Saturday, December 16, 2017

2017: An Intentional Journey

Labyrinth center in Chartres Cathedral France September 2016

On Inauguration Day weekend, I was at a retreat in Oklahoma City. That weekend brought into focus the path I have been intending  to walk for several years. During this retreat, i received the gift of following this path.Since then my life has been an unfolding  experiencing of qualities of The Higher Self. Yes, this has not been simple and easy, a new experience for me. I never had to study to pass a class in school.

As in Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, I too have been on that journey.

I heard the Call to take this journey and responded with a vow to aspire to mindful presence and follow this path to more intentionally be of service to what this planet needs. Altruistic, yes, but also a Spiritual practice.  This journey is absolutely necessary.

I met allies and opportunities along the way as the year proceeded to support and nurture my decision to be on this path. Teachings of Thich Naht Hanh, The Center for  Contemplation and Action, The Florida Community of Mindfulness, and of course my  Mentor, Pat Webb.

When the opportunity presented itself for me to practice mindful presence, I battled with my response to small town politics on a project for the community. Failing miserably in managing the anger I was feeling from the unjust maneuvering and manipulating that was going on, I made a decision that was huge for me - to sever my relationship with the planning committee. I agreed to another project which would be part of that community project and failed miserably again in the end by telling off a bully because I was too wrapped up in self pity.

These events, for which I am totally responsible, sent me into a battle with myself. I earnestly sought guidance from mentors and teachers, both in person and through reading about how to process anger on the spot, instead of a remorseful  afterthought.

Then I was presented with one more opportunity to practice mindful presence and unconditional love and forgiveness.

As I was headed home, I spotted my ex-roommate's truck parked on the street. He no longer lives anywhere near here. My grieving process was definitely at the angry stage and there he was right when I was at the pinnacle of anger in my  heart, generously displacing it on others.

 I turned my car around, parked it and went in to the shop to be in his presence, determined to practice peace and compassion with this encounter.

 He acted like I was a big imposition on him at that moment, yet I continued to beckon a peaceful discussion. I became aware that he was not healthy. I recalled noticing that his truck appeared to have been in an accident. He seemed to be attempting to sort out whether or not he knew this person in his presence, and I sensed his fear of this encounter.

Compassion filled my whole being and, yes, I was at peace with the violent hateful unjust way that this friendship had ended after twenty years. I took his hand, and squeezing it, wished him well and told him to take good care of himself. Turning away to continue my journey, I was aware that a neighbor, one who had been special to him,  had come in to see him.

I left shaking uncontrollably, but within the next  hour, that shaking  released  all that had happened during the drama of his parting ways and was being replaced with a showering of freedom, a renewed will to live, and gratitude to be alive and on this  new path.  I do believe this event was the turning point on my journey this year  if not of my whole life to this moment.

By this time, October was almost over and it was time for the claim the victory of the great battle of a life's time. I attended a mindfulness retreat to be guided in deepening my meditation practice and learn more about meditation with readings from the ancients . The retreat center had a labyrinth which I walked during my solitary time twice a day.  These walks were great opportunities to reflect on the intentional journey I had aspired to in January, the encounters on the journey through the year, and the transformation that was forming successfully in my Soul during this retreat.

And here I am at the end of this journey through a year, marked by a hurricane that came right up through the middle of Florida, hurricanes that nearly wiped out islands and island nations, earthquakes, volcanoes, and of course the unprecedented number and extent of wildfires in the West. The upheaval of the political systems in many countries, exposure of corruption, and abuse of living beings has resulted in a totally fear producing environment has all given cause for social outrage at its deepest place.

Yet, in the center of it all, there is a promise of peace, hope, love, joy and compassion and many other reminders that being alive is a good thing.

At the end of 2017, I am at home with all of it, not hiding from it or  from the truth that I intend to continue to walk this path on this journey.

I have asked many if they have experienced shifts in the way they relate to the world 's encounters in today's world. All have confirmed a shift in their response to life. I would love to hear from you on your shifting perspective.

How are you beginning to feel at home on this planet and with yourself, responsible for touching peace and radiating joy where suffering is most acute?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Life on a Labyrinth

Enhanced , hurricane ravaged labyrinth located in St. Francis Retreat Center, Tampa, FL

Even though the full size labyrinth was a bit of a shambles, the path was still clear. Debris and pine needles had been rakes away. The bricks, varied in size and shape,  were in disarray.

As I walked, mindfully of course, I picked up a stick here and there and replaced a brick or two as I passed.

Also walking the labyrinth was an elderly woman who I met on the first day of this four day silent retreat. Before we began  silence, we were sitting at a round table sharing with the others who had joined us. She told me her name was Norma and that she had been born and raised in a small town in upstate New York near the Canadian border. She was 83 years old, about 4'6" and radiated gentle energy. In between conversation, I noted that she was a mere ten years my senior and I  was looking forward to arriving at that age, as alert and filled with joy as was she now.

On the labyrinth, Norma was walking at a quick pace as she returned from the center. Soon she passed me, moving into the next pathway and back without even a pause. I reflected upon her passing that I definitely would be intending to maintain my healthy diet and exercise in preparation for arriving ten years from now in that same condition.

On another day, as I was walking the labyrinth, Norma entered the path as I was about one third of the way into the center. I giggled to myself that she would soon be catching up to me, fully understanding the accompanying metaphor for age 83 catching up to me quickly.

Aware of her presence, at one  breath, I paid attention to how much closer she was to me now.  My eyesight is not so good, so it took a minute for my memory to catch up to my conscious awareness.  When it did, I was fully aware that Norma had fallen on the path.

As quickly as is possible, I crossed the paths, heading in a direct line to her. A minute must have passed since she first fell, and as I reached her, she was getting up. She was beaming with a huge smile, one that did not seem possible for one who had just fallen and hit her head on the sharp end of a brick.

She said she was fine, but I walked with her inside and to her room.

In a very short time, as we waited in a lunch line, I felt her head. Long story short, she was examined by the doctor "in residence" also on retreat.  She had quite a bump on her head and the doctor recommended she take it easy for awhile. She did pass up mindful movements session, but was right back into the routine after that.

