Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paradise in Plain Sight

The first time I  saw Karen Maezen Miller's name was on the book jacket of Momma Zen.  I was experiencing a rare alone moment as a new mother, drinking a Starbucks coffee in a large bookstore when I found myself trembling in front of the display.  The subtitle, "Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood" were the words that made me feel less like everything I was doing was WRONG WRONG WRONG, less as if I was totally screwing everything up.  I was a new, midlife mom and definitely walking that crooked path.  I laughed and wept through every page, then started the book over and absorbed them.  Then came Hand Wash Cold, more brazen and hilarious observations on how to survive humanness through the endless and thankless task of laundry and, oh yes - the path of zen.  I devoured that one too, then started it over again.  Now, Paradise in Plain Sight has arrived and I don't want to finish it.  I know I can start it over again but I am really breathing this one in the first time around.

Anyone who has read Momma Zen or Hand Wash Cold will have heard about "The Garden" but for the benefit of any who - gasp - may not have heard of Karen Maezen Miller, I will tell you that she bought a small neglected house that had a 100 year old equally neglected zen garden.   In Paradise in Plain Sight she eloquently speaks of the kismet that brought her to that door and her road to rediscover the garden.

But don't take my word for it.    From the chapter entitled, Moon, "I was in that peculiar misery that follows as soon as you're handed what you ask for.  Up close, it doesn't looks quite the same."  From, Path, "Once you admit you are lost, everything you see is a sign pointing home."  This lovely bit from Curb, "The best parts are nearly always the parts we think we don't have.  At least, that is how it looks from the curb, where we judge ourselves at a distance from everything and everyone else.  We can stand on the curb for a long time, turn it into a crossroads from which every direction seems unappealing or even dangerous, afraid to take even a single step, so accustomed are we to feeling unlucky, unloved or stuck.  That day, I felt like all that, but I was about to get my way.  Everything was about to change.  It always is." And some favourite bits from my (so far) favourite chapter, Weeds, "Weeding is not a popular pastime, even among gardeners.  Weeds are the very emblem of aversion.  Weeding doesn't produce a rewarding outcome.  No grand finale, no big reveal. There's absolutely nothing to show for it. ...The most common weeds in the yard are crabgrass, dandelion and chickweed.  The most common weeds in the world are greed, anger, and ignorance.  This is the way to weed.  Anchor yourself low to the ground so you can get a good look at what you're dealing with.  Use a spade to loosen the hardpack and go deeper.  The next part is tricky.  Take hold of the stem and apply your attention, allowing the root to release.  Haste and carelessness will only aggravate the situation.  Sometimes you can get the root on the first tug.  Other times you'll just tear off the top.  Even if you don't get it all the first time, that's okay.  It may take two or three, ten or twenty, one hundred thousand or a million times, to get the root completely."

Yes, yes, yes.  And you can see and hear the lovely Ms. KMM here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My two month blogaversary

It has already been two months since I last posted, marking another cavernous space wherein I have gone dormant, figuratively speaking.  Although, as much as being a bear this winter has its appeal, I have been busy doing my life work anyway.

I was struck by this post about showing up and being meaningful and it inspired me to say that I, too, want what I put out here to matter, to find what resonates deep within me with the hope that it might also resonate deep within you and make you want to carry the ripple far and farther out.

I have been hearing the galloping of the year of the wood horse approaching, feeling the drum beat of the hooves thrumming up from the earth.  Are you ready to trust your wild stallion and ride bare back through this year?  I am.  I shed heavily with  snake last year, with yet some patches of skin left to ruck off.  I realized today that I am ready.  Under all the changes and shifts, the angst and fist pounding denial.  Under the healing and the nourishment, there is the nugget of me who is feeling the light on her skin, the barest glimpses of the truth of who I am and what I am here to do.  Are you with me?

A glimpse of me and my world lately....

Friday, November 22, 2013

Some things that were brought to my attention

First, driving around town yesterday we saw a rainbow up in the clouds on a day with no rain in sight.  The photo is poor, but you can see the circled diagonal streak that didn't translate from the magnificent colours that I tried to capture.

We took it as a sign of much needed hope.

