rainer Maria Rilke

You who let yourselves feel:

enter the breathing

that is more than your own.

Let it brush your cheeks

as it divides and rejoins beside you.

Blessed ones, whole ones,

you where the heart begins:

You are the bow that shoots the arrows

and you are the target.

Fear not the pain. 

Let its weight fall back

into the earth;

for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown

too heavy.  You cannot bring them along.

Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.

IN PRAISE OF A PHARMACEUTICAL (which shall remain nameless)

In a recent zoom appointment with my doctor I was complaining about my ongoing struggle with sleep and a continuous battle with hot flashes…..really at 79 I’m still getting hot flashes? What’s with that? He suggested I take a very low dose of a certain prescribed medication.(hereafter to be referred to as xyz)  I knew from having worked with depressed clients that he was talking about an anti-depressant.  “I’m not depressed,” I said…a little peeved at him. “No, No,” he said, “I’ve had patients tell me that a small dose of xyz helps reduce hot flashes and also makes you sleepy so perhaps if you took a dose right before bedtime it would help with both issues.”

I pondered, as I’m wont to do. Sat with it for a week or so then decided I had nothing to lose. I would try it for the two weeks he suggested and see if anything changed. Almost two weeks to the day I woke up in a different state of mind, or should I say consciousness. Lying in my bed, I looked around and felt this amazing feeling of gratitude sweep over me. I was grateful for my bed, for my pillow, for the sun coming in the window. I was grateful for the day….to wake up and begin a new day. What is going on,? I wondered. This feeling continued throughout the day and I realized I hadn’t felt this free, this light in forever. As the days went on and I continued to experience fewer hot flashes, better sleep and a better attitude I realized it must be the xyz. I noticed that at night, even though I might toss and turn a bit, I didn’t sink into the old fear of, “I’m never going to get to sleep. I’ll be tired all day tomorrow, etc.” I just lay there, in acceptance with no anxiety. The negative loops that my mind sometimes gets into at night when I’m having trouble sleeping seemed to disappear. The days went by and I felt myself almost in a constant state of appreciation.

Aside from a brief stint, when my marriage was falling apart, I have never labeled myself as depressed, but now I began to wonder. It had been so long since I had felt this light that I realized for most of my life, for whatever reason, I have felt sort of burdened, and heavy.  Maybe it’s the Scorpio intensity, feeling overly responsible, the early childhood abuse, the Covid drama…..whatever the cause I am grateful for the shift. I had a lessening of the feeling several days later and my old mind set kicked in for a bit. “Oh, it’s gone away now. It wasn’t really a permanent thing.  I’ve lost it.” But somehow that didn’t have much energy and it soon subsided. I’m finding it easier to slip back into the feeling of gratitude when I’ve sort of gone off course. Or maybe it’s not really going off course, maybe it’s just the way moods operate. I guess it’s unrealistic to expect to always be in a good mood, but I have noticed that my spirits have been lifted and there’s a feeling of freedom and excitement that wasn’t there before. 

My daughter, the Buddhist teacher, warns me not to get too attached to any state of mind. That the mind stuff comes and goes and it’s best just to watch it do its thing…as an observer. But it feels like I’ve raised the bar somehow from my old mind set. That there is a different foundation upon which to meet life. Whatever it is, and whatever the cause I’m grateful to xyz for showing me a brighter outlook is possible.

A baby pigeon stands on the edge of a nest all day.

Then he hears a whistle, Come to me.

How could he not fly toward that?

Wings tear through the body’s robe

When the letter arrives

that says,

   ‘You’ve flapped and fluttered against limits

long enough.

You’ve been a bird without wings in a house without doors

or windows.’

Compassion builds a door.

Restlessness cuts a key.

       ASK!!!!!

Step off

proudly into sunlight,

not looking back.

Take sips of this pure wine being poured.

