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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Okay, so I've been working to improve my memory. Why? Because I'm taking study courses and remembering all this information would be a good idea! LOL When I first started my A&P (Anatomy & Physiology) course, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to recall much of the terminology and information. However, Cognis Essence came to my rescue (I think I tweaked it a little while making my own personal blend)! It really helps me ground and focus - and not get panicky. So, I've settled into a system of study for the A&P course which is working quite well for me. Phew! Concurrently, I'm studying Ayurveda so the load is fairly substantial and yet I feel calm and confident. The inverted asanas of Hatha Yoga also seem to help with brain-work as I usually feel more focused after shoulder-stand. I know there are herbs that help with memory as well, although I haven't used any of those. So far, the Cognis (two of the key flower essences in this blend have yellow blooms - yellow has often been aligned with 'thinking' energy) and Yoga are doing the trick for me! :-)

Of course, the subject of memory encompasses more than simply the desire to memorize information for a specific need. While, for me, this is currently an important part of continuing education, there are also other aspects of which to be aware.

Conscious memorization is very much a 'left-brain' function. In fact, the majority of our cultural focus in today's world revolves around the logical left brain. But are we using it or is it using us? How obsessed have we become with all those left-brain activities?! Do we balance our lives by bringing in creativity, play, spirituality and the pure bliss of being present? NOTE TO SELF: Create! Play! Be!

From a holistic perspective, is it possible that the rise in dementia-type illness is directly correlated to our cultural focus upon 'memory' and thinking while lacking support in the right-brain functions? Are our left brains literally reaching 'burn-out' as a collective? Hmmm... food for thought?!

Monday, April 27, 2009


"When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace."
~ Pema Chodron

Letting go of our need to be 'right' allows us to be in the space of the other person; it provides us with the opportunity to understand someone else's perspective rather than judge it - or them.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deepening With Flowers

Yesterday, after Ron and I had been browsing the local garden center, planning future additions to our property, I began thinking about the flower essences to which I am most attracted.

Ever since reading about the Forest Floor flower essences from Woodland Essence, I've been drawn to those. They first reached out to me last Fall. Their energy is an even stronger call to me right now and I will be ordering a set soon.

Early last month, I read about the Amazon Essence and had to immediately contact the distributor to find out when I could obtain a bottle. The Amazon Essence is part of the Light Frequency Essences co-created by Ian White of Australian Bush Flower Essences line. While I have yet to be called to experience the Arctic or Antarctic Essences, the Amazon called me instantly.

But then many of the wild or hidden or deep essences call out to me. It is like they contain this primordial center of survival, and ancient depth of soul, peace and spirit. While their light is powerful, at the same time there is certainly nothing 'lighthearted' about them. In fact, this kind of energy resonance is what drew me to the Australian Bush Flower Essences rather than beginning my flower essence studies with the traditional Bach line or even one of the North American lines of essences. We are each of us drawn to certain energies and apparently these my call vibrationally. I like to go deep and thoughtful and primeval.

Maybe that's also why I'm drawn to some kinds of World music, particularly some of the African rhythms or those of South America. Perhaps they take my soul back to cellular memories of a deeper connection with Gaia and all life at a point in the now when we are all one.

All I can really express is that the call of these essences is strong and I cannot resist it for long. As it happens, sometimes once I get them, the need I have felt immediately dissipates for a while -- it's like living with their energy in the house is all that I needed. That simply by being around their energy soothes my soul and I can move on. It's a fascinating feeling and process. They are a comforting presence that brings the diverse energies of Gaia everywhere on the planet into one area. They harmonize my home and bring their unique gifts here to rest even without taking the drops orally. They share their strength and wisdom with me in a diffuse way, as if to say "we are here now, be at ease" - and I am comforted knowing that if I need to take a few drops or if family or clients are in need, they are ready to help. These spirits of the plant world bring a sense of balance and openness into my home - into this space. They are gifts I gratefully acknowledge and accept without needing to know right now why they came here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Married to Amazement

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

~ from "New and Selected Poems" by Mary Oliver

I first heard this poem today and was completely spellbound; one of the first things I did when getting on the computer tonight was to add Mary Oliver's books to my wish list - I cannot wait to read more of her poetry!

