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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grateful for What is Not

Thirty spokes are made one by holes in a hub
By vacancies joining them for a wheel's use;
The use of clay in moulding pitchers
Comes from the hollow of its absence;
Doors, windows, in a house, 
Are used for their emptiness:
Thus we are helped by what is not
To use what is.

~ Tao Te Ching according to Lao Tzu by Witter Bynner
© George Burba | Dreamstime.com

Monday, November 21, 2011


© Diego Vito Cervo | Dreamstime.com
Where does it come from?
Where does it go?

Seems like those thankfully-rare flares are so much more than related to the one incident.
Not a single match by itself, oh no, they are the spark that flies into the open and full matchbox or into the pile of twigs with dry tinder holding their breath for that 'inciting incident'* that is the fire that flies off the handle once sparked.
Weird how that happens...

Swallowing down unlit matches--not as brave as those who swallow lit torches at a carnival--one at a time, here and there, until they are all gummed together with the gasoline of stomach acids in the subtle body and--WHOOSH!--up goes the fire, the conflagration that overwhelms and scalds and burns so fast.
Flaring up before one can even stop it, consuming and exhausting in an instant. The slow burn at the beginning that smolders beneath the wet leaves in a loving aversion to confrontation.

What good is that when the burn becomes the forest fire scorching or destroying everything it is path? Ugh.

And then comes the remorse, the awareness and shame that shimmers in its own orange bowl of bubbling brew fit only for pouring out where it poisons the ground beneath it. Not fit for consumption, yet sometimes we do--we take it in and bury it deep in our tissues. Nasty stuff, congealing in its own thickening lard after all that heat. Yuck.

Even now, though, it can be released safely because warmth can bring healing as well, the gentle warmth of a candle glowing within a heart of forgiveness in a house with many windows thrown open to bring in fresh air of new beginnings. Gentle simmering melts the shame. Or compassionate waters, salty and purifying, can pour into the bowl mingling with the thick oil, thinning it, further, more and more until it can flow easily into a non-harmful juice to be transformed.

Yet perhaps important to taste the orange goo of anger's residue before pouring it out or transforming it. Don't ignore it just because it's ugly and smells like rotten eggs or month-old garbage left out in the summer sun. Take a good look, even admire the color if you can for what it represents, for what was behind it, for what it brought to light--that golden light of the healing heart that can transform all into love. Inhale deeply of the burnt flesh, decaying, until it makes us gag so we don't forget it. I still recall a phrase from an old TV series: "stop and smell the burning flesh of sinners" (can't remember the context or the show but the phrase stuck). Grotesque? But if I don't stop and smell of my angered ego's charred flesh, how can I make changes? How can I make the salve that will heal? Without looking at the mess, how do I know where to place that lovely creamy salve?

To reflect upon the anger--no matter what other words I may use to try and disguise it or defend it--is to see, smell, taste, touch and eventually know Truth. And then, only then, can I continue to move more fully forward with compassion toward Self, and, therefore, toward others.
* read that word combination inVicki's blog earlier this morning

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

waiting not

never ending

catch a falling star and become one myself
worms crawl in and out yet all life continues
anything is possible

no point to fret over what we cannot control and cannot see--
I cannot see what lies behind the mind and actions of others,
all I see are my non-senses and perceptions
react and respond ... act

Take action in my own life instead of just waiting for what I think someone else ought to do--I could wait forever, spend my life waiting instead of acting with joy in each moment. This moment--what is it and what does it bring--what do I bring to it? Sunshine, dogs, chair, quiet, writing, walking, singing, healing, meditating, preparing food, honoring self and others. Kiss my loves. Love my life. All will be as it should. Yes?

Sun warming my back as I sit facing my shadow. Sun hat shading the page so I can see and the heat penetrating my cold spine, warming its stiffness into softness; like a flame warms the oil I feel the juices of my vertebrae, loosening, becoming more fluid allowing freer movement within self. Thick molasses becomes a syrup flowing easily from the heat and as other liquids join in, all flowing the same direction for now, dark and light together, sweet and bitter co-mingling, their perfect blend a blessing. Blending within, I feel the softening deepen and soak up the balance, the wisdom of accepting differences. 

Blessings of change to open my heart to see moments of peace. 

