Sunday, November 30, 2008

Memoir: Mommy

That day in the nursing home, when I visited my mother for the last time, enfolded the most precious moment I ever had with her. For an instant, our eyes met and pure Love dissolved all the barriers and gulfs we had ever felt between us. I knew her and she knew me as the Beloved. There were no words. They had passed from her ability quite a while before. The space of Love took over and we both knew it.
My memories of my mother are so sporadic and yet so rich. I idolized her. She was so beautiful and glamorous, sitting at her dressing table, putting on her makeup and perfume to go out to some fabulous party in New York. Or, perhaps, she was going to the theater. She was a producer and had been an actress. I would be in awe of her presence and her grace. She had a gold overlaid terracotta lamp with two figures in terracotta emerging from the base. I loved that lamp and it represented the mysteriousness of my mother’s toilette. I have just been given that lamp.
Then there were the window-shopping strolls down Fifth Avenue from our apartment to Rockefeller Center. All the magic of Christmas came alive in the store windows. FAO Schwartz was the favorite with the moving train tracks and giant stuffed bears. The enormous Christmas tree towering over the sunken ice skating rink with all the lights was enough to make my little girl’s heart dance. If I were cold, she would wrap me into her mink coat and snuggle me up. The smell of the fur mixed with her scent was the comfort and closeness that I craved from her.
Most of the time, my longing for my mother became an overwhelming theme in my life. My parents were traveling or working and my sister and I were raised by governesses. We had our moments of being trotted out to say goodnight to them and their guests. We would curtsey and smile and then be whisked away. Always the perfect children, seen and not heard.
Well, not exactly. I wanted my parents’ attention. I managed to attract it in some not so positive ways. It seemed that I was always getting in trouble. My gentle souled father would have to deal with me before bedtime with the hairbrush for my bottom and an apology in his eyes.
“Remember, this hurts me worse than it does you.”
My sister and I were very different. She was the shy and beautiful one with the long auburn sausage curls, Miss Goody Two Shoes. I was feisty and gregarious with a mop of unmanageable blonde curls. When no one was looking, she would do some really mean thing and then be a picture of innocence when I would react.
I actually have a photo of us sitting on a wall at my grandparent’s house. I remember the incident so clearly. Opa was about to snap the shot and she pinched me. I turned and scowled at her. The shutter clicked and for all time, there she is smiling at the camera, and then there is me, frowning at her.
My mother really wanted her girls to be in the best schools in New York and be groomed into debutants. We started early with our ballroom dancing school training. We would sit on the gilt chairs lining the ballroom with our white gloved hands folded in our laps and our patent shoed feet crossed at the ankles. Desperately hoping that the young boy that would come to ask me to dance didn’t have two left feet, I would appear demure and proper while, all the time, wishing I could dance the way I wanted to. I was, after all, a dancer.
My mother would take us out to the fanciest restaurants and then proceed to get angry with the waiters and yell at them in the middle of the dining room. We wanted to disappear into the floor, we would be so embarrassed. It was about then that I began to notice how much she drank. There were the cocktails, the wines, and the aperitifs every day. She also smoked a great deal. The doctor told her that she was killing herself but she insisted that she didn’t want to live passed sixty-five anyway.
As I grew older and became more independent, our relationship had a great deal more conflict. When I went away to camp and boarding school, I would tell everyone that I was homesick…sick of home. Yet, I longed for a word from my parents. Mail call was so painful, as I never received letters. Life became very lonely. (But, that’s another story for another time).
So, there I was, seeing my mother for the last time. I had my own children by then and had put her intense criticism behind me. I was just with her as she was. She had started to have strokes at age sixty -four and now, as she had determined, it was time to go.
What a miracle that Love cuts through all the histories and failings into the space of Oneness.
“I love you, Mommy.”
Prema Rose

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Prose: Kindness

Writing about kindness conjures in my mind an image of a hand gently cradling a cheek. One person extending that gentle hand and cupping another’s face. It’s an act of love, a reaching out beyond one’s own circumstances, beyond one’s moods and thinking process to be thee for someone else’s situation or to extend love.
I wasn’t always kind. I was interested in the truth of the moment. I dealt with things as they came up, including being of service where it was requested.
Kindness came later. I remember one day, one of my kids was goading me, digging his heels in, being stubborn and somewhat disrespectful. I grabbed him by the front of his T-shirt and brought him close to me and said, “You don’t know who you’re dealing with, pal. I’ve learned to be kind.”
And I had. My last two children, especially my daughter, fairly demanded kindness from me in situations where I might have been more strident, tougher.
How did I get that tough? Was I ever not tough. I think it was a mixed bag. I learned to be tough to not be walked all over being short, being female, being married to a Scorpio who broke my innocent heart.
Underneath, there was always a kindness to animals, small children, any of nature’s creatures, old people, or when someone was sick. My daughter helped me find ways to bring that kindness in and around and through the toughness that single mothering of four sons sometimes demanded. I could go neck-n-neck with them.
With her, it was work to not automatically go there. As triple water, she was more sensitive and needed other things from me. From my relationship with her, I began to be kind.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving was one of those holidays I didn’t think much about until I didn’t have it. I thought West Texas was foreign and far away until I moved to the high Andes Mountains.