Om Shanti

May I be at peace
May my heart remain open
May I awaken to the light of my own true nature
May I be healed
May I be a source of healing for all beings, all life, for Gaia

May there be peace on earth
May the hearts of all people be open to themselves and to each other
May all people awaken to the light of their own true nature
May all Creation be blessed and be a blessing to All That Is

~ Joan Borysenko, "A Woman's Book of Life" (my addition)

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
Peace, Peace, Peace

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Open Letters

I enjoy reading other people's blogs - there are so many interesting people 'out there'. I like how thoughts are shared or how snippets of life experiences reach out and touch someone. Truth is so interesting. I didn't used to think so when I was younger but now I enjoy auto-biography ... of sorts! Blogs are like a peek into someone's journal or like open letters to friends and family when we don't get to talk much to each other due to busy lives or distance between homes. Some blogs give advice, sharing what someone has learned. Mine is one of those that is a mish-mash! LOL But I can't imagine not reading a friend's blog or being interested in what they have to say; that is completely foreign to me as both a reader and a writer. What we write can express so much of what we feel, and feeling is so akin to being connected with other people. If someone takes the time to write what they're thinking, usually the topic is an important one or has touched them on some deeper level than the obvious so I find myself exploring the message more deeply. I often feel more of a kinship with those who I've only met through writing than I do with someone who lives down the road. Why? Because of the sharing of inner thoughts, ideas, and feelings -- these often get easily side-tracked when we chat on the phone or meet for a quick lunch. At those times, the conversations can become mundane or laden with complaining or filled with minutia of every day living - not that blogging doesn't have its own fair share of those (and 'minutia' has its own value inherent within our normal, ordinary lives) but to me, they then beg the question of why the writer is mentioning them. Where is the message coming from?
Reading these 'open letters' can be a powerful form of true active listening!
Writing them could be the call of a voice in the wilderness.
Together they can create unity.
Something to think about perhaps ...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm excited! It's raining and our snow is finally GONE! Yes, G-O-N-E! Melted. Vanished. Disappeared. In addition, I checked my flower bed - the new one I put in last year - and, even though all the perennials are still dormant, I see evidence that the Surprise Lily (also called Magic Lily or Naked Lady) bulbs I planted in the Fall (after bringing them back with me from Missouri in August) are coming up! This is just awesome as I fell head-over-heels in love with these flowers. See, the neat thing is that in the Spring, all that comes up is these loads of leaves - then the leaves die back. Then, just when you've forgotten that anything was there at all, up pops these gorgeous lilies on their tall bare stalks! Very cool. I can't wait! This is a photo of the Surprise Lilies at Mom's yard in Missouri.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I had an intimate experience with Udana on Saturday...

First, briefly, you may be wondering who or what Udana is? :-) Udana is a sub-dosha of Vata Dosha in the Ayurvedic system of healing. This particular sub-dosha has an upward movement, thus my familiarity with it this past weekend when I had food poisoning. Ugh.

I ought to have known better, of course, but ate the restaurant left-overs anyway that consisted of a mushroom sandwich in a mayo sauce. I can see you shaking your head. I know! What was I thinking?! LOL Anyway, within an hour, there was some cramping but I didn't put two and two together as I had other things on my mind. After four hours came the nausea and then my intimate - and violent - experience with Udana.

Luckily, I was able to use Homeopathy to provide support. I went to bed at eight o'clock Saturday night, woke up around one in the morning, took another remedy, then got up at three in the morning to get ready to drive down to Kripalu to audit a class in their Ayurvedic program. The four hour drive down wasn't really pleasant -- I was extremely tired from lack of sleep not to mention lack of food and slight dehydration -- but I was determined! I was thrilled I went as the class was excellent (and, as it happens, the teacher also talked about Udana!). Of course, when I got home last night, I dove into bed again at eight and have pampered myself most of today but I've been eating lightly so feeling well overall.

