Saturday, January 31, 2009

Prompt: Dinnertime

Lamb chops, baked potato and canned peas were one of the remembered meals I grew up on. My mother would sometimes illicit my help with setting the table, but usually she covered things in the kitchen. Dinner was ready shortly after my father arrived from work and had a moment to wash up. He’d have come from the subway and the crowds crossing the main street, the Grand Concourse, before walking into our apartment door. His job was a welder, a boiler-maker, crawling inside large apartment house furnaces at the shop where they were made, before they were shipped off to be installed. We all sat down to dinner in our small Bronx apartment, the four of us, including my younger sister. Dinner conversation centered around our school day at O.L.M. and my father’s workday and his relationship to his Italian boss. They never saw eye-to-eye and it was a source of frustration and derision on my father’s part. Occasionally my mother threw in some comment by her mother-in-law, my grandmother, and feelings would shift around the table. A lot of unspoken words hung in the air. Mostly dinnertime was calm, with feelings of camaraderie. Our small family unit somehow I think, in looking back, was created as a boat sailing in unchartered waters where monsters might make an appearance, like my grandmother’s resentments, or a feeling of isolation that we were a ship unto ourselves. This came from my parents’ joint belief system that life seemed to reinforce over and over through the years. For me, it was just dinnertime and if waves crashed up against the hull of the ship I was on, I noticed it and kept eating the canned peas! Jyoti

Friday, January 30, 2009


Winter has seeped into my soul.

I feel blank.


The sun shines but I am bleakly frozen.

My head is thick.

Dark dangerous thoughts come knocking.

I have a cold.


Thursday, January 29, 2009


There is not one answer. I was a voracious reader as a child. My parents encouraged my reading and it set me apart from my younger siblings … creating a solitary space that I needed to survive. I lost myself in the stories of others, they lifted me out of myself and introduced me to new ways of thinking. I loved the word pictures. I wanted to see if I could put words together and inspire others. I knew that I would write “when i grew up”.

As a young girl I poured out my secret thoughts into pretty diaries and hid the tiny keys. I have no idea where they are now but I would love to find them. I also kept journals of our family vacations, we have found one of them and I hope to find the rest. My Dad used to tell me that I was a good writer; he loved my letters sent home from college where I was studying to be an English teacher. He never saw the first draft. I would hand write them and meticulously re-write them, checking for spelling and grammatical errors, just short of diagramming the sentences. (Boy that will date me, won’t it).

I love the fact that my mother is the record keeper of her motor home group; she keeps notes and crafts detailed scrap books of their various trips. She uses her monthly calendar to keep a daily account of everything that goes on in her life and her immediate family ~ most of us need a magnifying glass to read her entries, it is amazing. My paternal grandmother, Grandma Goldie, wrote of the weather and made daily notations in a series of Five-Year-Diaries. My cousin has a whole collection of them and they are priceless. I have writing/recording genes on both sides of my family. How can I not write?

It did not surprise me many years ago, in a group setting, when I was told that I had been the groups’ scribe during a previous lifetime together in our Essene community at the time of Jesus. This thought comforts me. I have also visualized myself in what appears to be an Egyptian temple. In this scene I feel a sense of gentle pride from realizing that I “know” everything that every one in the room knows ... they may be the priestess’s, but I have all the secrets.

Another idea sounds so narcisstic that I am almost embarrassed to write it down, but I will admit to you that my life fascinates me. When I look at the twists and turns, the roads chosen, the people who came into my life at pre-destined junctures ~ as I trace how I came to be in this place at this time ~ it amazes me. It certainly looks orchestrated from here and deepens my spiritual beliefs. Although I was not consciously aware at the time, in hind sight I see … not a justification … but perhaps a purpose for my embarrassments and mistakes. Some small consolation.

Plus, I want to write it down so that my son may read it later and gain insight into his “ancient mother” and maybe even so that I can read it when I have forgotten the fascinating details of a life fully lived. The path I chose and the events I survived have indeed seen the demise of many a brain cell, but it has been worth the ride. I hope to tell you of them in the days to come.

* annette

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


   when you slip into a coat that fits just so, 
or a favorite cup of tea in hand
  with a book you can't wait to return to and drop into 
receiving its words.

a warm bed and the perfect weight of covers
   as wind and snow blow by
kitty resting deeply, in curled form,
  on a lap warmed by purring

cells expanding to greet each experience,
   sensation, thought, with equanimity.
a trust, of sorts, that each moment 
   provides the ingredients needed

a present to be opened, met
  as gentle as a petal opening
on a warm morning to inquire
  what's this?



