Friday, December 19, 2014

"I love that guy..."

The real story comes from a love-source that cannot be understood with the intellect... Mark Nepo

My granddaughter paused in the hallway on her way out the door.  We had just put up some Christmas decorations. There, newly unwrapped for this year, was the foot-high Santa standing on the hall chest. She fingered his beard, his red velvet coat and then took her time feeling all the little presents sticking out his pockets. Gazing for as long as a four year old gazes, she finally looks sideways at me and states, almost solemnly, "I love that guy." And from her look, I knew she meant it down to her little toes. Her face reveling she has entered that place of wonder and love.

Earlier, she and her brother unwrapped the manger scene for the mantle. They know they have to be very, very careful as Jesus slipped from smaller fingers last year. We would have lost him if he hadn't bounced on the floor. They reverently, as reverently as enthusiastic four and six years olds can be, handle each figure -- the cow, one-eared donkey, three kings, shepherds, and the baby Jesus. This year a thumb is off one of the kings and the shepherd has lost a fore-finger. Yet somehow none of this matters.

However, a problem presents itself. The cow might be my grandson's favorite, yet it's Jesus's head, not the cow's they both want the light to shimmer over.  Unfortunately, it keeps falling in the hay. "Grandma, we need a prop." he states. A little candy box lies empty on the coffee table. Presto, he is down off the stool. Now the "star" shines securely over Jesus's head (see low). Even the Smarties box does not feel irreverent -- any more than a Christ Child does, born on hay with munching cows.

Thinking I might add a little depth of meaning to the events, my grandson quickly assures me, "I know." Hmm, maybe better than I as they both have the feeling, the whispered hush, the sparkling Christmas lights shining out their eyes and fingertips. Does it matter whether it is Jesus, a Christ Child, Buddha, or whoever my granddaughter is loving in the red suit? I don't think so. What matters is they feel this story is in some magical way, theirs.

They both know the one inch presents in Santa's pockets in the hallway are empty and the seemingly inanimate manger scene is far from perfect. Jesus's birthday is three weeks away, so this exuberance is not about something under the tree. Watching them I think, where are my feelings? Where is my excitement, my joy de vive, where can I hardly contain myself with true aliveness? I know I don't love the guy in the red suit. I am too logical. Plus, my feelings get lazy and some get "killed off" by thought: "Oh, Christmas is just for children." or "Yes, Augusta (Virginia) there is no Santa Claus."

However, I also know our deepest feelings are the lodestar that weds us to each other and the magic of the larger story. When Christmas is born in us, we are re-born in that love-source that can be known only as a person is known.* Now the lights from the tree twinkle as I walk by.  If I squint I see the beautiful prism rays that are us if we could see, energetically. When I let them play on my irises, then glance up at the mantle, there we all are -- wise women and men, birthing new Babes of our own, new insights, new behaviors as we follow our Star. And the air is alive with the kindnesses and goodness that shower us every day. 

We radiate a heart-hum. It doesn't matter if the grands have to do "time-out" for eating the candy they were told not too. Nor doesn't it matter how many mistakes I make, how many friends I have lost this year. In great sadness is great love, in our anger is our wounded-ness and our healing. The story is always larger than we think, always larger than our emotions, always larger than the hay in the manger or the empty Smarties box that is upholding the light.

* Mark Nepo
photo source:

Friday, December 5, 2014

the sun flower...

the sun flower...

The end of the garden
belonged to the sunflowers,
sedulously drawing
the sun’s power inward,
and rising above him/her
who bound them to poles...

The end of the summer
belonged to sunflowers,
languidly casting
downward their haloed heads -
the Crucifixion of a season
offering... the feast...
          Sally Belenardo, From “Jacob’s Garden”

Leaving the restaurant, holding her wing-like arm, I just want to get my ninety-one year old mother to the car without her falling. Yet stepping gingerly off the last step, she stops with surprising strength, jerking me to a halt. I look down at her. She was inch shorter, now she is a foot shorter. Her gnarled spine cast her face to the ground. In her younger years she encouraged me to “put your shoulders back and stand up straight”-- as she carried herself.

About to urge her toward the car, thankfully, I begin to recognize she is meeting with an old friend too seldom seen. How beautiful to watch her raise blind eyes to the September sun.  Like an enchanted sunflower, she stands “sedulously drawing the sun’s power inward.” Long, deep breaths. I hear the raspy inhale. Then another and another.

People keep passing us on each side. She, who would be quick to step aside, ignores them. Her back pain should have propelled her toward the car several minutes ago. Yet, she is basking. The sun is lovely for her.  The “end of the summer” does truly belong to the sunflowers, “languidly casting...their haloed heads."  I cannot say,  “Let’s go Mother.” when she knows how to embrace the sun like this. And I wonder, who is embracing whom.

*written a year before my mother made her transition, her birthday would have been several days ago
Image source:  Artur Synenko -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

the gold fish bowl...

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight,
in a bud
was more painful
then the risk                                                                                                
it took
to Blossom.  Anais Nin

A piece of research, I read recently, observed what would happen if gold fish were taken from their bowl and put in a large bath tub. One would assume they would make a dash to splash and play in the larger body of water. They did not. They remained swimming within the confines of their non- existent fish bowl -- their environment.

I create my own fish bowl and it becomes my mini-universe. My inner environment, beliefs, thoughts and perceptions limit my swimming range. A few centuries ago my ancestors thought the earth was square. And what a fish bowl that created -- no sailing into unknown waters. Then, only a few decades ago I considered my body solid, skin was skin, bone-bone and the cat was a cat. I also thought the end of the world was limited to my five senses. Now Einstein tells us it is all an illusion be it a convincing one. Science is proving (which the shamans, Buddhist monks and mystics have known for eons) that it is a multi-dimensional world with parallel realities. And the breaker of limits is: I am 99.9 percent energy with essentially no solidity other than the one who thinks there is sitting here typing. So my fish bowl is having a hard time telling me the earth is square, that reality ends at my limited perceptions.

My outside environment can easily be confined by habit, routines and old patterns. They make great fish fodder. These well-worn pathways are useful, dependable and offer me comfort and security. They are familiar, like family to me. Yet habit and routine done long enough become mindless and automatic, taking life rather then giving it, dulling heart-eyes, zip, zing and spirit. They build up an energy field which I can easily mistake for essence or reality rather than a tool to make life easier. I create them then get trapped which I suspect keeps me from an ocean of life or, at least, a bathtub full of living that I have yet to splash and play in.

What gives me fresh, new aliveness, what dulls it? What takes the shine off my days, my minutes? What keeps me from a big swim in the whole tub? Where am I stuck? Picking up my self-evaluation spy-glass I need some distance, be it geography or head space. When the children were smaller I went to Toronto every five or six weeks for committee work.  It was a different positioning being out of the comfortable, the habitual activity. For a few days, periodically, I lived outside the fish bowl. I was not a mother or wife as much as I loved being both. Distance gave me a new ledge from which to check out what gave us life and what took it away. Tucson gives me the same opportunity -- space, distance, and detachment which does challenge Nova Scotia routines.