On my next walk on the labyrinth, I reflected on this whole experience. The metaphor caught up with me. She had fallen before she could catch up and I had, instead, gone to her. This is the way life really is.

I resolved to walk this path of the labyrinth as a drama of the way I would live my life.
I will live with intention, breathing in the present moment and breathing out in peace.

As w e were leaving the retreat, I mentioned to Norma that I noticed she was down for at least a minute or two. She replied that she was aware of this and explained that when she falls, she takes a few moments to assess "the damage" before she gets back up.  She pays attention to her heart. It has a skip beat which sometimes results in a fall.

Again, as we parted, I resolved to be mindfully aware of my heart as I breath. I will be 83 soon enough. Not a day goes by now  without remembering Norma's beaming smile at age 83 on the labyrinth and I smile, too. I sure hope this memory does not fade.

Have you been giving some thought to the gap between where you are now and where you will be in ten years?  Is your daily routine preparing you for being in that space and time?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Responding to Catastrophy

The frequency and immensity of recent catastrophic events on this planet has left everyone in a state of disbelief. This pre-reflective state of being has taken many forms. 

I would suggest all responses have been a way of shielding from the painful shock of the realities.

Some of us looked around aware of the geographical extent, considering not only the hurricane of the moment, but forest fires, earthquakes,mudslides and typhoons also ravaging, destroying,  and devastating all they touched. The initial awareness of the whole of it was somehow calming.

Others lashed out in blaming anger, pointing out the horrors of political policies which for years have  allowed things to develop to this point. At the same time outrage arose in people as they lashed out at the blamers, accusing them of heartless political opportunism. These also were a shield from stark reality.

Others turned to deep gratitude with a joyful sigh of relief, having lived through the ruthless ravaging of their environment. Their vigorous s positivity was accompanied by their sharing dramatic images of the destruction, accompanied with the assurance that all would soon return to normal soon enough.

All of these responses, and other responses too numerous to mention, as  are holding patterns - defense mechanisms  - until the whole of this new reality can be processed into a place of comprehensible acceptance. 

Even immediately diving into cleaning up the mess, repairing damages, healing wounds, and delivering food and water is comforting relief from the cruel upheaval of  a secure existence.  However valuable and practical is this care, the nagging foggy awareness of so many others devastated is fuel for denial.

To summarize, the overwhelming reality of what has been happening, can be paralyzing emotionally. You are free to process the state of the planet in any way you feel drawn. In order to process, I am drawn to diligent introspection and patience.

How are you processing this radically discontinuous state of life today?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Impermanence and Gratitude in the Face of the Storm

This is named Pause in the Storm by Judi White

Hurricane Irma is about to cover Florida. She is 500 miles wide, on a path up through "the State. She has left unprecedented destruction behind her.  

Needless to say, Even though I have lived through other hurricanes, none has caused such  a heightened awareness of the possibility of complete annihilation as has Irma. Others have come close, but have always provided some sort of escape route. 

As I began to implement the long list of preparation recommendations,  I began to reflect on the many times I rebuilt my life from scratch  and how each time was refreshing new beginning.  I was under the impression for the past year and a half that I had done that once again. Here I am, once again facing the possibility that starting from scratch might just be on the horizon again very soon. 

In between arranging the ground floor shelter and stocking up on survival supplies, I finished several projects I had started and had felt no urgency to finish.

.All communication devices are charged and protected in plastic ready to take with me wherever I go. 

I stored legal documents and most valued possessions in the trunk of the car, packed a bag and put it and  the cat carrier  in the back seat in case I need to evacuate.  

I covered my projects and some framed pictures and musical instruments  I love and placed them in the hallway in case the hurricane resistant windows don't hold up this time.

I stored porch and patio furniture because it seemed like the right thing to do and got the potted plants under the house protected from being lavished by high winds.

When I sat down for a few mindful moments, I considered the furniture I  have accumulated for comfortable convenience and the three pieces I most treasure. Knowing I cannot take them or save them, I considered the reality of impermanence and how it permeates every single moment and place,  just as Irma is leaving nothing untouched. The winds of change today are highlighting  the impermanence of our very being.

It is not just I who is affected and effected. No one person is excluded. Dare I think this is all about me, I only need to look around and be aware that all hearts are touched by our common experience of inevitable change.  My thoughts turn to the suffering of all beings caught up in these storms, fires, and earthquakes  that have been relentless in their insistence on our attention. 

With this awareness, I am beginning to understand that we are all suffering in one way or another while total loss rears its ugly head. "I Am" is not little me scared to death. "I Am" is a collective energy of the compassionate response. 

 I am grateful for the given ability to wait patiently, prepare for the worst of all losses, then to begin anew when the storms pass. 

I am grateful that the tortilla strips were fresh even though I didn't store them sealed. I am grateful that the cheese melted perfectly and the salsa is the best ever. I am grateful I can be happy right now.

What reminds  you that you can live in gratitude while so keenly aware of the impermanence of our existence? 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

"The Insider" and Charlottesville

When the movie, "The Insider" came out in 1999, it never entered my world. It was brought to my attention recently as appropriate in considering a response to the Charlottesville horror.

In case someone reading this is not aware of the event, I will summarize:
A plan is under consideration to  remove Civil War hero statues in public places in North Carolina  where they stand.
 A peaceful rally was held by the extreme right wing Neo-Nazi group. They were advocating that the statues remain where they are.
Another peaceful rally also was held by another group advocating the removal of the statues from public places.
Both groups were passionate about their perspective which led to violent interaction between the two groups of protesters. Lives were lost.
Various news sources report the day's events with different biases regarding the motives behind the protest rallies.
Most of the people I know were struck with disbelief that either of these rallies could be happening in this world today.
Apparently, the prejudice of both perspectives has been seething beneath the surface for generations. I find myself wondering if there are plans to remove statues in the North USA as well,  as I remember the Taliban bombing ancient Buddhist shrines some years back.