There were no grocery stores but there was an open market where I bought fruits and vegetables. The fly-covered meat and poultry hanging in the hot sun was just a bit much for me. The place was filthy and it stunk. Mind you, I loved that market. I really did.

Every week was a new experience. I had two huge market baskets that I would drag along as I bought my week’s worth of produce. There were probably ten potato stands selling many varieties of potatoes, potatoes I had never seen before. The Potato Ladies, as I dubbed them, were an arrogant raucous group of women who fought over customers. They were arrogant because potatoes were a staple in the Andean diet so they knew people would always buy potatoes before other foods. I bought potatoes for the challenge.

Entering the area of the market where the Potato Ladies held forth I would mentally pull up my guard and keep my head down as the yelling started, each one competing for my business. Hesitation was not allowed. I’d do a quick look through the bins of potatoes and make my choice. Pulling out my money I’d run up, grab my potatoes and make the transaction while the other Potato Ladies would yell curses at my vendor.

It wasn’t over yet. Bravely I’d turn to face the wild potato vendors who, having used up all their swear words for the moment, would begin lobbing potatoes at me as I ducked my head and dragged my baskets past them into the main part of the market. If I got hit as I ran the gauntlet there was huge laughter.

As I said, I did it for the challenge. These women were democratic. They threw potatoes at everyone and they were genuinely sad when I left. I got hugs from all of them the day I went to say goodbye.

Each Thanksgiving as I prepare the mashed potatoes I smile thinking of the Potato Ladies. I love potatoes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It is Thursday morning, an entire day set aside for giving thanks. Yesterday I made a batch of home made egg noodles; the first batch I have made in many years. And I must admit it was a little trickier than I hoped. I had called my brother Gary (an incredible cook, he could be the Emeril of KCMO) for a few tips and got his recipe. I got the noodles made, rolled out and cut, and I think they will be fine.

And then I made my first batch of cranberry salad for this season. It is red and beautiful and I had to test it this morning ~ it is great!!!!

On the eve of every winter holiday, you could walk into my parent’s small kitchen and there they would be. The kitchen looks similar from year to year, only the outfits change, and I took the same photograph every time I was lucky enough to share this moment. Mom and Dad … standing side by side, cutting the fruit, sorting the berries, and grinding everything into that scrumptious red delight. My Mom said that she originally got the recipe off the back of the cranberry bag, but I have never seen it there. They made at least a double batch every Thanksgiving. My sister and I set in front of the TV on Friday night and we ate bowls of … not ice cream, but cranberry salad. We fought for the last bite every year; you may imagine that I am kidding, but I am totally serious. The first thing I remember asking my parents for Christmas after I left home, was my own grinder to make cranberry salad. It was necessary to carry on the tradition.

And so I would like to share this recipe with you on this day, quickly, as I must get my turkey in the oven.

Cranberry Salad
1 qt. fresh cranberries ( two 12 oz. bags)
3 oranges – leave peel on one
2 apples
2 cups sugar ( I only use 1 cup now)
1 cup black walnuts
1 pkg. cherry jell-o

Set up your grinder. (I am using an antique model that my sister found at a flea market for $5.) Make up your jell-0 with one cup of hot water and set aside to cool. Wash through berries and discard the soft ones or any with bad spots. Cut the apples and oranges into 6 to 8 slices each. Do not peel the apples but cut out the core. Feed the fruit into the grinder, it is fun … the cranberries pop and the oranges juice up. I do not put my walnuts through the grinder; I chop them up into little pieces and add to the mixture. Stir in the sugar and liquid jell-o. Refrigerate overnight. It gets better every day … and then it’s gone. I freeze some every year to pull out in the middle of summer and then I eat it mostly frozen. It is almost pure Vitamin C.

Enjoy. And thank you, Mom and Dad. I will always love you.

* annette

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

Sun streams through pine trees

long spindles of light

golden rays reaching

bathing each one in its warmth

illuminated mountainside.

Opening eyes

on this day

Opening heart


with blessings and thanks.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Essay - Our Sugary Autumn

This is an autumn that merits much admiration. The days have been brilliant, more than I can ever remember.
With temperatures in perfect harmony for nature and humans to experience their sugars, albeit we’re in global warming, it still has been an outrageous season, with many gifts.
As the trees and plants dance their photosynthesis, allowing the chlorophylled leaves to flow deeper, sinking into the branches, trunk and roots, it brings the life force inward.
The external beauty of this process reveals the yellow and orange pigments from the tree for our delight. The more sugar, the redder the leaves.
Connecting Autumn with the Five Element Theory, the Air Element shows itself. This element moderates the essential rhythms of life – our outflow and intake. Staying aware as we move throughout life our need to exhale before we inhale. Trees have to let go to start the deepening of the chlorophyll process. We, at the same time have to release our grip on the old to be receptive to the new. The emotion we hold at this time is grief and loss. As we grieve, our emotional rhythms are thrown into confusion, diminishing our capacity to let go. Our internal organs ruling this process are the lungs and large intestines. Our outflow and inflow, same as with trees and plants.
As we learn to become One with nature and All That Is, to start the turning in process the season presents, death takes on a more pure and sacred meaning. We begin to gather in our own green leaves, our essence we’ve collected since spring, lessons learned, as the warmth of spring and summer gave us much light. We may even allow the riches of this process to strengthen our core, letting the sugars begin to come forth to share with all who sees.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eating Meat

Growing up we had meat at least once a day-- sometimes it was in the form of bologna, hotdogs, or the tiny morsels of chicken in some Campbell’s chicken noodle soup—but it was always there.

