Saturday, May 31, 2008

Memoir: A Memory of Watermelon

Even today the smell of watermelon will take me back to all those years when it was my first food of the day.

After my meditation and daily yoga routine, getting Lanai dressed and ready for the day, I juiced watermelon for breakfast. Whether we were living in the tent outside my parents’ house in South Jersey or living on the Island by the beach, juicing part of a watermelon was the first task. Drinking the juice always got my peristalsis working and then some pain yogurt finished off the early morning routine.

A few years earlier, before Lanai was born, I used to juice the rind. Drinking a quart of it made it so I would then eliminate three quarts of fluid over the following several hours.

I remember one night, staying with friends Bob and Donna, at their house by the bay. I juiced some fresh watermelon rinds to clean out my urinary tract. After drinking a quart of it, I went out for a walk. It was early evening in the fall, somewhat darkening up, a few stars already visible in the night sky.

The beach community neighborhood I walked through, I had been walking through for years. It was a weekday night so even the die-hard fall vacationers were long gone and most houses on the block stood empty and dark.

As the urge to pee became an insistent feeling, I would duck behind an empty house, squat in the gravel and stones most people used to keep weeds down, and give my water to the earth.

Several times I dashed behind a house, looking both ways before leaving the sidewalk. There were hardly any cars about so it was easy. I just didn’t want to meet one of the local cops cruising up and down the small town streets during one of my dashes.

So every time I cut a watermelon or am at a pot luck where someone has brought one already cut open, my stomach begins to rumble because it knows what’s coming and is getting ready. And interestingly enough, it’s rumbling as I write, a body memory come to light.

Jyoti

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cedar Bog - memior

Every child should have a secret place.  Mine was the cedar bog just south of the field coming away from the swamp.  The cedar bog fed my child soul.  I went to the bog to feel alone.  I went when six siblings and a screaming mother got the best of me.  I went when it rained.  I went to feel safe.  I went to put my hands in the cool spring water as it came up out of the ground beneath the great cedar tree. 

That old cedar tree’s roots hooped up out of the ground creating a little cave just big enough for a small girl.  In my little cave the world was mine.  Blue robin’s egg shells fit into one another and sat in a little notch on the rough wall.  A bird’s nest, stones, a broken arrowhead, acorn people and abandon snail shells kept me company.  Right next to my tree cave was a tiny spring.   The spring and the tree were the true pieces in my eight year old life that belonged to only me. 

I remember slipping out the back door to run across the field away from my mother’s voice calling me to come back… but I was already away.  

In spring the bog ran little rivelets and streams.  The ground was soft and would suck my boot right off my foot.  Then I would pull it out filled with earthy smelling water, dump it out and rest it next to a tree with its mate while I waded in the cold boggy mud.  It would suck me in up past my ankles halfway to my knees.  Sometimes I wondered what would happen if I didn’t pull out in time . . .

 

 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A WONDERING MIND

“Don’t let your mind wander ~ it’s 2 little 2 B left alone.”
(On the billboard in front of the Abundant Life Church)

The first time I saw this I cracked up. The second time I drove by I started laughing before I got to the end ‘cause I knew the punch line. I was sad when they rotated the bill board as this slogan had made me giggle every time.

I have been thinking about it lately and it reminds me of an experiment I have been working on. You see, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in my life daydreaming. I am the quintessential Queen of Daydreaming. Especially in my car. I don’t know how many times I have arrived at my destination and I couldn’t tell you a darn thing about the actual trip. Or those times when I am driving and there are cars all around me ... then I "wake up" and look around ... and the cars are all gone. Where did they go? When did they leave? Do they know something I don’t know? It is a bizarre feeling.

My issue is, I do not always day dream pleasant thoughts. In fact my imagination can carry me away, ruin the moment and even bring on anxiety attacks. I see this as a pretty destructive habit. I have spent way too much time thinking of the worst case scenario. Let me give a couple of examples. While I am hooking up my horse trailer, I imagine something going wrong with the equipment and losing the trailer down the highway. I have a meeting set up with a new client and on the drive to their office I imagine that they are going to see me as an imbecile. I have also spent a lot of time making up excuses in my mind ~ just in case I may miss a deadline. I have lengthy imaginary conversations with my clients practicing how to tell them. It goes on and on, ad nauseam.

I slowly began to realize that these worst case scenarios never evolved they way I imagined them, and for the most part, my made up conversations were never spoken out loud. I made a conscious decision that I would not spend another minute making up excuses for my life. I am doing the best that I can. And for the most part, it has worked. Now, if I catch myself thinking up an excuse for anything I ask myself out loud, “Who are you talking to?”

Since I am the only one in the car or my office, this is a very short conversation.

As I cannot see a single positive reason to keep up the negative day dreaming, I decided to see what I could do about this (?) addiction. It is taking precious time away from enjoying life; it is something I believe I can modify. If I can’t totally quiet my mind then at least I want to spend more time thinking pleasant thoughts. So I came up with a strict routine. When I find myself thinking a destructive thought or my heart starts to race with a worse case scenario ~ I immediately stop. I visually wrap up the thought in a piece of white tissue paper, blow it gently towards the light and offer it up to be transformed into …… a totally positive image. It sounds crazy, but it is the routine that helps me move out of the moment.

Driving down Boulder Canyon one day, I must have gone through my routine at least a dozen times. I was flabbergasted; but I doggedly continued. Recently I realized that I did not have to do it nearly as often. It’s working. I may have to play with this the rest of my life, but it only takes a second to run through my routine. I am willing to do this. I am worth it.


So, “Don’t let your mind wander ~ it’s 2 little 2 B left alone.” But if it does, guide it towards a field of wild flowers beside a gently flowing stream and advise it to stay there and enjoy the moment.