The movie, "The Insider" was about an Executive VP of a tobacco company who blew the whistle on the practice of adding a chemical to cigarettes to make nicotine more addictive.  I thought the story was going to be about him, which it was, but it was also about Lowell Bergman who was producing "60 Minutes" with Mike Wallace, commentator at the time.
"60 Minutes" reported the news factually. You could trust what was reported and form your own opinions in relation to the facts.  Bergman and Wallace got to the heart of the matter and had a reputation which reflected great integrity and credibility. The story showed the extreme pressure to not pursue the truth of the horror of putting profit before people's health.

Of equal horror are the two stories:  one  of making cigarettes more addictive and; the other of violence caused by a movement to leave statues which stand for a slave based economy clashing with a movement to tear down memorials of lost lives.

Lowell Bergman never wavered in his quest to get the truth told. My life has been deeply addressed by his passion and integrity to get to the root cause of human suffering and bring it to the consciousness of, at the time, 30 million viewers,  in  a way that it could not be ignored.

I am inspired to be so committed and to call for the truth in a way that can not be ignored. I also want to add that the truth to which I refer is not the opposite of lying.  It is about exposing injustice which hinders the highest good.

Who in Public Service is there doing this today? Who is calling these destructive forces into account, demanding that what history has created will not be destroyed. I have heard only shallow, biased, and politically advanrageous responses to this tragedy of our times.

We see the same happening every day in so many ways, be it regarding climate change, public education, human rights or  health care, to name a few. 

The travesties of today are overwhelming. The truth is being denied public access, while at the same time we are suffering the consequences of realities. 

We, the public, are being terrorized by relentless threats to our sense of well being, to our trust in those who we have chosen to be our leaders.

 How do we be the Lowell Bergman's who catalyze the deep resolve that exposes the truth which blocks progressive policies and respect for human differences?   

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Life Lesson in Local Politics

Our  children, metaphorically and really,  continue civilization,  moving ahead from what we have created. Some will be carried on, some will be set aside as no longer needed.

I have always been interested in being a part of creating a community where everyone feels that they belong, that they are valued,  and are able to be  responsible for its well-being.

Our family was part of a great movement to make sure that there were demonstrations of this possibility.

Today I live in a small town where people are separated by many different belief systems and mindsets.  A political hierarchy is present in every organization. Here, those who can play what I call the King Kong game get to have it their way.. I do admire their skill.

Every time I attempt to get involved, I end up in the trash, metaphorically speaking again. I just never learned to follow the herd just because that is what is what is expected.  

Recently, I  have been involved in  pioneering an organization whose mission is to inspire creativity in this community. I have been intent on creating an environment in which people feel they belong and are responsible for its well-being.

Without going into details, having pulled a group together to pull off a new event towards this goal , the planning is not going in the direction that I would prefer. In fact ,everything is going in the direction that makes it impossible for me to participate in that event.

What am I to do?

My intent  is to occasion a community building event in which inspired creativity is of the essence, I choose to go with the flow. Otherwise my expectations become Dogma which has no place in community building.  Now, having no responsibilities I can fulfill because I will not be present, I take yet another trip to the trash with this venture.  

When such occasions rise,  it is always healing to remember original intentions that were birthed in  care.

Also important is to weigh up the value of each others' gifts and limitations. Being realistic, anything I might have to offer can be offered by anyone else, and in most cases more successfully. In other words, I am expendable AND replaceable.

This intrusion on my trust in the consensus building process, really is an opportunity to assess what is important to me, where I really want to put my life, and who I want to have in my  life.

Most important, since consensus rest in what is best for the future our children inherit, is to live as a demonstration of peaceful coexistence.

The foundation of the future that is happening,  and it happening  in this small community service project. 

The realignment process is continuing with or without my approval.

So, I send the event and all involved a blessing and let whatever will be, Be!!

I read the other day that you come into this incarnation to learn lessons. If you don't learn them, you get to come back to try again.  Well, the opportunities to learn lessons are too painful to desire their continuation,  so I intend to learn the lesson I am here to learn this time.

Am I the only one experiencing this radical call to explore new ways of living?  How's it going for you?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Because I Care

Passion Flower in Crescent City FL
Sometimes I get so angry I can't even sort out the source of the eruption of this feeling.

At least four times this past year Anger has taken over and vented its frustration on whomever was around me at the time. 

I knew each time it was displaced, belonging to a deep unhealed wound.

One time it was because someone who offered to assist me left me in the lurch.

Another time it was because someone chopped down my flower bushes without discussing it with me.

Another time it was because someone lied about someone else  which caused serious damage to her ability to do her job.

Another time it was because everything changed on the national scene and I reached a point where I was even angry at every attempt by the resistance movement.

Most recently, by what seemed to be a blow to my own ego, I just quit a project I was working on.

Not until I listened to my own protest on the injustice of it all did I  hear the origin of that Anger which was overwhelming.

Out of the depths I have cried in raw anger. Real tears streamed down my cheeks.

I have never felt relieved by venting my anger. I get even more frustrated by being embarrassed and disappointed by my immature behavior. I even have ignored mindful practice of breathing when I feel Anger taking over. 

Breathing does assist in the disidentification from Anger,  and from actually performing the acts of violence I am contemplating. (note: embellishing to emphasize)

Having reached the point where there appears to be no purpose in talking things over, forgiving and forgetting, letting it all go, or getting to the root of the problem (which I already have done a hundred times), I nevertheless am making new decisions.

Mostly I cry instead of lashing out. I might confront with a question instead of letting it go. I vent my frustration instead of creating an alternative. I wish things were different instead of  discerning the gift in the reality of it all. But, mostly I cry.

At the same time, I am discovering it is relatively easy to be happy when I am making decisions about how I am going to live my life given the intrusion of events which unjustly change the status quo.

When I do not assume the role of victim, but rather create a response which respects the goodness of the changes, and disregards any presumptions about the  intention of that which has caused Anger to surge,  I am free.

When I understand my own anger, I alleviate the suffering which angry tears express.

Underneath it all, and bottom line, I care with a passion for the love of of this Earth Community.

And this Earth Community happens in these everyday events.

So the truth is, our whole lives are changing and will keep on changing. Some bring Anger to center stage. 

When we deal with our responses by the way we live our lives, we are free to be passionate creators of this  Earth Community.

When we make that kind of decision, support comes from everywhere.