Don’t mind that you’ve been given a dirty cup.”  Rumi

HOLY FUNK

In the midst of this COVID crisis, I woke up in a funk. I felt edgy, frustrated, impatient, closed down. I think all would have been well if I could have just held those feelings and stayed with them, but I immediately started judging myself for having them. After a few days my body started screaming at me, ”Do something. We can’t hold all this negativity much longer.”

I used to have a much greater tolerance for negativity. Now it makes me literally feel sick if I don’t deal with it. Given the current state of the world, the isolation and confinement, how do I come to a deeper sense of my own wholeness?

As I have worked to answer this question, several pieces of a puzzle have fit together to make a clearer picture of me.

My first puzzle piece arrived as I immediately started doing several things that I knew might help me release and realign. I deepened my spiritual practice by spending more time: meditating; sitting outside, bare feet on the earth, feeling the power of the Mother fill my body; dancing by myself to my favorite old rock and roll music, (that truly is a spiritual practice, BTW); and taking long walks in the woods.

Another piece came when I realized that my struggle with insomnia wasn’t personal.  It didn’t need to define me in any way. I was not a defective person just because I couldn’t sleep through the night. My previous mindset had somehow morphed into, “I’m not ok if I have this sleep issue.” Letting go of that unhelpful thought did help my sleep and my mood improve.

Also, I sat with a pile of cards that I have collected over the years. In the past when I would read or hear something inspirational, I would write it down on an index card. The pile has become quite a collection. Just reading through this stack of cards helped me remember truths that I had forgotten.

I found this jewel of a quote. It was labeled, A Morning Intention, and here’s what it said:
“May I this day keep my heart open.
May I remain curious, no matter how difficult things may get.
May I generate a warm heart toward myself.
May I see what I do, without turning it against myself.”

I began repeating that third line, over and over to myself, during the day. I was shocked to realize how seldom I had sent myself any kind of loving energy. It felt like wrapping a warm blanket over myself.

I recollected a line from an old hymn I learned in childhood. “Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.” This hymn had been rattling around in my brain for months, but several weeks ago I felt it enter my body. I was born in wholeness, not defective, not in “sin”, not in need of salvation. Of course, I had known this intellectually for many years, since abandoning my fundamentalist upbringing, but this felt like embodying a fundamental truth.

One provocative piece of the puzzle came from a brief conversation I had with an old friend. She was sharing that in her women’s group, all of them in their 80’s, they had been discussing the question,

When will it be enough?”

I pondered this over many days. When will I have done enough? When will I have learned enough, grown enough, become spiritual enough? I began realizing that for several weeks I had automatically deleted all workshops, podcasts, seminars, online courses that came to my email.

I began thinking, “…Maybe I am enough. Maybe I’m done striving to be better, somehow. Striving to always improve, always ‘pushing the river’ as one friend describes me.” I really started taking that in. I didn’t need to DO anything more to be ok. I am wholeness, after all.

Along with that came an acknowledgment that I trust my Soul to bring to me any issues that might need healing. I don’t need to go looking for my lessons. They will come to me, and when they do I will deal with them, but basically, the searching is over. Maybe it’s my age, 78 for a few more months.  Maybe it’s the whole COVID thing. Whatever the reason I am feeling a deep sense of ok-ness.

The final piece, at least for the time being, came in the form of a poem, shared with me by my friend Heidi Robbins. It’s by one of my favorite poets, Jan Richardson and it’s called, “Blessing the Body.”
Blessing the Body

“This blessing takes
one look at you
and all it can say is
holy.
Holy hands.
Holy face.
Holy feet.
Holy everything
in between.

Holy even in pain.
Holy even when weary.
In brokenness, holy.
In shame, holy still.
Holy in delight.
Holy in distress.
Holy when being born.
Holy when we lay it down
at the hour of our death.

So, friend,
open your eyes
(holy eyes).
For one moment
see what this blessing sees,
this blessing that knows
how you have been formed
and knit together
in wonder and
in love.

Welcome this blessing
that folds its hands
in prayer
when it meets you;
receive this blessing
that wants to kneel
in reverence
before you:
you who are
temple,
sanctuary,
home for God
in this world.”
I know that this deep feeling of holy-ness may come and go, as the truth cycles in and out of my consciousness, but my hope is that when the next funk appears, I will remember.