Annette *

Postscript. For what it is worth, I have read several books which helped a lot. Ekhardt Tolle, in his latest book The New Earth, does a swell job of guiding those who do indeed want their own brain back. Another one of my favorite books on the subject is, Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I am now reading Zero Limits by Joe Vitale, and am enjoying it immensely.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Willingness

Willingness

Every once in awhile a word or phrase sticks out, as if some cosmic hand highlights it for you. Instead of bright yellow catching your attention its more like your brain can’t let it go. I try to read on but keep hearing that word or phrase. I put the book down and it pops up. Today’s word……..willingness. Used in the general context of “you don’t have to be perfect but only have a willingness to respond with love, to be open.” To not bring the usual suspects of judgments, pre-conceived ideas or patterns, agendas or fears to the table but to be willing. Gentleness and softness get ignited as you think of it, as well as openness, openness to possibilities not yet tapped.

It also illuminates what was once not possible or just a plain old closed door. Something that now a voice is pointing to and asking would you be willing to consider…..whatever it may be in that moment. When before a mind was made up….or shut…now you are being asked to reconsider…to be willing to see anew. Be willing is much easier to listen to then you should, shall, have to or know better. It assumes a respect for where you are with just a gentle nudge toward opening to something else. “Yes I know you have this position but would you be willing to consider something else?” Respect...................
Acknowledgment………Nudge………..New Possibility………….all get awakened within a sense of willingness. New possibility also lets you tap into that there is something bigger…..something else….a perspective you may not have considered. Something to trust, see, experience or open to if only you would be willing.

All this got generated from being willing to sit with willingness. That quality that struck some cord, awakened and wanted to be heard and magnified to see what else lived in there with it.

Mary

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memoir: MACCHU PICCHU

We were standing with our chins resting in a stone box, chanting OM. This simple act was created by the Incans to help open a human to their higher power and the Divine. It was a heavenly experience working with the higher chakras in this way. Magic was dancing all around us, every direction we turned.

A blissful day unfolded before us, filled with awe-inspiring views as we arrived at the Sun Gate above Macchu Picchu.

We had hiked the Inca Trail, the hardest physical task I have ever performed. Four days had been taken to walk this ancient land. At times we were stepping sideways onto ever so steep stone steps. Imagine their abilities putting this wonderland together. I cannot fathom. If you were panting, you were walking too fast. Eventually, a porter even takes my fanny pack. The time on the trail was subsidized by coca leaves, chewing almost constantly, a mainstay for energy and relaxing the digestive system. We were also ever so grateful for our doctor friend who brought along liquid oxygen. And was also our great entertainer, singing songs at the drop of a hat, to fit the situation, some made up. He was also the first and only one of us to sacrifice himself on the human altar.

We were coming more to the Rain Forest as we trudged on. More and more butterflies, birds, and plants were becoming most incredible, wild begonias, orchids, and ferns of all kinds. It became more necessary to linger, to observe every level of fauna in its glory.

The energy was building, nature was exuding her aliveness, enveloping us as we ascended to our last destination, The Sun Gate, overlooking this village of ancientness, that has gone long before and now we can barely imagine who they were. Yet, we gaze in wonder. How has this become what it is?? The mysteries are abounding!

The guides and porters leave us at the Sun Gate to descend down to Aquas Calientes, the town below which holds our hotel with showers.

With exhaustion and equal elation and awe, my 4 companions and I sit close in a circle and give thanks and gratitude. We soon move to an outcropping of rocks in the sun to rest and process all this has meant so far.

The next morning at 6:30 we meet our guide at the bus to go back up. A different group we are altogether, bedslept, showered, we were civilized citizens again. Mixed feelings coursed through our veins of also missing the ruggedness of what we had experienced the last few days, except for the intense bites that stayed with some of us for months.

We explore a wonderment of stone, all different sizes and shapes fitting together, done by ancient man with no machinery. The waterways, elaborately winding, artfully efficient, presented with such wisdom. I loved the astronomical connections, of the reflections of the planets and the stars in all the different stone hollows holding water, the celestial mirrors. The places where the light from the sun and moon shone through spaces at certain times of day or year. Many, many symbolisms awakened our senses that September day of l998.

It’s a place one would be so lucky to stay the night, to begin to feel the vibrations of that other time, without the tourists around. To be able to hear how much more they have to share with us. Many have listened, and many more are beginning to allow the understanding of what is lasting from our ancestral brothers.

By Patricia

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Memory- Clues to My Father's Life

Clues to my Father’s Life

My father’s name was Alben Berg Moan. He was born in 1925, the fourth of five children. His parents were Peter and Bertha Moan, both immigrants from Norway living in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. The name “Alben” means “pale one” and I wonder if he was pale at birth –later in life he was bronze-skinned, especially in summer. “Berg” might have come from the Norwegian mountains or from Bergen in Norway. He was known as “Al” by some, “Ebby” by others. We don’t know where the Ebby came from, it started before Mom met him.

Dad’s dad, Grandpa Moan was tall and thick without being fat. He had pale skin and blue eyes—seemed very Scandanavian. But I often wondered at how un-Scandanavian my Grandma Moan looked. She was short, under 5 feet tall, thin and with the same concentrated, dark brown eyes as my father. Her skin was also darker with an olive tinge. Once she told me that “we are part Gypsy.” When I asked Dad about it later he insisted she was joking – but it somehow rang true to me. And he was her body type.

The only childhood story my Dad told me was that all too often he had to go fetch his dad at the bar.