How do you deal with your anger?  Where is the source of your freedom to be the gift that you are to the creative process?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

An Ode to Death

Welcome Death, welcome to my new day
Born to dance on up and down the road called "Bein' Alive"
For however long until the final moment arrives
When breathing ceases and heart beat stops
In the meantime I carry on with purpose
And when all  business is finished
When  all lessons are learned and its time to move on
When you invite me into a new kind of dance  I am willing
And take your hand as you guide me there
Safely home 
whole life lived
Perfect  in every smile and tear 
And dream and despair
All is well

May through July of 2016 I was in limbo from a dramatic life change. During that time, I remained numb. At the same time, my unconscious awareness (an oxymoron I know) was planning a healing journey.  During these three months i rearranged my whole house to accommodate living alone and free from the past. During this time I also made plans and arrangements for journeying to a healed and healthy place, a place in time where I now reside.

And so the journey through this year begins:

From August through October  I was on the road most of the time from Vermont to Chicago to  Germany to France and back. Every place I went I encountered an old memory, a new site, and a connection with those I have known and loved. I experienced  a full sense of belonging wherever I was whether it was on a road trip with my son, Randy, or a retreat at Plum village, France. 

November 2016 through February 2017 I began what I will remember as a reentry into the world around me. I got involved in the community with fear and trepidation. Would this environment allow my entry as the person I am or would I have to flex to accommodate belonging? The election war zone and my own recent years of sheltered existence  kept me on an endless nerve racking edge. At the same time, this reentry held delightful encounters and Spirit nourishing  invitations beckoning me to become new. I experienced myself as a seed  planted and beginning to grow (maybe  into a biblical tree).  Perhaps the despair was the earth being tilled to grow this new garden of me.

March through May definitely was a turning point. Spring had arrived and everything was sprouting and blooming and my venture into the community became a dance through this garden of life. Conversations with colleagues of yore, time with new friends, and deepening my own Spiritual path were filled with sunshine.  I was learning to live more fully than I have ever known. I realized this was happening when all regrets left to take their place in the past to rest in peace.

June began with my grandson, Justin Reece, completing his journey on Earth and is ending with dear sweet and lovely friend, Jan Simpson, also moving on  into the Light quite unexpectedly. These two months and two events have been laced with preparations for the coming year. My son, Russ, moved back to his home here in Crescent City, bringing with him the presence of  family in real time again. Death will invite us all soon enough. These two months have been a reckoning with the reality of Death. When Death takes my hand and leads me to the next realm, I welcome the continuation of the journey.

In the meantime, with a bubbling sense of freedom and adventure, I am committed to living each  moment wonder filled. I have plans for this year. They are not yearnings nor are they goals. They are projections of possible experience. They are Spiritual and practical and compassionate responses to a suffering planet, by the way I live my life each day.

EThis year has been preparation for a whole new cycle for me. It may turn out that it has been preparation for Death's invitation. I am just not going to be worrying about what it is or isn't. I am just going to be moving on up and down the road "Bein' Alive".

A yearly reflection on the occasion of remembering one's birth is a spiritual exercise.  I invite you to do the same. It is very personal and finally all about you. You  get to have that privilege at least once a year with ultimate legitimacy!!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Saboteur With Pure Intent

The Saboteur steps in and causes a distraction, a smoke screen, a drawing of attention to other than the focus or path. This energy  either leads to failure of intention,, or perhaps even avoidance of what is really happening.

A few years ago, I brought my new camera to a training weekend. It had the capacity to take exceptionally  high quality face portraits.  While the facilitator was spinning the context for the next session, I was snapping photos, one by one of everyone around the circle. I was oblivious to the distraction the flash was causing. Everyone was paying more attention to my self-absorbed drama than to the facilitator. Fortunately, for the sake of the training's intent, she called me into account.

Of course, I was humiliated and she was unforgiving of my behavior.  She did stop the Saboteur in its tracks and my photography game along with it. I must add, however, that I am grateful for her excellent role modeling of neutralizing the Saboteur.

Such events have the potential for occasioning  diligence in becoming present to the environment while in said environment where there are other people.

A keen sense of mindful awareness of my presence in a people filled environment is very freeing. To be able to choose my relationship to where I am, transforms unconscious sabotage into an Ally  with the intent of the purpose for being there in the first place.

My intent in taking the face portraits may have been pure, but it was different than the purpose for being there.  Instead of being a supporting energy in the training, it was a distraction, out of sync with the facilitator's objectives, therefore destructive.

This has happened to me on an occasion or two of being the facilitator of an intention.
The Saboteur within my Soul has had occasion to have its way, too.

This happens in the media all the time.  There is a real issue threatening the well being. A faux issue is created to distract reality. The real issue goes unattended, free to continue its destruction. Unnecessary to point to examples! The Saboteur is too wide-spread and devious to cover in this blog entry.

Acknowledging t the Saboteur in our lives and in the world is important. Say, "Hello there. I understand your suffering!"and let it go. It does have a pure intent. It just needs to know where it can be the most supportive of Will's intent. and be aligned with that.

Where is the Saboteur working in your life? Where do you see it working in the world?  How will you respond?

How to dissolve resentment of these coccasions.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Island of Self - Alone and Never Lonely

Many years ago, an image was burned into my memory, never to be forgotten. The image is of a priest who lived in solitary confinement, because he was who he was, for 19 years. He was able to maintain his gratitude for being alive,  in this otherwise impossible situation, by holding between his knees, as he prayed daily, a cross he fashioned from straw.

This image has served me well during those inevitable moments when being alone seems intolerable.

I am especially  mindful that this feeling of being all alone is becoming unbearable today for so many people. 

I am grateful for having suffered with that feeling and have within me ways to be alone and not fall into the dark abyss called unbearable loneliness.

My compassion is so alive right now because I have become aware of several suicides which have occurred this month. I have had conversations with friends regarding the reality of the high rate of suicide among youth in particular. 

This reality is not new. Years ago, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, of which I lived and worked, established a Student House for middle school youth because of the frequency of suicides among that age group. The aim of that demonstration was to provide fulfilling engagement that instilled a feeling of belonging and contributing to the community. It was a response to a real need in the 70's and has not lessened since then.