Even in the funk……holy still.

(First published at Lorian.org)

CHOOSING JOY, PART II

One of our first assignments in the class, “Awakening Joy,” was to think of all the things that bring us joy and then to notice what gets in the way of our experiencing it more often.

Here’s my journal entry for that assignment.

1/27/08

“What brings me joy these days?

Teaching. I always feel a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when I’ve taught a class or done a full moon ceremony.

Being aligned. Feeling connected to my deepest self, my Soul. This is a feeling that is different than the zippity do dah,  kind of joy. This is an inner, quiet sense of, I’m on the right path, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Acknowledging, calling in, invoking the angels brings me joy. I consciously work with them and ask them to help me sleep at night, to help heal my shoulder, to work with the people who come here to make them feel welcome and safe. That brings me joy.

Volunteering at the day care center to play with the babies. Sending them love, holding them, imagining their little Souls looking out at me. Such a warmth in my heart when I see their sweet faces.

This winter the sun has brought me joy.

Just choosing joy, moment by moment I feel grateful for everything.

Having the house to myself, and my life to myself brings me joy.

What gets in the way?

Worry

Tiredness

Taking on too much responsibility that isn’t really mine.

Not being authentic, gets in the way. I don’t feel true to myself when I pretend or put on a disingenuous face. I feel so much joy when I can just be wholly and truly who I am in any situation.

 

My personal intention for this course is to create a new groove in my brain, the joy groove, that will replace and make obsolete the inertia groove. I want to lift my Spirit, my mind, my body, UP, UP, UP. I want joy to become my natural state of being in the world. I want to become more mindful of my thoughts. I want to become harmless. Can you do harm when you are in a state of joy?”

“Those who wish to sing, always find a song.” (Swedish proverb)

Sending joy,

Karen

CHOOSING JOY, PART I

It may seem irreverent and cold-hearted to be talking about joy in the midst of this pandemic, but really, who does it serve if we get so burdened down with despair and fear that we cannot make wise choices or feel any hope? I’ve learned that it is a practice, this choosing joy idea. Regardless of outer circumstances we can incline our minds toward joy. This is not to deny, repress, or ignore those other feelings. It is just to acknowledge that joy is always there, if we choose to look for it.  Mister Rogers tells the story of what his mother told him once when he was devastated by some cruelty. She said that when bad things happen, always look around for those people doing good. Choosing joy is like that. We see the despair, the fear, we accept that it is there, but we also know that it is not all that is there. The flowers are still beautiful, the sun is still shining, the smells of spring are in the air. These things are also present. We must just decide that we want to turn our minds toward them and fill ourselves with their beauty and presence.

I was reminded of this practice, today, as I was looking through some old papers. I came across a journal that I kept while I was taking a 9-month online course called, Awakening Joy.  https://www.awakeningjoy.info/

I’d like to share with you my first entry.

1/26/08

“So, this is my ‘joy journal’. I’m starting the class Awakening Joy, this week and I’ve decided to keep a special journal just for this class.  What I noticed right away? As soon as I made the commitment to the class, the mantram, “I Choose Joy” kept coming into my awareness. The feeling was one of being uplifted inwardly. I realized my learned inner state of being was sort of stamped down, held somehow, clamped and restricted, but this upliftment felt joyous and light and free. An old footprint in the sand was being washed away by the tide and leaving just a sparkling smooth surface behind. I already have become more aware of my inner state in any given moment and it’s quite amazing to watch the shift as I say, silently, “In this moment, I choose joy.” It’s kind of like a fluttering around my heart, like the beginning of excitement. Like an “oh!” and then a quick intake of breath, when you are slightly surprised by something. It feels like a little shot of energy. I like it!!”

Joy can lighten our burdens. Mindfulness can help us be aware of when we are taking on too much and at that point, we have a choice. We can choose to become entirely immersed in the burden or we can open our hearts in compassion for ourselves and for struggling humanity and look around. What else is there to see?