I recently received an email from an organization (who will remain unnamed since they are now seeking less publicity) asking me to unlink a link in one of my blog posts  After a little investigation the link was in a post from almost three years ago and appeared in a spam comment which I had ignored.  I thought it was pretty ballzy for an organization to hire people to leave comments on blogs to link their business and then to demand their own thin sort of advertising be removed.  I found myself with an earworm of that old Monty Python song, "Spam".

And I'll leave you with my latest pet peeve which is reading things like "c if u"  and "b4" anywhere that isn't a text message or a tweet.  I'm really not as crabby as I sound.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My friend, Frida

I have an awesome friend who I call "Frida" and she calls me "Frida" too, in recognition of living our lives out loud, in full colour like Frida Kahlo.

She posted a photo on Facebook of a fabulous t-shirt created by Rachel Awes and I jokingly said I wear a size medium.  And the next thing I know, there was a size medium in my mailbox, gifted to me by Frida.

With a lovely little note.

(Pssssst.  Rachel Awes is now over here.)

All she did was listen and kept her heart open.  And gifted me more than a t-shirt, she gifted me renewed hope that I am heard which is especially B-I-G to me as I pray fervently for Fukushima and the healing and survival of all living things on our earth.  Thank you, friend.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This Post Has No Title

This was not the blog post I started to write a week ago.  Last Friday I was going to talk about Halloween,  the nasty weather, friendship and finding community.  Then a vicious wind storm ripped through, breaking what would not bend

creating an electrical fireball and exploding  transformers, leaving behind crop circle burns on lawns

 melted lava 

and other Rorschach-esque metallic splotches etched into the sidewalks.

This was followed, on a personal level, by an allergic reaction to medication for a root canal gone wrong and on a global level, a painful awakening to what has been going on in Fukushima, the black rhinoceras being declared extinct and typhoon Haiyan rearranging innumerable lives.  

I no longer have the ability to make sense of a day, find platitudes or comfort at all.  The only thing I can do is witness.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby Steps

This past year I have often thought of this blog as "my poor neglected space".  Now I see it has been a concentration of silently counting my breaths in and out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and over again.  Baby steps, is what I need to climb back to my creative self.

While I've been gone I have started and stopped, feasted and fasted, struck out and held close.  I have been sitting in virtual circle and digging deep, excavating nuggets of gold and shards of fractured glass.  I have lost and found hope

meditated on chicken feet

and equally complex natural worlds unto themselves.

I have journeyed

and squirrelled myself away from the world

witnessed miracles

and came fearlessly close to nature.

I asked for one feather 

and received whole birds, and more.

Right now, I am making moon mandalas with Lisa Hofmann over here

while my heart cracks wider and wider and I am called to go deeper and deeper into the excruciatingly lonely practice of forgiveness.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Toot! Toot!

I am tooting my own horn here, knowing full well how long it has been since I have posted.  My wonderwoman friend, Roos, is hosting a give away of three of my cookies.  Go over and see her, drop her a line of encouragement and enter her give away.  I urge you to become familiar with her circumstance and realize that it could be you in her shoes, as I was thirteen years ago.  Life is wacky and weird and having cyber support is tremendous.  Like Mother Teresa said, "Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Swirling, Swirling

My squirrel-y Virgo mind has been trying to measure the sacred in my life.  Starting with this altar I built for winter and to work through Jane Cunningham's Choosing True over Nice class.

And the smaller altar built as a reminder for my work with Grandmother Bear in SouLodge this month.  Each piece holds strong meaning, symbolism for what is  going on deep inside me ~ transitions, shifting of my DNA, a kind of goulashing of lessons presented and internalized.  I can not grasp any of it firmly and yet it is all "there", at a level of connection that defies words.

This week brought much gratitude into my orbit.  Libations from a grateful neighbour for helping to move her car over a snow drift

beautiful hand crafted envelopes, all the way from Amsterdam

another hand made card from California

a previously quoted $700 refrigerator repair bill reduced to a much more manageable $160 bill which allowed me to work with Anna Wingfield for a bottle of Bespoke (oh yes, it did and I do and it is).