And I remember once, when I was about 5 years old, when my Grandpa Johnson butchered some chickens in his back yard while we were visiting. The chickens really DO dance around after their head is cut off. They sprayed blood around the weeds and chopping stump, as Grandpa stood with the head in one hand and the hatchet in the other. He was a professional--he once worked as a butcher. It wasn’t scary or disgusting to me. It was fascinating.

Years later, in biology lab at college, we were dissecting various formaldehyde marinated creatures, layer by layer. At lunch, I got a leg of chicken and as I “dissected” it with my knife and fork I saw the familiar structures of muscles, tendons, and ligaments attached to the bone. Maybe it was the unconscious connection to the formaldehyde or the influence of hippiedom, but after that I was a vegetarian for over 12 years. Yet somehow the smell of roasting animal flesh continued to make my mouth water.

Then my brother from Minnesota came to visit us in the land of Boulder. To help overcome our life of deprivation he bought my son & I a TV set (our first ever) and plopped a whole ham in our refrigerator. That ham was as hypnotizing as the TV. Every time I opened the refrigerator, it called to me, glowing with the aura of refrigerator light. I craved it badly. It seemed to be my destiny to eat some of it. Finally I gave in. Mmmm-nothing works like cured pork to break my vegetarian lifestyle. After that, fish and poultry came easily.

Truth be told, I was probably protein depleted by that time—depressed, low-immune system, and sleep problems. Meat may have saved my life. I connected to the earth more and grew stronger. My Scandinavian heritage contributed to a metabolism used to plenty of fish and meat, little grains & veggies. I can’t digest beans well and dairy clogged my sinuses & coated my tongue. A diet based on nuts and seeds didn’t provide what I needed to build my form and keep my chemical systems going.

I don’t apologize for eating meat any more. I do what I can to eat meat that comes from humanely treated animals. I thank them for sacrificing for my well being. May animals be treated with more & more consciousness and kindness. May humans control our numbers and our consumption to share the earth. May our nutrients return to the food chain when we die. May we be worthy of the sacrifice of animal and plant lives by bringing more love, beauty, tolerance, and truth into the world.
-by Terra Rafael

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The English Language

I love the English language. The hidden meanings within the meanings of the words bring me to an understanding, not immediately cognized.

A case in point is the word, “understanding”. There is strength of conviction, a “groking”, if you will, about standing under, up lifting, being on a firm foundation with our taking in and assimilating an idea or concept.

I love that English is such a pot-pouri of various languages. The influences of French, German, Latin, Celtic, and I’m sure others, with which I am not familiar, enliven our common sentences. We are usually not aware of the cultural conglomeration that we apply so readily.

I love that it has a sense of brevity. Unlike French, with which I have a modicum of familiarity, in English one can get to the point without the excessive use of words. In French, quite often, one has to use several words that would only be one word in English.

I know that English is criticized for not having the fullness of expression of some other languages, but I do not find that my expression becomes stilted, if I can just find that perfect word for which I am searching.

I have been accused of talking above people’s heads, by using language to the fullest of my ability and comprehension. Actually, I delight in it. I love the opportunity to speak with erudition and expand my vocabulary. Once a spiritual teacher suggested that I need to learn to speak “garage language”. That’s all well and fine if I am in a garage, but it gets boring really quickly. If I am speaking or writing to the general public on a general theme, then I do understand the importance of using a voice that can be readily understood. Just don’t ask me to remain in that flatland of nuance.

I love to explore the possibilities of the English language. I revel in the delicacy and boldness of the word, the juxtaposition of fine lace on burlap. I want to plumb the depths of the esoteric in the wells of knowledge. I want to foray into the parallel universes on the perimeter of usual consciousness, soaring to the heights of thought and beyond, where no words in any language will suffice.

Prema Rose

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prose: Claiming the Prize

I watched the six women of the writing group step up and claim their prize, the recognition as writers in their community.

The book we had all contributed to lay on the table on top of a red tablecloth, emphasizing the red dahlias in the cover photo, the red shirts some of us had worn to the photo shoot, quite coincidentally, that my son did with us one warm, Saturday afternoon, the red trim around that cover shot, against a sea of sage green.

They were all sages now. During this Book Release Party, all of us took turns reading our pieces from the book, a few here, a few there. Pieces were about the South, the American Pelvis, A Kiss, Sex and Death, the metaphor of a supermarket aisle, a generational rug passing through women’s hands, a hand in Ireland making change and giving a lesson in respect, and peonies

As friends and family mingled, people from as eclectic a lifestyle as we all were to each other, these women greeted them, receiving warmth and congratulations and taking it in.