His high school year book provided some clues to teen years. He was in Boy Scouts, basketball and baseball. In basketball he was “known for his speed and a deadly shot from the outside.” His handsome senior photo listed his activities next to it and his senior quote,” Girls are bothersome and I like to be bothered.” Old report cards showed passing but not stellar grades.

Another clue is the two ancient grass skirts from his time in the army unit based in New Guinea. He turned 18 in 1943 during his senior year and received his draft letter, ordering him straight into the Army after graduation. He never spoke much about that time but a photo shows him shirtless, with his army pants and boots on, hands on his hips, in front of a Quonset hut.

Dad put us on skates at an early age. He was a strong ice skater. He’d played semi-professional hockey for several years in Minnesota. That quick action game, like basketball, suited him.

Dad met Mom at a dance hall in Wisconsin. Mom said, “He didn’t really dance but my friend Millie was dating his brother Gordon and I met him through them. He was real good looking and I got hooked. We started dating after that.” Her mother loved my dad also. When they had dated awhile another guy came over, who mom used to date. Grandma Johnson told him “You can quit coming around. Dorothy has a real good boyfriend now.”

Mom said, “We got married in April—you were at our wedding! It all was good. We married at the Pine city church with my sister Betty and his brother Gordon as our attendants.” As a child I’d wondered why my mom got married in a suit, while my aunt Betty had a big white wedding dress. Dad lived & worked in Eau Claire, Wisconsin then and she briefly joined him there before they moved to the Cities for a better job. That’s where I was born, in Minneapolis.

There are so many photos of Dad with babies. Dad loved babies. That’s one reason he had so many kids-when one grew out of being a cute little baby, it was time for a new one! We had six in all. He loved to talk with, play with, and hold every little baby that came his way.

Dad was a hard worker to support his family. Only a hard worker could hold 3 jobs at one time, which he did at one stage when Mom was still home with little kids. He worked full time as a warehouse worker at Coast-to-Coast stores. It was very physical work and kept him lean and strong. He was there over 20 years until Coast –to –Coast was bought out and then, eventually the warehouse was closed. His part time work was cleaning office, in the evening after working at the warehouse all day.

I remember Dad going fishing. At different times he had a small fishing boat. That unique smell and slippery feel of newly, caught fish stays with me. Dad would fillet them on an old board, and I can still hear the sound of him scraping off the scales with his knife. That fish would taste better because he had caught it himself.

Once, when I was about 5 years old, I was sitting on my Dad’s lap, and he rubbed his stubbly, morning beard on my face. He said, “Someday your boyfriend will do that to you.”

Dad loved to work outside in the yard. When we moved into our family home in 1959 he planted seeds rather than sod in our yard. It took some nurturing and time, but that grass was so thick and so soft to walk in barefoot. Weeds couldn’t grow in it, it was so thick.

Dad was not a big reader, although he usually read the newspaper until his eyesight gave out. He’d call me a “bookworm’, “always having my nose in a book.” We were different that way.

Dad and I argued a lot when I was a teen. Before that age, his temper and propensity to spank kept me in check. As I got older I knew that he was unlikely to hit me as a teenaged girl. I was a good girl myself and didn’t get into trouble in what I did. But we often fought over his comments about “those jews and niggers” or his stern treatment of my brothers, who just wanted to grow their hair out like all the other boys.

Dad was goofy sometime—he liked to joke and tickle. I remember seeing him tickling Mom and her laughing until it too much. He did silly things sometimes, like tell us to pull his finger and then fart when we did.

Dad’s memory was always different. He often repeated things. The one time during my college years that I was high on marijuana and in his presence, it seemed like his way of talking was perfect for when I was stoned. Maybe he had some brain damage from earlier in his life. But then his memory got worse. Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

His last few years, Dad lost not only his memory but his fiery anger, his sparkle, and his eye sight. He didn’t know me but whenever he heard my voice on the phone he would start to cry. When I was in Minnesota for my summer visit he told me how hard his life was, and cry.

After a few years, he couldn’t care for himself any more, would wander when unsupervised, and he didn’t remember who even my mother was. Finally, to save Mom from the stress, he had to be put in a nursing home. After over 50 years together this was a hard decision for her. She went to the nursing home to feed him his lunch most days, often bringing him ice cream, which he continued to love to the end.

The last time I saw Dad alive, I went with Mom to the nursing home. He was only about 90 pounds, his muscle all gone, leaving just his skin hanging on his bones. After Mom fed him lunch, I wanted to connect with him somehow. He had complained about tightness in his neck and throat so I asked “Would you like a neck and shoulder massage?” He agreed. As I gently rubbed his now frail body he relaxed some and said, “That feels good.” We helped him shuffle back to his room to rest. After we got him situated in his bed and he closed his eyes to sleep, I kissed my Dad goodbye on his stubbly cheek.

The day he died, the nursing home called my Mom to say that he was slipping away. The family went to his side. When every one else had left, my sister Cindy lingered behind. She told him,”It’s OK to leave Dad- We’ll take care of Mom. You can rest now.” A couple of hours later he finally let go of his depleted body.

When I got the call that he had died I was so sad that I couldn’t have been there with him. Two days later though I had a vision of him—he looked strong and vital again, he was smiling and I knew he was sending me a clue from heaven that he was happy.

By Terra

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Poem: The Chase

The Chase

Colorado sky blue
Brilliant!
Over the house,
Swift as the call,
Into the fir tree,
Hawk chases Hummingbird.
Then,
In a moment,
Spread out in glory,
Sun filtering through feathers,
Suspended in time,
Hummingbird pursues Hawk!

