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

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Simple Sip

Drink from the flowering chalice of gold, 
never to die and never grow old,
for sunshine and light are always here,
only our form may fade ... disappear.
So sip from the cup of awakening Soul,
feeling the warmth in which we are Whole.

     She opens her arms and offers all she is, ever allowing and loving, accepting the journey for what it will be and knowing the warmth of love will soften and gentle the rigid contours of the resistance that fell from the sky when we thought we had to protect ourselves.
     As the five yellow petals cup her warmth, they welcome us into the center where orange overlay is sweet as marmalade and hold us softly. There are no other concerns, only the love that rests at the center, warm with welcome and the wrinkles in the petals like tissue paper that tear easily. 
     Easily uprooted by the winds and carried somewhere unexpected yet the sun emerges after the rain and the roots seek new soil, delicate thread tendrils winding through the rock with soft caress and they settle to bloom again, one at a time; some tiny, some larger, yet so similar are they really different sizes or is it illusion?
     Much green upholds the slender stem that attaches to the blossom tentatively. Lots of tiny leaves line themselves up along the stronger stems in graduating narrow ovals, barely allowing any distance between them, they are a strong community, joined together to nourish and uphold the light of wisdom and the birth of warm embrace to those who seek the sweet nectar of awakening.
     The petal-cup curves with gentle touch, firm at first as if to catch the morning dew but only receives the rare raindrop for dew is unknown here. And yet, she breathes in and out a whisper of faith. Her time is now and she cannot wait for the water that may not arrive, she has to dance now for now is all she has.
     A dainty chalice warm with welcome. Petals of gold rays of sunshine melted and molded into the flower of the sun.
     Petals of gold, a sunshine mold, made from peace, our heart to hold. 
     Leaves of green that overlay while they grow and play in the shadow of the sun, unborn yet One.
     Feel the warmth of changing world within the flower the anther twirls, dancing on the curving stage where none can harm and there is no age. For only now is what we know, when dancing in the bloom that shows us how to be warm with welcome in the lee of wind and rock and burning sun ... warming, holding, all are One.
     A ladder do the leaves begin, overlaid long and thin, graduating as they grow into the branch of all we know, one lesson learned upon the other, family, friends, commune together. Watch the little figures grow, expanding with a gentle flow of green distinctive edges showing, yet reliant upon the one defiant. All together, they are stronger and can support the culmination of their life as One that rises high on slender stem to catch the eye, a vision splendid only dreamed and come to life. 
     A magic in this little flower, living, dying, within a few short hours. To be here, now, to rise and fall, as the fragile tissue paper petals dry and thin and tear becoming ragged and then shriveling into a papery shell of what it once was, to fall into dirt or fly upon the wind carrying it seeds, its message far away and await its turn to warmly welcome once again within the natural flow in faith.

Monday, July 23, 2012


"Memory is not the same as recalling information. A writer whose mind is a computer stuffed with random, meticulously recall details may have trouble selecting which ones to use. Seen this way, a bad memory can be an asset to a writer. If you have a mind like a sieve, be grateful. A sieve filters, strains and selects; though much falls through the meshwork, some remains. Memory is an act of meaning-making. It collects the disparate pieces of our lives and distills them. For writers, what we forget is as important as what we recall."  ~ Rebecca McClanahan from the book Word Painting
This gets my vote as Most Inspirational Quote of the day!

happy flowers after monsoon rains this weekend

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Trail

     For the first time in a very long while, I found myself unable to stop reading a book. All my other plans and projects fell by the wayside. And, the additional shocker in that complete captivation for me was that this is a memoir, not a novel, plus is over 400 pages long. Being so caught up in a book that I couldn't put it down used to happen to me constantly, up until a few years ago. However, over the past five years, I often have multiple books going at the same time, flitting from one to the other, easily distracted. Not so with The Trail.
     The author, Elizabeth Sheehan, surprised me with how quickly I was captivated by her tale; I didn't expect to be. I bought the book simply because I was curious. I had watched the movie The Way recently (which is fantastic), and recalled that Elizabeth had written of her own experiences on The Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile walk from one end of Spain to the other that is a 1000-year-old pilgrimage. And, since I knew a little about Elizabeth from reading her mother Molly's blog for years now, I figured I'd give it a go.
     Elizabeth brings her unique perspective truthfully and earnestly in to the story. From the beginning, I applaud her honesty in revealing her desires and demands upon herself and others, and admire how she reveals enough backstory of her follow pilgrims to create a connection yet beautifully respects their confidences by not sharing intimate details of their deeply personal journeys. Elizabeth's writing straddles the arrogance of youth (she's 24 when she begins her walk) and a lovely budding wisdom firmly founded upon her spirituality and her family.
     Much of her writing is simply gorgeous, and there are many moments where the prose is exquisite. I wish that I had made notes of those very special turns of phrase that brought incredible light and joy into my very being. But you'll just have to find them for yourself by reading the book.
     Ultimately, I couldn't put the book down because I felt Elizabeth's angst and desperation, and wanted to know what would happen, and ... because she returned me to my own feelings and experiences of early adulthood with its challenging path of growth from youth to maturity. Throughout, she beautifully alternates between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the journey. While the book is nearly all narrative, with only the rare venture into recalled dialogue, I was never bored as she enticed me to follow in her wake along the Camino.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Song of the World through Flowers