There is a saying, purported to be from Thailand, that says, “Smile in defiance of the tigers.”  I think we can cultivate the ability to smile to ourselves, no matter what is happening to us or around us.  So, right now, in this moment, I choose to  smile.

WHAT IF TODAY WE WERE JUST GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that famous Snoopy/Charlie Brown quote because for awhile now I haven’t been able to push that particular “on button” in myself. It’s mostly due to a reoccurrence of the old insomnia issue. The frustration and anxiety have been particularly intense. This intensity may be due to the fact that we are entering my birth month, November, and traditionally this has meant that some emotional issue usually arises for me to look at. Scorpio is the sign of the underworld of our psyches so part of me is not surprised.
After a week or so of this continual, mind f….king, I finally realized what I was doing. I watched myself be in a perpetual bad mood, feeling a bit depressed and catastrophizing the worst case scenario…..I would never, ever again have a good night’s sleep. You’ve heard me bemoan this before so I won’t belabor it but what was different this time was that I realized what my thoughts were doing to my body and my mental health.
And then a couple of things happened that helped shift things for me. I was reading a blog by David Spangler in which is tells the story of his very first car. How he loved that car and every time he drove it he felt such love and gratitude that it was his. And the car never broke down. It drove like a charm for him. His father, who gave him the car, really didn’t like it, but bought it because it was a good deal. Well, every time his father happened to drive the car something went wrong. David’s 16-year-old mind concurred that the car must respond to whatever energy was directed toward it.
This wasn’t a new thought for me, but it got me to thinking about it in connection to my insomnia. How must my bed feel when every night I come to lie down with a sense of dread or anxiety? Would things be different if I slipped under my covers each night grateful that I had a bed and that it held me so comfortably? Could I give thanks to whatever subtle energies inhabited that bed? For me it seemed more than just a gratitude practice it made me more aware of my connection to the subtle realms. There really is an energetic connection between my bed and me, my computer and me, my chair and me and when I express my gratitude to my bed or my computer or my chair I begin to feel that connection as an energy flow between us. This is not rocket science. David has been preaching this for years through his books and talks on subtle activism, but suddenly it hit me in a real way.
The second things that happened was an email from Tom Kenyon, the sound healer. He posted an article and a meditation from a group he calls the Trillium. He suggests in this article that they are beyond our dimension but are willing to help us during these chaotic times with whatever we need to stay centered and grounded. He suggests we listen to the 5-minute sound meditation while holding in our intention in our awareness. The effects, he says, will be more powerful if we can do this while in a state of deep gratitude or appreciation.
So, here’s how these two events changed things for me. I began listening to the cd while doing my gentle stretching right before bedtime. My intention was simple, deep sleep and I pictured myself lying peacefully in my bed, totally at rest with no agitation or mental anxiety. After those 5 minutes I made my way to my bedroom and crawled into bed. Lying there I took a few minutes and felt my gratitude for my bed, sending it my good feelings and feeling the comfort of its energy holding me. Then I gave thanks to my pillow, my comforter, the wind gently blowing in through my window. I thanked the nature spirits that help keep the plants in my bedroom healthy. I invoked the spirit of my bedroom and asked her to work with me to create a space that would feel like a peaceful sanctuary. I was deep in gratitude and felt the blessing of connection.
It’s only been a few days, so I can’t claim that this will last forever, but I’ve had great sleep for two nights now. And this feeling/awareness has spread into almost every area of my daily life. It’s like walking into the world with new eyes. Everything is alive. Everything has consciousness and the more I acknowledge that and radiate my gratitude out to meet it, the more blessed I feel.
Sending my gratitude now to my computer, for taking this all down and not crashing on me.
Update:
A few weeks later I am still not sleeping as peacefully as I’d like, but it seems like what was really important about this experience was the expanding of my awareness around my living environment. I walk around my house now with an increased desire to transmit the gratitude that I feel to those unseen beings that share my space. In return, I feel the connection we are making with each other and I am grateful for the feeling of support that gives me. I feel held and uplifted. It’s an energy exchange that benefits us all and I am beyond grateful … regardless of how I sleep.

