~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, January 27, 2017

Please Don't Feed the Frenzy

Please don't feed the Frenzy. 

It's a creature that can quickly turn fierce and frightening. 

We've all seen the signs, at various times in our lives, that say: "Don't feed the [insert name of animal]." Whether wild moose in the mountains or chipmunks in a campground or bear cubs in the woods, the instruction is for their safety and ours.

I'm suggesting we consider taking this advice into our current lives, when many of us are anxious, angry, and/or frightened, or when we may feel self-righteous. Please don't feed the Frenzy.

The Frenzy can quickly turn on us if we feed it, making matters much worse. The Frenzy feeds on chaotic energy and emotions. It can drain us of love, compassion, integrity, and clarity. The Frenzy can tear apart truth, vitality, and potential creative action. If this happens, who will then take care of our loved ones or people in need or the animals or the wilderness or our beloved planet?

Please don't feed the Frenzy.

In the classic 1956 sci-fi movie Forbidden Planet (a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest), an arrogant man thought the Frenzy was a monster "out there." In fact, the monster was self-created -- it was a manifestation of what Freud called "the Id," the primitive, unconscious mind. When I imagine the Frenzy, I picture the monster from this movie, and it's not a pretty sight.

Yes, we evaluate and take conscious action where called to. But we also live a whole life in gratitude at the same time. Breathe. Push. As in giving birth to new life. Make change happen, yes. Live our integrity and truth with compassion and empathy. Ground ourself in our blessed, sacred universe. Find clarity and do what we can.

But, please, let's not feed the Frenzy.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Healing Our Wild Hearts

During this past year, I've often struggled to have faith that humans are worthy of the gifts of our magnificent planet and universe. The vicious comments to and about other people, from all points of view and all sides of the political conversation (if one can even call it a conversation, which I doubt), have triggered my tendencies toward melancholy and misanthropy. And, if it weren't bad enough that we treat each other badly, we destroy other species and the planet that provides so abundantly for us.
Winter in the Ozarks

Whenever I could manage it, I have always chosen to live "in the country," whether that was our new home here in the southwest Missouri Ozarks, or in the woods of Maine, or the mountains of Colorado. Even these areas, though not wild, retain enough residual wildness to soothe my soul when I am unable to visit true wilderness areas.

I worry that this next administration of our government will harm our environment even more than we've already done, by prioritizing short-term gains over long-term losses. I would like to think that humans can control our greed so that we do as little harm as possible to others and our planet, but, sadly, most people when given free rein will think short-sightedly only about themselves, whether farmers or corporations or the average worker buying as much stuff as they possibly can.
Winter Woods in Maine

If we further allow our country to invade, harvest, and destroy even our wild places -- national parks, forests, and refuges -- our souls, the wild magic within each of us, whether we know it is there or not, will die along with our resources. There have been multitudes of books and movies about what could happen, yet many of us see them as entertainment rather than warnings, pretending they couldn't possibly happen.

I may not visit those wild places very often, but I am deeply comforted knowing they are there -- for their own sake as part of the Divine Whole, but also in case I need them. If they disappear, where will we go to heal? Where will our hearts be able to feel a sanctuary of natural wilderness even if we cannot see it with our eyes?

Summer in the Rocky Mountains
I was blessed to grow up visiting these wilderness places each summer; they became a part of me, places I always knew were out there healing us through their vital existence. Further, I was blessed that these visits were journeys across our amazing America, from sea to ocean, from mountains to deserts--these were road trips. The insightful naturalist and author Terry Tempest Williams writes about this eloquently in her latest book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks:

     To be an American once meant unending possibility, and the land reflected that possibility. Always the next bend--the next ridge--the mountain range descending into the depth of canyons carved by water an wind and time.
     Now, we say we have too little time, not enough time for road trips. We used to visit our national parks most often by car. Families took time and experienced the gradual approach to the park being visited. Anticipation was part of the journey as was the wildness of a family spending time together for hours and days, traversing the states. Today we arrive by plane. We miss the trek across the vast expanse of this nation. I sometimes wonder whether these special landscapes now appear as "pop-up parks," a spot of entertainment and commerce instead of an unfolding geography.

This past weekend, I pulled out some books by an author I used to enjoy but had yet to read her four most recent novels. I had paused in reading her books because I felt like she went into a darker mental space than I cared to visit anymore; Nevada Barr writes about the intersection of wilderness (national parks) with humans-gone-wrong in her mystery series. I found myself wanting to read her stories now, though, for the very reason that her protagonist somehow always finds her way through to the other side, to where she still has faith in beauty and love and how wildness can help us to heal.

I wish more people would travel, would make space in their lives for experiencing the wonders of our natural, wild places. Unlike our ancestors once thought, the beauty and resources of our world are finite and we need to treasure them. Many people forget that our bodies and minds careen into the wastelands without the nourishment provided through our souls, our wild and divine hearts that are revitalized through our connection to our sacred earth.
Grand Canyon

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sunbathing in Winter

The dogs are sunbathing and I am enjoying, finally, the view from upstairs again. The last time I was upstairs, the leaves were still green!


Friday, November 11, 2016


Ten weeks. That is how long it's been since I had my accident, nine weeks since surgery on my arm/wrist. Thankfully, yesterday I received exciting news! My broken bones are healed in both arm and leg (although the leg doctor says because of where the fractures were, he wants me to take at least four weeks getting to full weight-bearing), and I've been given therapy instructions for both. I was grinning ear-to-ear at the doctor's office, and practically vibrating all over with joy.

I haven't been typing much these past couple months because the single-hand process was so frustrating for me it was hardly worth the effort. Now, however, I'm eager to begin getting my left hand back to functionality. And, in a few more weeks, I hope to be able to drive again as my leg ought to be stable enough to do so.

I have been spending gobs of time reading and binge-watching Netflix and Hulu, and, while those are things I sincerely enjoy, I'm tickled to pieces to start returning myself to normal … and getting our household back to normal, as well. Hubby has taken excellent care of me (doing all the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., while also working a stressful full-time job) but I'm tired of it and I'm sure he is, too.

One new hobby I have to look forward to is playing piano again. I took lessons as a kid, and enjoyed playing off and on once I reached adult-hood even though I never had my own piano (we did consider buying one when we were living in Maine but just never got around to it). A couple weeks ago, though, I was able to obtain the piano I had originally learned on; my younger brother had it for the past decade or so, but since no one in his family bothered to play it much, he graciously sent it to me. This will be wonderful therapy for my hand as well as for my heart. I can hardly wait to begin!

With the setback of the accident, I'm not sure I will be able to complete by Christmas the genealogy book I had been writing. It was supposed to be a gift for my nieces and nephew, but I may have to resort to giving them a sort of preview-book instead. I'm disappointed, although I know they will understand. If I do miss this deadline, maybe I can shoot for a Memorial Day gift? We'll see.

For anyone else working on genealogy, or even simply interested in it, I highly recommend the book American Nations by Colin Woodard. It is a fantastic perspective on the cultural and ethnic colonization of early America, and the migration patterns. Whether or not many of your ancestors have been here since the 17th century (like mine), this book can help you better understand Americans and our political growth. The book has a broad scope and is, of course, shaped from the author's own viewpoint, nevertheless, I was delighted in it from start to finish. It's also an enjoyably fast read; the author doesn't bog down the narrative with too many details (though there are plenty of footnotes if you want to explore anything in greater depth, which I probably will).

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