I had felt so gratified to be part of this women’s writing group, and now to be a witness to the success of their writing and watching them step into ‘the writer’ in themselves. I felt it was an honor to be there. Jyoti

Friday, November 21, 2008

There Was A Time

There was a time when I knew that I could not breathe, that I would be dead, without playing the game with my mother.  The game was my breath. It was my life. I clung to the game for my life.  We all did, my sisters and I. We were little children when we learned the rules.  We played not knowing we played the ace for the grownups around us.


I remember one day when she spoke his name. I put my hands on her shoulders and looked her straight in the eye. Blue eye to blue eye, twelve inches away.


Clearly and calmly I said,  “If we are going to talk about him then let’s talk about all the things we know about him.”


Our eyes flashed. She knew the game was over.


Just like that the earth moved.  And I was still alive. 


Thursday, November 20, 2008


My mother-in-law caught my roving eyes as I surveyed each wall of the dining room. “I know what you’re thinking”, she looked at me with a rather evil grin on her face.

“What?” I asked, already feeling guilty. But she knew that I knew that she did know what I was thinking.

“You are wondering what you are going to do with all of this when I die.”

Bingo. That was absolutely right. I nervously giggled as I looked around the room. On the walls were wooden window boxes of all sizes holding collections of thimbles, miniature spoons, decorated shot glasses, several tiny tea sets, and more. There were two glass china cabinets filled to maximum capacity with complete sets of different flat wear patterns.

And then there are the dolls, oh my god, they are everywhere ~ little ones, medium sizes and large dolls holding more little ones. There were white faces and pink faces and pudgy cheeked brown Indian faces. There were on every shelf, every bed, literally on every flat surface of the house, their eyes followed you everywhere. It was more than a little creepy, even as my husband told me that many were collector items and very valuable. They were piled three deep in front of the useless fireplace. There were dolls in boxes on the closet shelf of our bedroom and when I shoved my shoes under the bed at night they would not go far. Boxed dolls would be my guess.

We made the drive down to southwest New Mexico at least once a year and I put on a good face for the time that I had to spend in all that clutter. But as life unfolded, I was not the one that had to deal with the mess. Bob and I separated several years before his mother passed over. The down side was I never saw the beautiful handmade turquoise jewelry pieces that she had collected and said she wanted me to have, because I was such “a doll”.

* annette

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maui Moment

Many years ago I was sitting in a living room that looked out over the pacific ocean from the little Island of Maui. I was awake early and no one else was around yet. I was drifting in my thoughts as only a young twenty-something can. I had just meditated and was enjoying the view and peace and simplicity of the moment before the activities of the day. I noticed some movement off in the distance. I kept watch as slowly an enormous group of something was coming closer and closer. As they began to come into a clear view I realized what I was watching. It was at least a hundred dolphins feeding, swimming, playing and jumping. It was one of those moments I will never forget as the sun's glittering light and a fairly large animal, able to lift itself fully out of the water to do a full flip in mid-air before falling gracefully back into the water, are meeting up in the morning rays. If felt like sheer joy to me. I could feel the power, grace and delight in me I imagined they had to be experiencing. I thought how amazing it might be to be one of those creatures, so in love with themselves and the element they live and swim in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prose - In Honor of Praise

I was reading Annette’s email about the praise she had gotten from her Mom on her stories from our book. How beautiful her praises were, what a supportive Mom, I thought. My mind could not help but drift to my own Mom. She had just told me the day before that she had read all my stories. End of story, no comment. Now at ninety-one, I sometimes wonder if my Mom even gets and understands any of what I am talking about.
At ninety-one I’m hearing from her she’s losing interest in life. She even told Jyoti she wasn’t coming to our reading, lack of interest, I could feel it. Even the morning of the reading I asked if she were going.
“Why would I want to do that?” she asks.
“To support me”, I say.
This same week I had a session with my healer friend Kate. She was working with the pain behind my left shoulder blade. This area is related to lack and is associated mostly with the heart and lungs. Lack of joy, sadness and loss. She saw that my Mom couldn’t really see me. She can’t see who I truly am because she can’t bear to see my wound. That struck a huge chord. This has been an on-going theme all my life, lack of support from the mother. Lack, lack, lack! Lack of weight, lack of love, lack of money, lack of seeing. Yet, deep in my heart I know I chose this theme. And here at sixty-seven I am still working with it. At the same time my consciousness has risen above it. I know its all illusion, but significant illusion. Now I have the gift of these last few years with my Mom. Delving, as I must, into the understanding of this relationship.
So, my granddaughter calls my Mom on the day of our reading to let her know she and my daughter would pick her up at 5:00 PM to go to the reading. The three of them came and seemed to enjoy it all.
By the time I got home it was after 8:30. My Mom had probably already been asleep, but she got up. She was so excited (like I haven’t seen in a long time, if ever), to tell me how great they all three thought I did. She went on and on, the pride and love abundantly flowing. Here at this late age, my Mom was giving me more praise than I ever remember getting from her. This was a potent moment. Jyoti had said, with Mars in the 29th degree of Scorpio, transformational energy was being richly supplied.
As I was attempting to sleep that night I was buzzing with love. I felt like I was in love, except there wasn’t a man in sight. Love for my fellow-writers and our success. Love for my Mother, that she came through and pulled out the little girl inside me and filled her with love and praise. The healing power of love truly and brilliantly fills us with light to the brim.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poem - Inner Child's Lament