Not waiting, rather embracing living, being here and welcoming the tickle of the breeze on bare toes warming in the sunshine. See the white miniscule flaking of skin on the high arch of a foot that shimmers like silk stockings in the sunlight a surface that sheds and grows moment by moment, always changing. Light blue veins tracing patterns of life allowing movement. Action. Wiggle those same toes and feel the blessing of knowing they can follow a path from chair to porch. They act. They twitch and bend. They aren't waiting, they are doing whatever they can right now, even as I sit.

Dogs watching the gates, one over to that side and one here, fully present, they observe the actions going on around them--see a car drive past, watch the bird in the tree then fly away, listen to the neighborhood dogs bark without their people home. Are they learning who those other dogs are? Listen and respond. Reaction or action. No thought but inner-intelligence acting senses. See and walk, toward or away. Halt, tilt head. Listen again. 

A whole world exists in this single moment--no need to wait for the next one. Even in silence of self, so much going on elsewhere--choose to act or remain still.
Being here now,
we are not waiting.
We are living.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

purple heart

resting upon the ground
her purple heart exposed
to the elements
she feels the frost settle upon her skin,
edges dusted with fine crystals
she is decorated for the holidays
sparkling even in her death
her transformation beautiful to behold
as she rests
at ease in the moment

crystalline tears fall upon the ground
mingling with the frost
some are salty
some are pure energy
shimmering in wholeness
alive within self and
sharing all that is

she senses this approach
of a kindred soul
one who sees as she does 
and her waiting is rewarded
she feels the eyes upon her
knowing her fragility 
for they share a similar fate
a gift
of change
a shift
into something else

the eyes are kind 
with reflective tears of knowing and wonder
for they see the beauty
the miracle
that is life and death--
death of the way things were
letting go of the way she clung to the branches of her tree
of wanting to drift upon the wind and descend to the unknown
yet time passes and she realizes that her time has come to let go
so many have gone before her and they call out sweet encouragement
and then...
she sighs as she falls
no wind so she simply see-saws to the ground
even twirling a little on her journey
to enjoy the passage from one life to another
and gently lands upon the earth

she has never known anything so solid before!

she has always been up high
caressed by breezes
seeing far in the distance
held by a single thread of life force 
channeling from her to her family tree
a delicate tendril connecting them intimately

yet this new sensation is nice...
she feels safe and supported
she relaxes upon the ground so firm and
feels a full wave of vibration touch her everywhere all at once
unlike her other life of constant motion
where she was touched with sparks and
quickly passing fingers of flight and fancy 
twirling her this way and that
always dancing

this is a glow of peace that permeates 
her entire being whole and full
she sighs upon her soft bed of grass and moss and humus
she knows the transformation is coming
she can feel it continuing to spread 
throughout her veins
her nerves
fleeting thoughts and misty memories 
weave their way along her edges
beneath the frosty embroidery

was it yesterday or tomorrow that she let go?
she now realizes all time as happening now 
in the presence of her gentle rest
the release of flying high
dancing among the stars when she looked up
or on the flowers below
when was that?
is it to come or already passed?

she sighs and shimmers in the dawn
happy and ease in her crystal veil

* The above was a contemplative free-write inspired by some images posted on Shine the Divine's blog; one of Laura's posts held an image of a purple leaf and was titled Frost Sugared, while the other held an image of a leaf with a heart in its center titled Keeper of Sacred Memory. In my mind, these images merged, and I was led to the composite in discovery of the story. I couldn't fine a purple heart frosted leaf photo though!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