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prose - Hair

Hair is a funny thing, we all value it in some way, even men. Maybe especially men, if they are going bald. Now that it is such a popular style, even men who aren’t balding are shaving their heads. Hell, even women are shaving their heads. Sometimes its difficult to tell anymore, if people are going through chemotherapy or just creating style.
Style seems to be the word of the day. Is style going to be as important, now that the economy is shifting downward? Can style possibly be foremost on people’s minds when we are just attempting to cover the bases of survival? I asked the woman who cuts my hair to give me a cut that doesn’t require product. She did her best, I did my best. My hair was so non-active, it clung to my head with no where to go. I can see life without product looks quite dull from this lifeless mop on top of my head. Maybe I should stock up on some of my favorite gels and mousses, in case the shelves do become bare in these crashing times.
I got into hair at a very early age. I gave myself a haircut when I was only three or four. It was quite choppy, of course, so my Mom had to cut even more of my very fine, cotton-top, straight as a board threads, that were left.
I’ve definitely spent too much time through the years fixing and being concerned about hair. There was the bleach blond, bouffant style of the early sixties. This grew into the French twist. Then it grew so long, it weighted me down. The long, straight, parted in the middle hippie hair came next, which eventually turned into the long permed hair that got comments of Jane Fonda in the movie, Coming Home. Eventually, it was cut off very short to accommodate camping trips and vision quests, low maintenance hair. Now, in the post-menopausal years, my hair is unruly, curly some days, and very straight other days. I was taken aback one evening at book club when a member said, as I was standing under a light, “wow, your hair is silver!”. Silver? Funny, I had thought, as my hair has been turning gray, it looked high-lighted, streaked with platinum, as it was, once upon a time. I did keep up that pretense for a while. But it was short then, and took too much time and money to sit with foils in my hair. Oh, the things we women (and men) do to keep up the outside of ourselves. I guess my mirror had been playing tricks with me around my graying hair. Or was it my eyes and ego?
Do women in the middle eastern cultures, who keep their heads covered most of the time, concern themselves with their hair as much as we do? Maybe looking at other cultures, we women of the world can all learn from one another. I feel, deep inside, most of us would like to transform all this hair fixation. Yet, its been part of history for thousands of years, creating individuality. The ideal is to make the most of our God-given gifts, whether its our hair or what we hold inside ourselves. Maybe working with our hair is our way of connecting with The Divine on a level that deletes the outer superficiality. I’ve always wanted to be a redhead. Will that be the outer manifestation of bringing the fire of my being into greater form?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Seeking Refuge

Whenever I open my computer now, a tropical paradise appears before my eyes. It’s from Honaunau on the Big Island. The hard, black volcanic rocks are softened by the ocean waters, the palm trees that sway, and the indigenous human creations there. It’s not just beautiful. It’s a place of refuge.

This place was a royal sacred site. The fierce totems carved from trees stand guard, warning commoners to stay away. The Hawaiian society had strict kapu or taboos, enforced by a hastily dispatched death sentence. This served to maintain their social structure. It must have created a climate of fear.

Yet Honaunau was also a place of refuge. If someone who broke kapu could make it to the Kahunas, or spiritual chiefs, on this peninsula without being caught, they escaped the punishment of death, purified and forgiven through the Kahunas’ powerful rituals.

Seeing the picture of Honaunau reminds me that I, too, can seek refuge when the taboos of society or of my own mind condemn me.

Open hearted love is the sweetest place of refuge and service is its pathway. But it’s not easy to access from a place of fear or self condemnation.

It could be reached by going to a place of refuge here in Colorado: the mountains, the creek, my garden, my church, my bedroom. These places revivify my spirit with their inherent or accumulated grace. Just being there fills me with that grace, wellspring of forgiveness and peace.

I can also seek refuge in Great Beings, the super Kahunas of my spiritual world: Jesus Christ, Krishna, Our Lady of Guadelupe, Ix Chel the Maya Moon Goddess, and Archangel Rafael. I invoke their love and guidance through prayer and ritual. They protect me from the ravages of the human.

They clear the path for me to arrive at the deepest, most powerful refuge: Oneness with Mother Father God. Meditation is the path which they have cleared. It leads me to the Source, The Oneness where all is forgiven, all is released, all is renewed. Here the ravages of being human die and the spirit rises again.

The challenge is to escape the grip of fear and doubting, the voices of discouragement and the spell of distraction so that I can remember my way again to the place of refuge.

Where to you seek refuge?

by Terra Rafael

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Born In Laughter

It was a warm spring day
When I decided to make my appearance into this world.
My mother, craving an ice cream,
Ate her popsicle walking up the stairs into the hospital.
Alone in the waiting room,
My father, with his droll sense of humor,
Began to imitate a physician washing his hands.
Laughing so hard, my mother gasped,
“Quick, get the Doctor.
The baby’s coming!”

Prema Rose

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The baby boomer generation revitalized the potluck. For more years than I care to count, I have been invited to pot lucks…dinners, lunches, celebrations, weddings, graduations and sacred ceremonies.

A lot of times, I made huge salads, including grated beets and raw mushrooms, different lettuces, cukes and tomatoes. I made my own dressing until Goddess dressing became so popular.

In later years, I brought a pasta and broccoli stir fry with tumeric and cardamom and large sliced sweet onions.

For one wedding reception, I made a huge deep dish apple pie with cinnamon flavored crumbled topping.

Sometimes I brought a cucumber salad with minced green onions and sour cream and vinegar. This was a family food from Austria/Hungary that my paternal grandfather handed down. People liked the thin shavings of cucumber in the slightly tart sauce.

My kids usually found finger food and treats to munch on, especially chips and salsa or cookies that would have been purchased enroute by the single, non-cooking among us.

There would be tabouli salads, vegetables and rice, several casseroles, and artichoke dip when that became trendy with chunks of hearty bread to dip in it.

One summer potluck I attended, I brought a tomato salad with Italian bread on the side to dip into the generous juices of the tomatoes soaked in olive oil with chopped garlic, basil and oregano, and a good amount of sea salt and Indian pepper (pipali). This was a recipe that survived my first marriage along with lasagne, which cut like cake.

Someone always brought a pot of soup, sometimes tasty, or a pot of chili sans meat.

Desserts were brownies, pies, attempts at raw cookies, or health food oreos.