What is wrong with me?
What can it be?
The fly in my ointment?
The tempest in my tea?
The cock in my mouth
when I was just seven?
Could such a child
ever go up to Heaven?
I bottled that up
Made believe it was gone
For many many years
Forgotten so long
I didn’t remember
Until last December
Yet still I dismembered
and chopped myself up
into pieces that wouldn’t
let the big secret out.
Now I’ve blown my cork-
I’ve flipped my lid
I’m starting to know all that I did,
All the nasty things he did to that kid-
Was it really me? Maybe I dream,
This nightmare haunts me
The guilt ever taunts me
But no
It is true
It was me in that stew-
The little girl worried that she would
go crazy
so worried, she simply made it go hazy-
The choke in the throat
I can’t swallow that pill.
Being good, being naughty-
Neither one fulfills.
Why don’t I like playing games anymore?
Cause the game as a child was that I was a whore.
And sex, yes I love it
Will you love me true
if I let you shove it
inside of me too?
And now I am big
Why do I still feel too small?
My anger could raise me 100 feet tall.
My guilt has already put me way past hell,
Punished me for sins even I cannot tell.
My sorrow can fill all the Seven Blue Seas.
My fear is enough to shake everyone’s knees.
Someday I’ll grow up & will love that small girl
We will dance together, we’ll twirl & we’ll whirl
We’ll feel safe and sound
We’ll sleep oh so tight
And the bed bugs will never again ever bite.

by Terra Rafael

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prose: Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, in the far off land of New York City, there lived a young woman of twenty years (me), who loved to dance. She was a member of an African-jazz troupe that performed in clubs in and around the city. All the dancers were black except for her, the token white.
Spending days in the rehearsal studios, getting sweaty, laughing, striving, and living with these beautiful people was the most natural thing in the world for me, in the early sixties. Sometimes, I would turn and catch a glimpse of all of us in the large studio mirrors. Who was that white person dancing? What a shock to see that I was different!
We had wanted to get an extra rehearsal in, before a performance, and I offered my parents apartment where we could meet. I was still living with them while I was attending drama school. I knew they would be away for the weekend and we had a very large living room with a great floor for dancing. We lived on Park Avenue and 80th street. It was in an old stone building that had two elevators. One was for the residents and guests, and one for deliveries and servants.
When the back doorbell rang, I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting a package at that time on a Saturday morning. Standing there, to my chagrin, was a member of our troupe. I was mortified that he had been sent up on the back elevator. With many apologies, I ushered him in and then went to tell the elevator man that the others were to be brought up the front way. It had never occurred to me that inviting black people up would be a cause for segregation. This was, after all 1962 in New York City!
Now, Once Upon a Near Future Time, a black man will be moving into the White House! Yes! The reality speaks to the heart that knows we are One, a large troupe of dancers trucking down this highway of Life.
Prema Rose

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Memoir: Gateway Bar

The Gateway Bar in Ship Bottom, N.J. was a hangout after work, where most of the local carpenters, plumbers, workmen in general, gathered at the end of any summer week.

I was part of a six-woman cleaning crew. We had just polished off five houses one Friday and everyone decided to hit the Gateway for a beer. We piled out of the car, Mary in the lead, petite in her manner and form. I followed, with the rest of the women pushing and catcalling, coming up behind us. We were a rowdy group by the end of the week, sweaty, yet well paid.
We cleaned the houses of the tourists, weekenders, and vacationers, from windows to toilets to mopping floors.
I remember the look on one woman’s face as she saw us pile out of Mary’s van. I know she felt descended upon and made herself scarce. When I had had my own cleaning business a bunch of years prior, it was just me and a friend, Carol. A lot of respectful Capricorn energy was between us, so we weren’t a rowdy crew.
This all-women’s crew I had hooked up with were younger, mostly new people to me. I had been living in California and returned to rent a place with my two sons and needed quick work. I was hired.
Now the green door of the Gateway closed behind us, six women in angel blouses, t-shirts, and short cut-offs, swaggering up to the bar for a drink, orange juice for me, please, already buzzed from the joint we’d shared on the ride down-Island. Ready for a good time!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Election

The future looks so very hopeful for our global community. What I know from the bottom of my toes is that we, as Americans, have given the world hope with one vote. My vote. Your vote. No longer can any of us be naive enough to not know what one vote means to our sisters and brothers on the other side of the world. Each of us matters. Can you believe that you. one American, have lit up a village in Africa? Asia? Europe? Australia? South America? North America?

You are light. You are love.

We are indeed fortunate to be living in these times.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stress Moon Chocolate

I have been trying to gently push through it all day but here it is again. A little work coming in, bills to pay, an underlying unease that taints the beauty of this cold but sunny day. Here on this full moon eve, one week after a decisive win by the correct candidate finally, I should be celebrating. But I will tell you … not so much.

I woke up twice in the middle of the night. My room is filled with an eerie glow. On my way to the toilet I look out to the west. There, a very large round orange moon hangs over the mountains. Attended by adoring wispy clouds, she is splendid. I wish I could watch from my bed but she is too far north and I grow cold standing in front of the window.