Prema Rose

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memoir: The 4th of July

The lights burst overhead like astral explosions. I sat on the blanket, crowded for space here and there, wondering if this was what it was like in those other dimensions, bursts of colored lights exploding all around one.
Somehow in my metaphysical study I had come to that notion. That fireworks on the 4th of July and gemstones and their colors reminders of energies that inhabited some of those more refined dimensions and that that was why we were all so drawn to the firework display each year.
The water from the bay lapped gently in the background as another volley of lights streaked through the sky. Pops and bangs preceded the glorious explosions overhead, mirrored in the bay beneath.
I pulled my sweatshirt closer, wrapped an arm around each small boy sharing the blanket with me, catching a whiff of pot smoke drifting by as someone tried to enhance the already glorious experience.
Eyes skyward, I felt so enamored with each explosion of color, each renewed awakening of my senses, I could only stare. The boys hooted and howled, readying themselves for the grand finale.
It came. Huge volumes of lights and colors zig-zagged and soared, firing up land and bay water alike, and all the expectant faces turned upward.
An assault on the senses, perhaps, but also a climax of sight and sound to carry us through the year again while memories of those vital lights sustained us. Jyoti

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ancient craft - poetry

The universe whorls a galaxy through my fingers,

As I sit spinning in the garden,

Magically creating yarn to weave a blanket of love for my grandson.

I thrill to the song of my grandmothers.

I am She.


from Jesse

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Writing Prompt = an experience in a sacred place...

September 1998. I am in Peru, in an area known as the Valley of the Gods. My group has spent the night in a marvelous white washed compound; a welcome relief after four days of camping and hiking the Inca Trail. I went out into the yard in the new dawn ~ things were very quiet all around me. I needed some space and yet was at a loss at what to do with myself. I surveyed my surroundings; it was naked dirt, very sparse grass.

Back behind the house, I wandered the yard asking to be shown a welcoming place. Ahh, I gently laid face down. I pulled my shirt up and my slacks down ~ navel to navel with the earth. I began breathing out all the negative aspects of my body/mind/soul ~~ letting it seep through my belly button into the welcoming warmth of the magnificent pacha mama, as our mother earth is known here. I felt tiny pangs of guilt. I do not wish to sully the earth mother with my “bad negative” energy, but I remind myself to let it go. I have been taught that, energetically speaking, the universe does not differentiate between “good” or “bad”; to the universe it is all just energy. So wise.
And then I heard these words:

“Teach and be taught.

Love and be loved.

Trust and let go.”


So simple, so sweet. I feel nurtured, so a part of this place ~ as if I do truly belong here on earth. An awesome strength flows through my body. I am capable. I can SEE a blue steely cord of strength flowing continuously along my spine. I slowly come to acknowledge this part of myself. It is ME. When I leave this marvelous country, my blue rod of strength will go with me. I AM it. My heart pulses with purpose as a wave of gentleness and compassion washes over me. I am cocooned in a nurturing yellow white light. I breathe in LOVE.

I sit up ~ filled with wonder,
I pray my thankfulness for this experience,
I embrace and step into my warrior princess;

so STRONG …….. that I can be soft .
* annette.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Faith

I have faith, I was about to write what I have faith in or for but I’d like to stay with I have faith as a complete thought. In and of itself….I have faith, deep abiding faith. I’ve put myself in a number of circumstances that have tested it…or even almost smashed it but always like the green shoots that emerge through asphalt or the flowers I’ve found growing right out of rock on the slopes of the Sierra’s ….it comes back….it never really leaves. I see faith as that bridge that takes us across the raging waters of life….all the challenges….and faith the bridge lets you walk on or over water. It opens doors you have never seen because they were opened when you arrived. It’s a strong thing…it conjures up a strength bigger then you are, because it is. Faith is out of our realm though it is very much anchored in this world. So faith is strong but also the gentlest of the gentle. For faith can allow the harder layers to melt as it reaches it’s tiny hand through the toughest of armor to remind us of what lies behind that hand. The pool of love where the bridge will take you if you walk on those faith shores long enough, realizing you never went anywhere…it was just a dream…but faith was your vision when the lights went out. The more you let it breathe the less you have to do. It helps me remember. Mary

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Sound of Nature

I awoke one Saturday last September early, around 6:00a.m. to a sound of clashing, a never before heard sound by me and yet I knew exactly what it was. DEER ANTLERS!
For the first time in all the l8 years I’ve lived in this spot, I was being visited by a buck.
And now, apparently a 2nd buck also.
How lucky could a woman be??
I leaped out of bed, even though it was still dark, I went to the perfectly square screened attic opening where the glass closes like a door. They were directly underneath. Even though I couldn’t see them I heard 2 sets of lungs and 4 nostrils breathing, not panting, but breathing expansively.
What could they be fighting about? In Native American lore, Deer means gentleness.
True, this didn’t seem a vicious fight, but the most natural phenomena, But, outside my bedroom window! And then, its over. Quiet, nothing, ending as quickly as it began. As the morning began to lighten, I went to the backyard. One buck had been sleeping on the west side of the yard, where the grass made a lush, thick bed in the shade. I began walking in that direction and sure enough, there he was, in all his glory. Had he won his throne back? I greeted him and turned toward the eastern side of the yard where my vegetable garden lives.
“Oh, there’s the other one, the scruffier one. Did he lose? Or did he win? He’s closer to the vegetable garden.
Even though we’re enamored and get excited having wild creatures in our yards, can we live together? Do we also plant for them?. Many humans along the foothills will testify, having dealt with them for years eating their gardens and landscaping. Yes, its annoying, they like to prune our gardens somewhat differently than we would, but its more than that.
There’s a sadness that wildlife are looking to us for their food. They have less predators than before, mountain lions, cougars, wolves. Man has definitely created an imbalance. They are as confused as we are, with all that is happening with our earth. Just attempting to survive is changing for all of us.
And yet, I’m sure they can also teach us in many ways about the dimensions they live in. Is man capable of listening?