I attended potlucks for years, even long after my kids were of the age to not want to do my thing. By then I was stopping at the store and purchasing chips and salsa enroute to the potluck. I don’t attend many of them anymore. Got burned out, and entered a phase of life where I was not as sociable. I stayed home more and wrote.

Now, when I go, there’s a great raspberry crostata that Sunflower Market sells with a shortbread cookie dough crust and raspberry filling. This I love to share!


Friday, January 23, 2009


A few years ago Ray and Mary, Jim and I were on a plane over the Atlantic on our way to a much planned and talked about trip to France. Ray was reading a book. (Ray was always reading a book) I asked what he was reading and he handed me  “A Moveable Feast” Hemingway’s memoirs about his years in Paris in the 1920’s. I flipped through it and asked if I could read it when he finished. He’d finished it by the time we got to Paris so I took it to our hotel room. (I didn’t read it quite as fast as Ray). Then Mary read it. Then Jim read it. It became a sort of travel guide for us.

And this is the thing that I want to say:  Ray didn’t do life half way. If he was going to France then he was going to find out everything he could before he got there. Along the way he opened windows for the rest of us. He had a great way of taking us along with him.  I don’t know if there is anything he wasn’t interested in. He just kept learning and soaking up knowledge

What a wonderful way to be in the world. What a really good gift to pass down the generations.


Life was always an adventure with him. You could drive to Laramie with Ray and Mary and it was an adventure. Everything we did together was that way because Ray had a great zest for life. There were a few years when we to Estes Park every January because the rates were lower and we were cheap. We’d find a place with a hot tub. I think we always picked the week when the weather was 20 below zero. That never bothered Ray. He'd strapped on his skis, go out anyway, and came back with a frozen mustache while Mary and I stayed warm by the fire. Geez, that was cold. I think even the hot tub froze up at one place.


Mostly when we got together for dinner or a weekend we talked of the important things in our lives. Our children. I remember how really proud Ray was of Matt and what a good farmer he was. I recall great stories about Tom before Maria, and after Maria, and how pleased he was to be a grandfather. And how proud he was of Katie, as she became a businesswoman and mother.


We, all of us, are fortunate to have had Ray in our lives. Our lives are richer. Each of us has special memories that we will cherish and hold close to our hearts.


These are some things I will remember:

The heart of him.

The strength of the love for his family.

His way with Mary.

The sense that life was good, that the journey should be fun.

I will remember the laughs. Really good laughs. 

The smile when he knew he had won a poker hand.

(It’s good to play cards with someone like Ray).

Bookstores with Ray.

The way he would bate me, waiting for a reaction, which could lead to:

All night arguments. (He never gave up).

I will remember:

His capacity for life.

His exuberance.

His way of having fun on an ordinary day.

On a farm.

By a pond.

In Colorado.

These are the everyday moments that he lived for,

The stuff of life.

I will like to remember these things about Ray.


I will miss Ray but I see he is still here among us in different ways.

These last few days out at the house with Katie, Matt, Megan and Sarah and Tom, Maria, Rissa, Patrick, and Ben I have seen Ray in their eyes, in their smiles, in their voices and in their hearts. That makes me happy. There is a camaraderie that is nice to be around. It is comfortable. Cozy. It is extra ordinary in a seemingly ordinary way. That’s a good thing.







Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meeting the New World

I gather up my notebook, pencil and water bottle and head outside to journal. My heart trills as it recognizes our widened world and my being-ness needs open spaces ~ expanding beyond the walls of my sweet little house.
As i head out the back door towards the barn, i put on a sweater under my coat as the wind is blowing and it looks cold. I throw Lakota a flake of hay so she will stay near me and make my self comfortable on the bales which form a comfortable, but crunchy couch.

The north wall of the pole barn completely blocks the wind. I smile and relax. The afternoon sun warms my face and fingers. I note the moisture under my arms and pull off my coat. I sit still and my cat bounces over to see what’s not going on. I close my eyes and watch the colors on the inside of my eyelids. I can change them by squinting and then the color swirls around as i relax my eyes. I take off my sweater and feel the blessed sun on my chest. A phrase that i heard on the morning news repeats through my head.

“Rosa sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama ran so our children can fly.”

My cat purrs, my horse chomps, my heart expands.
I thank the goddess for this blessed space.
The fact that everyone does not share my joy does not diminish my bliss.
The world has changed and it is a better place.

* annette

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Feel the wave, the one with Obama riding high, the one with people all over the world believing that hope is more than a word and the one where we can see from it's height that something bigger than our little world view is happening. It is here.  I thought as I watched him being sworn in that no matter what happens the door has been opened, people everywhere have felt it and you can not hold the light back anymore, no matter what, it won't go away.  We have all been altered by today's events.  Let trust slip into your heart.  

It is a beautiful thing.  I greet this day knowing that change is here.  I send blessings to the old guard as had they not played their part so well there would not have been the groundswell of clarity, involvement and excitement to make things different. 

Feel the wave, let it wash over you, help you, release the pain of past doings. The sun is out and work is to be done but we have all felt and been touched by the power a person, of Obama.  