I will have some turmeric on my quinoa for dinner, as it's a wonderful herb to support the GI tract.

I feel blessed to know of natural methods that are inexpensive and easy to use when these kinds of acute ailments crop up. These are the kinds of modalities I enjoy sharing with other people during my classes -- of which I hope to do more in the future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rainbow Connection


Have you ever listened to the song Rainbow Connection? I just love it! Originally sung by Kermit the Frog, my favorite rendition is by Kenny Loggins (unfortunately, I couldn't find a youtube presentation of it or the full song elsewhere) followed closely by the then very young Lea Salonga's version with a near third by Sarah McLachlan. The lyrics are:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions
, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

This song strikes such a resonant chord within me...

Another of my favorite "rainbow" songs is Rainbow People by the band Inanna (from here in Maine); when I have a few minutes, I'll copy down the lyrics - they're great!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Long Day

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
~ Macbeth

Don't know why this came back to me tonight but it did. I memorized these lines back in high school! LOL Amazing how some things stay with us. I see these words differently now, though, than I did back then. They're not sad or tragic to me, but rather remind me that I am a spiritual being living a human experience -- that this world of form we live in is a play in which we act out roles, our Ego driving us to and fro. If we remain unaware of our egoic self, then the world could seem as 'life signifying nothing' but when we begin to awaken, we see the purpose in this journey.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Five Elements

"Thy sunshine smiles upon the winter days of my heart, never doubting of its spring flowers."
~ Tagore

If we only pause and reflect a moment, we are instantly connected with the five elements of Nature no matter where we may be physically. Why? Because we are nature. That's easy for many people to forget when we are caught up in our hectic, daily lives, perhaps working in an office or sterile hospital environment. All we have to do is befriend our breath (as Jon Kabat-Zinn puts it) and we are instantly aware of Air. Think about eating or put a carrot in our mouths, and immediately our system secretes enzymes, starting the Fire of our digestion. About sixty percent of an adult's body is Water (seventy percent in the brain; ninety percent in the lungs; babies can be about seventy-eight percent water); we can feel it in our tissues. Our bones consist of tremendous amounts of minerals and our cells require minerals for every function; these minerals are Earth. The last element is Ether -- space, stillness, a field within which all else functions. Amazing! So, the next time you feel like to desperately need to experience nature but are unable to at that moment, simply pause and reflect and there nature/you/we are.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Purple Bow-wow

Chiana received her 'Spring Do' and looks totally adorable. She's always so perky after having her hair cut! Two years ago, when Chiana hit 10, I figured enough was enough for both of us - not only did she dislike having her hair tugged (which meant it took a LONG time to groom her exceedingly difficult coat) but I finally reached my limit as well (having been grooming Collies since 1986). So, she now gets her hair cut - shaved down quite short actually - two to three times a year and we're both much happier. :-) We had to go to a new place this time, though, as her former groomer could no longer tackle the job due to carpal tunnel syndrome. But the new place did a fabulous job and Chiana didn't seem at all stressed when I picked her up. They even put a cute little purple bow in her hair!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Healing the Mind

"Healing the mind involves healing how we relate to the world. It means establishing a society or group of friends that draws us upward. ... Therapy should be the beginning of communion what is called in Sanskrit Satsanga, the company of those sincerely seeking truth. However, better than going to a therapist is frequenting the company of spiritually elevating people."
~ Dr. David Frawley, Ayurveda and the Mind - the Healing of Consciousness

For me, this came in the form of a few close spiritually elevating people for short periods of time and at various points in my life. But, because of my bond with the written word, it has also consisted even more of spiritually elevating authors whose books have provided support, encouragement, wisdom, and communion. As I've mentioned before, I feel that writing and words create a virtual community and, knowing that we are all part of a greater collective consciousness, these thoughts shared through the written word are quite a powerful energy. Combined with journal-writing, these inspirational authors have seen me through a lot!

