Finding Your Unique Voice

August 17, 2013: Our Guest Chiara Wood and “Finding Your Unique Voice”

The Hilltop Women’s Writing Collective is delighted to invite Chiara Wood to lead our fifth workshop of the year,
“Finding Your Unique Voice”
When we write, we speak from something unique to ourselves.  No one else has your “voice”.  Have you found what is unique about it?  Can you project this quality into several different characters?

Join us for this workshop as we learn to recognize and develop our authentic “voice” and throw it into any unique character we wish to create in our stories.

Chiara Wood is A Healing Artist by calling, An Officiate/Ceremonialist for the celebrations, A Social Justice Warrior at heart and a Writer by nature.  She writes as herself at:
She also writes as her nom de plume, published author of spicy romance, Savannah Aries:   Find her as well on FaceBook:  or
and as co-founder of:    The Happiness Initiative Tacoma/Pierce County.
Saturday, August 17,
1310 MLK WAY
Refreshments provided

Hunger For Happiness

                                       A Hunger For Happiness?
                                              An Gorta Mór
                                         “The Great Hunger”

The experience of happiness means different things to different people and cultures.  This past year I’ve worked on two separate projects; one addressing hunger, the other happiness. They’re intrinsically enmeshed one to the other.  I’d only intellectually grasped how much so before this year of deep inquiry.

Clearly, if one has an empty bowl, an empty belly, if our children are hungry, then our primary concern is to find nourishment followed closely by seeking shelter.  An Gorta Mór comes from the Gaelic; meaning Great Hunger.  The Irish used that term to describe the potato famine of the early 19th century, when a blight on the one crop that provided the most calories for that impoverished country, failed for a series of years.  A million people starved.  A million more found passage to America in the pursuit of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Let’s say, for a delusional moment, that we could suspend the notion that hunger is not an issue in America.  This is the country where millions of families have come from somewhere else seeking opportunities in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  If we’ve been able to quell the hunger in our belly, only then can we begin to wonder how to satisfy our extended hunger for a sense of overall prosperity.  Even in the midst of our struggle for survival, An Gorta Mór cries out in our bewildered search for meaning, for love and belonging, acceptance and appreciation, recognition and respect.  The hunger becomes enmeshed in what The Happiness Initiative Project (HIPinthe253) yearns to address, advance and advocate:  A new paradigm, a restructured economy based on the measurement of well~being as experienced within the collective community.  (see: Measuring Happiness)

I’ve never experienced true physical hunger, so I’ve had the luxury of An Gorta Mór for an economy of well~being that supports each one to be seen and heard, honored and counted, to matter.  Have you taken the Survey?  (see: Take The Survey).  Does your score measure your innate hunger to create and express?  How about to find meaning and connection within your own community?  How about contentment and satisfaction with the way things are where you live?  Co-founder of HIPinthe253, Ana Maria Sierra and I, often discuss the chasm between our ‘imagined’ life and the one we’re living day to day here in the 253.  This awareness of what is and what could be fuels my deep yearning to promote The Happiness Initiative Project here in Tacoma/Pierce County and beyond.

Now that I have learned how vast is the need within our community for emergency food distribution, how the growing numbers of people in my community live with daily/weekly food insecurity and scarcity, my resolve is ever more keen.  We must do what we can where we can.  To the further understanding and correction of the enmeshment of hunger to happiness, I devote myself.

The Beat Goes On….




The Beat Goes On

The sun comes up and goes down.
We lose our way or we find it…but

The Beat Goes On

We strive and achieve.
We hope and dream.
We fail and we lose…but

The Beat Goes On

What we think or say or do reflects who we are.
We change our minds.
We change our ways or we don’t…but

The Beat Goes On

We live and laugh.
We love or hate.
We wish and lament.
We die or they do…but

The Beat Goes On

We give or take.
We suffer or enjoy.
We weep…but

The Beat Goes On

We judge or praise.
We condemn or ignore.
We criticize or encourage…still

The Beat Goes On

It comes down to perseverance.

It goes on whether we’re saints or terrorists.
It goes on with us or without us…but

The Beat Goes On

Giving Is Good !!!

GIVING IS GOOD !  It improves health, spreads wealth, strengthens bonds and best of all…It’s Contagious!  (from the cover of ODE Magazine December 2011)

And it’s easy!  Today is the last day to feel Good about Doing a Good Thing and get a  2011 Tax Deduction.