By Patricia

Monday, May 19, 2008

Poetry: All this stuff of the world decays.

All this stuff of the world decays.
Even my dancing red toenails
need to be touched up regularly.
I have to keep throwing
all my experiences
onto the happy
compost heap of my heart.
There the stuff of it
returns to the essential elements
by rotting in the slow heat of renunciation.
The Master Gardener
forms & turns the pile to speed the process.
Then She plows the heart of Terra's existence
back into the earth,
fertilizing food that can truly satisfy
the starving masses of the Soul.

By Terra

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Poem: SPLASH!

This poem is written for my very dear friend and another Prema, whose Birthday is today.


SPLASH!

You are SPLASH!
Exuberant, playful, sensitive, and loving,
You give of yourself in the heart of you laugh.
You tenderly hold life in your gentle hands,
Delighting in the amrit of Spirit.
Bathed in your orange glow,
Invoking Baba in every breath,
Living in your tiny mountain hermitage,
You cannot hide the colors that are you.
Even in the changes of the years,
Your beauty shines as bright as ever was.
The depths of Being reveal hues of Soul,
And when you come into a room,
You SPLASH!

Prema Rose

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prose: Growing Up

I’ve grown up. I’ve grown into me. I’m not the yielding, sweet girl I once was. I’ve learned to say no when I don’t want to do something…most of the time. I’ve learned it’s okay to be disliked, even intensely disliked by anyone, even members of my own family.
I remember one of my older sons saying to me, several years ago as I was reprimanding a younger sibling of his, “I liked you better when you were my mom, how you were when I was little.” I understood. I had been sweet, na├»ve, wounded and learning mothering by the seat of my pants. And his father was around as an enforcer. I hadn’t yet become a single mom to three children, having to be both mother and father to them. I had yet to have a partner who slept with all my friends. Life hadn’t shown me the other side of its face clearly yet. The side that brings difficulty but also brings growth. I hadn’t yet begun to come into my own yet.
I understand he liked the sweeter me. She’s still there. She gets to come out and play with her grandchildren. But she also knows better than to trust the untrustable and to give herself away. Learning discernment was a long road of observation and trial and error.
Life is an experience and, hopefully, a learning tool for growth on many levels. I’ve grown up. I’ve come into my own. I can let other people have their feelings while I definitely want to have mine as well.
Could I have done it differently, more gently, been more consistent. Perhaps. Yet my path, like everyone else’s, has been unique to me.
I’m still learning the self-nurturing aspect. There weren’t that many people out ahead of me to model that when I came to the realization that I needed to be in the equation as well. That it wasn’t just about everyone else. It was about me too.
Jyoti

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Writing- Hippy Hair

I am targeting this blog to a very specific demographic. Ooooh, so smug, that sentence. So hip. And here I am a grandmother! Love it.

Blog. Targeting. Demographic. These are heavy words indeed.

Blog on, baby.

Check it out. Do you fit this demographic? Female. Fifty ++, possibly sixtish. Slightly overweight, you eat organic, drink free trade coffe, mostly veg but since menopause a little red meat (only once a month). Recycling has become a religion traded in for your guilt ridden Catholic upbringing.

Try this: Golden Gate Park '67, '68', 69... dead wingers on the ground, feeling just a titch unkept, but, hey, you can crash with a friend in Marin tonight, maybe get a shower, wash your hair... hair, oh, yes, that hair, long beautiful hair. Sixties hair.

Any of this ring a bell?

2008. Okay, so now you live in Boulder, still have that same long hair down to your butt. But it's not quite as thick and shiny as it was once. It's flat out stringy, right? Have you put in too much color and can't get it back to normal because normal isn't normal any more. Just an idea, but, have you entertained the thought that you may have overdone the long hair bit now that you are fifty ++, possibly sixtish. Hummmmm....? Think about it. Time for a change?

Call Judy. She cuts hippy hair in a spiritual way. Snips it right off in the right places. She knows how to make it curl where it wasn't. She makes the grey look like you greyed early. And, Jesus, you can't imagine how nice it is to get up in the morning with short hair. Judy, she's the one. Honest. Give her a call. Jesse

Essay: What do I know by heart?

Every day I get up and try to be the best human being I can be. When I fall down on this mission, I pull myself up, dust off the debris, and start again. Sometimes it is hard to look morning in the face. Other days I am so full of love and joy that I almost ache.

I know that I am not sure what unconditional love feels like coming at me. Wait, that is not exactly true, I know that my grandma and grandpa loved me unconditionally. I will set with that for awhile and see if I can pull those feelings closer so that I have a stronger reference point. I have often wondered if my son would say the same. I know that I have come closer to pouring out unconditional love to him, than to any other human on the planet. At least for the longest amount of time, over 24 years of loving that boy. This past week-end he called from his home in Florida and left me the sweetest message. He said that he saw a shooting star in the sky and thought of me. I still have his message saved on my phone so that I can listen to it one more time.

I know in my heart that dirt is good. I love playing in dirt. I love putzing with plants and their dirt. I love gardening and plan on starting a very small garden this year ~ pole beans on tipis, butternut squash, tomatoes, and some greens ~ especially arugala. Very small, manageable, could be added onto in the future, but reasonable for this first year. In the old days I used to describe those ignorant people in my life as “Dumb as dirt”. I no longer say that…. it is unfair and I am embarrassed by that. I love dirt too much.