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Essay - It's January 20, 2009

I hadn’t planned to write about this day as I was preparing to put my unrelated prose on the blog. What was I thinking? This is totally inappropriate, I say. This day needs to be honored, written, as it will be and has been, in many different ways for the significance of humanity.
If we believe in reincarnation, there leaves no doubt Abraham Lincoln is in our presence again. History has come full circle, the goodness of man reigns. We are extremely fortunate to be alive at this moment in time when we have the opportunity to arise and open to a greater way of seeing and accepting “the other”. Our entire planet is ready and immensely grateful for a president with a true heart. After all, Barack Obama is a Leo sun sign, it is all about heart. The evolved fullness of the Leo heart is of a higher aspect.
We’ve had Leo presidents before, you say. Yes, as close as Bill Clinton, but not at this precise point in time. We meet, mankind comes together, with uplifted expansion, leaving our small minds in the past, embracing not only America, but the world, in Wholeness. A reality we’ve never known before in our lives. Gone are the fears, horrors inflicted on the other, all the uncertainties we’ve endured with our tiny brains. We are part of a new history.
This, my friends, is the gift from our enlightened 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, allowing us to love and live our lives with a Higher Mind.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Unity in Diversity - in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

What was the dream of Martin Luther King Jr? What is the dream of Barack Obama? What is your dream?

My dream began to form words when I was in college. Someone asked me what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” I said, “ A real human Being.”

They asked me no more questions. Do you wonder what I dream?

I dream of always knowing that I am, like all humans, God’s Divine Child. I dream of constantly expressing that in thought, word and deed. That would be living from the inside out. Living from the heart, outward, rather than taking life into my heart.

College offered a class on the ‘Psychology of Differences’ but none about ‘the Psychology of Unity‘. Yes, the diversity of appearances, actions, and languages boggles the mind. Yet I do not doubt that there is a Oneness that we all share-- be it called God, Spirit, or Love. We catch positive glimpses of it in Jesus, in Krishna, in pure Love, in our kind friend, or the acts of strangers helping those in need. We also see it in negative seeking when we feel bereft of its fullness within us.

Every thought word and deed is, in its deepest root, either growing out of the Oneness or out of our seeking for it. The torturer, the drug addict, the slut, the tyrant, the soldier, the terrorist are all trying to get something out of their actions-- safety, bliss, power-- that they hope will fulfill. We are them, only different in what we believe that we need to do to feel safety, bliss, or power, when disconnected from Oneness.

Sometimes we get mixed up and want the oneness of everyone looking, speaking, and acting the same. That is nowhere near Oneness. Great Respect and Great Love for all Beings are.

Stop the violent behavior, not the human.

"May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be one with Oneness.
May all beings be free from every kind of suffering."

By Terra Rafael

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh, Obama

Oh, Obama, what if it were Sasha’s head lying in the rubble of a Gaza street, for all the world like flower springing up out of the stones and concrete? Would you then support this genocide? Could you say that some people have the right to defend themselves while others do not? Are not all children precious and deserve to have their hopes and laughter intact to embrace this life in Love?

We sit in our comfort zones and proclaim the conditions under which others must live. What kind of inequity exists that one people may have food, and water, and medicines while those next door cannot? What crime is perpetrated on a population that some live in desperate conditions on one side of a wall and their neighbors live in luxury on the other? How much degradation must a people suffer before the sanctimonious senates of the world acknowledge their plight?

The gratuitous killing, the mowing down of the small forms playing football in the road, bombs of white phosphorous (not homemade rockets) blasting deadly destruction through a strip of desert; this is an abomination. What lame justifications do we have that we not only accept but encourage the power mongers to perpetuate?

As I am a mother, my heart bleeds out for our children all over this world. There is not one child that is not my responsibility, not one. I will use my God given voice to cry out for those who cannot or choose not to make their voices heard. I honor those who do. Complacency has no room in my life to rot my good intentions.

When will we learn? When will we stop?
Prema Rose

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Walking the Labyrinth: Part 2

I posed a question as I stood at the Labyrinth’s gate. I walked. I walked as slowly as I could, all the time seeing how my mind led my feet faster and faster, and then stepping in to consciously slow down. One foot, breathing, another foot, in and out, up and down, as slow as I could go.
In the center, what my answer was was ‘let go.’
I know about letting go. I had made a business out of helping other people clean out their attics and basements. Trying to keep my own stacks of papers and books, and closets relatively free of unusable things was on my mind many times.
Let go.
“You gave your children their own lives a long time ago. You’ve given them space to make their own choices, no matter what that looked like. Now is another layer of that,” I heard.
It was shown to me how people can make choices to go or stay and it’s not about me or what I think should/could happen.
Watching your children choose between possible life and death, you have to just hold the space and love them through it…I can do it. I’m not kidding myself about how hard that might be. I have no idea of the way my emotional body may have to stretch and reshape itself as my physical body had to do when they each were born.
I left the center of the Labyrinth, walking slowly through the convoluted curves and turns. I thought of what I wanted to write when I returned to my notebook. Then I realized I needed to let go of that as well. If I remembered anything from this walk today, it would be whatever I needed to note, so I could continue to think about it.
I re-gave my children whatever choices they might make back to Mary, an image of the Divine Mother. My children, I’ve known, were only mine for a time, and then I have to let them go back to where they came from.
I’ve let go of their lives so many times, I thought as I walked the white on blue lines on the floor, noticing the cracks in the concrete under my feet. I thought those cracks represented my resolve. And maybe there were cracks in my resolve, and I would have to come back to this place in myself many times to really let go.
Let go. Putting these thoughts and feelings on paper, I let them go with the ink to bleed into the page and let them go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Grandmother's Quilt

I am the keeper of a quilt that we call The Grandmother’s Quilt. It’s a much loved and worn warm cover, a bit tattered in places, thin in others and faded. My great-great grandmother, Nancy Shutts, who was born around 1850, made it.