More gratitude came from Sherry with this card

in response to my last post about supportive parenting.  In that post I questioned whether I give too much or not enough support to my nine-year old son.  My discussions with him over creating and selling his own ideas was such a mirroring experience for me.  It brought how I/we value our personal work, how to market it and how charity/gratitude also plays a role.  I hadn't meant to solicit funds here or to actually sell the newsletter that he had put together.  On Sunday morning, at Riley's insistence, we walked the streets, looking for buyers, so confident he was in what he had created.  And we met every kind of person - the rude, the kind, the I-would-love-to-but... (fill in the blank).  A whole geography of consumers.  He floored me with his courage in approaching strangers, in his belief that he had a product that people would want.  All the while I could hear the lesson coming to me about my own work and how I value it (or don't) and how I put it out there (or don't).   It is this example of synchronicity that is coming at me from all sides now.  Parenting 101, the student is the teacher.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Limited Edition

For Sale.  Limited Edition of five.  50 ¢ each with all money going to Unicef.  The Daily Flight, all the breaking news about dragons.

My son, he slays me.  He inspires me and makes me so proud.  I wonder if sometimes I go too far nurturing his creativity.  But how far is too far?  As a parent I am so often sitting at the crossroads of not enough and too far.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Now, where was I going with this...

I started this post a few days ago, right after I finished (in two sittings - both in the bathtub) Anne Lamott's, "Help Thanks Wow; The Three Essential Prayers".

It is no secret that I hang on her every word and my only complaint is that the book is too short.  I always want her words to go on and on.  I particularly resonated with her Fourth Essential Prayer, which I won't give away here because you really should read the book.  Another one of my favourite parts is where she talks about staying safe and comfortable (page 86) - I shook my head, laughed and thought, yeah, that's me and then she makes me want to go out and buy a big box of blackberries because she knows that I am hungry for peace of mind.  See?  You really have to read this book now.

The two weeks we had off was really magical.  We skied four times (!) - what else are you going to do with so much snow? And last night a feather was left anonymously on my keyboard.  As magic does, it appeared out of nowhere.

And don't ya love this little Buddha finger puppet?  

He sits on the top of my Self Love Perfume Stick created and gifted to me by one of my Soul SiStars, the beautiful and talented Anna Wingfield.   She also makes personalized perfumes and gifting myself with a bottle of her magic is on my list of things to do in 2013.

And speaking of magic, I received this Chakra candle set.   Don't you love how it mirrors the gem altar I had set up?

There is plenty of magic in the air here, rich energy that came in with the shifts of 2012.  Like the common thread running through my life illuminated by both my dear friend, Sherry and by squirrel:  "learn by doing, rather than studying".  Thank you Sherry and squirrel, message received.  And Sherry, I would appreciate it if you would stay close; squirrel, I give you permission to, uhm, back off a little.

Friday, December 28, 2012

On pictures and words

I have been gone so long, this place feels very unfamiliar to me now.  I have been transmuting and shifting along with my Soul Sisters and the Universe and it's all good.

Have you made any new year's resolutions yet or chosen your word for the coming year?  My only resolution is to invest in some new underwear (you really don't want to ask....)  Last year's words, "No" and "Me" really played out in my life in a strange way which is why I hesitate to say that lately, "Letting Go" keeps coming to me as my theme/mantra for the closing out of 2012 and the welcoming in of 2013.  But it's all good.

And speaking of good, we received a good amount of snow yesterday, breaking a record that held since 1969.

Here is a shot of my sidewalk -

that's it - the giant holes leading horizontally in the shadows.  And behind the sidewalk is the hole my car sat in for most of the day.  Now, you can even see a bit of road beyond the car hole.  But I think I like this shot taken by someone else in the city more

Today the sun is shining and nothing says Day After The Storm more than birds at the feeders

In a short few minutes I counted cardinals, red polls, finches, chickadees, sparrows, wood peckers and nut hatches before the greedy starlings came in to clean out the lot and help the fat squirrels underneath to glean the leavings.

And after the storm I find myself still at a loss for words, where I am to put myself out "there", to share and be seen.  I am finding rich inner layers and my own tribe within myself - my archetypes vying for equal time whilst I navigate this galactic shift and where I sit within it from moment to moment.

At this time last year I was yearning deeply for a tribe and now I can say that I did find an incredible virtual tribe of Soul Sisters as well as a local monthly meditation group, both of which have poured a balm over my open wounds, seen me through, cheered me on and held me in deep prayer as I navigated my waters of change, of my own story.  I feel incredibly blessed.