My stomach is unsettled at lunch time. There are some problems with our new book and I know that all will be fine, but still ……

I attempted a load of laundry in the afternoon as I mentally prepared the next phase of a difficult appraisal I was working. And so, I poured the liquid detergent into the fabric softener barrel in the center of my washer. Ah, Geez! I had to pop off the little tub and stand there and rinse it clear as warm water runs into the machine.

As I climbed the stairs I visualized a wild and crazy experiment. In the kitchen I lined up an open jar of crunchy peanut butter, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and a small canister of raw pumpkin seeds. I forked a dollop of peanut butter in my mouth, leaned my head back and poured in a handful of seeds followed immediately with a squeeze of chocolate. I could barely chew; I was grinning from ear to ear. Excellent flavor, surprisingly like a Baby Ruth candy bar.

I am happy to report that the rest of my day has gone famously. I finished that appraisal and my laundry is folded and put away. The moon outside is breathtaking. I am thrilled with my ingenuity and decadence. I recommend stepping outside the box and into self reliance! Try it, you might like it! Keep the ingredients fresh folks, we’re gonna be fine.

Me and the moon ~ we’re full.

* annette

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beyond Words

After the words stop,
then what?
Do we enter the space akin to what animals live in?
or something better?
Do we hear or know our Divine Self?
Do we rest in peace
a saying usually saved and praised for the dead.
Are not words what takes us to that ledge?
All those pathways of thoughts
made of words
footsteps that lead
us to what lies just outside of their reach.
They capture glimpses of our experiences.
They might shed light or delight
they walk us deeper into ourselves or way far in the distance
to the past…or the present.
But when its all said……ALL…all the stories have been told,
then where do we go?
beyond the words to a space and place
reserved and waiting. That pool of indescribable
that words can only point to…lead you to.
Where we all emerged
Peace beyond words
Where we all know
we will return to, do return to,
can choose to return to.

I’ll meet you there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prose - Jake and The Election

Around 6:30 on the dawn of Nov. 5, 2008, my phone rang. A young voice says “Hi”. I have to think for a moment, which little grandchild hi is this? I soon recognize eleven year old Jake’s voice.
“Have you heard yet?” He asks.
Knowing exactly that he’s referring to our new President, I say,
“I sure have and isn’t it wonderful!”
Jake lives in Oklahoma, a Republican state. I wonder a lot why some of us are Republican and others Democrat. I was raised in the South, when the majority was Democrat. I married a very passionate Democrat, who was also a writer and columnist. In my simple understanding of the Republican party, women and children are NOT a priority. That was true when I was growing up, and it is still true. That’s enough for me right there. The party has grown more toward Big Money, corporations, and most things against the average Joe.
So, to be talking politics with my eleven-year-old grandson, who sees the light to be a Democrat surrounded by Republicans, I was touched.
His Dad is usually Republican and his Mom always Democrat. We talked of Arnold Swartznegger and Maria Shriver, and how that’s the case in some families.
We compared this election with John Kennedy, and how the same energy has prevailed, become victorious again, even more so, the energy of the new paradigm.
Jake was very excited to be wearing an Obama T-shirt to school, one in which, his Dad, who voted Republican, helped him draw. Dad put the front Obama emblem on from his computer skills, while Jake created the back with Obama, Yes We Can, 2008.
I felt a lot of love and communion from his Dad to help him do that. A small example of how opposing forces can come together.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Essay: Sweet Peach Mother

A peach is the closest thing to a breast in the fruit realm. It has the same inviting, soft roundness, with an aura of fuzz, making its skin more human. And inside is a sweet juiciness that drips like mother’s milk from the corner of our sated, innocent lips. The same trancelike state of contentment can result. If the apple was offered from the tree of knowledge, then surely the tree of life offers us peaches.

This helps explain my rivalry with my stepson for claims on the peach tree in our yard. He says that it’s his—because the peach tree planted when he was born was left at the house of his parent’s broken marriage and this one replaces it. I say it’s mine—because I have watered and tended it, watched it and talked with it. After all, we are both vying for the nurturance of those breasts that each of us still need more of.

If only peach trees, like breasts, produced more peaches the more one suckled from them. On the Front Range of Colorado, our trees bear fruit sporadically. Our changeable springs often warm enough to coax the branches into blossom, only to destroy the flowers with a late freeze.

Yet, I remember one year when the peach tree of my previous marriage was so full of peaches that we had to prop up the branches. And that was after doing some serious thinning earlier in the season.

Oh, what glorious juice those peaches yielded – so tree-ripened tasty. Such joy of plucking off the tree and immediately biting in, the fruit still teeming with life force. Sweet Peach Mother, I hope for a spring that pleases You and brings us enough peach nectar to satisfy us all.

--by Terra Rafael

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fragmented Dreams

I remember that day when my grandmother went to the hospital for cataract surgery. I wanted to be there to support her, but I’m not sure she even knew I was there.

I was sitting on a hard bench in this small cubicle outside a part of the hospital on the street, somewhere in Manhattan. There was an open trellis behind the bench and another in front of me. I had just come from visiting a man that I was so infatuated with that, as I was saying goodbye to him, I had backed up into a table and knocked off a glass of water, much to my consternation. In this state of confusion and embarrassment, I tried to collect myself while I waited for my grandmother.