I’ve heard that she was a great quilter making stacks of quilts from clothing used by her family. She lived into her late seventies making quilts for her six granddaughters. My Great Aunt Sadie told stories of sitting on the front porch watching her grandmother quilt.

There’s a sweet family story that’s come down to us about how Nancy Shutts wanted a daughter more than anything but was childless. She went to a poor fatherless family of a dozen or more children asking if she could adopt one of the daughters. The chosen one was Elizabeth who was about six at the time. When her birthday came around her newly adopted mother asked what she wanted for her birthday. Elizabeth asked for her little brother, James, because she was so lonely. So they hitched up the horses and went over and got the little brother.

I can remember sleeping with her old quilts in the 1950’s out in the barn on her farm. There were a couple of trunks filled with quilts in the house and we could take our pick. I usually took two because the hay was pokey and picky to sleep on. The trunks with the quilts were kept in the farmhouse long after Grandmother Nancy died. Sadly, the farm was robbed sometime around 1965 and most of the quilts were taken along with the farmhouse antiques. Ours is the only one of Nancy’s quilts to survive because at the time of the robbery it was on the bed upstairs. I wonder if this wonderful woman had any idea that more than 125 years after she made her quilt it would be hugging generations down the years?


Thursday, January 15, 2009

From a Foggy January Morning....

Prompt = choose a color and write about it……….

This wondrous cool grey morning
I chose a bright yellow shirt.
“It will brighten the day” I thought.

But yellow is a color close to my heart.
Yellow is primal ~ a primary color ~ the Sun.
Lions, sunshine, rainbows, chakra’s, tulips
All are parts of yellow.

When asked for his opinion,
my son wanted to paint our kitchen yellow.
I wanted to, but it would not
work with the other ingredients already in place.
But the idea of it stayed in the back of my mind.

Years later, after my 2nd divorce
I walked into Pier 1 and saw the
most lovely yellow and blue dishes.
Two days later I got my income tax refund check
and I drove back and bought my kitchen sunshine!

I am the weed queen and my on-going love affair
for the yellow haired dandelion will never die down.
I love them. I eat them. I dig in the dirt
and play with her roots.

Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra.
From the gut ….. gut feelings …
…primal feelings…… TRUST !

Ah yes, my yellow shirt will help me remember
And the day will be brighter.

* annette

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Empty Space

I’m trying to understand where to place the unending torture that keeps visiting this planet, my T.V. and my eyes.

Now we are in Gaza where almost a third of the deaths are children. Children. Guilty only of being born into a place where peace is a rare moment.

Then we we go to Iraq where maybe a million people have died, maybe more. Maybe a lot more. The fact that we don’t know exactly how many is shameful enough. Are they just numbers? We don’t follow that too closely here in the states. We do have a much keener sense of the four thousand plus U.S. soldiers that have given a life. But do we see their names or faces? We have had a president that didn’t want us to see them, or the truth of why we are there. Maybe all wars are like that, an ugly hidden secret of what it is really about and the story they tell everyone. Seems like there are many stories behind the scenes. If you start reading about those stories you get dizzy trying to tease the truth out. So sometimes I stop trying. What can I do anyway?

Israel keeps telling these stories to the world (someone threw a rock so they sent in a rocket) because, by God, they have a right to defend themselves. I think they still suffer inside, inside their borders and beings so they find a reason to kill outside. Maybe then the world will know their pain. Why else would they inflict so much harm on anyone. When does it stop? When do we say enough?

When is enough retaliation, violence and lies enough? Is it like the sickness of greed where you lose your ability to say enough for me what can I give. Can you imagine having millions of dollars and someone is hungry but you can not see it?

I have carried my share of anger. It wasn’t all mine but I carried it for a long time. It got heavy and I lost it. Somewhere along the way it sort of fell off. Enough love will do that. Kind of like a scab, with enough time, it just falls off.

I’m not so mad at Israel or Bush. I feel compassion for the pain they must feel to extend behavior that hurts so many. I hope they find peace, then they could do so much good. And for all those that suffer because of the stamp of approval from the USA for horrendous behavior and atrocities I say I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help but I don’t know what else to do. I write and call senators. I ask them to please hold Bush and Co. accountable for slaughtering the constitution, for ignoring the Geneva Convention. I pray. I feel deep peace and in that I’ve been placing the sorrow of so much suffering. I keep finding more empty space to allow all things.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poem - The Calling of Svadhisthana (the second chakra

The line of tension in the lower belly
holds the shame and guilt
of sexual abuse.
Its always been there, ever since
I can remember.
There came a time when the awareness
started to awaken.
Something wants to speak, show itself,
The speaking starts with a feeling,
a yearning.
The fear says, Wait, be careful,
someone may notice,
and then where would you be?
Back in the familiar holding.

Oh no, not this time, I’m growing a
strength, in the place of doubt.
This strong yearning is beginning to allow
the milky white crescent moon
to rock me, hold me in its embrace.
Creating a sense of belonging, opening
the petals, letting them begin to flicker
and dance,
welcoming the Other, as the Oneness of love
lights the Way.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair

I didn’t regularly shave my legs until I was 50 years old. Because I never shaved, the hair was bleached from time in the summer sun. My legs always felt smooth—no growing-out stubble and no tiny cuts from the razor blade. It saved time too.