Yet, I don't have to go far for the same opportunity, I just have to go different.  The smallest choice, one simple step can result in a meaningful ocean-swim. After writing here at the desk for a spell, I can so easily click on the TV and "numb out" convincing myself, I am just relaxing. Again, good fodder. However, remembering that TV is not exactly a source of fun and laughter, I head outdoors. "It doesn't take much to do a lot" or to swim in fresh water.

Stepping out the front door, I hear a little voice from next door calling, "Gusta".  I've been spotted. And here he comes heading my way, arms extended until they wrap my knees. So much life just delivered itself at my feet. I can hardly see his face for the red hat hauled down to his nose. Two-year old language is hard for me but he definitely has a story to tell and if I could understand, I know it is about the most exciting happening. No fish bowl here, just innocence, fresh eagerness, a child's aliveness and now, mine.

And isn't it at the edges of living, where we are energized, where the "ah ha's" happen, where we are surprised again by this magical, mystical place that invites us to swim beyond out-dated beliefs and old habits. Here, we can splash and play in the rest of the tub, in a new freedom. A place where cattails talk back and a two year old, knowing no limits, has the most exciting story to tell?

photo source:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween heroes and their choices...

Look at the choices you have... Because in those choices, there are whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things. Michael J Fox

We each want and need personal power. My two Grands, four and five, want it. His place mat for dinner is Superman and hers is Wonder Woman. They also have matching dinner plates. He says, "Look Grandma" and I look to see skinny, little, five year old fore-arms, flexed. He sees strength, power, and has a feeling he can do anything. And I think, how wonderful.

Yet, if things don't go well the odd time, there can be some disturbance to calm water. On their sleep-over this past week-end we were reading about Stillwater, a panda bear, who tells stories about keeping one's emotions stilled when things don't go right. In the stories, ill fortune be-falls a farmer. His horse runs away, his neighbors commiserates with him on his bad luck.  Seemingly, undisturbed he replies, "Maybe." Next day the horse comes back with two other horses. Then his son breaks his leg. Again the neighbors commiserate, the farmer responds, "Maybe". The army comes by but the son cannot go to war.

Thinking this might be an opportunity to make a point, I ask my Grands, "Do you want to be as powerful as Wonder Woman and Superman? "Eyes are focused, ears perked, dial is set to receive. I whisper, "It's magic. The secret power-word is choice, we can always make a choice how we act. The farmer chose not to make a big fuss or have a "melt down" which might have made things worse. I'll bet he asked himself, 'Does upsetting myself make me feel happy, does it give me more muscles?'" Experienced heads nod and giggle as they know the answers.

Then my grandson looks at me with his head tilted. I wonder if he catches the meaning of my meager attempt to explain how to get power or better still how not to lose it. He tells me, "You know when I came into your room my eyes hurt (he was just waking up) but I crawled up on the bed and listened to the story without making a fuss." I had noticed. Maybe like the farmer, he is telling me, as do his sparkling, brown eyes that he had made a still-water choice that worked for him.

Choices are like clay. Mine mold me. I notice my good choices make hard decisions easier, give me more spiritual muscle which helps detachment from negative situations. Also, scientists are discovering that every time we have a thought or emotion we make a chemical* leaving one feeling better or worse, stronger or weaker. Being experienced, I also find reacting and stirring up stormy emotions do not lead me to happiness or to being any kind of Wonder Woman.

I have another little friend who is full of such wonder -- a four year old, who possesses an extra chromosome (Down Syndrome). Feeling invincible, he is going out on Halloween dressed as his super hero -- The Extra Chromosome Man -- with his chromosomes pinned to his chest like medals. He feels he can fly over roof tops and save us all. And maybe he can. After all, are there not, indeed, "whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things" in our power of choice?

* Joe Despenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Does prayer work? A quantum look...

I have prayed without eyes about difficult situations for years, never knowing if change happened and if it did, was it a fluke, mere coincidence or the prayer? This video below allows a view of how powerful our thoughts, emotions and prayers are.

As well, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is mentioned in the video below, is an internationally renowned researcher and has gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply affected by our feelings. In fact, through taking pictures he shows how human emotions like anger, fear, happiness and love change the molecular structure not only of water but also changes us.

Below is a link giving a visual of prayer, thought and emotion at work.

Post Script: For some reason I have been waiting to post the above video for a year. (Maybe because I would wish it a little shorter.) Yet, today I heard the news of Dr. Emoto's passing accompanied by the short video (below) of the power we each have.

*Dr. Emoto's Water Crystal Scene from What the BLEEP Do We Know
photo source:

Friday, October 17, 2014

human stuff in the "highest pitch of loveliness..."

"Life has a loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things, blue waves whitening on a (lake), soaring fire that swings and sways...holding wonder like a cup."  Sara Teasdale

We arranged tea. I drive to a place that holds memories for the last time. My lovely ex is not there any more. His wife and I have tea periodically. Driving the half hour out to their beautiful home, I knew it was the end of an era. She is selling the house.

The afternoon is warm as the September breeze plays with my hair through the open window. The sun flashes its fabric off the car ahead, light is lacing leaves and wavelets on the cool, blue lake are wearing little "white mustaches".

Divorce leaves its fragments. Some visits at first were an adjustment -- family dynamics, my own dynamics. Those were the early days, things mattered. I was always well received yet life can get in the way of itself, as can I.  At times, I could hardly get in touch with the tangibility and exquisiteness of a simple caring. I knew in my head I cared yet my regular self, my ordinary self dragged along things I thought mattered -- not this loveliness of now I've stepped into or has it just stepped into me?

Coming up the drive, on a little hill sits their beautiful house with it's "for sale" sign. I look through the glass in the back door. She is at the kitchen table in a patch of light basking like a cat with its face to the sun, not noticing I had arrived. Knocking on the glass, she turns, smiles. The tea is steeped.

Somehow on the drive, I had taken a step back into a larger reality, into another self where all was poignant sentiment yet not sentimental. Surprisingly, I had stepped out of the human stuff and those times when things mattered into a caring, the impersonal-faceless kind and yet the personal kind. An awareness of things I had missed because things had mattered -- the situations, the circumstances, the appearances.

I drove away after tea thinking, if only I could have done it all in this "highest pitch of loveliness."* instead of, in things mattering. What had I missed? If I had only known there is a place where human fusses are saturated in light, do not matter in a reality larger then my smaller existence. So much does not matter, is not material, is not real. As Einstein, observed, "Concerning matter, we have all been wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter."

On my way home, I pass again the blue lake resting in the late afternoon stillness. The loveliness of this day, the velvet-caring have a perfection, a lightness of heart, spirit and a touch of melancholy. My last trip. I know in deepest knowing, "Oh, this is all that counts, ever counted or will ever count. Situations, circumstances, polarities do not exist, certainly do not matter, were not even substantive. The only thing alive is this dancing right now behind my rib cage -- light, essence, zing, sparkle and radiance. A place I want to be in when I make my transition, a change from particle to stardust. A place where it doesn't matter.

photo source:
* Alfred Sisley

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This train is bound for glory...