I know in my heart that I love horses. Going out and feeding my horse, even going out and scooping poop, makes me feel better. I love the way horses smell. There is a freshness, a sweetness about them that only those who have smelled it know about. Although I love setting by the window and watching the horses play ~ I realize that horses get me outdoors. I tell Lakota many things. I went out last January and the wind had whipped her mane into a tangled mess ~ a series of knarly dreadlocks that the wind had woven into an ugly mat. I looked at it and started crying. I thought about going inside, getting the scissors and just cutting it out. It was too much and it looked impossible. I had no tolerance. I had just hung up the phone from talking with my mom. They found more cancer in my Dad. So I stood in the cold sunshine beside my beautiful horse. I set down her comb and started at the bottom ~ with my fingers I began to unwind the clumpy mess. Sobbing, sometimes barely able to see what I was doing, I felt my way through it. By the time I had finished I had stopped crying. I was proud of myself for saving her gorgeous mane. I marveled at her patience, for standing there and being with me in my grief. She is such an amazing animal, my sister and my friend.

I know that I have far to go in realizing my full potential as a spiritual being living in this human form on this material plane. I keep hearing the words from my last astrology reading, “DO you trust that what you need will come? Do you trust that?”

And my heart soars and I yell out “YES, yes…I trust that what I need will come!”

Every cell in my body chooses Love: love for my father, love for horses and dirt, the flowers and weeds that I’ve met this lifetime (you know who you are), and cherry tomatoes warmed by the sun.

In my heart, I chose Love.

from Annette

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Bear and the River

I was in between sleep and awake when I heard an unfamiliar sound. “Could that have been a rock falling off the deck?” I wonder in my still sleepy state. With the next noise and a little more awake I think “Hmm…Is it a bear?” I jump out of bed and hurry down stairs to see if I can get a glimpse. Crossing the kitchen, my eyes start to adjust to the still dark morning; I look out the front glass door and windows to see a massive figure. “Yes, definitely a bear”. He’s about six feet tall and standing on his hind legs looking for the birdfeeder that he somehow knows is usually there. I’m now, as quietly as possible, moving closer to the door and thinking “I can’t believe he is right here”. He reaches further up the A frame looking for the birdfeeder and probably wondering to himself, “I know it was here when I came by a few days ago?” I’m now on one side of the glass door and he is on the other still standing and still searching. I’m in awe of his massive size and amazed to see him so closely. The pre-dawn sky is just starting to let enough light seeps through for me to see him clearly as he continues his exploration. Later in the summer he will be the lucky one and find a fully filled feeder on a night we forget to bring it in. But this morning it is my turn as I’m the one who gets to observe this beautiful creature so close. It is a treat, one I do not take for granted. Suddenly I shift my weight and the floor creaks just enough to alert him to my presence. He never misses a beat, from two hind legs to all fours, no startling, no jolting, not turning toward me he turns away and heads for the stairs. An amazing sense of a flowing river but it is a flowing bear. Down the stairs, across the land and into the darkness he flows. The smoothness of that moment touches me, stays with me. He knew I was there, but he never reacted only shifted course. It felt like a river in motion, just the most natural thing in the world, effortless as it rounds a bend heads for the next stretch, not rushing just rolling along. And so he went.

I’m mostly struck by the grace I witnessed. A grace I would like to lead my way as I head for the next stretch. Not rushing, not reacting just flowing along knowing all is well. The bear and the river the image I hold as a guide as I come around the next bend not knowing what lies ahead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Prose...The Truth About Me

The truth about me is that it seems to be changing with the new paradigm. So I pondered it much these last days. My truth lies in nature, is a constant.
There's so much that is my old truth that is loosening its grip, dying away, of having to teach others.
My essence joins with nature giving me a wholeness, a fullness that is sustaining to me. Having to know what's best for others is a thousand pound weight off, allowing more space. I am a strength, a knowing rock that watches and listens, coming round to seeing others harmony.
My truth is walking lightly on this earth with deep impact.
Patricia

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poetry: The Quiet Core

I wonder why the world seems to smoothly flow for awhile and then
Explodes into a splashy rapids that eventually reintegrates into
another smoothly happy flow.

I wonder why the splashy rapids has to be
a matter of drama and emotional upheaval.

I wonder why the quiet Core of my being
Continues to be quiet, even in the middle of
that drama and that smoothly flowingness.

I wonder why I forget that quiet Core
that could be my consciously safe cove
in the middle of any stormy drama or quickly flowing-by world.


--by Terra

Sunday, May 11, 2008

BLESSING

BLESSING



May your wings
Turn to dancing feet
To carry you
On this journey called Life,
Ever keeping step
With the rhythms that
Flow through your heart.
And may your song
Be the endless breath
That knows it is Eternal.





Prema Rose





Saturday, May 10, 2008

Color

Color is important to me. After a lot of writing, planting seeds in a yet-to-be garden, watching a snowy sky and bare trees for a good part of the year, I want color. Something in me craves it.

I think about making collages: all the squares and rounds of colored paper, images of moons and mountains and ocean waves, huge hibiscus and roses, and faces lined like their landscapes.

I think about how to mix and match, creating an image for the eye, for the psyche underneath, all of that. What can speak to the conscious and unconscious, present and possible yearnings, I wonder.

Then my mind goes to small squares of fabric and quilting. It’s not art quilts I’m drawn to make as sewing isn’t a large part of my activities. It’s a newborn granddaughter of a close friend. And it satisfies my need for color, for drinking in the images and hues.

It’s a Sunday morning. The warmer climate outside my door calls to me, yet I take a moment to place squares I unearthed from a closet last night before bed, carefully selecting images a very young one might like to gaze at, into a pattern. Whether this quilt will cover her while she sleeps in her own crib or family bed, or whether she’ll lie upon it on the floor, gazing down at the pictures that will become a familiar part of her day, I can’t know.