When I became single again, it was time for a bit of a makeover and that was part of it—shaving my legs. My teenaged daughter cheered me on. “Mom, razors have really advanced since you were a teen. Try it—it’s not so bad.”

So I bought a package of pink plastic Venus razors with disposable heads-- so much for my dedication to the environment. I smeared some shaving cream on and began the gentle scraping. It did feel much better than in the 60’s.

I also noticed that my leg hair didn’t’ grow as quickly as it had in my teens. In those days I had to shave daily to keep up with it. Now, every few days suffices. I began to enjoy the feeling of my legs sans hair.

This winter, after several years of marriage, I’ve let myself go a bit. I let my leg hair grow, since my legs are mostly covered in the cold weather. But recently I noticed a slight snagging sensation around my ankles due to my socks snuggling against the longer hair and pulling on it. I guess I was used to it all those years without shaving, but now it’s driving me crazy. And the long hairs are almost black.

In 10 days I’m taking a winter trip to the Cozumel beach. I’ll be shaving again soon to again enjoy that smooth sensation and unhairy look. I never thought that I, feminist Terra, would enjoy being me, femme Terra.

--by Terra Rafael

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Question

We, my mother, father, and I had stopped for lunch at a Howard Johnson’s on the way back to New York City from Massachusetts. I had been in the summer stock company at the Berkshire Playhouse and they had come up to see me in the last play of the season.

Now, they were driving me home.

I had graduated that spring from the Anglican convent boarding school, where I had spent my high school years. I was quite the independent 18 year old and I was about to embark on a misguided year at Briarcliffe College. The motto of the school, “A ring by spring, or double your money back”, was not part of my awareness at that time.

My mother and I got into the front seat of the car, while my father was still in the restaurant paying the bill.

Out of the blue, she said, “Are you a virgin?”

Shocked, I simply stated, “No”.

Then my father got into the driver’s seat.

“Tell your father what you just told me.”

“Mommy asked me if I was a virgin and I said, ‘No’”.

Well, we sat there in silence, I in the middle. Then my father started driving. We didn’t go home. They took me to another convent school, one for wayward girls, where my beloved Sister Mary James had been transferred. They wanted to leave me there.

She and I talked for a long time. She had been my saving grace at St. Mary’s. She had been transferred because the sisters weren’t supposed to develop personal friendships with the students. My parents thought that she would have some stern influence on my behavior, however she was my ally.

When we came out from our talk, she stood up for me and my mother and father were forced, at least in this instance, to accept me as I was.

Prema Rose

Saturday, January 10, 2009

As we have just entered...

As we have just entered a new year, it is time evaluate the now and let go of what no longer serves me. This is 2009, an eleven year in numerology: the two upright pillars of initiation. This year promises to be an initiatory process for everyone. Two is also about tending to the details of things.

I think back on the previous year. The gains and seeming losses. I know I want more clarity in this next year and even a kinder heart. I self-published a book with six other women in a very democratic process and I’d like to do more of that. I also feel I am opening up my social life a bit more than it’s been, but that may be a projected dream than the reality I would want to live. So I’m holding that one as a possibility rather than a definite.

I’ve been maintaining the bridging of different parts of my families, and have done that to a lesser or larger degree for years. Feeling like the hub around which my family moves, I also feel that these connections may self-perpetuate long after my time here is up. So in this next year, as new people enter the family line, I want to keep that web of life woven, bringing in the new threads.

I also can see by circumstance, 2009 is a year of letting go…especially of what I think needs to happen. Decisions are being made around me that I can’t know, yet I will deal with repercussions like everyone else affected.

All I can really do, as I stand on the edge of this new year, is affirm who I know myself to be on many levels, let go of the old stuff I no longer want to dance with, and be ready to embrace the new learnings as they find me.


Friday, January 9, 2009

To George W.

The River Styx bled itself dry
As we swam in the trees
And dined in the snow.
Making lies fit our lives
We watched under God
Soldiers mowing through mountains
In green pools of blood.
We saw mothers and fathers marching their young, as
Children with zinnias held over their hearts
Sang choruses of thunder
Into galaxies unheard...

Jesse Wolfe

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Creating Community

I sat in front of my computer in the early morning darkness. I wanted to write, or at least start this piece, before I was influenced by the morning news.

Twenty years ago when I started reading Mary Summer Rain’s books I felt all alone. She, with Ruth Montgomery, Euell Gibbons and Lynn Andrews were introducing me to a wide open spiritual path but I had no one to share it with. I remember two distinct thoughts from those early years. I remember Mary Summer Rain stating in one of her books that extreme high winds would be the precursor of the earth changes to come. Alone, I was afraid. And secondly, I remember praying to meet and be with others who thought more like me.

Early yesterday afternoon two wild fires scorched hundreds of acres in Boulder County, Colorado. I happened to turn on my TV yesterday afternoon which is bizarre because I so very rarely have it on that time of day, but I was too tired to be a real estate appraiser and I had decided to take down my Christmas decorations. And there it was … live coverage of the fire in progress. It was burning on both sides of Highway 36 which runs north/south from the city of Boulder to the small community of Lyons. I personally know dozens of people who live in this area and there are several large horse facilities as well. As the evening wore on, I stepped outside my front porch and looked west. At first I could see only smoke and then, when I first saw the orange line of fire, I was appalled. I live 30 miles northeast of Boulder, but as the fire traversed the mountain foothills, I could watch its progress.