"This train is bound for high flyers, no mid night ramblers..." *

Arriving at the hotel to sign in I noticed directly ahead stands a piano resting in all it's majestic splendor. The invitation is out. Coming back to the hotel after the first day touring Copenhagen, seeing the sculpture of the Little Mermaid, visiting the National Art Gallery that piano sat there flirting with me. 

After two years of lessons I now can chord a number of songs. I brought two pieces of music to practice on the pretend piano in my head.  Yet here is a real piano just waiting to be played. I could not resist. Counting out loud "one and, two and", I did not want people in the lobby thinking I could seriously play piano.

And so it began, each afternoon after touring the city, there was the piano waiting -- just for me. On the second afternoon several people sat close by. In the middle of playing "one and, two and" then plunk, plunk I thought how boring for them and for me. So I tried a song, singing and then humming softly, very softly chording to a little Nora Jones, Johnny Cash -- allowing myself to relax, a little.

After the third day of playing, I went out in the court yard (just off the lounge) to do some writing.   This woman looked up from her wine and asked if I was the piano player. Answering with a quiet, little yes, I emphasized "just practicing." She told me she enjoyed it. I wondered if she detected the shock on my face. After a little chat, she and her husband asked me for supper. With more confidence. I went back to my room and wrote out a few favorite songs for my next "practice".

By Sunday, coming back from breakfast and feeling bolder, I could not pass that piano without playing something. Again starting with "one and, two and" I could feel all these fun songs waiting. The foot tapping "Five Foot Two" was begging to be played (the song I messed up in my first music concert three months ago**) and there were others bubbling up behind it. Letting my music-joy take over I could feel these "Boots (music-notes) Are Made For Walking", then came the zippy, little foot- tapping "Five Foot Two" and there, flying in on the wings of feeling came "Some bright morning...I'll Fly Away". Changing pace, I closed my eyes and swayed to the plight of the "Lonesome Whippoorwill" who truly sounds too blue to fly.

"This Train Is Bound For Glory" followed and, indeed, I had arrived. With my musical deficiencies I certainly was "no high flyer, no mid night rambler," but changing octaves, adding some of my teacher's new "fancies", runs and pick-up notes -- I was in love, joy and fun. Glancing sideways I noticed an audience. Unlike freezing at the concert, I didn't care. I was just feeling the music -- a little soft rhythm, a smart, racy-beat.  And a brand new feeling, I am one of those  "piano-bar players" like in the movies. (The bar was only ten feet away.)

Next morning a young man passed me as I was starting my exploration of the city for the day. He turned and said, "Your music in the lounge and your playing are lovely." I walked away thinking,
he repeated the word "lovely", twice! He is right, I had felt lovely. I thanked him.

This morning I am leaving for home. My map of Copenhagen is criss-crossed with yellow high-lighter. I have been where I wanted to go. In the taxi to the airport I feel the gratitude for the hard work of it, the cultural education and even for surviving the countless bicycles one had to dodge at every corner. Through the week, I had muffed some chords, missed some singing notes, forgot some lyrics but when I lost myself in the music it didn't matter, that piano had ridden me to glory. I had discovered a part of myself that felt totally new. I had been a "piano-bar player" in Copenhagen for a week and I loved it.

* A traditional American gospel song first recorded in 1925. It's origins are unknown.
**  June 26th writing: : "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it."

Friday, September 12, 2014

"I don't care" has an honored place...

"let all go -- the small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things -- let all go
so comes love" e.e. cummings

An acquaintance, a lovely person, tells me she has several people in her life that seem to be constantly correcting her or "putting her down." Unfortunately, her situation is not unique. Benign actions such as merely forgetting the keys, not wanting another round of visitors or just buying something new can elicit such retorts flung at us like condemnations: "You forget everything", "You'll never change" or "You're a spender." Even in a situation when an honest "No" is said rather than an artificial "Yes", one risks being accused by another or by an inner voice of being a negative person.

Minor fault-finding by those close to us can rob us of our personal power, self-value and our sense of well-being. If targeted often enough we start second-guessing ourselves, leaking value and feeling belittled. As my acquaintance talked, like a beautiful bouquet with no water, she began to wilt, her shoulders slumped.  The laugh she came through the door with earlier was gone. She believed the judgments flung at her. However, I know her to have normal memory, is a care-giver and is cautious about her money. Yet, these judgments erode her personal value like acid. In her defense she concluded wistfully,  "I am a caring person. I want him to be happy, to feel good. I don't want to be a negative person." To which I added, "Maybe a deeper soul-learning is, "I don't care."

These criticisms-judgments can be delivered in the guise of a "suggestion" from partners, family, adult-children or friends. If they are merely observations my acquaintance may need to self-correct but first, it is to discern where the words come from. Whether one forgets, does not want to be social or is simply wrong is not the question. What matters is the intention of the speaker. Where do the words come from? Why does he/she need to devalue, to be critical, to take the other down a "peg or two"?

 Far too often such complaints issue from the accuser's own projections, unhealthy needs and lack of real happiness. As a result, when anyone gives someone else the responsibility to make them powerful, happy and good as the criticizer does, those needs are dysfunctional and cannot be met. Only self-reflection, hunting one's own darker corners, taking responsibility for one's own personal empowerment and well-being fulfill authentic needs. When the criticizer does not self-reflect, the reason might be (often sub-consciously), "If I can get you to meet my needs, if I can feel powerful by having power over you, out there, I will be happy. Then I don't have to do my own deep diving, my own growth work." And sadly, our response, we who are kind and caring, who are the need meet-ers, the great pleasers fall for it. When unhealthy needs are not satisfied, their demands grow larger because pain bodies are big eaters. They must be fed.*

I had to learn early "not to care" and still feel good about myself. Paradoxically, my mother was my first great teacher, followed by others. She was wonderfully wise, caring and well liked. Yet with me she tried to reclaim part of herself -- a happiness, goodness, and love that only she could discover in herself.  As a result, I never quite "measured up".  Eventually I was in danger of "dying of niceness and the disease to please."  Later on, family, friends, divorce, and parenthood were also my teachers.

Reading the great spiritual teachers, I discovered that inner-detachment, setting oneself free from one's own emotional history is a deeper soul-lesson. I gave up trying to meet others dysfunctional needs/expectations which I had no hope of meeting. At the same time, becoming aware of how the feeling of being honest, meeting my own authentic needs nurtured me and surprisingly, others.