LUGHNA……..What?

I have to admit I’d never heard of the Celtic Festival called Lughnasad until a few days ago, although I was familiar with the English name given it, Lammas. Still I was intrigued and looked it up.
Wikipedia describes it in this way:
“a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Traditionally it is held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. However, in recent centuries some of the celebrations shifted to the Sundays nearest this date. Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas.”
But first the backstory.
In trying to finish up my new book, My Gentle Musings, based on 6 years of my blogs, I had to research a lot of the poets and writers that I had quoted. Copyright issues come into play when you are selling something that contains other people’s words. So one of the people I googled was Miriam Dyak who is the author of Spring Cleaning, one of the first poems quoted in my book. Much to my surprise I found she lived right here in Seattle, my home town. I called her, and we had a lovely conversation. I realized we had much in common as she is only a few years younger than I and she is also a therapist. I asked for her permission to include her poem and she graciously gave it to me with no strings attached, except that she be acknowledged. Then she told me that she had written poems for each of the Celtic holy days and she would love to send them to me.
On the day they arrived in my email box I was having a mini crisis around the book. Doubting myself, wondering if I would ever finish it, if anyone would be interested in publishing it, if it was really something people could be helped by. That was my mindset, having a “doubting Thomas” moment. Then I read her first poem dedicated to the festival of Lughnasad.
CARE OF THE GROWING CROP
Since corn needs all the light it can get.

you will want to avoid planting other tall plants nearby

you are growing yourself remember
you deserve your day in the sun
you deserve your own ripeness
and you will want to make sure each plant
has every opportunity to make good use of the rich soil you have provided
so that at last these dreams you’ve been holding will fill out
in precious clusters of milky pearls and silky yellow moons
Sweet corn is at its sweet juicy tender best for only a few days
and you have labored a whole season for this perfection.
Trouble shooting: we hope none of the following problems will be yours
Insect infestations like a swarm of worries
take measures in your own soul before there is a full-scale invasion
The corn earworm lays about 1,000 eggs in her twelve days of life
We know how these hatch into hesitation, fear, doubt, self-deprecation, inertia how they eat tunnels into the mind
Cut them out and give them back to the earth for compost
You have grown too far to give up now
Diseases – wilt and smut and blight out there in the world
Don’t let these attack your own small patch
Develop a resistant strain go against the grain of expectations
be an original a treasure
Give yourself a new name:
Golden woman
Moon Maiden
She Who Stands Tall And Proud
Thieves – raccoons, woodchucks and deer are probably the worst four-footed
sweet corn thieves
they are the distractions that come just when you’re getting somewhere
when you almost have success in the pot
and steal you away from your own life
They have an uncanny way of knowing just when the ears
have reached their prime
They are other people’s needs you always put before your own
They are love affairs that want you to be somebody you aren’t
They are larger bigger better purposes/harvests than yours
You can try to spook them with rock music
You can plant pumpkins in their path
You can even cover your ears with paper bags…
But I am here to tell you
this night on the festival of Lughnasad the time of ensuring the harvest
your personal harvest the village harvest
and the safety of the good we are all growing in the world
I am here to tell you what the ancients know
that if you give up your crop along the way out of carelessness or nobility
it doesn’t matter
your spirit will be a hollow husk and no one, not you, not others
will be fed
But if you tend your own patch to completion
(no matter how insignificant it seems)
if you let yourself swell with joy with the rich nourishing milk of fulfillment
you will have raised a miracle
Your small garden of life, of art, of love, of work, of mothering and building and
being a wise woman
whatever you have planted and tended and grown
will feed yourself, your village
there will be corn for feasting, flour for popping over winter fires
and enough to plant next year
There will be seeds that open spontaneously in the hearts of other women
and wild possibilities will appear in dreams on the other side of the world
Miriam Dyak
August 2, 1995
WOWSA!!! I am inspired, and I will continue. I am she who stands Tall and Proud.