Circumstances for so many of us in this Hella Year 2011 may prevent us from donating to all the Doers Of Good Deeds across the globe.  Don’t you wish you could?  I DO!

But  ~hereinthe253~   We can GO LOCAL and support Women (and their children) even in a small way, by donating what we are able to a few of the important organizations providing resources and much needed Help in our community Every Day.  Just $5 to each sends a message to my heart that I care and $5 from Many of Us…Adds Up.  Below are some of my favorites, but my no means All of my favorites.  ~hereinthe253~  we have an amazing number of wonderful non-profits that struggle daily to Help and Provide for our sisters and brothers in need.  And we must remember that…there but for the grace of God go you or I.   Namaste

Catherine Place
a growing movement of hospitality and hope for women

Breast Cancer Resource Center
because no one should have to face breast cancer alone

eliminating racism~empowering women

The Fund For Women and Girls  (TGTCF)
Girl Friend to Girl Friend/Power of The Purse

New Phoebe House
recovery is beautiful

Crystal Judson Family Justice Center
offering hope and safety

Compassionate Blessings for a better way in this New Year 2012

O X Y T O C I N !!!

P  M  S
The Ultimate Antidote?
Oxytocin! *

Pre Menstrual Syndrome…the best antidote?  Oxytocin!

Particularly Meaningful Sadness….the kindest antidote?  Oxytocin!

Protecting Momentous Secrets….the naughty antidote?  Oxytocin!

Patiently Managing Sobriety….the fun antidote?  Oxytocin!

Practiced Mental Stoicism….the lighten-up antidote?  Oxytocin!

Perennial Male Silliness….the perfect antidote?  Oxytocin!

Perpetually Misperceived Stories ….the fools antidote?  Oxytocin!

 Post Menopausal Sanity….the only antidote?  Oxytocin!

* Oxytocin…the hormone, is natural, free, healthy, pleasurable and can be made in the comfort of your own home.  It has been shown to be associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships and psychological boundaries.  It is released during childbirth and lactation as well as during sexual orgasm in both men and women.  It is especially wonderful for women as an antidote to just about anything bugging the hell out of us.  Make sure to get a healthy dose of Oxytocin any way you like…and often.  It’s good for you!

Solo…On The Ledge.

Solo…On The Ledge

Mt. Adams   ~   August 2011

I am alone, and I am not.  Not really. 

That sweet bird perched atop this chartreuse moss covered tree, the one broken clean off by the elements, quite possibly so that I may have an unobstructed view of the distant jagged peaks above the forests below.  That suspicious creature, with her nervous searching glances, peers at me sitting silently on this craggy precipice, where before there was only a warm breeze embracing vistas of magnificent greens and blues, healing colors of nature.

I am certain she is female; she has the ilk of determined multi-tasking energy so familiar to our gender.  Interesting how much time and attention she has afforded me from her less than languid life.  She leaves me.
Today, this morning, I shall be languid for her.  I have the time to move slowly or not at all.  The rare lack of tasks, allowing me to breath in the pleasure of this soothing alpine air, time to listen to soft sounds of insects, the clickety-click cadence of the shrub-hopper’s song sounds like a sprinkler system in some cul de sac far from here.  Even the mosquito’s whine has become harmonious to my ears now that I have ceased resisting them, perhaps my detached expansive demeanor doesn’t emit an attracting scent that favors a landing.

And this tiny curious chipmunk, a highlander of a different stripe, scooting up over the ledge to investigate what was not here before, definitely primal male, surveying, establishing and protecting the perimeter of his domain.  We all belong here, even me a visitor, a stranger from outside this natural circle, as curious to them as they are to me.  Satisfied that I am neither food nor threat.  He leaves me now as well.

I am alone and I am not.  Not really.

My heart longs to satisfy it’s deep desire to embrace, fall in love with and merge with the pine scented breeze, the just right warmth of the sun, the distant snowy peak, the lush verdant greens of these trees dressed in moss garments, the sloping hillside, the pastures and meadows beyond.  Behind me, the stark glacial ice, mirrored in the still pond below, the rocks substantial, patient, comforting in their steady antiquity, clouds leisurely drifting across the sky, subtly changing the hue, the tone, the aperture of the vista.  I love falling in love. 