Yesterday, my fellow Americans in the northwest were digging six feet of snow off of school rooftops to prevent them from collapsing; there were folks in the mid-west being evacuated from their homes and businesses by flood waters; and there are people still huddled under bridges in the cardboard boxes they call home.

I need to tell you that my long ago prayer was answered. I am now surrounded by large interconnecting circles of community; friends who share my spiritual path and my concerns for the people and the planet we live on. New Years Day I sat with three of my “herbie” friends and we agreed to get together the same time next year. Each one of us feels like we are treading shaky ground with finances, relationships, job security, or ….? We pledged to help one another get through whatever the next twelve months present, sharing equally the joys and the challenges. It was an emotional moment.

Today, many, many people will come together all over the country to help those whose lives are upside down. This is what national disasters do ~ they open people’s hearts and bring folks together. People helping people ~ creating community. It is important; I actually think it is VITAL for the survival of our species to learn this lesson. Are national disasters our Earth Mother’s way of helping us to remember how to treat one another?

Afterthought: Have you ever been amazed at how few casualties there are in the midst of huge and terrible calamities? Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and fires that destroy thousands of acres, yet usually there are less than a handful of human lives lost. Its not just me, I have heard different people mention this fact. I dare to venture an idea to ponder; she is not trying to kill us off, she is offering us a chance to learn a lesson.

* annette

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Prose - What Chakra Am I?

I immediately thought when our teacher said, “write about which chakra you are”, no problem, I’m a third chakra person. Manipura, as its called in translated Sanskrit, lives at the solar plexus. I’m a Virgo sun sign, and in my system of energy work, that’s related to small intestine. Its all about sorting the pure from the impure. I resist it, and yet, its my main focus. I can drive those around me into a twitter, always sorting. Taking my power and displaying it to the world has always been a struggle for me. Yet, I know its there. Sometimes I feel I may burst from holding it in so tightly.
But, the more I thought about this subtle body of ours, the more I came to realize I really couldn’t separate manipura from muladara, our root chakra, connecting us to the earth. This one is about our survival, materialism, there again, a struggle. Although I have a trust the Universe will always provide and hold me, I can flip to manipura, my power, and attempt to cancel out the strength held at the root.
But wait, what about svadhishthana, the second chakra, between the pubic bone and the navel. Its filled with security, trust and our sexuality. I apparently chose to deal with sexual abuse in this life, throwing this chakra way out of alignment. This has been one of my major obstacles, feeling secure and trusting in my sexuality. A hard lesson has been choosing partners for the wrong reasons.
Skipping over the third, we have the fourth, anahata, the heart chakra at the center of the chest. This one has had its difficulty in staying open, wanting so much to be loved. At this late age though, finally, learning we have to love first, be love, to attract love. Oh man, why does my heart hurt so much sometimes? Still needing to learn to love myself first. So, I could be all about the heart chakra, after all, there is only love.
Then, there’s the high heart, between the heart and the throat. This seems to be where I hold the most energy. I’m not sure if this is recognized in the ancient system or if it’s a western new age phenomena. As I gently pull back the web of covering over this one, I can feel so much better about who I came here to be.
And of course, I’m a fifth chakra person. What woman, especially, isn’t? Although, there are more men than not who have difficulty speaking, particularly their feelings. Even if a woman talks too much, that is an imbalance. A lot of people see me as shy. I’ve never thought of it as shyness, especially as I’ve aged. I’m an observer, I contemplate, watching, listening, putting together all that I’m hearing. Speaking does have its merits, for males and females. It helps to transform all the lower chakras to be able to trust enough to speak our truth. I’m still learning this one, and its most empowering when it happens.
All the chakras have a specific number of petals relating to certain characteristics. These petals are pointed downward. As we work with our chakras, knowingly or unknowingly, these petals start to lift upward, allowing the energy disc to open a little more.
I find it very interesting that the throat chakra, Vishuddha, has sixteen petals, the most of any of them, except the crown of course. There are many obstacles to overcome to get to the higher, more spiritual chakras. It amazes me some people seem to be born with their higher chakras more open.
Ajna, at the brow, the sixth chakra, is another challenge. Trusting my intuition and knowingness is reflected from the second chakra. So there I’ve been most of my life, running back and forth between the two. Now, many years after this awareness began, the trust and the knowing are beginning to arise from the depths, creating the true me.
And lastly, considered the greatest of all, the crown, Sahasrara, with its one thousand-petaled lotus creates enlightenment. Connecting us with All That Is, meaning all the lower chakras have opened. Sometimes, I feel a tickle, an itch or a spark of light at the crown. Maybe a feeling of being lifted upward or a soft opening, will present itself. Its all about coming into wholeness, these lives that we live. Letting ourselves stay aware of this subtle system day by day, noticing discomforts, issues that arise, we may consciously learn to play with and value the spirit of our chakras.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What an Ignorant White Woman Knows About Racism

“Do we have to go all Black now that he was elected? It seems like there are so many commercials with Blacks now on TV.” My sister was shocked when my mom said this to her. I was shocked when my sister told me about it.

I always knew my father was racist. We had plenty of arguments over his comments about “those Jews” or “niggers”. He was like Archie Bunker – a working class, second generation immigrant. But was kindly Edith a racist too, underneath her sweetness?

It does seem like more Black colored faces are on camera now than before Obama, not just in commercials but also as pundits. But the idea that he will paint the White House black, this animosity towards him because his skin is darker than Mom’s, that is an insidious poison.