Yet, a caution for my acquaintance; letting go, detaching, and not caring can be mis-interpreted as not relating. "The thinking mind cannot understand Presence and so will often misinterpret it. It will say you are uncaring, distant, have no compassion, are not relating. The truth is, you are relating but at a level deeper than thought and emotion...which goes far beyond relating. In stillness of presence you can sense the formless essence in yourself...(with it's) true caring, true compassion."*

I finally had to let it all go -- "the big small middling tall bigger really the biggest and all things -- let all go dear so comes love." And astonishingly, it did; the unconditional kind, the personal and impersonal kind -- a love that has space, air, detachment, lightness beyond any face, hand, or eye. The irony of not caring was that a larger love waited, as did a deeper feeling of honesty, compassion and expansive freedom. I discovered, "I don't care" is an honored and sacred place in which to live.

*Eckart Tolle

photo source:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

crow and dog...

As I turn a corner, a crow is hopping back and forth outside a wire-fence where lives a little white dog, inside a wire-fence. Cawing and barking, a great noise was being made. Both would rush the fence, one inside, one out.  I slowed my step hoping to become invisible. Crow struts forward, teasing? Dog, with little face-fir flying in the breeze, attacks again. Crow hops to top of fence -- caw,caw or ha,ha?

Oh, I see. This is a game. Crow definitely has control -- until dog spots walker, me. White fluffy-fir  rushes my way, barking ferociously -- a fierce monster wanna be. Startled, I step back.

Crow, now ignored, tries the old moves. Dog has new interest, me. I slow down to see how this game plays out. After several disappointing thrusts crow daringly lands inside fence! I am still dog's main attraction. Crow hops closer, caw, caw -- dangerously close, insisting on attention.

Finally, dog notices pesky crow dancing in and out, far too close to little, wiggly tail. Dog turns. Do I see a flicker of aggravation?  Then a quick thrust to dispense with this playmate turned nuisance. Flight escape-timing again, executed uncannily.

Leaving, I look back, crow is strutting the grass safe again, outside of fence.  Do I detect a dash of the peacock in that walk?  I continue up the hill thinking, crow loved that game but did dog? Hmm.

Arriving back home, crow or crow-cousin sits on the telephone pole. Looking up, I wonder, what game would you play with me?

photo source:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

we are the lover living in front of things...

Jacques Lusseyran, a young blind French boy observes, "It is more than seeing, it is tuning in...allowing the current to electricity. To put it differently, this means an end of living in front of things and a beginning to live with them...for this is love."

In life coaching, people ask, "How do I love myself?" Yesterday I was having tea with an acquaintance. She was showing me photos of two beloveds -- a child who had passed and a beloved who had not. Then she told me of the "great love" she feels when looking at their  pictures.  Her eyes were alive when explaining that she now knows what true love really is. "I feel it." she exclaims. Earlier in the conversation, she revealed, "I can't feel love for myself.", then added a list of personal short-comings. Yet to her family, children, friends, and pet she is an ocean of caring.

Here, sitting across from me is a gifted, creative, intelligent person telling me that looking in the mirror, saying loving things to herself hasn't worked.  She offers herself little compassion and scant understanding. And true, it is difficult to stimulate feelings of warmth and radiant acceptance about one's wrinkles, scars, or regrets. How many situations have I not been perfect in, how many mistakes do I make, how many of those geraniums have I neglected to water? Yet I am the love (as is everyone) that is doing the loving and through which this great river flows. Then little things get taken care of somehow and the big things release a larger understanding and compassion to this little ego-self called, me.

Responding to how she can love herself I observed, "When you look at those pictures on the coffee table, I feel that "great love" you mentioned coming from you not from their images. You are the one emitting that feeling in this room." I suggested she close her eyes, try to feel love (without the pictures or the good memories), wait, allow its warmth to expand in her chest. Continuing I added, "Let yourself down into it, feel it with your ears, your toes and with your breath -- it is you. There is no intermediary, no object outside yourself needed. Let the love that you are, love your wonderfully imperfect self,  let it release its compassion, its larger understandings in you and for you -- allow it space, depth and place.

"Even if love is experienced as grief, a loss of a child or beloved, it is pure love and you are the one doing the loving. Once you wear the path here you will not need to love the self in the mirror, as you are part of the universe loving itself.  Not separate but one, not outside or inside as ultimately there is no outside, inside. We are like mason jars full of ocean set in water with the tops off. Where does the ocean begin or end? Our hearts are every heart, even our own."

As the young blind boy so wisely observed when asked how he "sees" in order to maneuver his dark world, "It is more than seeing, it is tuning in...allowing the current to connect like electricity...(which) means an end of living in front of things..." And this is the love that keeps moving us back into wholeness, ....** Then like the boy, we stumble into undivided living and know we are, indeed, the lovers doing the loving.

** paraphase source, Mark Nepo
photo source:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

the birthday of life, love, wing and loss...

i thank You God for this most amazing
day...and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life, and of love and of wing...)   e.e. cummings

My cousin's funeral was yesterday. Having been diagnosed a year ago (two former writings*), she achieved the year she so wanted as she had more life to live, family and friends to love, and business to attend.

In the service, the minister told us she called a couple of weeks prior, asking him if he would conduct her funeral which would be imminent. This request by the person, plus the "matter of fact" time-estimate was a  new experience for him. He wanted to meet with her.  She apparently was not too interested but agreed, adding, she did not want an eulogy. "People already know what I do. I don't want it about me, I want it about God." On such visits he usually tried to make a person's transition easier, offering comfort but not this time. She had it "well in hand" and heart. Responding to her request he spoke about her "joy de vive, tour de force" and her aliveness -- in other words her god-ness.

A few decades ago, working in hospice, I walked with people on that transition-part of their journey, held numerous hands, looked into misty eyes through my own mist. However, I never walked this courageous path with anyone who engaged dying so boldly, selflessly and factually. My cousin, I am sure, had her dark nights, walked through her garden of Gethsemane,** fell to the ground as others have done when considering the loss of earth-hardness, the softness of a cheek and a look from an eye that sees.  Then one might ask as Jesus did, "let this cup be taken from me."

Yet, God bless the flesh. It has been our habitant, our reference point all our lives.  We see through it, experience who we are in it.  And ultimately, we have to let go, deeply knowing/hunching there will be new reference points, new awareness and a larger consciousness to be entered. Thus, at the end of another beginning, may I "raise the bar" as my cousin did and also witness to that "which is natural which is infinite which is yes."

* Two previous writings: "the crossroad" - 06/09/2013 and "death as an advisor" - 29/11/2013

** Christian Scriture: Matt 26: 36-46

photo source:

Friday, July 11, 2014

spreading our sails on the sea of light...

This is what the heart knows (under, through, and above) all words: that beyond our small sense of things a magnificent light surrounds us. Mark Nepo

Summer in Nova Scotia,  I love it.  Through our new screen door a lovely freshness wafts down the hall tinged with the aroma of wild roses, continuing on past this desk, by the piano and out onto the deck. We have a postage stamp front lawn edged with rainbow-summer divinity, flowers. Looking up, I catch the yellow finches, as delighted in the new summer sun as I; criss-crossing in the air as they seemingly play tag around the bird feeder  -- spreading their "sails on the sea of light." *

Summer emits an aroma of lightness, I can feel it, I am lighter. Birds saturate the air with song. I know when they wake and when they sleep. A friend arrives. Her dress is flowing in the breeze, arms wrapped in velvet-warmth. She is happy, laughing easily. My son arrives in shorts emitting a vacation-feel yet he has just worked ten hours. Finches, flowers, friend and child arriving, indeed, the light does dance, "my darling, striking the chords of my love."* I feel it in my bones, in my eyes, in my skin. Even the clouds are edged in this warmth of summer sun -- inside and out.