This solo, a song not so different from my every day journeying in the world.  There can be beauty in every moment; wonder in every breath, serenity is a choice.

I am alone but I am not.  Not really.

I can carry a tune, sing my part in perfect harmony, join the chorus, learn the lyrics or create a new melody.  Or I can sing solo.  My heart decides.  I have the courage to follow my heart.


Are You Prone To Ponder?


Me Too! 

Especially Social, Political and Spiritual

issues Evolving in these Times of Rapid

Change and Transformation.

Sometimes wistful, sometimes a rant,

To express…is my Higher Calling.

the rapture,TEN Important Things To Ponder While Waiting For The Rapture

Number 10

Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Number 8

If you are wondering how to please a man just remember this simple rule: men have two emotions Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, either give him a good reason to have one or make him a sandwich.

Number 7

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they may not bother you for weeks, months, maybe even years.

Number 6

Some people are like a Slinky…not really good for much of anything but entertainment…so it’s a big smile if they ever flip over backwards for you.

Number 5

Health nuts may one day feel silly when they find themselves lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

Number 4

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 3

Why does a slight tax increase cost you many hundreds or thousands of dollars, and a substantial tax cut saves you maybe…thirty?

Number 2

In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world seem weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it seem normal.

And …Number 1?

Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers–what you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.

My personal advice is to stay calm and….

.“Don’t worry about old age–it doesn’t last that long.”

….(especially if you decide to cycle backwards  !!!)….

AND…how I got here.

 AND…How I Got Here.

I once, subscribed to a spiritual training that provided me with many important concepts and leanings, but it was also quite polarizing.  I had already been practicing Polarity Therapy as a healing art for years before it dawned on me what, about that training, didn’t work for me.  From the first introduction to the last disappointment there were resonate and useful learnings, which fueled my curiosity and propelled me to further inquiry, but more often I witnessed and experienced discordant and disenfranchising victimization.  Nuance and shades of grey were deeply frowned upon, but the idea and practice of ‘versus’ was exalted.

The general focus was always on the problem of being human which was thought of as pathological, sick and wrong.  The grand struggle required to overcome this sad reality involved complicated levels of energetic warfare used to eliminate fear while simultaneously instilling it. The lofty goal was nothing less than clearing all pathology blocking one’s ascension.  This was tricky, and didn’t transfer easily to one’s usual social and family situations, which were often thought to be the core of one’s greater problems.  It was a lot of work, a struggle, which we were taught was necessary for enlightenment. Little emphasis was placed on pleasure and enjoyment. I didn’t fully catch the deeper confusing dichotomy inherent in those teachings until I saw them in the rear-view.

Toward the end of that entrenched time, I happened onto another system, with much less complicated, much more fun And engaging methods for overcoming fear And blocks to success, happiness And enlightenment.  This one offered an exciting array of practices that once understood And experienced could be reduced to catchy sound bite phrases that were easy to remember and implement.  It was invigorating, rejuvenating And useful.  Being human was considered delightfully obvious And natural, something to be grateful for.  It was an adventure AND refreshing.  I enjoyed it.

The first was meditative, cerebral, spanning a number of years with me commuting to my closed community before my disenchantment overruled.  The second was complete within a couple years of action packed activities And a changing cast of characters.

The first saw every situation as this or that, good or bad, right or wrong, pass or fail, all or nothing and itself as a service, a savior to all of creation.  The second allowed much more personal leeway And room to explore one’s own version of success And happiness. Enlightenment the delightful byproduct of becoming a better person more equipped to be of service to humanity.

Both banged dents all up in my wallet.

Some time later came the massive download…it was unsought, delivered free of cost AND changed everything. I was driving home from Canada with my daughter, after a thrilling exhausting white water river rafting trip.  We had just crossed the border into the States, when suddenly I had the sensation that both my head AND heart were expanding, exploding, AND at the same time I was completely able to drive as if nothing at all were occurring. As the sensations became more intense, I had no idea what was happening AND I had no fear, I intuitively knew that I was physically fine. I felt a sense of excitement when I suddenly realized that I was downloading a new operating system.  My physicality was highly electrically magnetically charged, vibrating and expanding AND yet my essence, my self was calm, serene, receptive.  As the download continued AND became more intense I was fascinated with all the processes happening at once…driving became a distraction.  We pulled off the road for an ice tea on the patio garden of a bistro.  I couldn’t speak and my daughter knew to simply sit with me.