Suddenly, a blending of realities began to occur where, to my inner vision, scenes, almost forgotten, flashed on the screen of my mind in rapid succession. One after another presented itself so vividly and with such familiarity. Did I dream them or where they scenes from past lives? I tried to grasp one long enough to really see it, but it would be gone and another would be in my view. On and on it went. The veils were ripped away and I was in the ocean of the collective consciousness. This bombardment continued and I could not make it stop. It felt like they were memories, but from where?

I would have these episodes periodically. I could say that it was happening but I never could grasp one long enough to describe it.

One stands out that is so vivid that it is a core memory of another time. I am seeing the ramparts of a castle and from below, I see a young woman atop the parapets. It feels like the castle is besieged and I identify myself as the woman, although I see it from below.

These episodes would come over me for twenty minutes at a time. I could not make them start nor could I make them stop. They showed me other realms of consciousness that are just behind the veil,

Prema Rose

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Prose: Life


Life always seemed illusive, nebulous, shifting the future way ahead of me. I had a few dreams as a child and they included being a writer, wanting to go to Egypt, and not having children. And yes, not being a nun or a nurse.

Life was that place out in front of me that I was constantly moving towards and never seeming to be one with. Life always felt like the illusive future, always at least two blocks distant or several miles from wherever I was.

Yet I lived it everyday. Some days were like bad hair days when things didn’t go how I wanted them to or think they should. Other days were carefree and filled with the joy of the moment and dreams still held with hope. They were the good days of life, and life was easy.

Life now has a different meaning to me. I remember when looking back became equal to looking ahead, even though I knew being in the moment was the most vital. I remember when the future began to seem not so endless, but more finite, creating a subtle tension that said, if I want to experience thus and so, I better think about doing it soon, and not procrastinating anymore.

Time suddenly became entwined with life, and even though I know the aspects of myself to be timeless, I also could acknowledge, with the shift of the body’s schedule of events and its aging process, that yes, I would want to take care of things now, pay attention to opportunities now, and not procrastinate into future possible times anymore.

I became more aware of the human condition and suddenly how vital life is, even how tenuous it is, and how in one moment, my life might continue endlessly, just no longer in human form.

So, for me, life has taken me on many twists and turns, never quite showing up the way I thought it would when I got there, never quite the way I imagined it would be, yet always, mostly always, okay and doable. And it taught me things I never would have willingly said yes to. It grew me into who I am, sometimes kicking and screaming, yet mostly aware underneath that I had set this in motion and I was going to see it through.


Friday, November 7, 2008


Time is a poem without a line.

Time is a river of the seasons, marking beginnings and endings.

Time is the place where dams have held up life making a lake

A beautiful lake, a place to stop, slow down, look below the surface and dive deep.


Dive down to that cave at the bottom of the lake into the rich darkness

Follow your soul’s desire for the incredible longing.

For mother.

The source.


Dive deep past the fear. 

Life is the light in the deepness

Swim towards that light

Find the place where everything is vibrant with life.

Pure, clean, primal.

Go there and then further

Move past the light

Move until movement is no more

Feel the expansion.

No thought no language

Light , life

Time is the journey, the poem, the ancient endless map.

The treasure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To the Farm

When I was a little girl, my parents drove us to Grandma and Grandpa’s house a lot, sometimes two or three week ends a month. I was the oldest of four, my sister is two years younger than me, and my brothers arrived two and four years later respectively.

I loved every moment spent at the farm but the trip from Kansas City to Union Star was another story. When we traveled on vacation, our parents always encouraged us to set up and watch the country going by. We played all the typical car games but we also searched the landscape for white horses ~ the first one to yell out “Zip” won a point ~ this was our own personal family game. As we drove the same route to the farm so many times, we kids came up with a different strategy; we made a game of who-can-fall-asleep-first. Now that I think about it, I bet my Dad came up with this idea, but we realized that it made the tedious two hour trip seem so much shorter if we could sleep through most of it.

With four of us in the back seat, staking out a territory to call your own was always an issue. Often my brothers would curl up on either side of the floorboard, possibly sharing this space with our little dog Frisky. But the most coveted spot was the back deck ~ that carpeted space above and behind the back seat where the rear window curves down to meet the trunk of the car. Either curled into a ball or folded nearly in half, there was enough room for a skinny kid to ride up there in our blue Chevy Impala. The only down side of this location was that you may arrive at your destination grumpy from the heat and resembling a baked meatloaf. However, for the duration of the trip you had traveled above the reach of thirty annoying prodding fingers, and that was a good thing.

As we neared the farm over the last final hills whoever was awake would strain to catch sight of the familiar white buildings and then begin the singsong chant, “I see Grandpa’s house. I see Grandpa’s house.” As each napping child came to, they would sleepily take up the tune, even though their eyes were still closed. By the time we rolled into the driveway of our farm we were wide awake and ready for our next adventure.