Imagine, all, at essence, at core, at heart is light. Leaders of the great religions fill millions of libraries around the world with this message. Everyone of them witnessing it while walking in and with their personal tragedies. Jesus stated clearly, "I am the light of the world." When Buddha was dying his student wept feeling the light on earth would be extinguished -- yet the reply was, "Anan, Anan, be a light unto yourself." Mohammad after his experience of enlightenment observed, "To the light I have attained and in the light I live."

I know I am light, that we are all essentially light. I know that beyond my small sense of things a magnificence does surround me, is me at core. Yet, the problem is, rather than catching glimpses of it, I want to be living in the feeling of it, having that as my "home base" rather than catching it on the wing different times of the day. I want to know how I can thin my veil, wear a path, awaken my senses enough to experience the trickle of joy, a warmth that begins to thaw me in the moment.  I want thoughts that spread my wings on the sails of light, and like Tagore, shatter into gold every clouded thought.

Then comes a luminosity, a caring, an awareness of exquisite Presence. I feel a smile, a laugh, a giggle birthing. Mirth, "my darling, is spreading from leaf to leaf."* And, I take some hope as my grand daughter who is four asked me the other afternoon, "How come you are "laughy", Grandma? I might reply, "It is the reflection of your own light, Grand daughter."

photo source:
Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore, Novel Peace Prize, 1913

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it...

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and magic and power..." Goethe

My dream is to play a little rag-time, jazz, and honky-tonk on the piano. No slow stuff please. However, the joy, rhythm and swing surging through me was thwarted, with my knowledge restricted to three notes to a chord, my fingers had no hope. I needed a music teacher -- someone relaxed enough to let me make mistakes while walking the line with Johnny Cash, keeping pace with Nova Scotia fiddlers and chording a little soft jazz with Nora Jones.

Thus, two years ago the search began in Halifax and Tucson. Then last fall I happened to look in a small local paper, read the ad twice, and there she was, hopefully, my music teacher. Arriving at the lesson, only a mile down the road, I wondered, would she be the one? I came out of the lesson dancing in the sunshine.

My first concert was last Sunday. I had three pieces to chord: Five Foot Two, Squid Jigging Grounds, and Uncle Milton Milks the Cow.  The first piece was to begin the concert. I had it memorized for months.  My teacher had added some swing, style and a jazzy beat. I loved playing it. The other two pieces came later in the program but their timing gave me "no end of trouble."

Concert Day: My family is in the audience. A pianist entertains us a half hour before it begins.  He is a master performer. I am spell-bound. He plays with the ease of an angel; his fingers jumping, dancing over the keys just like I want to do. Yet the more he plays, my great rendition of Five Foot Two seems to shrink and so do I.

My turn. A young guitarist is to do the introduction. In practice, we have always made eye contact, now I am looking at her back. The accordions were closer, too. My music teacher whispers, "Don't go too slow." I am worried about going too fast. The audience quiets, everyone is ready. I play a strong C chord (only three notes). Oh my, what comes next? Is it A7th, E7th or D7th? Where is my head?

Thank goodness for my teacher pointing out where I was in the song. Thank goodness for accordions and any other instrument drowning me out. Painfully, I get through it but the spirit of Five Foot Two didn't -- no swing, no jazz, no me. I had succumbed, apparently, to "stage-fright".

However, I still have two pieces yet to chord and they are trouble. I cannot go back up on that stage. Then a tempting thought, "Maybe my teacher will play them." Yet a pesky inner-voice cautions, "You can't quit in the middle of a concert, Augusta! Play softly, concentrate on the sheet music and whatever you do, don't look at the audience."

Now it's my turn again. I eye the piano. My head seems to be sitting on someone elses shoulders, leaving me ending at the neck. The teacher -- my support and "Linus blanket" is kneeling next to me because someone has taken her chair. My non-existent musical balance rest entirely on everything being perfect. Yet looking down on the top of her head, a thought, "It's appropriate, as she is probably praying, like myself, that I was anywhere else but on this piano bench."

Two weeks later: Amazingly, I did haul the squid in, managed to milk Uncle Milton's cow without mishap. I was grateful and relieved -- two out of three. I thanked my music teacher and the next day she emailed me, " Wasn't it truly a great day. You were fantastic (generous but not true), gave it your all (true) and we are looking forward to enjoying more music together."

Hmm, maybe she will let me chord Five Foot Two again next year with my music-head on my shoulders. And best of all, the dream of playing my joy-spirit with rhythm and swing survives in its boldness, magic, and power...

image resource:

Friday, June 6, 2014

beyond coincidences...

"Everything has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences -- only blessings from which to learn."  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross *

I always believed in coincidence as being a curious chance interaction until spending a week at one of Elizabeth's "Death and Dying" workshops some years ago.  She announced the first day, "There are no coincidences in life." I didn't believe her. I was to discover through the week and following years that my meaning for the word had no more depth than a shallow puddle.

People in the workshop were in deep emotional pain and some where much too young to die. Their struggle was heart wrenching. People came from across North America and Europe, yet the woman I sat next to lived fifteen miles from me and we became important friends. She died within five years (early thirties). I could no longer say, "Oh, just a coincidence, a mere chance encounter."

Coincidences come big and small. I became aware one day I had neglected an acquaintance, she didn't tell me but her actions did. The same afternoon I dropped my favorite vase. Still feeling badly and looking at the shards of glass on the floor, I knew what it was telling me. The sun comes in the window and crosses my page just as my pen catches a significant learning. Ah, another confirmation. The printer adjusts itself just at the moment when a thought imprints me with meaning. Little coincidences, I wonder?

Then there are the big coincidences. I have been bothered about the images I have put on this blog for the last year, slowing moving out of my ignorance about copy-write, and excuses, "Everyone does it so it must be 'ok'." Three mornings ago, the proverbial "jig was up." Nothing particular had happened but it was no longer "ok".  Yet, I had just finished a writing called "the solitary bird" and was ready to post but needed a picture of a eagle or hawk high in the sky. I was sorely tempted -- so easy to pop into Google for one more.   An hour later, talking on the phone on the deck, I noticed a bird in the sky hovering over the river, probably hunting. I kept talking. Then it turned and flew my way. I stopped talking.

"Ah,there's the bird-image I want for the writing." I thought, watching the under-feathers, a dark and light pattern, skim over my head. I have never been this close to a hawk and started to tell my friend on the phone but  she stopped me saying softly, "I heard the swish of its wings." Here was my picture but no camera, yet more importantly, here was my confirmation, information, and direction.