It took months to be able to coherently articulate what had changed.  I began to call it The AND Operating System.  During the initial download, all the obvious polarizing concepts, words, thought patterns were deleted and replaced with AND.  For instance words like But and Or disappeared, replaced by AND, This or That became This AND That.  The change was good AND changed everything.  As time passed AND I became  accustom to the more subtle aspects of how it worked, I experienced greater ease AND serenity, inclusivity AND reconciliation, more love AND less angst, a broader view AND an acceptance of narrowed certainty, the straight line between poles began forming circles of acceptance.

It no longer matters to me how AND why it happened to me AND what it has led to.

The world continues to spin as it did before AND I see that we are all humans here, having a spiritual experience AND spirits here, having a human experience… correct as it is…integrated in the balance of how it manifests for each of us …AND it’s all good…AND…there is Much More than meets the eye.  Open your eyes And see…Open your hearts AND feel.  Witness the Extraordinary in each expanded moment.  We are all here for a purpose.  We can’t really make a mistake, although some paths are easier, more pleasurable than others.  There is always a chance and a choice to change direction when spirit moves. No Regrets.

Doing Despair

Doing Despair


 Life is pretty good.  Things are better than just Ok.  At least compared to the wretched scenes of natural mass destruction, chaos, war, poverty, political confusion and complicated issues heard nightly in the newscasts.  At least for me and for most the people I know.  At least at the moment.

There are, of course, the good news networks, rags and writings that, in spite of it all, radiate hope and solutions, so necessary to the counterpoint.  And I’m grateful for that.  But I’m not fooled.  Because behind, under or alongside all that appears to be going well, no matter what they say, or I tell myself, there is despair.  The daily deal is how to do it.

That’s my plight and it’s luxurious. Really?  A plight that’s luxurious?  Yes, because I am lucky enough to be spared most of what would send me spiraling into a despair that I can’t climb out of.  So far.  That’s a luxury compared to so many; in Japan, Haiti, Africa, or the barrios and ghettos of the world. I can get around it, put it where it belongs, but I still know it’s there.  I can feel it.  There is just no way to end it, stop it or ignore despair.  It exists.  It’s always just around the bend.

There but for the grace of God, go any of us.  And even with God’s merciful grace overall, no one entirely escapes despair.  People we love become ill, suffer and die.  People we know have terrible things happen to them.  The daily deal is how to do despair while simultaneously doing hope or optimism or even simple acceptance of what essentially IS.

Despair feels like the shadow government of my life.  It works behind the scenes, is exempt from the usual rules, doing what it will when it wants without regard to free will.  I cannot deny this shadow.  I can’t pretend, for long, that it has no hold on me.  I can, however, from time to time, with Very Great Determination, put it in it’s place:  behind me.  Still, the truth is that the most I can do on any given day is position despair beside me.  And I’ll admit I prefer to keep an eye on it, know where it is, what it’s up to, so that it isn’t as able to catch me unawares, roll over me, buckle my knees, or break my heart more than a few times a day.

That’s just how I do despair on a daily basis.  And I am so blessed and grateful to have lived this long and still be able to keep pace.  Today is my birthday and it is a luxury I am not taking for granted.  And I’m happy, because despair has apparently decided to throttle back and allow me a carefree celebration in a sunny paradise, even though I am aware it is still lurking in the shadows.  Thank You.  Stay put.

My Writes

My Writes

“…whatchu know ‘bout my writes?

Whatchu  know ‘bout what’s weak, what’s tight…?”

My Writes from Art Official Intelligence….de la Soul

This is about writing.  I found some old journals.  One from 2001, the other from 2003.  I read them last night and had no qualms whatsoever about tossing them in the trash.  They were written in really lovely books that I probably purchased from T.J. Maxx, but that didn’t’ make them any more palatable. And  I learned something:  When I’ve journaled, it’s only for the angst. Months of happiness go by undocumented, a couple days of despair all sound the same and get recorded like a stutter. Those journals could have been written in 1971, 1981 or 1991…the general theme is always the same, first and foremost pitiful, then optimistic.  The nature of my nature.  First comes the whining, then the inevitable talking myself out of it.  I will never journal again. I write for pleasure now.