So putting the squares out, lining them up with some eye to movement, I select a patch of cut watermelon slices near a stocking-cap man-in-the-moon. Nearby birds, stars, and butterflies are ready for flight. Some fish, tiny pink flowers and a square of white ducks on a lavender background vie with sunflowers, pears and pansies. One square of a Hawaiian sunset with a palm tree in the foreground marks the biannual travel of her grandmother’s favorite vacation site.

I plan to border it with pinks, magentas and blue-greens, and maybe some lavender.

Here, I’m just at the beginning stages before the stitching begins. In my garden, waiting patiently outside, it’s the same thing. The seeds have been planned, plotted, and planted. Now I need to tend to weeks, moon phases and additional plantings, and then the color will come, flower by flower, square of earth by square of garden.

Who knew, years before my fifties, that color was such an important food for me. It just seemed to burst out one day through my collages and shrines I was making at the time.

I dream sometimes of picking up a paintbrush and just stroking colors across a blank space. For some people, blank spaces intimidate them, whether page, canvas or mind screen.

For me it’s an invitation to bring my thoughts, words, or brush maybe, to the table and just see what happens. And then drink it in. Jyoti

Friday, May 9, 2008

This Morning I Got Out My Flute

This morning I got out my flute to play for Lillian. A tune came, something new, one I have not played before. I played it over and over until I could whistle it. I picked up my rattle and began to rattle while I whistled. I found myself coming up the front walk to the house at 74 Chestnut. Then I was on the stairs, all the while whistling and rattling. I went up to the space on the second floor between the rooms singing the spirit song. I went to the room where Lillian was in bed sleeping in that coma/sleep state. She was restless. I sang my spirit song to her hoping she might hear, recognize it, and perhaps feel comforted.

I heard a deep sigh when suddenly there she was standing by the side of the bed with light shining right through her. Next to her on the bed I could see her body gasping in long irregular death rattles. We looked at each other in surprise. Lillian smiled and we both looked around. What we saw was astonishing… it was as if there were veils and veils within the reality of her room. I could see the bed and out through the window, I saw someone sitting in a chair but that was vague. There was a veil between that and where we were. Here we could see better, clearer. Her eyes had worlds shining out from them. Her heart was huge and shimmering green as it pulsed.

For some reason another veil lifted and we could see clearer than before. Everything shone and sparkled. We were out of time and place. Before us a pathway lead upward into a sky that was brighter with stars than I have ever seen. Without words, just a knowing, we began the journey to the stars… she ahead of me. We moved past beautiful suns, stars, moons. We came to a glistening ocean of light, stood on the shore in wonder looking out at this amazing sight. We saw forms of light moving towards us in greeting, acknowledging our presence… At this point Lillian stopped and put up her hand (she was in complete control). She turned to me and said, “I will see you down now.” We turned around and came back down into the bedroom where the veils were gone. It was ordinary. Usual. Except for Lillian who sat beside her body in her light being.

I looked at her with questions I had no right to ask but she answered what seemed right. She said she knew her body was close to death. She said that she now knew how to let it go and she was ready. But she also said that she had so loved being on Earth with her loved ones that she found it difficult to leave them... harder than anything she had ever done. She let me know it was time for me to go but allowed me to look into her world eyes one more time. She was so incredibly loving I came away feeling I could never be angry or hurtful to anyone again in my life.

I will continue to play songs in vigil for her today. Jesse

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Early Morning Horses

Thursday ~ February 9th, 2006 ~ 5:30 am. Right after I wake up, I sneak out to the living room and hit the toggle switch to turn on the propane fireplace. I hurry back to my room, close the window that I crack open every night for a tiny bit of fresh air, no matter how cold, and pull up the blind. Then I pop back under my down comforter, which I have a love affair with every winter, and, if I’m lucky, I go back to sleep for a little while.

But not this morning.

My window faces east and I open my eyes every once in awhile to watch the progress of the sky as the sun begins to catch the low lying clouds; they turn from a colorless grey to brilliant oranges and pinks. This beats the hell out of hitting the snooze button every three minutes.

When it gets a little lighter I see that the horses are in the east pasture. This is my favorite way to start a day!! I count them all and notice where my horse is. My little mare Lakota is going to be nine this spring. She is a spotted bay Missouri Fox Trotter and quite the looker. She is mostly red with a luxurious long black tail, four white stockings and an “Oreo” mane. On her left side (her female side) she as two white hearts, and on her right side (her “male” side) she has a white lightning bolt and what looks like a dolphin arching up out of the water. When I say she has an “Oreo” mane I mean that her forelock and top of her mane is black, then she has this wide white section and then it turns black again as it moves down her neck. My friend’s daughter said it reminded her of an Oreo cookie, chocolate on the outside with white cream filling. Lakota is the elder in this herd and often, unless antagonized directly into action, stays off to the side as the younger horses run around playing, bucking and farting.

But not this morning.

Flash, the little black and white pony is trotting around the field ~ he is generally the main instigator of orneriness. He has no idea that he is the smallest and he harasses every one until he finds some one who will play with him. But he is no where near Lakota when suddenly she bends in the middle, throws her head down and kicks out her hind legs. She is not threatening anyone, since there is no one near her, she is just “feeling her oats”. I set up in bed. She trots off a few strides, swinging her head down and off to the right like a teenage girl who is trying to get her hair out of her eyes. With no warning she jumps right straight up in the air ~ all four feet off the ground ~ arched back ~ stiff legged. She looks like a coyote pouncing on a country mouse. Suddenly she takes off at a dead run, head high, tail arched up in the air like an Arabian hussy. I move to the middle of my bed to make sure I can see the whole show ~ what a performance this is.