During the election I had one heated discussion with Mom about Obama. She said she just couldn’t vote for him, although she’s always been a staunch Democrat. She wouldn’t say in words that it was because he is Black. I even pointed out that Obama is half White & half Black – just like her great granddaughter, Breanna. But I obviously didn’t convince her.

My mom grew up in a time when it was illegal for Black and White people to marry in several states. The only overt racism I saw growing up in our lily White Wisconsin and Minnesota society was when my beloved Grandma offered us “nigger toes” to eat. Now we call them “Brazil nuts.” I never had a friend or even acquaintance who wasn’t White until I went to college. Since then I've mostly lived in a mostly White circle. I don't feel like its out of choice, just circumstance. I seldom think of Latinas and Blacks, Asians and Ntive Americans I've known personally in racial terms. It's only around strangers of different skin color that I notice that first.

My daughter says it’s just Mom’s generation, that racism is less within the younger generation. Maybe the blending of skin colors and cultures, like in Hawaii, will become the norm. Maybe we can really fulfill Martin Luther King’s dream in the coming generations.

--By Terra Rafael

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Edge

Standing on the edge
Between here and there,
Teetering on the precipice
Of now and what may come,
My heart pounds in my throat,
I dare not breathe.
Yet breathe, I must.
I must infuse this breath
With all my longings
And my dreams.
I wake with dire scenarios
Running through my mind,
And thread by thread
Weave intentionality back into
The tapestry of my life.
Hold on now.
Don’t give up.
You are so close to all those
Hopings coming true.
It only takes one drop
For the full to brimming glass
To spill into the manifesting world.

Prema Rose

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pleading the Fifth

“Speak when spoken to”…and “Be seen and not heard”…were two axioms that I was raised with.
I couldn’t express my anger. Only my parents could be pissed off. I couldn’t say what I saw…family games and manipulations…and then came the nuns.
So in my early life, even though I knew things, I couldn’t talk about any of it.
On a physical level, I had tonsillitis at age four, and tonsils out at four and a half years. Then strep throat every winter of my childhood, either in early winter or for Easter vacation.
As a teenager and young woman, I lost my voice every Spring for a few weeks at a time.
As I began my metaphysical studies in my mid-twenties, and studied the chakra system, it became clear to me that my throat chakra was a pivotal point. How to unlock it, undo all the psychological blocks that had been put in place to keep me silent. I had taken on the role of the jailer to myself and didn’t let myself speak when I needed to, especially speaking up for myself.
Public speaking always seemed to carry a ‘threat worse than death’ in my own mind. It would be something I would work on for years, in many different ways. A past life memory of having been murdered for what I had to say, always lingered in the background as I readied myself to speak to a large group.
Perhaps this past experience influenced my choice of families to incarnate into, in this life, so that my innate Aquarian rebelliousness would be the thrust to push me past this block of consciousness, this ingrained fear. If a child is restricted in early years, that’s the one area they feel they must master or express in the adult life, and this was true for me.
Now, as an astrologer who does readings, as a spiritual consultant who assists in others’ spiritual paths, I get paid to speak. I write and others read my words. The volume of energy that sat, stuffed, in my throat chakra has now found its stream.
Aquarians, after all, are the Speakers of the Zodiac, and I finally found my voice!

Friday, January 2, 2009


The dog with the blue velvet eyes
Ate lies, the gentle beast
We loved him the more for his appetite
As he lead us to our bread and butter beds
To cook a sleepless night

Jesse Wolfe

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I had many things I wanted to do on the last day of 2008 ~ fun things, meditate with my horse, walk to the post office……. but instead I ended up working my job till 2:30 in the afternoon. Ah, the joys of owning my own business and working out of my house, I have no one to delegate to. Truth be told, I am just glad to be working.

Then, when I could have written a piece for our blog and been prepared, I cleaned my house instead. I have had company over the holidays, it was wonderful and now they are gone. I had to clean house and do a few loads of laundry. I picked up things and put them back where they live most of the time. And I desperately wanted to run my vacuum so I scooted my cat out the front door ~ she hates “Mr. Suck”. Things were going good until my machine inhaled the delicate fringe on my beautiful shawl that is hanging in my closet. I quickly shut off the vacuum and grabbed my tools. I took the back off and pulled out the spinning rod thing and began to gently untangle the beautiful fringe. Then I got the scissors and cut away all my tangled hair from the brushes and cleaned it up nicely. With long hair it is something that I have to do several times a year, but I hadn’t planned on doing it this afternoon.

I looked outside and noticed the day was slipping away. Holy Crap! I put away my tools, fed the horses and the goat, came back inside, changed my clothes and pulled on my cowboy boots. I even put on mascara! I had a date to join some friends and go to the New Years Eve Bull Riding Challenge. It was great fun ~ what a kick in the pants!!! I got home just in time to turn on the TV and see the new crystal ball drop in New York.

And here it is ~ 2009. I slept till 8:30 ~ that is my first miracle! I still have my list of things to do. Job security, I like to think of it. I usually set down on this day and write the new year on all the remaining checks in my checkbook so that I don’t have to think about it for that first confusing month. I have been gifted another day on this wondrous planet and I will start over today.

I wish for you what I wish for myself. I will have magnificent days, be kind to my loved ones, get outdoors and lean my back against the bark of a tree, smile as often as possible, step out of the box, breath deep, meaningful breaths, learn something new on my computer, and may prosperity rain down upon my shoulders like cotton from the tree.

Have a blessed new year.

* annette.