Some sources say that people do not know how to express emotions nor process intense emotions. We are taught to suppress and brush aside any that reveal what is labeled as "immature outbreaks". 

  Other research says that people cannot handle the chaos of today's world, not only because of the status quo turning upside down, but because of the  overwhelming influx of data and limited skills to screen it with critical thinking. 

Others would insist that some people are not able to think for themselves and depend on the charismatic leader to follow. 

I am concerned about those who contemplate and actually follow through with suicide.  This concern is not for the many "death wishes" and numbing addictions we all find a way to fall into now and then. This is about young and old  who just can't take the bullying, the pressure to live up to others' expectations,whose physical health is unbearable,  or who have their security ripped away from their otherwise peaceful existence. 

This is especially about the youth who are vulnerable to recruitment into terrorist armies to be assigned to suicide with a mission.This is about anyone who is yearning for a sense of belonging that is a safe place to be and to create.

Deep in the roots of these final acts of those who end their lives, there is an Island of Self which has been hidden from their access.  This island of Self is a consciousness which I would like to share, one which I have been given access. this place is a healing balm of joyful presence no matter what the circumstances around me. On this island there is the  feeling of being loved unconditionally and the desire to be loving in return. This ability to love beyond despair is the essence of this healing balm, available on the Island of Self.

"Voila! All are healed and have a  meaningful existence worth  living" is not the way the problem is solved.   It takes a whole movement. I want to be among that movement of Spirit which guides the Soul to the Island of Self, alone and never lonely, to where suicide is no longer an option.

How to handle emotions - how to self heal, how to acknowledge the suffering, to understand it, and to be One with a compassionate Self in response sustains my decision to be alive. To teach it to others is the essence of my renewed purpose  in this Earth Community. 

How to do this is birthing will be decided among the many scenarios I create for living this newCycle of creating a renewed Earth community most of us are entering.

There are so many ways that Earth's people are committing suicide today.  Where do you feel concerned enough to respond?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Scenarios for a Foundational Change

Like a bush of flower buds ready to blossom, Psyche is continually healing. Sometimes, we are unaware of this natural process and continue rehearsing the conversations we wish we had or the actions we would have taken if we had it to do over again. Anger and hurt prevail at the injustice of outcomes not being fair. 

Suffering with grief can be overwhelming.  As truth would have it, becoming aware of healing  already in process is the nourishment needed for new possibilities for a  life already  forever changed. 

I have been determined to leave the past behind. It is what it is. I gave myself a year to remember as the days were marked by the joyful times and the challenges, the holidays and celebrations, the new adventures and the reckoning with death, the compromises and the unresolvable. 

I promised myself to make no major decisions during the year and gave myself permission to feel what I was feeling when I was feeling it, to embrace it all, and let it go.  I did this faithfully.

Psyche has been busy, in the meantime, creating and storing images for me to explore now that I turn toward the future. One night this last week, I dreamed I had moved into a new home with refinished hardwood floors and adobe tiles  (my #1 preference in flooring). I brought with me the assortment of rugs I now use. I was spending a relaxed afternoon, arranging these rugs, trying out different ways to do so.  There were some red oriental rugs in the assortment - which I do not have and would never choose to have in my home. Nevertheless, I was trying to include them in the arrangement and was getting frustrated.  

Quickly, the dream turned to a set of floor to ceiling windows overlooking a river across a grassy field. The sun was brilliantly setting into the shore on the other side. Gratitude filled my Soul for having found such a beautiful place. 

Awakening I laid there, as I often do, reflecting on the  thoughts or dream lingering in my conscious awareness.  The dream was really easy to interpret. To ease the stubborn frustration of the red rugs, I imagined rolling them up and putting them outside the house. The floors were ready for furnishings, the first of which will be a place to contemplate the setting sun in front of the floor to ceiling windows..

I do have faith that by  intention and  opening to synchronicity, this transformation can be a happy one. I was meditating by my butterfly garden of several butterfly friendly plants. Although convinced the whole project was a failure since the milkweed has no cocoons, in the same moment, I spotted four other types of butterflies flitting around the garden.

This was a reminder that Psyche will listen. When she receives intention she continues creating scenarios for me to dream into being.  

Become quiet, let go of your thoughts and follow your breathing in and out. Let Psyche communicate with you. What are the scenarios she is presenting for your consideration?  Nothing happened? You will dream on it, I promise you. This is the way she loves, nourishes and heals your Soul.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Courage to Change On the "Stairs to Nowhere"

One morning, I was walking with a dear colleague. She is knowledgeable of the names of birds and native plants. When we are walking on other mornings, she will point out something and say its name. I don't see details at a distance, but still am grateful for her bringing its presence to my consciousness awareness.

Yesterday, as we approached it, my colleague asked if I would take a photo of the "stairs going nowhere"". It is  the only remains of one of the first buildings in Crescent City. Torn down after a fire, the building housed a "night club" for a while which, as history would tell, was jumping with live music on the weekends. 

As I reflect on the "stairs going nowhere", I am reminded of the similar occurrence of my life during this past year - it has been a year now.  I promised myself I would make no major decisions until I have had a year or however long it takes to process the radical change in my home life. 

I am also reminded that, as a result of the most recent presidential election, this nation's life radically changed. As I write of one, I am also writing of the other. The mirror remains. There is no escaping either.

Not quite ready to go ahead and make the big changes, I nevertheless have a few unavoidable decisions right here and right now. Some are in my hands to decide. Some are out of my control to manage alone. In fact, these which are out of my control, may take a whole movement of like minds to determine their direction and outcome.

Change happens and changing in response takes courage.

The big question is, "Are these steps to nowhere, or is it time to create a whole new space?"

More pragmatically, my eyesight is warped to the point where, if I am to be a responsible citizen, I must give up driving. It takes courage to be dependent on others to get around, which is the way it is if I need to be somewhere. This village is small, so I can walk anywhere I need to go. I may need to get another golf cart for those times I need groceries. I can maneuver a golf cart safely.  I have not figured it out yet, but I am sure I can find a way to get to other cities, to the airport , or to a festival or  other event when it is time to go. 