I think I actually do love to write.  But I may not have the nature of a true writer.  I’m probably a little too hyper-action oriented with too vast an array of other interests.  I’ve read that writers, by nature, are obsessed with writing. The isolating concept of tapping away on my computer for hours or days, the constant thinking about things to write about, agonizing about how to write them, despairing about how they were written, taking notes of new ideas and sticking them someplace I can find them, living in a waking-life where everything becomes a storyline, even recording crap about things on a walk…I do as well.  I just won’t do it consistently, the way I’ve read that writers must, to actualize their craft.

I have a friend who actually writes for a living.  He says that real writers, are obsessive word geeks, neurotic, narcissistic, who can think only of writing, agonize over writing or not being able to write, are afraid that even if they are consistently writing, they may not be able to do it tomorrow and I’ve met other writers, as well, who seem to adhere to this model.  They’re weird like that, I’m not.  But I really like to write, and when I feel like it, I like to spew.  I don’t really care if anyone else enjoys, can tolerate, or appreciates my spew, although I admit to liking it a lot when someone does.  If I feel like it, I do it and will keep doing it until I don’t feel like it.  Then I stop doing it and do something more interesting.

But I’m writing right now, aren’t I?  And I’m thinking ‘bout My Writes, in a very self-absorbed way, just like a professional writer might.  I have a lot on my mind.  And now that some people know I am writing, like seriously for fun, they are suggesting things I could write about next.  I have my own huge list already.  It’s doubtful I will live long enough to expound upon all the funny and fascinating vignettes and stories and recollections I have salvaged from my day to day.  They elicit a grin just thinking about how rich and interesting every minute continues to be.  But what actually captures my attention, slams my butt into the chair and fingers onto the keyboard to spew, is not something I can usually decide.  It decides itself and then spews of it’s own accord.  I merely become my own editor then.  I have forced discipline, created deadlines, and I found that I can actually do that, but it isn’t the same pleasure of a creative burst.  It can feel more like doing taxes.  I’ll do it though, because writers are supposed to if they are serious and I am seriously interested in having fun writing and becoming a better writer.  My literary hero, Tom Robbins, when asked if he ever gets ‘writer’s block’, shared that he gets up every morning prepared to write.  His muse knows where to find him.  If She doesn’t show, he heads out for a coffee.  I like that.  I can resonate with that.  At this moment I’m focused on what’s weak, what’s tight.

“…we’re flat out classic…separate the real from the plastic…”

FaceBook is an example of both.  That dandy social utility is designed for spewing.  Coffee in the morning, at the FB Café, is just for the pure pleasure of the spew for me.  It’s a spew outlet mall for millions. Witness and celebrate the change mongering, info-sharing, wiki-leak-like transparency and revolutions fueled by The Mighty FB!  Now, I am aware that some of my fellow voyeurs actually read the shit I post, but most ignore it or hide it, and some have even flat out ‘Un-Friended’ me, whereas I tend to be lenient with the spew of others on FaceBook.  If I’m not interested, I scroll on by.  But often I am interested and not only because I am easily entertained.  I have learned a lot from other’s posts. ‘Un-Friending’ seems minimally reactionary, drastic, and radically intolerant, a big unfriendly what-ev.  I don’t really care.  I utilize the utility for my passionate ideological spews.  I do it because I can and I have the right to My Writes.  It’s a true virtual democracy.  Everyone can spew their two cents of graffiti on the wall if they feel like it.  I was once told that because of my tendency to spew my personal bias, I have lost credibility.  Isn’t that hilarious?  With whom?  I answer to myself.  What anyone else thinks is their own business and bias.  That’s the freedom we’re fighting for, that’s the social justice we’re trying to preserve, That’s the freedom to think and express that the oppressed world thirsts for.

“…and I don’t gotta name no names, play no games…

fuck it all up,  take the blame…”

My Writes are my own pleasure.  If other’s enjoy or benefit from them, I’ll pat my own back.  If not, I’ll take the heat.  An idea, once it grabs a passionate hold in my mind, will likely find it’s way out.  I’m just exercising My Writes.  And I now consider myself a writer, my nature adapting to the call, whether I am received or not, because I am writing.  And I won’t stop.