Here and now, in this beautiful moment, follow the rhythm of the pen and the ink, the words that flow in their lines and swirls ...

Photo Courtesy of Green Hope Farm
all rights reserved 2012
I am amazed at all the world
feeling so free and light this morning--
odd in that the humidity is heavy 
this monsoon day from rain last night. 

The breeze carries messages of moisture
the 'memory of water'
that holds the vibrations
rhythms of flowers plants birds mammals
their voices and the howls of coyotes
and the cooing of doves 
echoing across the desert in song.

Just imagine the particles of water 
flowing in the air currents
holding the song of a flower's transcendence
into more than what we see
feel the touch of a thousand blooms 
as they drift upon the air
able to follow the rhythms of life
and world far from where they
grew and bloomed.

Their subtle energy patterns 
dancing upon the water molecules 
like fairies upon the fields of forever
in distant memory when we were children
and all was ephemeral and magical.

Sitting outside in the humidity
can we feel the rhythm of drums from long ago
that left their prints within the earth
that provides nourishment to the to
slender flower stalk that
when it blooms
beats with the hearts of millions
past present and future?

All we need to do is open
be present to the wonders of Nature
the amazing orchestra that is Gaia
upon the winds and 
within the rivers and oceans
where high above in the mountains 
a solitary flower nods her head and the
whole world bursts into song
carried upon the wings of a butterfly.

Photo Courtesy of Green Hope Farm
all rights reserved 2012
We are blessed with incredible wonders.
Can we feel the rhythm?
... the ebb and flow, the flutes and drums and 
strings of theory that wise ones knew in the beginning
that have been reborn into the present?

Feel the rhythm of blood 
flowing with the wet air
hear the thunder of awareness 
sharpen our senses
and the bolts of lightning illuminate our souls 
as we feel the charge chase itself 
upon our spines
and going deep, deep into Mother Earth
connecting the songs of all life as One.

We synchronize
and harmonize
and offer up space for solos
that we honor
who then step aside for the next unique display of love
bound in courtship with all life in Community.
This is feeling the rhythm
the pulse of the Universe
of the Divine
that is pounding and rushing at one moment
then gently cascading the next into a
sweet slumbering stillness
where we can hear the voice of the flowers
and the rocks and billions of organisms 
creating a wonderland of labyrinthine passages
beneath our feet and
within our own bodies 
where we all live in harmony
recognizing when we stumble that another will pick up the thread
the tune of another melody just as valuable
just as amazing.

Feel the rhythm of the world 
dancing in and out of existence 
with each breath, each thought---
my thought or yours or the thoughts 
of the quail walking the wall in witness to Life.

Feel the perfect rhythm that is Gaia manifest 
and we know the song in our own hearts ...
we listen and hear Her voice calling and 
we join in the rapture of Life.

Photo Courtesy of Green Hope Farm
all rights reserved 2012
When I partake of flower essences
it is as if I open to feel the cosmic rhythm 
that is carried through them and birthed into the world, 
their pure love and grace of abundance. 
When they offer their subtle energy into the world, 
and into a form that connects us all
---the precious water of Mother's Womb---
then they are singing the rhythm of healing and harmony 
into the Song of the World.
And sometimes, 
in those rare moments when we feel 
completely open and vulnerable and willing, 
we feel their rhythm 
across the illusory bounds of time and space 
and millions of flowers 
sing us into the Rhythm of Life.