 I love my home. I do not mind living alone here as long as I can afford to have someone keep the grounds trimmed and mowed. Being alone inside my home, gives me plenty of space to write and paint and otherwise create without pressure and accompanying stressors. This environment is not much different than being on  a permanent retreat in nature, given its location on a lake in Florida. 

But, being a social being, like every other healthy human being on this planet, I need to be with people to interact in a give-and-take dance of creative endeavor. I and everyone else,  needs to be able to feel at home where we are, in this multicultural, highly diverse world.

No one is on the  "stairs to nowhere". What is needed right now might just be  a whole new structure which returns  purpose to the already existing stairs.  

 I sure am not willing to succumb to a policy where people are left alone to fend for themselves with no support when they are unable to care for themselves.

I sure am not willing to settle in a world in which some have access to all they need to thrive when the rest are dependent on them just to survive.

My visual ability may be disintegrating, but my Vision is strong and clear.

For me, the stairs will not stand alone forever. They have meaning and purpose in  beckoning me  to construct a renewed life.  I might need to have the courage to be more dependent. The decision to let my car go and never drive again, except for a vehicle I can maneuver safely locally, must be made from a compassionate place of understanding what is really real.

There is no going back. The future is presently a vacant lot overgrown with weeds ,bushes and burned trees. I see a welcoming place which radiates the  beauty of being - a contribution to a sense of belonging in a great place to be alive. 

This is true for who I am and where I live, as sure as what I see changing in our nation's life today.  Do we work together as a nation? I believe the decision is as relevant to us as me deciding to have the courage to depend on others to go someplace out of town.

The question gives rise to a whole new connotation for "dependent". Can't get around without a Vision. 

How impaired is your vision? What is your larger Vision? Do you have the courage to change and create anew?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Again With The Mirror - Synchronicity

Italy  - a Tuscan hillside holding a spring fed pool.

Since my last blog entry, I have been inundated with many synchronistically appearing resources. From this inflow, I am learning extensively and intensively.

I watched all 8 seasons, on Netflix, a series called "Heartland". It takes place near Calgary in horse and cattle country. It followed a dysfunctional  rancher family and their interactions with the surrounding community. Always a melodrama with a happy ending and breathtaking mountain views and loving connections to horses. T
he details of the dysfunction definitely reflected real life experience when I compared it to both  my own past and in the world today. Why do we think these patterns of relating are normal !!!

I watched the movie, "Celestine Prophecy" twice. I was not convinced that the true message of the book came through in this movie version. But, it was good to be reminded of the evolutionary unfolding that is happening in psyches and in the world today.

A TedX talk by Carolyn Myss entered the consciousness room next. She shared  four decisions which are essential to health and well being:
-decision to live a life of integrity
-decision to pass on wisdom
-decision to take risks
-decision to replace toxic words. (Pick a toxic word - or three words - to never use again and replace them with another word that is nourishing.)

This all brought me around to another exercise which my Interbeing mentor shared with me - not necessarily for me to do. It was called "fictional story". I wrote off the top of my head, not really thinking much about what I was writing. Then, after reading it, I reflected on what I had written. I was amazed at how, even though all the facts were different, the story  is  a mythological form of truth. To read it in this fictional form was a sigh of healing relief.

Recently, there are many distractions which have offered messages for growing healthy and happy. I am sure I can not actually be of service to my community and to the health of this Earth of ours, if all I know is destruction, despair, and hopelessly grieve over it all.  If I chronically obsess about all that is wrong in the world, I am only projecting my own chronic illness. When I can marvel at the first fruit growing on a tree in its life's time, I can support the Resistance to a disintegrating social  system. Participating in the creation of a new consciousness emerging, one is, oin truth, the creation of a progressive response to human suffering.

 I intend to pay attention to the s messages coming my way,  mirroring new possibility to replace chronic assumptions about being crucified. Which is it going to be for you?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Belonging in the Light of Here and Now

Miracle in the avocado tree. Does she belong where she is?

This year has been a year of becoming whole, a moment in a life's time when suffering and happiness have synthesized into one experience. They each hold their own integrity, and the roller coaster ride has been replaced with this unitive perspective.

this year has been charged with overwhelming anger, learning to acknowledge it, be grateful for it, and transforming it into love and understanding. Mindful moments of breathing have been transformative, as I l continue to learn to rest peacefully in the present. 

This year has been a wrenching bucketful of lessons in the arena of how to experience myself as planting only seeds of positive energy in communicating and working together with other people. How easy it is to lash out in revenge (if only in my thoughts) and shroud any possibility of reconciliation with dirt flinging  depression. . How refreshing to plant seeds in the good earth, follow  the wisdom of sun, rain and darkness in nourishing growth of the highest good in others and in the community as a whole.

Dying to any need of being welcome for the sensitive, capable, caring and gifted soul that I am, I have encountered the pain and joy of humiliation every step of the way into this whole new world of walking alone. 

The temptation has been present within me to destroy another for rejecting me, an outsider who will never belong, has stood squarely in my face, there  for me to reckon with boldly.

One person in particular, holds this mirror of an energy which is insisting on being acknowledged.

 She was there for many life cycles and has re-entered  as I become more community orientated again. 

the first encounter was when I called her to find out about who else was helping in the preparation of a benefit's meal. She went on and on about how someone else was in charge and insinuated that I was not welcome. Well, as reality would have it,  I was not only welcome, but my help was  needed. 

The second time this mirror of my own psychic energy appeared, she was taking up a collection. When it got to me, I was taking a photo of the sun rising.  She loudly, so that the rest of those gathered heard,  asked me if I had anything to give.  I chuckled at the irony of that question.

My internal response to each of these appearances of my own belief that I do not belong where I am was to explode in anger. Fortunately for her and for my own integrity, I have been guided by a wise teacher of wisdom and have learned much about  suffering and how to understand this energy in a way that divine light of love can heal and transform. 

This may seem insignificant to some To others of us, the ability to understand what is happening, letting its greater purpose be affirmed,  and facilitating its transformation, is the wisdom held in, I would venture to say,  the contentless center of the mythology of all religions.  