I am too old, too experienced to ignore the messages carried on such bold wings. I know the universe talks back.The physicists and mystics know there is a pattern, a divine intelligence, a divine matrix to this life. This force speaks through the wind, the printer, the vase, which teaches, guides, and leads us into the magic of the moment, to an invisible companion who is as close as my finger tips on these computer keys. Elizabeth knew who she was working with, could depend upon and she was right. There are no coincidences.

* Kubler-Ross wrote the ground breaking book, Death and Dying.
   She was an inductee into the American National Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Maybe our abundance...

What gift can we hope to bring to dying?
Maybe our abundance...?

Her daughter's voice is stressed as she tells me on the voice mail the chemo is no longer working.  The doctor gives her mother, my cousin, two weeks to three months. I replay the message, the date was three weeks ago! It's hard to draw my breath.  She was doing well when I had talked to her several weeks before I left Tucson.

I dread making the call. Her daughter answers. "How is your Mum?" I ask.
"She is right here do you want to talk with her." Surprise, she was in hospital at the time of the phone message. My cousin's voice is strong. I hear gladness and caring as she ask in her matter-of-fact way, "How are you, Augusta?"

Turning the conversation back to her, she tells me the doctor's news. Then she observes softly, intimately,  "And we both know where I am going." I hear the love in her voice and her deep knowing.

"I agree." I respond. "However, as we've talked before, it is 'this side' that is hard to leave."
"It is." She quietly asserts. I hear the passion. We need say no more. We both love the physicality of life. We have had numerous discussions about the "other side" through the years and share the same knowings and guessings.

She then tells me of the wonderful visits she is having with family and dear friends. Plus, she is almost through her business files which she was working on with her daughter when I called. (One of her goals when finding she was ill.)

On hanging up I tell her I will be up within the week (another province). Knowing her house is full -- a drop-in visit but no meals. She insist I stay over night. I balk. She states in a voice that rings truth, "I feel fine. I am not sick. " She may die before night-fall from illness but she is not sick. She is offering her abundance... I agree to lunch.

* image
** a continuing journey from the writings "the crossroad...",  September 9, 2013, "death as the advisor"..., November 29, 2013

Friday, May 9, 2014

meeting Mrs Thor...

"There are an infinite number of parallel realities co-existing with us in the same room."
Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize for Physics (1979)

Last night, walking up a grassy hill, each blade of spring green caught the sun light. Then suddenly I "bi-located" and was standing in this living-room that had a 1940's feel to it. A woman was walking toward me. I wondered who she was. Looking directly at me, she reached up with both hands and held me (as if in place) by the upper arms, stating, "I am Mrs Thor." My body felt the greatest sense of largeness.

I knew I was asleep yet here I was awake, in two places at once.  She began to talk on "such neat stuff," expanding me beyond my own limited consciousness. Excitedly, I kept telling her, I will remember this and "take it back." Then in the middle of her talk a thought interrupted my resolve.

Earlier in the day, I had been puzzling about how real are we without our skin and bone bodies? Are we still in human form when these fingers typing become dust or ash? As a kid I would look down at my toes, stomach and think I feel much bigger than this little body. Now here was my chance. Interrupting her, and feeling the solidity of her hands on my arms, I asked, "Do you have a human body?" She paused, gave a little laugh, shook her head slightly, looked directly at me and said distinctly, "No, I do not." In glee, I lifted off the floor and did the funnest, air-born 360 degree back-flip.

I woke wondering how come the bed wasn't levitating as I felt so much zing and caring-essence. Then the thought, "Oh my gosh, this must be the start of going 'down the rabbit hole.'"* As science now tells us we live in a multi-dimensional universe. The world-view has changed since I went to school, even since university -- the world is no long round in it's non-physicality. Matter and spirit are one. Ultimately, there is no solidity, merely denser or finer energies, faster or slower frequencies.

Modern science invites us to go "down the rabbit hole" beyond logic and reason. My grandchildren via Skype or I phone instantly, after pushing a button, walked down my deck steps last week to see the blooms on the prickly pear cactus growing in my Tucson yard, 3800 miles away. An unthinkable feat of energetic transference ten years ago. And what will be next?

Maybe we are 99.9 % star stuff -- dancing energy. Maybe certain (lucid) dreams are actually visits to parallel realities as some scientists suggest.** In my limited-everything view, I can only guess. Yet in essence, I am not bones, toes, fingers, or any other organ. The more dense (anger, fear, etc) I am the slower my frequency. Rocks have a slower frequency than air.

However, my vibration feels finer when I am connected to source and consciously in spirit. Through meditation, joyful purpose, laughing, loving and even soul-full sadness the denser me changes into "light and wing" accompanied by an inner ability to do a leaping back-flip. Thus, when this human, seemingly solid-body becomes dust maybe my frequency will be finer, faster so I can go "down the rabbit hole" again and visit Mrs Thor.

photo source:

*Reference from "What the Bleep Do I Know?"... a movie about the recent discoveries in quantum physics

**Fred Alan Wolf, a physicist specializing in the relationship between consciousness and science

Sunday, April 27, 2014

tying myself to the mast...

In Greek mythology, Odysseus is warned against the songs of the sirens on his sea voyage which would lure him off course into dangerous water. Initially, their songs are beguiling and irresistible. When they begin to sing he orders his men to put wax in their ears and tie him to the mast. Thus, he can steer his course home. 

What siren songs lure me off-course? What mast do I tie myself to? Oddly, I find my songs are sung in the seemingly little things. My sirens meet me on waking. Too often coffee has more allure than meditation. I forget I am putting my feet down into six inches (at least) of Love merely getting out of bed. After coffee another song begins its seduction. "Get on with the day, you have places to go, chores to do." Then the morning is gone -- lost in forgetfulness and distractions. I dive into routines, habits and become myopic, just trying to get by. 

When I lose my connection with feeling, life becomes robot-like. Spending an afternoon with Brother David Steindl Rast, a Benedictine monk, and knowing how hard it is to stay mindful, aware of the love that waits in our breath, our steps, and the dishes we do, someone in our small group asked him why he stopped each afternoon at three for meditation. His reply was, "To stay alive." I didn't quite get it then but felt the weight of his words. Now, years later, I want that kind of aliveness, that joy-filled purpose and happiness in the momentum of the day.  

Another enticement are the best chewy cookies in Tucson. The sirens say "Eat five," and I easily could but a god-sense knows, one will do or maybe two. 

What do I have to Do, to love where I am standing, to hum a finer, higher frequency in the moment and to know essence when night-falls? Tie myself to the mast, try to practice disciplines I know will bring me a sense of well-being, moving my body to self-love and Other.  Then I settle down feeling a wholeness that I don't want to end.  Everything looks sweeter, not from a song outside but one from within. On good days, I leave my meditation with an inner smile, walk in this velvet feeling of expansiveness.  Now I hear the yellow finches singing three feet from me in the mesquite tree and am moved by the sentiment of an old hymn, "You speak and the sound of Your voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing..." 

photo source:

Friday, April 11, 2014

the solitary bird...