merry go round

merry go round in a field of flowers
awaiting the children who come 
in the daylight hours
and at night 
when the wind whistles 
all the horses on carousel
round and round we go
this life of beautiful illusion 
invites us to get on board and 
ride the magic 
and we do 
joy is in knowing the illusion 
participating in awareness
partake of the colors and lights
sounds and sights
but get off when it pauses
and treat ourselves 
to the peace of sitting on the bench 
and watching the laughter of the children 
who are innocents 
but growing egos 
and it becomes more than a game
more than simple joy
fighting over who is next and shoving in line
and then limited seats 
on the painted ponies losing their shine
and someone says
'I will build my own'
until there are no more green spaces
or vast plains or high desert pastures
only whirling colors and rides
and lights and noise
and still there are never enough seats 
on the merry go round
then give me the quiet bench 
in the corner under the shade tree
or the sparkling brook where we are nourished
happy to get on the merry go round
ride a short while
and then relinquish my seat to another
and another
and look at how happy they are at first
squealing in joy
the short adrenaline rush 
where the pony goes up and then down 
we clutch the pole so we won't fall off
wanting to get off on our own
step down without falling but 
sometimes dizzy from the motion 
we stumble or fall in spite of our best efforts
pick ourselves up, rest, take a break
then choose when/if it's right for us to get on again
some go every day, or every weekend
others wait for the annual event 
that draws them out of their comfort zone
to explore the glitter and glamor of the world
and hold on as long as they can
bullies don't let the younger children ride
holding onto their seats
struggling against those who say
'you've had your turn'
and crying
'it wasn't long enough' or
'I want more'
we are each deserving of enjoying the spectacular 
if we want to participate
yet some never get to ride 
they have neither money nor status to buy a ticket
but the wise, oh the wise... pause...
swing from the branches of trees bending low
and run through fields of wild flowers
jump-splashing in and out of puddles
making mud-pies and
pretending they are wild horses
mustangs roaming the wide open plains
you can have your merry go round 
if it means that much to you
I will walk along the road gazing at the sky
feeling the cool breeze
eating a blush-pink apple
feeling the strength of muscles 
that must carry me the distance
however far that is...
to the corner of my bedroom or
to the top of the mountain
I would rather ride a real horse once
than a carousel horse forever
"merry go round" was a writing prompt from Peggy Tabor Millin ClarityWorks

Monday, November 7, 2011

DogGone Dreams

Surrounded by love--friends--they are snuggled up to me, each one near enough to smell and touch and hug, they all came to be with me last night, dogs of the past, beloveds who walked with me a while and shared their loving presence. 
They joined me in a cabin on a spiritual retreat and we all crowded together. 
Trust. A lesson in trust and letting go, knowing they had been with me before, I didn't hold on so tightly. Well, I did at first, fear coursing through me that others wouldn't value them the way that I did, but we were all fine.
Given their freedom, some of them came even closer to me in my dream than they did in life. We were all cuddled and loving each other, and I felt myself letting go and the love swelled, filling the space. 
Attending the classes at the retreat, spirit flowed. New teachers, human ones, new friends of presence, human ones, all of us there to open, learn, grow, heal. Sangha. Gathering of like-minded, or rather like-hearted, beings. We were all together. 
I was so happy that those who had gone before joined me, such a comfort and a renewal. I didn't know I needed them--missed them--until they came for a visit and my heart overflowed with love. 
Each precious soul...I have been blessed every step of my journey, always a dear furred friend nearby for solace. Deep gratitude and love, I feel. Waking to renewal and loving peace, even my body felt lighter from their visit.
Never alone and all are One--all of our energies always connected. When I touch one, I am touching them all and feeling their love. When I see the sky, they are there, soaring, drifting, and we are together, we breathe together. I see the earth and their footprints are next to mine. 
Their lessons are already learned, they are here to teach and share loving support, to be here and help me/us. We humans have so far to go, having lost our way, but they can bring us back for they are the hands/paws of Gaia, touching us as we touch them, hearts beating in love, and eyes shining with faith--always. 
They trust we will 'get it' if they are patient...may take many lifetimes, theirs and ours. Theirs shorter as they pop in and out like firefly lights, dying and letting go--some of our hardest lessons. When we finally realize that this life is perfect, however long we have, then we are in harmony with them, our animal guides. 
They rejoice when we embrace the present, knowing it as all. Glimpses have I of this each time I write or create in some small way or when I walk or stand or pause in Gaia's glory. Then I am touched by this wisdom, just as I am touched by a gentle paw upon my leg or a delicate chin upon my shoulder.
Even when I feel pain, I am alive in this world and know it, experience it more fully--to feel pain is also to be present, to be brought back to the present from where mind or ego has taken me so far away. They don't dwell upon the pain or disability, can I do/be less?
This is their gift, the gift of animal-kind--I can be only here and now when these precious beings hold me in their attention and I hold them in mine. We share this gift beyond measure.
Deep gratitude for last night's dreams of dogs long gone--DogGone Dreams.
Such beautiful, loving energy from the strong protector, the loving goof, the elegant and gentle, the loud and boisterous, the sweet and simple... Bringing blessings, always blessings...
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