CAN I LOVE MORE?

We’re in a Gemini month right now and I’ve been pondering what this might mean for me. Gemini is the sign that transmits the energy of unconditional love and wisdom. It is the love that translates into a desire for right human relationships, for a resolution to whatever separative tendencies we may hold.
Here’s how it has played out for me so far. I got an email from a person that I used to be fairly close to, but partly because of the way I was treated in that relationship, the friendship sort of died. We didn’t see one another anymore. Then I got this email from him asking if I’d like to get together for coffee and “catch up.” My first impulse was, “NO,” but I didn’t know how to gracefully decline. I sat with it for a few days and then decided to accept, although I felt half-hearted about it. I recognized that I didn’t have good feelings toward him. Maybe I still held onto the hurt, but I had confronted him about it and he had taken responsibility. I just made the decision at that time that I didn’t trust him as a friend and sort of closed off my heart to him.
Then the universe began working on me. First it was a chapter in the book my women’s group is reading called, “Awakening Joy.” I read the wrong chapter, which I took as sort of a sign. Instead of reading the chapter on Self Love I read the chapter on Loving Others. In this chapter the author’s James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander, talk about how when we focus on the negative feelings we have about someone, we may be closed down to all the good things that person might have displayed. We forget.
So, I started thinking about all the good times this friend and I had shared and how, at one time, I had respected and admired him because of all the positive qualities I saw in him. That shifted things a bit, but not altogether.
Later in the chapter I read about the Lovingkindness practice where you wish someone well,
May you be at peace.
May you be free of suffering.
May you remember the beauty of your own true nature.
May you live your life with ease.
The suggestion is that you start wishing yourself well and then after a time extend the blessing to those you may have difficulties with.
I began doing that with this person.
I tell you, it’s hard to hold onto many bad feelings when you are wishing someone well, every day.
The discomfort eased some more as my heart began to crack open a bit more.
The final piece for me was realizing that at this full moon we are being graced with a downpouring of love and wisdom. We are being asked to love more.
How do I want to use this energy? Gemini is all about establishing right human relationships, with myself, with others, with my environment. How can I bring that energy into my relationship with this person? How can I shine the light of Love into our connection?
Here’s what I finally came to.
This person has been somewhat abusive to me in the past, so I won’t give him complete access to my heart. I still choose not to be in a close relationship with him. That feels like a healthy boundary to me. But I will meet him for coffee with my wishes for his well being foremost in my energy field. I will hold him in my heart with compassion and understanding, remembering all the good qualities that he embodies. And if the issue of our friendship comes up I will bravely share with him my struggle with this. That feels like an important way for me to stay in integrity with him.
Somewhere, during this time another note from the universe appeared that helped me a lot. It was an old quote that I happened to remember, and it fit this situation perfectly.
“Unconditional love, conditional access.”
And like the Buddha is purported to have said, “Never throw anyone out of your heart. You may have to throw them out of your house, but you don’t need to throw them out of your heart.”
May the blessings of this full moon pour down upon you and may you find the love that helps resolve the relationships in your life that are troubling and difficult.

Ps.
After I wrote this blog I went for a walk. Listening to a podcast on Healing the Judgmental Mind I heard the presenter give her formula. One step really struck me. She said, see the situation as if for the first time. The Buddhists call this beginner’s mind. Each time you sit on the cushion for meditation you do so for the first time. Just be open to whatever appears to you that day.
I wondered how I could apply this to my situation. What if I came to the coffee date open to just seeing who showed up? As if I was meeting him for the first time? Seeing him as he was that day, leaving all the stories behind?
I’m willing to try that.

 

 

We? or Me?

In a weak moment last fall, during an especially frustrating insomniac night, I went to my computer for some break from my busy mind.