The conditions of a solitary bird are five:
The first, that it flies to the highest point;
the second, that it does not suffer for company, not even of its own kind;
the third, that it aims its beak to the skies:
the fourth, that it does not have a definite color;
the fifth, that it sings very softly.
San Juan de la Cruz, Dichios de luz y Amor

The first winter I came to the south west by myself, after thirty plus years of marriage, family, and community, presented me with an intimidating challenge - - loneliness.  Any phones calls were measured by dollars and letters took two weeks (no iPhone, no Skype). And I knew no one.

During my marriage I had a wonderful relationship with alone-ness. I could never get enough of it. Words such as solitude, silence were easily romanticized. Although as a child even though I liked being alone, loneliness could leave me feeling desolate and disconnected from others.

Here in the south west, almost four thousand miles from home and community, loneliness scared me again. Like a diver coming up from the depths, changing one’s pressure drastically ideally needs to be done in stages, to avoid an attack of the bends. My question was, do I have enough inner resources, personal security to generate and sustain a healthy, creative, balanced life on my own? How would I respond living without the daily physical presence of community? The answer scared me, I did not know. What inner demons, what old wounds and messages would haunt me left solely to my own company?

What is meaningful alone-ness? What is holy solitude or a deep diving into loving silence rather than loving community?  Besides I needed time alone to write. I wanted space to meditate, to know myself in a larger way.

Then, weeks later,  in spite of the odd hike, saying a passing hi to a new acquaintance, a telephone call or email from home, I was lonely. Not even my writing provided me with joyful purpose. I had a manuscript ready on the shelf unpublished, rejected -- a little like I felt myself. The demons messages were there. I felt isolated, defeated, and scared by my helplessness. I am not an instant friend maker.  The TV is a great reliever of loneliness so I unplugged it and put it out in the shed. Who was I without any “props”? I had questions to be answered.

I discovered the night. Dark comes early here in the southern desert. Often I turned off the lights, wrote by candle light, listen to a solitary bird’s final note for the evening, heard the coyotes hooting from the sage.  Some nights  I stretched out on the warm sand, losing my lonely self in the stars or remembering  some poetry, ”Be alone, and feel the [Oleanders] silently growing... Be alone, and feel the cosmos silently rocking." (author unknown)

Christmas day. Three months had passed. My daughters were flying in for the holidays.  As I looked out the bus window taking me to the airport I was excited. I had missed them dearly. Yet somewhere in those past months, like the solitary bird, I must have reached high, for even in the night I no longer suffered for company or from my alone-ness. As the bus pulled into “airport arrivals" I was in a faceless Love. Through the bus window, I whispered, “I won, thank you.”

photo source:

*written when I first came to the southwest, alone...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

the messenger...

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels/messengers unaware."*

My wallet is gone this afternoon. Several credit cards, vehicle registration, insurance and health cards with it. Where did I last use it?  I had it this morning.  A frantic search of house, car, coffee shop, plus a call to the police confirms the loss.  With visions of someone having a splendid time spending my credit, I cancel the cards.

Supper is a down cast affair. A knock comes to the rarely used front door which tells me it’s a stranger. Opening the door an older women with the broadest smile and missing several teeth burst into the vestibule. “Augusta”? she queries. I nod.  "I have good news for you." She gleefully holds out the wallet. Excitedly, I keep thanking her. She assures me everything is there.

Her name is Lilly.  Apparently, she saw several teens pick up the wallet from the sidewalk and start rifling through it. She told them her aunt lost the wallet so they gave it to her. Then she spent part of the day searching me out as my new street address was not on my licence.  Watching her tell the story, she appears work-worn rather than old. I wonder if she had to think twice about returning money. Her bills may be more pressing than mine

She certainly seems as thrilled as I. We take each others hands, and instantly move to a hug.  As we step away our eyes are moist. She virtually glows.  Joy, relief, and love flood the vestibule. I give her half the money in the wallet. We hug again, and she is gone.  My friend, who observes our encounter reflects, “I think I've seen her picking the plastic bottles out of the garbage around town.”

Several days later:  I still feel warmth from this messenger of honesty, integrity, and goodness.  I think people do glow when doing lovely acts. This encounter was not about credit cards, licence or money. I am still feeling her caring, her spirit. Yet what is disturbing is -- if she had come to the door for anything else would I have even been friendly? I also wonder how many times I passed her on the street, making split-second social judgements, staining my spirit.

*Hebrews 13:1-2
** written several years ago
*** image resource: painting by Raffael,

Friday, March 14, 2014

climbing the liquid mountains of a night sky...

"It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fear." Helen Keller

The evening was Tucson-warm. On the deck no street light lit the night. The mesquite tree rested, barely detectable, against the dark sky. Countless times I've raised my eyes to this gorgeous display of a billion, twinkling stars. And I have marveled and wondered.

Yet this night was different. The stars, acting like a large, sky-vacuum cleaner swept me up -- transporting me into a trillion little pieces as numbered as the stars themselves. Mixing and mingling, I felt an exquisite sweetness, an astonishing merging with love. What can one say about the indescribable?  Yet, I knew instantly, this feeling is what it will be like when I "die". I just knew.

This was not a cold dark sky embedded with twinkling distant planets, unknown lifeless solar systems, out there. This place was different. No cloud cover here in this intimately known vast beauty of milky ways and black holes of twinkling lights and pieces of me. I was not separate, there was no two. I was a billion pieces free.

Moving back into my skin I felt the comfort of the solid deck under my feet. I still wanted that form in the dark to be the mesquite tree when morning came. However, I also knew I had just "climbed the liquid mountains of the sky," experienced life without my bones, old habits and conditioning. I was here, there, in, out -- countless  little parts of me yet one beating-heart.

The starry night feel will dissipate, yet let me remember to experience it again when my "dying" comes. Then "behind me and before me" is love's Presence and I will not fear.

photo source:

Friday, February 28, 2014

the car-care clinic...

"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected." Robert Frost

The other night I attended a women's car-care clinic. Surprisingly, twenty others showed up. The person who gave the workshop gathered us around a car on the heist.

I learned about transmission fluid, air filters, and all good car-care practical stuff. After her talk we each went to work. Lifting the hood we checked the oil, fluids and battery terminals. As I hunted for the psi number to check the air pressure in the tires my picture was taken as it had been rather frequently.

Arriving home two hours later, still feeling the excitement of the power I now had over my little Toyota, I was happy I had gone. As I washed the grease off my hands, I caught a reflection of myself in the bedroom mirror and remembered how many times the camera, during the clinic, was pointed my way.

Why?  The face in the mirror with it's wrinkles, sags and spots was not gorgeous or young -- nor was my mechanical expertise impressive. The other participants were younger by a decade or two or three. Then it dawned, "They think I am old!" It was such a ridiculous thought I started to laugh.