(this spew is starting to sound a lot like a stream of consciousness blog…like maybe The Rumpus.  I admire Stephen Elliott for his unedited deeply personal daily spew.  He recently posted that someone had asked W.H. Auden, “Is it true that you can write only what you know?”  And Auden said, “Yes it is.  But you don’t know what you know until you write it.”  Then Stephen added, “Writing is a process of discovery of what you really do know.  You can’t limit yourself in advance to what you know, because you don’t know everything you know.”  He is a writer and definitely weird, for sure.  But I’m not.)

de la Soul/My Writes:

Speeding Toward A Surprise Ending

Speeding Toward A Surprise Ending



Thinking overly, fantasizing about one’s demise might be considered sick and wrong.  We will, however, all meet our demise at some point, so I feel it’s appropriate to consider it from time to time.  Unless we can overcome it.  And wouldn’t that take a miracle?  That could require becoming an Avatar.  Maybe it might even be a possibility if we aren’t addicted to, or insistent upon, lugging our current form with us.  These are the streams of consciousness one might drift in while, or after, witnessing someone else’s demise. This is a sea of imagination one might bob in when faced with the uncertainties of living.  Well, at least it’s an eddy I’ve found myself swirling around in from time to time and more often lately.

And these are also the kinds thoughts one might indulge in while, or after, watching the Nightly News, with it’s sensational tales of death, destruction and endless demise. For instance; consider earthquakes and tsunamis, this weekend’s magnetic super moon pull on the tides and earth and the fluids in our brains, or the unsavory information regarding HAARP, or the lack of potassium iodide on the shelves here the pacific northwest, which we wouldn’t care about except for the nuclear whiffs coming in from Japan, or the economic meltdown, which is itself a rolling blackout for many all over the world, or another troublesome US meddling in the middle east, or say, an uneasy personal medical report or how about a ‘dreaded’ diagnosis.  I’m talking thoughts about the kinds of things that can change everything at a moment’s notice.

This is the kind of roiling turmoil that might make contemplating a Thelma & Louise moment attractive unless one over thinks the ending.  To contemplate this with any success, you need a car and an ability to embrace a twist of fate or two.   And it helps to have a taste for whiskey.  If one has a really nice car like I do, then one feels more than just slightly remiss and wasteful in imagining it careening off a cliff.  It’s in good shape with low miles and has not taken the road trips that it was meant for at the purchasing.  I have been thinking about cliffs I could careen my car off without scratching it on the way down.  They’re difficult to find in everyday life.  Then there is the issue of the messy and irresponsible carbon footprint of toxic fluids, plastic and metal left in the wreckage at the bottom of the crevasse, not to mention bits of re-usable body parts and spilled plasma.  How could I have anything but remorse about leaving a premeditated ecological anti-ideological legacy like that in my wake?  I can’t.

Still, I like the idea of deciding when and how I might say adios y hasta luego in my own chosen moment rather than some scenarios that I have intimately witnessed in recent times and still others that cross my mind when I watch CNN.  It’s not that I think about all this very often.  But sometimes I do.  Sometimes I like to.  I’ve always been partial to freedom of choice.

I may be more of a Thelma than a Louise, but I have lived a little Louise as well and am not remotely interested in that again.  So what would Thelma do if she’d had more enlightenment, more concern for the common global good, and still planned to careen toward her demise with panache?  Channeling Thelma, weaving certain aspects of her thought processes into mine, provides me with another context in which to give this strange Life and also it’s demise, a fresh look-over. How does Life’s demise look from this beautiful interesting and awkward angle?

Well, because of the issues of the nice car and it’s viable re-sale value, the carbon imprint nuisance, the bit of enlightenment and the issues around the common global good I possess and must contend with, coupled with the fact that I’m not partial to Wild Turkey, I have decided to abandon my Thelma and Louise option of demise and turn my attention instead toward The Never Ending Story. Once over a cliff, it’s over.  Questing, activism and mysteries, even if apocalyptic, appeal to me more.


I may have been fortunate to have inherited a flair for optimism, fascination and amusement from that man who thought he couldn’t die but did, Jack Wood.  Of course, he loved whisky.  And cars.  Driving them fast.  Plus he scoffed at the virtues of organics or the importance of recycling, so I doubt leaving a carbon imprint would have bothered him much.  He lived large but  in the end, boxed himself into a corner in front of a giant TV screen, unable to get to his car, abandoned in the garage. He didn’t leave himself much option to choose his ultimate demise.  But then I guess one way or another, we are all speeding toward a surprise ending.