A few years before that I had been on match.com and ever since I ended my membership they kept sending me notices of all the men who have messaged me or sent me a “wink”. Usually I just bypass all that, but this particular night they hooked me. I impulsively re-joined for 3 months.

Messages began coming in and I noticed I wasn’t the least bit excited. Then the last week of my membership one guy sort of piqued my interest and I responded. I was honest about my ambivalence from the beginning, but I agreed to meet him. We met twice, and the ambivalence continued even though he was very nice and we had a lot in common. So, we agreed to not carry it forward.
Then synchronistically another man called me, out of the blue, because he had read a blog of mine and was interested in having a conversation. I of course, immediately googled him and found out he was an upstanding, spiritually involved, human, but he did live a few hours outside of Seattle. We talked on the phone several times and I noticed my hesitancy but decided it wasn’t fair to write him off without at least meeting him. We tried to arrange to meet one another but an obstacle came up that didn’t seem resolvable at the present time. So, we decided not to pursue.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I do believe that when we put something out into the universe, however hesitant we may be, that we will probably get some kind of a response. I never want to ignore those messages in case they are pointing me in a certain direction or guiding me to a next step. So, when I joined up again with match I sort of felt obliged to at least check things out.
The responses of these two men sent me into a place of inquiry within myself. What did I really want? Was my hesitancy some kind of resistance within me that I needed to examine? Could I really trust my gut level feeling?
Well, trusting myself and my own inner knowing has been a life long journey for me so in a way the universe was giving me a perfect opportunity to deepen my faith in myself.
I did go within and that took me right into my memories of how it felt when I knew something was right. There was a strong energy pulling me in a certain direction.

I remembered experimenting with this idea several years ago when I needed to make a big decision. I sat in meditation and I posed the question, “How would I feel if I decided this way?”….then I paid really close attention to my body. Then I asked the same question, “How would I feel if I decided that way?” Again, I sank into my body. To my surprise the answer was very clear. My body definitely knew which way was right for me. But was that enough to go on? After all it wasn’t my usual way of making a decision. I tend to analyze, ponder, try to reason it all out. I questioned whether I could really trust this kind of knowing. But from somewhere came this phrase, “the body never lies.” And I remembered all the times at my naturopath’s office where we did muscle testing to determine what supplements I needed. Wasn’t that the same thing? Letting the body tell me what was needed.
So, in the case of these two men I paid very close attention to my body when I asked the question about whether I wanted to go forward with either of them. I recognized that there was no juice in me, no pull toward this new experience.

Part of the reason for this is that I am feeling so content and at peace with my life the way it is. I can feel myself withdrawing from some of the outward energy and going more into myself and my service work. I feel a deeper commitment to my spiritual path and it feels like that’s where the energy wants to go right now. So maybe I can just trust that and let go of the endless debate in my head.
Whew!! Wouldn’t life be so much easier if I could just lean into the wisdom that my body holds?

“You have to trust your inner knowing. If you have a clear mind and an open heart, you won’t have to search for direction. Direction will come to you.” Phil Jackson

A few days later….taking a quiz from an astrologers website about what kind of spring goddess I am, this is what I got

You hold the energy of the ancient and magical Welsh Goddess Blodewedd, created by the great magicians Math and Gwydion.
They formed her from the blossom of nine different trees and plants – oak, meadowsweet, broom, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut, primrose and hawthorn and breathed her into life
Her story goes that she was unfaithful to her chosen mate (the mortal she was created for) and was punished by being turned into an Owl.
But in fact, She was a deity who went her own way, trusting her own instincts about the path her life was meant to take.
Her rebellion became her self-realization.
Today, Blodewedd symbolizes the blossoming and expansion that occurs when we practice self-trust and stay true to our purpose.
Honour Blodewedd by adorning yourself and your living space with flowers.
Find a picture of an owl and put it up. Reflect on the lessons that this magical bird can offer you.

https://numerologist.com/numerology/can-we-guess-which-unusual-spring-goddess-you-are/

This blog is similar to one I just published through the Lorian Organization. If you wish to read more go to Lorian.org