"Whatever problem we have psychologically ... is just an expression of mental indigestion."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mushroom and Hummus

Having one of my favorite dinners tonight so thought I'd share it with you! On the bottom is baby spinach, next layer is quinoa, topped with a Portobello mushroom cap filled with a thin spread of hummus and ground flax seed sprinkled over it. I made 'smashed' red potatoes with seasoning and cheese, plus baby carrots, as the sides. All organic, all YUMMY!

What is one of your favorite meals?!

Trees and a Robin

This morning, following meditation, I looked outside to see our paths in the trees. Each person a tree, each tree showing the paths we could travel. Where do we branch out? Which fork do I take? Will this path lead me astray from my true purpose? Where is the strength of my heart directing me? Is it the central trunk that will provide me with more growth or the branch that then becomes the central trunk? If I branch out to take the tempting and enticing adventurous limb, will I still be able to follow my sap - my inner strength - back to my center? If each person is represented by a tree, what will happen if all the trees are clear-cut and gone? Will we no longer have a path?

We've been buffeted by powerful winds for the past day or so. I see in the yard this morning a precious Robin eating then lying down when a strong gust of wind sweeps through. As he struggles to stand again, using one wing as balance upon the ground, I notice that he only has one leg showing. He hops carefully along the ground, then rests his red breast upon Mother Earth, then continues. I stand inside my home and direct the healing energy of Reiki to this little creature, doing what I can to provide him with support. As he heads toward the fence, I put some Arnica, Aconite and Emergency Essence into a saucer, add some water, and quietly carry the shallow dish out near Robin. He seems unable to fly and hops through the fence wire, heading to the safety of the woods and a stout, low-growing baby pine tree, nestling into the leaves. I carefully place the dish as near as possible, continuing to send Reiki, as Robin watches my every move. I then back away and return to the house. I send him (((LOVE))) and (((HEALING))).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Growth is Optional

"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely."
~ Karen Kaiser Clark

That's been one of my favorite quotes for many years now. It's a simple reminder to myself that what happens before, during or after change is up to me. Not necessarily the circumstances, because sometimes we are unable to affect those, but rather my response to the change, whether my response is internal or external or both.

The seasons change - how do we respond? For that matter, the weather changes continually in the Northeast - how do I react? I was talking with someone on Friday about rainy days - how did they get the reputation for being yucky?! My goodness, rain is a blessing! Rain is both cleansing and nourishing, and can even be comforting. Rain can give us 'permission' to take a time-out, curl up with a good book, snuggle with a loved one, or do any number of things that maybe we wouldn't do if the sun were shining. So why does a change to rain get such a bad rap?! :-) For instance, yesterday the rain helped to hasten the melting of winter snow from our yard!

Thank you, Rain!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Memories of Loss

Today, those of us in Hospice volunteer training participated in a bereavement session. Each one brought a photo of a loved one who had died. I brought a photo of Dad. I had never been in one of these before and was surprised at the deep sense of connection I felt with the other women. Although none of our losses were the same, the thread of memories joined us. I didn't know what I would say. While speaking of Dad I experienced profound grief recalling when he could no longer communicate with me in email; I had been so excited over this form of relating when it developed between us that when it was broken, it seemed I lost him before he died (his being hard of hearing, we weren't able to speak on the phone). I wrote of Dad in an earlier blog post and he saunters cross my mind every day; I miss his messages and miss knowing that when Mom visits, he won't be with her anymore even though we talk of him all the time so he is definitely with us in spirit and in our hearts. He is present, though. I love you, Dad.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