Keeping Score

Keeping Score

“Take someone who doesn’t keep score,
who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality:  he is free.”




Keeping Score.  We all do it.  None of us are Free.


If we feel we’ve won or lost in any event, we have kept score.  If we’ve paid more or less, we’ve kept score.  If we’ve tried and failed or succeeded, we’ve kept score.  If we’ve given and expected to receive, we’ve kept score.


Keeping Score.  We all do it.  None of us are Free.



Even if we strive to be altruistic, forgiving, unattached, magnanimous, open and sharing, there is always buried, maybe deeply and secretly in our minds or hearts, a score card.  Keeping score has tinges of that nasty word; judgment associated with it.  Keeping Score and judgment have an element of jealousy and emotional charge woven through them.  An assessment, however, a reporting of non passionate fact would not seem to belong in this category of score keeping.  But as we know, now that we dwell in the information saturated world wide web, so called facts can be assembled to look like an assessment and still be tainted with a subliminal scoring mechanism of motive, agenda and influence.


Keeping Score.  We all do it.  None of us are Free.



Today is Super Bowl XLV Sunday.  An American institutionalized day of keeping score.  The build up to this Big Very Important Game is many other kinda important games where everything hinged on The Score.  Even if we don’t give a fig about the Super Bowl, it is almost impossible to Not know who is playing.  Today the glory hinges on The Score between the Steelers and the Packers.  For those who care passionately, it’s a good thing at least for a couple of hours.  There is Hope.  There is the gathering of like minds.  There is celebration.  There is food and drink.  There are the famous commercials and this year there is The Black Eyed Peas !!! at half time  Half time is a good enough reason for caring about the game.  Half time itself, isn’t interested in keeping score.  (but there is a web-link where we can score our favorite half time shows over the years…so we can still stay in the game of scoring if we must)


Keeping Score.  We all do it.  None of us are Free.


Happy Super Bowl XLV Sunday to Us All.

And may The Team with the Highest Score WIN

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times


In 2010, there were 24 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1,016kb.

The busiest day of the year was May 7th with 64 views. The most popular post that day was What Do Mothers Really Want On Mother’s Day?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for, marsha lichorowic,, and hereinthe253.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


What Do Mothers Really Want On Mother’s Day? May 2010


About March 2010


The Turning Point March 2010
5 comments and 1 Like on,


Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…I Pray The Lord My Soul To keep May 2010


der mom…the wurld is goin krasy! June 2010

When You’re Lovers In A Dangerous Time


Don’t the hours get shorter as the day goes by
Sometimes we gotta stop and open our eyes
One minute we’re waiting for the sky to fall
The next minute we’re dazzled by the beauty of it all

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time…

Sometimes we’re made to feel as if our love is a crime
But nothing worth having comes without a fight
Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

By Bruce Cockburn



In these dangerous times, those of us who are lovers have been forced to go against our natures, take a stand, fight to hold our own.  We’d rather love, be lovers of life, lovers of liberty, of the pursuit of happiness and to live in peace and harmony.  We prefer to believe in the idealism of democracy and the unifying ties of all humanity…all living creatures on this small planet floating in space…infinity the only true border.


But these are dangerous times.  Haters have polarized ideals.  Haters fear that there is not enough to go around, have decided that some are not worthy, that diversity is a crime, that love is naïve, that war is a necessary economic, that God takes sides.


In these dangerous times we are all held hostage by insanity.  Even though there is beauty all around us, even though there are people and communities that work tirelessly on the behalf of those in need or for the betterment of all, even though nature relentlessly showers us with just the right everything to keep us breathing in the correct ratio of gases, keeps us anchored with just the right gravity, keeps the sun at just the right distance for optimal life, even though creators dazzle us with innovation and even though there is plenty…more than enough for everyone…many fail to notice or appreciate how exceedingly delicate is the balance.


To be a lover in these dangerous times means that your heart is perpetually broken.  Is it not heartbreaking to learn of the extinction of so many species, the extermination of so many cultures, the unnecessary poverty of so many people, the starvation and disease afflicting so many children, the brutal conditions endured by so many in war infested nations, the chemical chaos spewed into the environment, the abuse of authority by both church and state, as well as the renegade banking systems that have enslaved all of us on this planet in varying degrees?