Apparently, a "slight of... eye" trick was played on them and maybe on me. I was so engaged learning, exploring, researching how to maintain my car I hadn't noticed age. I felt inspirited just wiping the grease off my hands.

After the mirror visit, I said to my daughter, "They thought I was old tonight." Then added. "I think the universe tricked us because, I am not old." Silence. She looked at me cautiously, not quite wanting to deny the truth that stood before her. Catching her look, I modified my statement, "I am old yet I am not old." All the great life running through me felt ageless -- a bit like the "energize-bunny"  but not quite.

I knew I had presented her with a quandary. Observing each other in silence, she contemplated this life-force with the wrinkles standing before her. What could she say? What could I say? We both started to laugh. (I am not sure at what.) Yet, maybe the afternoon does know what the morning never suspects." Maybe...

*image resource:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

stepping out of thought...

"When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are." E. Tolle

Then who am I if thoughts are not my identity? What is left? I think constantly? My descriptions of who I think I am, my identity, are endless. One time I think, "I am good, generous, and thoughtful, another time, "I am neglectful, selfish, and thoughtless depending upon mood or event. Morning, I feel one thing, evening another about the same situation. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, change like the decal flashing a bird or a dollar sign on my credit card -- depending on which way it is tilted.

Thoughts  are quite willing to manufacture me an identify. As an artist there are times in a painting where it feels/thinks like "give-up-time", I am no artist. The colors or composition are off and the waste-basket is handy. Yet when staying with it, saying no to the "I can't" or "I am not a ..." the painting works. I am an artist again. Similar thoughts like, "I am bad, good, fat or gorgeous" imprison me, thus creating a false sense of self connected to my emotional history or social conditioning. I need to allow the imperfections without making them an identity.

What is "real" in me that does not change.  Who is behind or under my thoughts, feelings, emotions, skin?  How do I find out? Tolle instructed a young man who asked a similar question, to feel inside himself for the one ingredient that doesn't change, to listen in alert stillness, listen in a moment of inner spaciousness and find oneself beneath it all -- not thinking but aware in timeless Presence.

"Live a life without thought." an ancient friend also instructed me a few years ago. Puzzled, I began observing my thinking. Her suggestion was to "Briefly step out of the voice in your head, stand back from these thought-processes and their reflection in the body as an emotion. Breathe consciously, center yourself in the moment and a rising inner spaciousness manifests where before there was the cluster of thoughts and the turmoil of emotion." I discover thought is separate.

Stepping out of the voice in my head, into a heart place that never changes, into a Presence that is always here and an awareness that watches this personality called Augusta, I know "the thinker is not me." To paraphrase Lao-tzu, if I name God I haven't got it. If my thought says, "I am sad, happy, artist, grandma with a period at the end...," I haven't got it either yet sacredness always waits in each for my presence.

photo source:

Friday, January 31, 2014

a thought has weight...

"Thought is reality, if you think it is beneficial, it will be. If the situation is seen as negative then you will move into that." Continuing, my ancient friend leaned forward and pointed her finger at me, "It is how each one thinks reality is, is how it goes. Thoughts are concrete. As you think, you are."

After talking with her, I wrote in my journal, "Imagine, thoughts being as concrete as the chair I am sitting on. If I can believe that, the implications are enormous. My prayer for another person could be as real as a physical hug. However, my negative thought or judgement might be felt in another's being like a physical punch. That is sobering. (This conversation and journal entry were written several decades ago.)

The idea that a thought is as concrete energetically as an object was shockingly new to me, then.  Today such an awareness is a common fact. Scientists, shamans and my own experience bear witness. Thought has weight, form, and a life force strong enough to create our realities. Just because we can't see it's form, like the kettle on the counter, does not mean it doesn't exist. When I think of biting into a lemon, the mere thought of it causes my saliva glands to start mobilizing for the coming onslaught of sourness. A friend of mine is scared of heights. To merely think of looking down from a high building produces beads of perspiration on her hands.

Thoughts also have the power and weight to change our feelings and our perceptions. When thinking I cannot do something, I generally can't. Playing the piano these past two years after decades of "can't" proved that. However, if I think I can do something the thought leaves me feeling more intelligent, able and accomplished. I might muff some notes but I love playing the keys. Also when experiencing creative, caring and loving thoughts a largeness of spirit often follows and presence waits.

Yet, I am appalled at how often my good nature let's loose a weighty-thought in the form of a judgement, label, or opinion toward someone. And worst still, I do this knowing what I know. The neighbor whose dog barks too often, the relative who is critical and the homeless man on the corner are all in danger of losing their sacredness -- muzzle the dog, the guy is dirty, the relative is destructive. These thoughts sail around as if they owned the air.

Yet the good news is -- no matter how heavy the thought, "The thinker is not who I am."* Humans are much larger than their mental concepts. We have a deeper and vastly more intelligent heart from which to choose, alter or guard-against any thought we produce. An old sign reads, "Be alert, we need more lerts." I will continue to try.

*Eckhart Tolle
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

God is under the porch...

"The more I tune into this life I realize God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond...and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain...if we are willing to be (here).   Mark Nepo

Hurrying by the living room to catch my flight in time for Tucson, I felt a surge of gratitude and the urge to bow. The tree, mantle, presents were still emitting Christmas magic, the piano was standing stately that had given me so much abandoned joy. I turned to the kitchen that had cooked so many meals and then the foyer that had welcomed friends, family and strangers.  I felt reverence, relationship and almost said out loud, "How 'You' have supported me." I bowed.

While still in this feeling of grace/awareness at 36,000 ft (the woman pilot informed us) I ponder my earlier experience, thinking, "Oh how palatable and lovely it still is." None of it feels inanimate as if mere objects -- solid, lifeless. Each seemed to resonate with a presence beyond their physical form. In the paradigm I grew up in, objects where mere objects so supposedly was water, light, plant and tree. Now, I am asking the latter if I can drive a nail into it to hold the bird feeder -- knowing it is a throbbing life in tree-form.

The mystics and quantum physicists know there is a level of awareness where all is essentially, One. In other words, there is no solid, no dead, only transition. The essence of life bare, is light. As a spirit guide suggested, we could think of light as a living presence. Ask, ...and it will respond.*

What if we saw objects beyond their labels, attempted to experience them differently from another dimension of awareness: maybe God/love is waiting beneath the skin of the ordinary -- alive, caring, supporting -- energetically. Having just felt in relationship with a piano and a foyer, it begs the question. What if objects have their own kind of spirit, energy, light? What if?

Entering my Tucson home hours later, the table, desk, sofa, covered with months of desert dust definitely looked inanimate. My earlier awareness had dissipated as I guessed it might. Where are my heart-eyes, my heart-feelings now? Gone. My life would be transformed if I could change the channel of my awareness at will but I can't. Yet, rather than explain it away, I want to take this magical path to a deeper truth which understands that more than humans hold sacred space. Then maybe the ordinary will dance and life will live me.

* Sanaya Roman
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