* annette

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A lingering memory is sitting in the kitchen of my second cousin, Maureen, in a suburb of Dublin. It's late and she, her sister and I have just returned from a dinner with my two sisters who have stayed in the city.  We have all just met for the first time this evening and now find ourselves discussing experiences with souls that have crossed over. 
I'm listening as Eileen tells of an encounter her daughter, who's grandfather had just died, had in the recent past. She was driving home through a rural area, at two in the morning,  knowing she couldn't make it home because she was about to run out of gas. She was extremely mad at herself for putting herself in this position. She was in an unfamiliar area but knew everything was closed in the small towns she passed. 
She begins to panic knowing it would not be good to be stranded in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. She decides to pray for help. Just then she hears her grandfathers voice and turns to see him sitting in the seat next to her.  It strikes her as odd that he has his seat belt on.  He calmly instructs her to take the next turn, proceeds to give very clear directions and though she can see no sign of a town coming she listens.  Sure enough after a few minutes they arrive at a gas station.  As she pulls up to the pump a man pulls up behind her in a fire truck.  He gets out and comes up to her car to ask if he can help.  She is relieved beyond measure as she tells him her situation.  
As he is filling up the the car he tells her he has no idea what woke him up in the middle of the night but that it felt like someone was rocking him.  There was an insistent feeling that he come down to the station to put gas in the truck right away. He felt he had no choice but to listen. 


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poem - Our Day of Hope 2008

This is the day we have all been waiting for.
This is the day our dreams begin to expand.
This is the day the hard-crusted minds of the old begin to crumble.
This is the day our consciousness unfolds to heights, as a culture, we’ve
never known.
This is the day the “old tyrants” say “What?”.
The “What” that has kept us in a stranglehold.
The “What” that’s been filled with oppression.
This is the day we replace the “What” with the “One”.
The “One” that means wholeness.
The “One” that brings us together as “One Big Heart”.
The “One Big Heart” holds everyone equally.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Musing- Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is where the Heart is - our generation learned that from the Wizard of Oz. It seems so intuitively true. I feel at home when I am in my heart, living from my heart. This usually means that I’m not feeling threatened. I am safe. My needs are provided for. I feel loved and respected for who I am.

As I have learned to connect more with my heart I’ve noticed that I can be at home in a wide variety of situations and relationships. The phrase we repeat at Unity Church seems possible- “Wherever I am, God is, and all is well.”

Then I run up against Homeland Security and the possibilities of torture. Could I still see Divinity while in the hands of expert torturers? Could all be well if my friends and family – or anyone- is threatened with this?

This dilemma is one which twists and turns my heartstrings. I firmly believe and experience Divinity in myself and others. Yet how does it work in the face of those who deny it so totally that they seek power and riches through degrading and stealing from other people and Mother Earth Herself?

Is even personally experienced spirituality the opiate of the people?

What of the story of a Tibetan Buddhist nun my friend met in India, who had been humiliated and raped by Chinese invaders yet maintained loving kindness. Could I do that? I don’t want to be tested in that way – and yet my own story of childhood sexual abuse was similar. My healing unraveled more slowly over time, allowing me to come to a place where I can feel my heart. I can have a home again in this world and feel safe enough to know that Home is where the Heart is.

--by Terra Rafael

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Memoirs: Passing Through

I am very interested in out of body experiences and, one night, ask “to know”. I find myself outside of my body looking down at it. My husband’s arm is over me and he is asleep. I think, “If he were to wake up now, he would think I am dead. But I’m not dead because I am here. Well, if I’m here, then where am I?”

I turn around and find that I am in a tunnel. Rings of bright lights are moving past me rapidly, but I am still. I have the sensation of speeding down the tunnel towards a bright light. It is 1970 and I have never heard of the Tunnel. I have a choice to go through the Light and I experience a moment of hesitation. Then the choice is made and I am through on the other side. There is no transition. I am in a place of light, color, beauty, and Peace. The colors are muted pastels, softly blending into each other. They feel unusual to me, not as vibrant as I would have thought. A huge Being of Light approaches me. He is all light except for his face and his hand, which he holds out to me. Telepathically he says, “I am going to take you to God”. There is a knowing in me that, if I went, I would not be able to come back. I think of Hugh and know that I have something to do with him here that is important. I say, “No, not yet”.

Instantly, I am back in my body. I wake Hugh up to tell him what had happened, but he does not remember it.

This experience was a deciding catalyst to bring me to the commitment of a spiritual path. Time and events started speeding up, miracles abounded, and within a few months, Hugh and I left the United States on a journey of four and a half years that took us around the world and back again.

Prema Rose

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Prose: I am the matriarch of my family.

I am the matriarch of my family.

Years ago I would have laughed at this notion. I would have pointed to other people who were ahead of me in the family line, then, who I thought would still be here even now. Yet that is not the case. There is no one ahead of me and hasn’t been for the past seventeen years.

I remember when my mother died from a septic infection as I was coming out of surgery. I realized I was next. I was now, not only her oldest daughter, I was the oldest in the surviving family line. On some level, it sobered me. It gave me a moment of pause, a moment to understand my place in the bloodline and my responsibility to everyone behind me.

As my grandchildren were born, a bunch of years later, someone said to me, ”So, you are the matriarch, aren’t you?”

I had never seen myself this way. I realized what she said was true. And it became truer still when I discovered a granddaughter and her daughter who I had never met.

With a younger sister, sons, a daughter, and now a few more generations of young women, I am just that…the matriarch of my family.