I could say that this piece began this morning from a Clarity Works prompt "feel the rhythm" and I simply followed the beat ... but it was far more than that, and began much earlier. The past several days have seen me settling so peacefully into Self and Space that I once more felt the flowers calling me through their Essences. Specifically, it was the Green Hope Farm Flower Essences calling my body-electric and I give thanks to the Flowers, their Angels and Elementals, and the magic that is Molly and those who join her in providing their offerings of healing Essence.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

thoughts of a novice novelist

     Calling in the recruits (inviting the muse, asking the guides, etc.) to assist in the new imaginary world, my thoughts turn to story and worlds created in mind and emotion, blending the pros and cons, making choices.
     I might want to have this perfect eden -- a utopia. It's how it began. And yet, I am not ready to live in that world and neither are other readers. We are still learning how to Be -- be present, and content, compassionate and wise.
     Instead, the world I create is a microcosm of that which I am still working on within myself, the aspects that resonate with me and the situations that challenge or scare me or make me feel unable to cope in the world.
     The protagonist is on her own journey -- some of what she experiences I have been through and have become perhaps a little wiser, and others I am still experiencing. And I'm sure many lessons await me just around the bend. And that is okay. Even novel writing is cathartic -- maybe more than journaling in some ways because I move the characters through all the scenarios unfamiliar to me as well as those known! And that's exciting and fun but also a challenge just as the real world would be. Except that in my written stories I have the time and space to pause, think about the different responses available and play them out a ways instead of reacting quickly in one direction with no way back. Perhaps if I can embrace this perspective more fully, I will be able more easily to let go of a scene or passage and try a different direction or response. I can always return to my original scene if I find that it remains the truest to character and plot and theme.
     I continue growing into all the components of writing, learning not to fear changing a scene or adding something new. To recognize myself as the author of the story and not the reader. This is a shift that becomes more apparent the longer I continue writing. To realize that what emerges initially as the story can be changed. Repeatedly, if necessary. To realize that as the author I am not locked into one path for the story or even one footstep. All is open. I could potentially change one thing, everything, or nothing!
     It's that simple and that complex because I feel this obligation of sorts to remain true to what came out originally. To love it as it is.
     Where is that loyalty coming from? Fear? Stubbornness? A rigidity of form that resists change? Do I feel it is control or a lack of control to venture away from the birth of the idea and storyline? To add and remove? Or do I simply feel I can trust what emerges initially more than I can what my mind tells me to do later to change or disguise the original story? The past nearly two decades of my fifty years have been a huge learning curve to trust intuition rather than negate it; is that influencing my resistance to changing my 'baby' story into something that I 'think' is better or more appealing? How to wed the revisions to both imagination and intellect, to create a hand-fasting that binds intuition with craft yet leaves both free to give and receive?
     Writing is a journey of Self, whether fiction or non, and I am enjoying the process, the opening, the melding of worlds and psyche, of lives unreal and real experiences. None of the people who populate my imaginary world are insignificant, they are all vital, and I feel myself opening further to that same realization in 'real' life, too, on deeper/higher levels. Everyone is key and all parts are vital. Setting is as important as character, for it becomes a character in its on right. Or at least it does in what I am writing and in how I live. No separation.
     I feel everything that happens, not just in my mind but in my body, because I have to feel what they feel or this entire thing becomes just letters on a page with no heart or purpose and no rhythm. I hear their song, the melody of the story . . . sometimes only faintly in the background but there . . . and how well I write, how true I am to listening determines to some extent whether someone else reading it also hears the entire orchestra and not only the string section.

The first thing I read later in the day, after writing the above stream-of-consciousness piece, was:
"The idea running through these lectures is by now plain enough: that there are in the novel two forces: human beings and a bundle of various things not human beings, and that it is the novelist's business to adjust these two forces and conciliate their claims. That is plain enough, but does it run through the novel too? Perhaps our subject . . .  has stolen away from us while we theorize, like a shadow from an ascending bird. The bird is all right--it climbs, it is consistent and eminent. The shadow is all right--it has flickered across roads and gardens. But the two things resemble one another less and less, they do not touch as they did when the bird rested its toes on the ground."