Well, I completed my part of the benefit meal that I agreed to prepare. I shared the photo of the sunrise. I belong where I am. I have a deep feeling of gratitude for the woman who mirrored my own suffering so I could continue my own healing journey. 

I will be walking daily, belonging on a rainy or sunny day in Crescent City, Florida.  Care to come along?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Refreshing Sea of Painful Reality and Crippling Illusion

This blog, Circle Firefly Dance, has primarily been a series of life experiences I have had, reflecting through the screen of Psychosynthesis processing. I have tried to highlight the process as I proceeded with the narrative.  I have published over 250 experiences and deleted a few, saving them to a separate file, not because I do not stand on every word I write, but because requests were made that I do so and to do so does not compromise the guidelines by which I have chosen to live.

There is no absolute way to live, no doctrine worth dying for. Each challenge to my stance is an opportunity to learn more about being alive.

I have been known to defend my position more than occasionally, but in the end, each day is a new opportunity for love and understanding rather than disdain in the act of comparison between reality and expectations.

Here changes and Now changes continually and when I am able to listen and feel deeply, I am able to go with the flow of that change.

Adjusting well to being a solitary, I nevertheless am a social person, as are we all, no matter what the extent of our introversion. I have always had difficulty going places alone and am finding that has not changed. However, I have made the effort and am making new friends, wonderful people with much to share and are fun to be with.

 The days of sleeveless are long gone, the waist band is elastic, the wrinkles prevail, and the long silences from me in the company of one or many is obvious intrusive energy. Such self depreciating must haves regarding body beautiful  must go. Truth is, what really stands before the mirror is awesome and this is true for all of us.

Great changes are occurring in my heart and in this world. Nothing really makes sense anymore. There is nothing upon which to depend (How's that for good grammar?)   Nothing to fall back on for security. No one to turn to for direction. All we have known and been is collapsing, floating down the river, blowing in the wind, dying before our eyes.

Is this bad? No. This is all good. Let it all die dead. Weep. Mourn. Grieve.  Then we can begin creating a world where we only nourish Highest Good, Divine presence, God's love, social justice,  peaceful coexistence, love and understanding.

I am willing to give it a go. How about you?

Jammin' With the Blues Just Ain't the Same Now

Underneath and encompassing the many different stories of who we are, what we are doing here and how we best be exemplars of the Divine, is a common understandingof what could be a final act or a continuation of all that there ever was.

Recently, I attended a day long musical festival with two of my friends who were performing. One of them was the only female performer of the day. She had performed with her husband for twenty five years. He has since returned to the quantum, but his reputation lives on. She now has a new partner who blends in a more modern sound to this expression of the Soul.

A man from Georgia was particularly adoring of my friend to the point where his wife finally contacted her. They agreed to meet at this festival. The friendship was instant, even more like a family reunion. I was included in this family circle. Believe me when I say I was an enthralled participant observer of an historical moment.

Their daughter also performs in the same genre and fell in love with my female role model friend who has already mastered that to which this young women aspires. She asked her if they could sing together before the day was over. This was arranged at the end during a final jam session.

My friend did not know what to expect. This young woman's presence lives somewhere in the realm of the ecstatic. She radiated a love for life and everything in it like no one I have ever met. She was filled to the overflow with praises. She, her mother, and her father danced to the music and even got me out there dancing. And talk? All praise and sharing of the positive life she has been blessed to live.

 I could go on for a long time with this family's impact on my day and my friends' well deserved praise. This family is a gift everywhere they go. Of this I am certain. Most people who come to these things enjoy the music, rarely really letting the music carry them away to the land of joyous effulgence. This day, with these folks, was a whole new way of living the blues.

Events of the day around this family worked its way up into a high frequency. And then the moment arrived when my seasoned musician friend and this young aspirant sang together, without any rehearsal. they were accompanied by one of the festival organizers who is an accomplished musician in his own right.

they sang their hearts out. My friend  sang back up almost to this reincarnation of Janis Joplin passion. Two women stood together and sang like it was their final act on earth. Yet, it was a beginning, even more so a continuation, of  a long established genre, about to come into its own.

I needed that day. We all need days like this. We need days that mirror the ecstasy of the joyful dance which rests deep within our hearts yearning for a welcoming of its presence.

My friends deserve the praises they have received. I have been blessed with observing them being showered with the praise they so deserve. They are fine performers. Their whole lives are dedicated to singing the blues and these blues are not sad the way they are performed. These songs express feelings of the heart.The voices are vehicles for  affirming the  every day reality called the blues. And then the electric guitar sends it all on its way.

People like this family from GA have been there and experienced radical freedom so they can bring such joy to a festival and can get us all dancing to the blues.

I am for this way of seeing life. How about you?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

An Act of Responsibility

Taking responsibility could be, but is not necessarily a moment of confession for having erred.
Being responsible could be the source of what has happened,  but might be a leadership characteristic.

Assuming responsibility for the  whole of it all, is accompanied by an understanding that we are One.
In that understanding, we are empowered with freedom.

 When a firepit is still  filled with ashes remaining from a campfire, the ashes must be removed.  When the firepit is swept clean and sits empty, it is ready for the next campfire. 

An empty fire pit is free.

Emptying it is an act of responsibility.

Are the ashes still sitting in your firepit?  Imagine the new campfire blazing.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Willing the "Yes" Is Responsibility Accepted

I believe this is someone else's pic - closest I can come to credits

During this past year, my greatest struggle has been to take responsibility, as the victim, for the pain and the injustice involved in the cycle of events which has left me alone in the desert, metaphorically speaking.

 During this season,  my  historical  Christianity roots tells the story of the temptation to escape the inevitable by sacrificing the truth.

 The present national political situation is nearly a mirror of my own life experiences during this  past year.  As has been the case with my own situation, I have also struggled with arriving at a place of unconditional positive regard for the leader of this nation.  How can I forgive, let go of,  a highly organized, systematic, marketing campaign, designed to manipulate the course of events through big bold lies and brutal alienation?" - (let alone completely accept the results)

 Yes, I see my  own experience of this last year mirrored in the present political upheaval. At the same time, I am asking  myself,"Where is my responsibility for these totally unexpected outcomes?"