Tail still high in the air, she runs ~ springing off the ground on all four legs in a single bound. I call this her Peppy Le Pugh imitation ~ remember the little love sick skunk of the good old cartoon days? What a riot! In the wild this could be a sign of high anxiety, but here in her pasture, this is a sign of just-plain-feeling-good!! I wouldn’t want to ride it, but it is glorious to watch. She Peppy Le Pugh’s another circle around Flash, then catching sight of Chile she heads toward him, maybe he’ll play! Chili stands his ground and watches her foolishness as Lakota slides to a stop on a bare patch of ground in front of him. Every out-breath is visible, producing a mini cloud at the end of her nose. She puts her head down and sniffs the dirt. I make a guess that she is looking for a good place to roll. But no, in total awe I watch her. Once again she smells the earth, bends in half and launches straight up ~ twisting in mid air she lands facing the other direction! It must have felt good because she instantly leaps into the air again. Whoa, I have never seen her do that before. Then she daintily paws the earth, takes a few strides towards the river, drops her head and begins grazing. End of show. Like it never even happened.

I set there for a moment in awe. If I had even blinked at the wrong moment I would have missed the whole show. I thank God once again for letting me spend this time on this land with my horse. I am totally, outrageously blessed.

I dive back under my comforter and lay there grinning. That’s my girl. She’s 100% fox trotter, ½ race horse, ¼ coyote, and ¼ bucking bronco ~ with a dash of love sick skunk thrown in. The way I figure it, that’s about 210% of mostly trouble!! But she sure is cute, she’s paid for, and she’s mine!!

Yep, this is gonna be a good day!!


from Annette

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Writing- How To Avoid Writing In A Good Way

How To Avoid Writing In A Good Way


Sunday.  I kiss Mother goodbye, wave to my brother, and jump in the car for the long road trip home.   Passing through the gate I give a whoop.  I am so ready to be home.   The last three days of storms have left twelve inches of new snow on the winter’s accumulation here in southwestern Montana.  I correctly guess it will be extreme adventure driving the first ten miles downhill.  No bars on my cell phone this side of the hill.   Could be a bit of a walk should I slide off the road… there are people who pay big bucks for this kind of adventure I tell myself.  Maybe I should write this up.  Good idea.


Monday.  I am driving, no writing but I think of  various articles I might write.  Great subjects… none of which I will recall later.  But they were good enough that I congratulate myself at my cleverness as I stopped for gas in Chugwater, Wyoming.  I even considered taking a break to write those fantastic titles down…  I did consider doing that.


Tuesday.  Home and time to catch up.  Email, phone messages, groceries, unpack, laundry, walk the dog, cook a nice dinner to share with Jim so we can reconnect …  Two days and 900 miles have caught up with me…I need rest tonight.


Wednesday. My friend, Myrna comes to work on the flyer for our workshop.  That’s writing, isn’t it? It is!  It is!  I wrote today.  The realization gives me a buzz until I realize I left out a vital piece of information… after sending it out.  Bummer.


Thursday morning.  Maybe I’ll write today after I finish unpacking.  Huh, maybe not.  This is the day I volunteer at my grandchildren’s school in Denver.  I am so tired by the time I get home I crash.


Friday morning.  I think I’ll write before the grandkids come for the weekend.  I actually thought I might do that. 


Saturday.   Watching my grandchildren the back corner of my mind is working words around pictures I see in my mind.  It never stops.  I wish I could write what I perceive it in my mind’s eye.  I’ll give it a shot tomorrow morning after they leave.


Sunday.  Hummmmm…


Monday. I have cleaned up the kitchen, tidied the living room, swished out the bathroom, and cleared up the residue of grandchildren.  I look at my pristine house.  I am ready to write.  Cup of coffee in hand I sit down.  I have a whole hour.  Wow. 


How do I start?  Where is that list Jyoti gave us?  Wait.  Did I take my vitamins this morning?      Okay, deep breath, close my eyes and let it come.   Just let it come.  Let it come.  


Maybe my journal will give me some ideas.  Hang on there.  What am I doing on a beautiful day like this with my eyes shut?  I should be out walking or working in the garden… enjoying the sunshine…   Breath deeply.     Quiet down.     Uh, oh, I am pretty sure that I did not take my fish oil with breakfast.  Stop this!  Breath!  And make it deep! 


Write, Jesse, write.  This is what you want, isn’t it?  Time to write?   C’mon.  Let’s go!

                                                                                from Jesse

 

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Poetry: Joan, Woman of Red


Words seem lame

as I attempt to be,

wallowing in,

grievingly

swirling

with the impact

of your leaving.


You came,

you opened our hearts,

you left.


In this opening

you helped us create

a growing understanding,

a sparkle of why

is beginning

to show us

the Way.


If we can allow

your mission

to come through,

the opening you

began here

will expand into

new dimensions.


Rather than missing you

we will be

One with you.


Patricia

Monday, May 5, 2008

Poetry - I hone my words

I hone my words
on the hardness of my skull
until they shine along the edge,
sharp enough to split a hair-
but that’s not enough.
Then I let them penetrate my heart,
to enliven them with the DNA of my deep sweet soul-
to mobilize them with tails made of tales—
to soften their hard heads enough to impregnate something into being.
In this way
when they swim into your eyes
your ears—
If you are wet & fertile of mind—
a chosen One might merge with some expectant part of you,
to grow into some new life form,
to take root in the welcome womb of your imagination,
to gestate within you,
until, with the force of your long held in expression,
you open your mouth widely enough
and loudly enough
to give it birth.
---by Terra

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to A Week's Worth of Women, a Boulder, Colorado women's writing group. Watch for our daily posts beginning today, May 5, 2008.