When I write, I have a tendency to drop into "we" syndrome where everything is us and our and we. Why? Is it because this way of addressing others has been used for centuries by many cultures? There is the 'royal we' and editorial we and the list goes on. We is inclusive rather than exclusive. It creates an energy of 'we're all in this together.' So, perhaps it comes from that universal connection wherein we are all part of a greater whole. Or maybe it derives from knowing that I am a compilation of cells that create the form that appears as me. Or, how about realizing that the form is the shell housing our subtle energies that came together from consciousness and matter? We have these identities or roles that we seem to want to attach to, and even though they serve a purpose for interacting in the world of form, can they not become illusion ... or delusion? Do we sometimes forget that everything is part of everything else and separation is the illusion? By focusing upon I and me and mine - when we totally buy into this concept of isolation - do we lose sight of how everything we do or say or be impacts all those around us? Not only other humans but all life. One of my favorite movies is What the BLEEP Do We Know? I've watched it several times and think it's an incredible - and FUN - reminder of Unity.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Helping a ladybug out of the sink so she doesn't wash down the drain. Directing Reiki to flow into a congested cat. Smiling at the flustered clerk in the check-out lane. Waiting patiently while a mother calms a child in the grocery store so that you can pass by. Recognizing the anxiety of an elderly person driving the car ever-so-slowly in front of you on the busy road. There are so many ways we can bring compassion gently into our world.

"Namo Guan Shih Yin Pusa"

(Homage to She Who Hears The Cries of the World
aka Kuan Yin or Kwan Yin)

Monday, April 6, 2009


On Friday, I was listening and singing to Disney songs and other 'children's songs'. Spring has a way of stirring me to dance and inciting hugs of my inner child. Ron shoveled remaining snow and ice off our back patio so that we could sit out and soak up the sunshine which was blissful. And the dogs are thrilled to be able to sink their toes into the earth where the snow has receded in their yard. Greeting the sunrise this morning, I was gifted with a symphony of sound by the birds who have returned home. "Zippity-doo-dah! Zippity-ay! My-oh-my-what-a-wonderful-day!"

Sunday, April 5, 2009


"The noise of the moment scoffs at the music of the Eternal." ~ Tagore

How does this sentence speak to you? What is the message? What is your "noise of the moment"? Is it all those activities going on busily around you? The chaos of your life? Is it the constant 'to do' list in your head? Or is it the Should's and Should Not's that compete for your attention? Is it the news on television or radio creating anxiety and fear? How does this "noise" distract you from witnessing the glory of our universe and the miracles that occur every second? Do you take time away from the "noise"? Come into your quiet space of stillness so that the "music of the Eternal" is heard clearly once more. Finding those few moments of stillness are worth the effort.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Acceptance does not mean that we necessarily condone what is. Neither does it mean that we are resigned to what is. Rather, acceptance brings us to our center, our core, where we can make decisions or choices based upon knowledge and strength. Accepting what is brings presence into each moment so that we can act consciously.

"Acceptance is the road to a quiet mind. When one can accept the truth of a situation, then the clear understanding of what the next step should be comes without confusion. When human beings understand that the past cannot be changed, they have gathered one form of acceptance. When these same people come to a place of feeling acceptance, there is no room for denial. Without denial, we are free to respond to the growth opportunities that may have originally been hidden from us by the critical voices of the past."

~ Jamie Sams, Earth Medicine

Acceptance of death and dying brings us directly into conscious living, whether we are the one nearing death or someone close to that person. Accepting instead of resisting brings peace.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dynamics of Living

While listening to a presentation today on Family Dynamics, I couldn't help but relate some of what was being said to my own experiences with inter-cat dynamics and pack behavior. While at first blush the human species creates more complexity and drama within their dynamics, I have to say the felines can certainly bring their own aura of mystery into interactive behaviors! People may scoff but I feel quite confident that studying canine and feline behavior - whether cat to cat, dog to dog, or cat to dog - can bring a whole other perspective into the observation of the human animal.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Expectations

Is it possible to experience a state of no expectations in a relationship? Where do expectations come from? Are they a result of identification with the way we perceive a relationship to be? Do they spring from the past? Are expectations a form of attachment? If we are fully present in the here and now, do we then have no expectations?

"As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person." ~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Remove those blocks,
get out of the way.
Hello, World!
I'm ready to play!

Jump, shout and sing
with the birdies on wing,
Spin, dance, 'make hay'
with the leaves' disarray.

Here we go, Gift,
filled with joyous days,
abandon and lift
up our arms in praise!

Words flowing busy
from a faucet unstopped,
bubbly and fizzy,
champagne blood - POP!

I see you! I see me!
We are one! Awakened! Free!

Wonderful article "What is Love?"

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