(E.M. Forster's "Aspects of the Novel" - emphasis mine)

This "ascending bird" is a good touchstone for me, something to return to when I become lost in a single aspect of writing, or become confused in contemplating the minutia of the journey. Whenever I feel myself flying further apart from the core of the story, I shall land and reconnect with the whole--the big picture.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Spiral Woman

A woman stands in a field, and then spins, twirling, not knowing which direction to go or even to look toward . . . arms flung wide, spinning, so many options and she can't stop spinning, becoming dizzy until she drops, resting at last among the field of flowers that cover all the graves of other women who didn't know where to go or who to turn to, not realizing that they only had to look within to find the stillness and a pure guide that would point the direction of life that would be strong and full.

A woman stands in a field, the plow sturdy beneath roughened palms, the rows behind her circle gently into a spiral, and the horse before her calls out, tossing its head full of mane and spirit, inviting her to pause in her work. The woman steps away from the tool, releases the harness, and, grasping a handful of coarse hair, flings herself high onto the back of the horse and they are off, galloping across the field, into the woods, up the mountain . . . they lean forward together, one Being, as legs tighten around a full chest breathing powerfully and four legs run uphill, muscles bunching and releasing, incredible endurance even after a day of plowing the field; once freed, the horse knows only the pure joy of running, and they breathe as One, nearing the top, and then they pause, chests heaving, nostrils flaring. Together they see all directions from the peak -- past, present, and future. And peace descends like a soft mist enveloping them in its cool embrace, pleasantly blinding them to all but the present moment. Breathing returns to normal as they stand as One, heads bowed in Grace.

A woman stands in a field, lost, slumping . . . she looks up and sees a vision upon the mountain, she sees a Being of Beauty: horse and woman as one. She sees freedom and power, grace and strength to move forward without knowing the destination because she will be safe and guided once she accepts and welcomes her own wisdom. She keeps her eyes on the woman-horse, and lifts a foot -- for a moment the golden shackle is heavy, but she continues lifting her foot, and believing, and all resistance dissolves as the shackle's lock falls apart and the gold breaks into a thousand pieces that begin glowing and rise into the sky like sparks from a campfire chasing each other across the field. And the woman walks, first slowly, then with more confidence, across the the field that held her sweetly grounded, but knowing now was her time to fly and, eyes upon the horse-woman, she transforms into an owl, a tiny Elf Owl who will fly both day and night, witness to all that is in the world, until she creates her own nest among the saguaro forest.
Elf Owl at AZ-Sonora Desert Museum

A woman stands in a field, then is spinning in joy, knowing she can pause any time to run or soar or fall back among the daisies waving happily all around her in encouragement and support. No more sad waiting or spinning without direction. Gallop or soar into the world of imagination and do it now!

The above stream-of-consciousness piece came out of the ClarityWorks prompt "a woman stands in a field" but was clearly influenced by an image of a horse I saw this morning on fb, as well as the Elf Owl I saw Wednesday at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Ron and I had both agreed that the Elf Owl won the "cutest critter of the day" award; some amazing photos of the Elf Owl are HERE.

A week ago, before the rains came, Ron helped a pigeon in the park quench his thirst and cool his head! See the short video below.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Desert Rain

Heavy falling
pouring rain on
hard packed soil
where puddles form
and flash-floods manifest
quick as a wink . . . 