In this process of accepting responsibility, I consider the following:

1.   I am not going to change either side of this mirror of the past no matter what.  It is what it is here and now. At the same time, there is always available a new sunrise every day.

2.   The scars which are forming from a deeply penetrating wounding,  indicate healing is occurring. It may take years and a multitude of antidotes,  plastic surgery and even esoteric healing techniques. Or it night resolve itself very soon.

3.  The traumatizing events which led to the outcome have no power over me. Letting them determine my thoughts, emotions, and reactions is a waste of energy.  I will not nourish this drama with my attention.

4.   I will not deny destiny. I don a robe of peace, embroidered with love and understanding. It is not comfortable. This robe is the Will to to say, "Yes!" to the way life is, responsible for how I contribute to the whole and its healing power.

5.   I take responsibility for having underestimated the danger, assuming all would work out for the best without making an effort to define "the best". I have always preferred freezing to fight or flight.  I did not take time to disidentify from my own pain and need for support in order to listen and observe critically.

6.   Even avoiding red flags was a great opportunity to deny the probability of the inevitable effects of the manic onslaught onto a bright future.

The truth exists only in unconditional positive regard for the really real, not in negative perspectives, including psychological analysis of personality disorders. While confrontation was needed, it did not  inspire a nation to unify. Instead we are separate, isolated, and this is sustained with lies.  Love, empathy and understanding, even basic care has been upstaged by a clear intent to go back to the way things used to be a long time ago. You have to wonder if it was really all that great, given the present havoc the past has shaped the character of the present.

Now, responsibility for the whole thing means to acknowledge who I am, who we are, let go, accept the call to heal, and dance the great, "Yes," all the way to the final breath.

That final breath is an exhale, accompanied by a deep sigh. A refreshing emptiness remains.

What happens after a long silence in this emptiness is a new beginning. There is plenty of time for this new beginning to unfold. this is a healing process.

Are you willing to exhale that last breath with a sigh of release, dwell in the silent emptiness and let the new beginning unfold, insight by insight?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

ThreeWomen on A Mission

Three  movies, all based on true stories:  Florence Foster Jenkins, Noble, and Redwood Highway.

Three women: Florence Foster Jenkins, Christina Noble, and Anna Marie.

Florence was an extremely wealthy women, by inheritance from her father's estate. She contributed generously to musical endeavors in New York City. An accomplished pianist, she could no longer play. She did some social circle acting and decided to become a singer, with an image of herself as able to sing like Lily Pons, the famous soprano diva. Her singing was simply awful (it was especially humorous to watch Meryl Streep belting out these screeches). Florence was supported by literally everyone of the people she kept close to her., who all were benefitting financially from their loyalty. The newly hired piano accompanist attempted to point out the reality but was quickly hushed by a reminder that he was making good money.  In the end, the illusion was broken, after learning that she had been the brunt of great laughter, from her solo concert at Carnegie Hall. She died shortly after, but not without sharing with her "devoted" husband, the words,  "Maybe I can't sing, but I sang!" Then she died while drifting off to final sleep, as she imagined herself singing, this time with wings and emulating her illusion.

Christina Noble was an Irish woman whose childhood was poverty filled suffering  - abuse, hunger, and abandonment. This was during the Vietnamese War which triggered a dream of her being there alleviating poverty stricken children's suffering.  She did goto Viet Nam as an adult an proceeded to do manifest that dream,  refusing to give up until she succeeded in convincing benefactors and bureaucrats of the possibility to change things for the better. 

Anna Marie was an elder whose son had placed her in an assisted living facility, selling her house, her belongings  and her car. She was filled with resentment, especially when he moved her to a second  home so she would be closer to where he lived. Her new home mates supported her resentment. Her granddaughter's wedding was coming up. She did not support it and was not going to go. She was estranged from her beloved granddaughter and resented her son. After having a strange dream she didn't understand, she set out to walk to her granddaughter's wedding 80 miles away. Her reasoning was that "they "took everything else away but she still had her feet". She didn't tell anyone of  her plans. They would  have stopped her. She did arrive after encountering allies and obstacles along the way - in the style of  Joseph Campbell's great mythic journey. Arriving just in time, she had left a trail behind her of those who searched frantically for her, fearing for her safety. She, on the other hand, gained a new perspective on her own life experiences which had embittered her. And she became aware of the meaning of her dream.

 I really struggled, even as I sat in the place of Higher Self , with the authenticity of Florence . She paid her way through life.Yet, she had suffered much and deserved the recognition and admiration that she was receiving . Finally, in the end, it was clear that she had no regrets. She had reconciled to the life and the voice that she had lived. She found her voice. That is the message to me. It is important to have found your own grateful voice of the heart

 Having lived a life of service myself, I could more easily relate to Christina. She wanted to alleviate human suffering and so did I . Perhaps neither one of us realized that by our service to social change , we were also alleviating healing our own pasts. It doesn't really matter life has made us who we are and she definitely did make a difference in Vietnam in the lives of so many children . It was the beginning and that's what our lives always are. 

 Anna Marie was a woman of great determination . She was ordinary people . She had to leave her home . She had to make a new life and a new lifestyle . She moved from her home and she moved from another home and she was better because she did not understand this loneliness of having to start over again and again . She to set out to make a statement and in the process, was able to heal her own inner turmoil and she proceeded . She felt the freedom available in being alone in a new environment. She experienced the support that is present as  she proceeded on her journey. She was assaulted with some of the harsh realities which led her to awakening, finally, to the source of her suffering and how it was an illusion that a lifetime of loneliness had shrouded . She saw the parts of her life when she was happy. One could say that she was the great drama queen as she went about making this statement. Truth is though, a woman's got to do what she's got to do for the best of all reasons - Love and Understanding . 

 Every woman on this earth, I and man, has a purpose. Each has a unique contribution. Nothing worth doing ever fits into a predetermined pattern. Life happens as an unfolding adventure.  Life is good that way.

 Who is the woman in your life, who, for you, is a heroine  on your meditative council? As a subpersonality in your psyche's heart, what name do you give her ?