     This is the desert within the contrast of sudden rain and stunning in its sense of sublime urgency and ecstatic connection to the flowing source of life.
     Walking a desert path, cool in the early morning air, with water trickling along the rocky definitions and sandy rivulets, toes wet and gritty.
     Most of the animals up and about, sniffing the air, and some are restless with the invigorating watery abundance so rare and precious.
     The air smells odd, so different from the rainy days in Maine with its overtones of grass and humus and blossoms of some kind somewhere exuding a rich, thick scent. Here, the air smells of dust raised by droplets hitting a dry pavement of soil, and aroma of a release of scents from a surface where all had lain dormant for such a long time in waiting; it smells of the past.
     Riparian exhibits now almost overwhelming in the cloying scent of water life maintained but now bursting with the extra moisture.
     Mountain lion and bobcat are roaming their large enclosures, climbing up and down the rocky paths, noses lifted up, sometimes breathing through open mouths to test the scents with unique organs catching even more subtle scents.
     I enjoy being with them, walking the paths in the stopping/starting rainfall, my clothes soaked, hat brim bending while water gathers on it and drops through the tiny holes of tightly woven straw. Pause under a tree during a particularly heavy fall, chilling skin reveals goosebumps from the cold drops, then walking again, allowing the air to dry me.
     The Javelina had "bolted for shelter" at one sudden deluge, the keeper said, as she now hurried to let them out again. Their coarse hair all spiky, the interesting not-pigs-though-they-look-like-them-at-first-glance quickly trot into the open space for fruit and vegetables left behind moments earlier.
     I feel conflicting emotions of gratitude to be with and witness some of the amazing creatures of the desert, living in as natural a habitat as possible, and that of sadness to see them confined and 'kept' rather than running free.
     And yet, I feel an honesty to the purpose of this place -- the desire to help people experience the wonders of life in the desert in order to inspire a desire to save our desert, our natural wonders, to admire and appreciate all the creatures who live here . . . to save 'the wilds' and figure out how to co-exist for the benefit of both human and wildlife. This place engenders a different sense than most 'zoos' I've been to (and to which I have a hard time going anymore). I feel a respect and a dedication emanating from this place, and from the people who work here -- the majority of whom are volunteers, not paid employees. In our ignorance and greed, so much of our Mother Earth has been and is being destroyed. This place is an effort to bring awareness to the forefront; to experience moments with flora and fauna who are incredible survivors is inspiring. If they can adapt to such an extreme environment--and thrive here--couldn't we all adapt to peaceful co-existence and co-thriving?
     "The mission of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation and understanding of the Sonoran Desert." 
This is where Ron and I spent our holiday morning, as I purchased an annual membership and we walked for hours delighting in the animals, the plants, and the glorious cool temperature brought by the monsoon rains. I know that I will spend many more hours here, especially in the winter, since we live a mere 15 minutes' drive away. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is celebrating its 60th Birthday as a unique interpretative museum, zoo and botanical garden. (P.S. Sorry for the poor photo quality; digital zoom just isn't that great!)

Monday, July 2, 2012


Melting all over the table, the dish was not large enough to hold all the water from the thawed ice sculpture. Should have thought of that ... container and form. It was making a mess, starting to drip over the edge, plopping onto the floor, slowly at first. But now that the water had a channel, a destination, it almost seemed as if the melting increased in speed. The beautiful swan, created so very carefully, was becoming a lump, smooth and slippery instead of feather-frosted and defined, and her shape was disappearing, becoming nothing and everything all at the same time.

She could be reshaped, even now, and put in the freezer again to be held stiffly in esteem in a set form, or she can continue her journey of release, and rejoin the broader ocean beneath the earth--the core ocean where all is healed instantly. 

Thawed becomes the world's polarity where tipped out of balance, unable to prepare, only watching in horror and/or amazement as we shift into a new phase. Once frozen, we can thaw, but nothing of the original remains exactly the same--all is changed a little at the very least, transformed by the moments in stasis as life moved on around us. What happens next?

If we have no fear then we simply open and move within the world that has become unfamiliar due to time passing without us like a Sleepy Hollow effect where we awaken so many years later. Who were we then? Who are we now? 

Hearts frozen, then thawed, until it seems all we know is this moment and the past is gone, melted away into the larger field of existence where it was healed without any fanfare or effort on our part, no struggle necessary, indeed without our even knowing. We are returned to the world in a fresh form and move on from this set point. 

The heat is thawing me, melting residual resistance, dripping all the fearful nodules from joints that had been frozen. Thawed, my muscles begin to soften, the cells easily shift and move and take in what I need, releasing what I don't, releasing the crystalline structures of past experiences like sculpted fortresses of ice melting. And with that warmth going so deeply, even my thoughts and beliefs are thawed, becoming more fluid. And when I feel the cold come in before its time, seeking to control the flexible shapes of potential in passages of presence, I spread wide the blinds, open the windows, place the ice sculpture beneath the sun and we are thawed once more.

Cycles. Mysteries.

All life transforms as we move into new ages; will humans journey further? Will we first need to flow into the ocean, the heart-core of Gaia-manifest, the hidden sea where light and dark dance with joy, in partnership, creating waves and waving fronds of new verdant life? 

Thawed, all becomes possible.

While the above stream of writing was prompted by the word "thawed" (ClarityWorks daily prompts), I also see its roots in the heat of the desert and across the country, and, further, images that apparently remained from catching bits of shows on PBS yesterday about global warming, polar ice melting, volcanoes around the world, etc. I don't fear the demise of humans, if that is what happens, but the imagery remained with me of how elements in our world transform and are themselves transformed by others through the grace and power of our living planet, our Mother Earth. 
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