What does it take to turn the tide?


Rather than waiting for the sky to fall, I prefer continuing to be dazzled by the beauty of it all.  I’m still a lover in these dangerous times.  How does that serve to turn the tide?  Alone, it will not…but there are many of us.  Togetherness turns the tide…one way or the other.  Let’s stay lovers in these dangerous times and assist in turning the tide toward the nurturing and nourishment of all.


My favorite version by Third World:




“See me…feel me…touch me…heal me”

from the rock~opera Tommy by The Who

Touch is an essential component to feeling connected, recognized and loved.  When we shake hands as we are introduced or maybe hug when we meet again, it’s more than habit or custom.  Touching conveys our presence and availability as well as affords us clues and information about the presence and essence of the other. Touch is one of the first things we do when we feel happiness and joy.  We hug, embrace and share.

Touch is one of the first things we do when we recognize pain, in ourselves or others.  Bang an elbow on the corner of the desk and the first thing we do is touch it, hold it, soothe it.  In doing so, our intention is comfort, care, healing.  Sit next to someone in grief and the natural impulse is to extend consolation by an embrace or holding their hand.  The power of loving touch is more impactful than the conveyance of any words

Touch is intimate and is rarely neutral.  When it is intentionally loving and caring it can melt emotional barriers.  When deprived of touch, not only the physical body, but the mental, emotional and spiritual nature of our body reacts.   Studies have shown that babies in orphanages who are not held and cuddled, wither and fail to thrive.  Just this morning I read a report by Dr. Atul Gawande, who has written extensively about solitary confinement, stating that “people experience solitary confinement as even more damaging than physical torture,”

The intention extended through touch, just as the intention through words or any form of communication is what is received.  Everyone has experienced this.  We hear words, but we feel their intention, regardless of their actual meaning.  With touch, feeling the intention behind it either activates our receptivity or alerts our defenses.

In the experience of sexual intimacy, the intention of our touch is how we communicate our love and pleasure.  And, of course, there is the other side of the coin when touch is used to harm.  Everyone experiences this as well and early;  a shove on the playground, a spanking or much worse.  No need to elaborate here on the difference in touch when there is a lack of love tone.

Touch is fundamental to health and wellness. When skin and tissue are stimulated through loving, caring touch or massage, a pharmacy of healing chemicals are released that have health promoting effects and greatly benefit our physiology. In addition to feeling wonderful, a loving healing touch or massage, detoxifies the body’s tissues enhancing immune function and slowing the aging process.

Underlying all touching is communication, intention, the gathering of information, the extending of ourselves, and the receiving of others.   We sense a need to touch, we feel, we heal.  In touching…we are touched.

(visit: for more information on touch and healing.)

My Mother’s Pearls

Those pearls I gave my mom for one of her birthdays were such “an extravagant” gift, she thought they belonged in the red satin box they arrived in.  She would concede to wear them only for very special occasions.


I begged her to wear them every day if she felt like it.  She couldn’t imagine that.  I finally confessed to her that her perception of extravagance was…well…in the case of those pearls…misperceived.  I had a friend, who at that time was a flight attendant, flying to Beijing, with the opportunity to shop at the night market.  She brought back beautiful real pearls and knock-off’s of everything else twice a month.  Mom’s pearls were not the unbelievable extravagance she imagined they were.  I happily bought them for her, and a strand for myself, and earrings, and bracelets and all kinds of things via the Beijing night market.  I liked them, but they didn’t mean that much to me.  They meant luxury and extravagance to mom and they were special.


It took some time, but she was finally convinced to wear her pearls with more regularity.  Then she died.  Suddenly.  She died and it took my siblings and I many many wrenching months to go through her house and decide what to do with her things.  I took the pearls in the red satin box home with me.  I rarely wore my own pearls but I began to wear mom’s.  They never saw the inside of that red satin box again.  I wore them with sweats to work out in, with jeans, in the shower and to bed.  I wore them all the time for months.  I thought of her everyday while I wore her pearls.


Later in that year that she died, I was dressing to meet friends in Seattle for dinner.  It was early winter and bitter cold.  I decided to wear a yellow cashmere sweater my mom always admired, though I never really cared much for it.  But it was cozy and warm and made me think of her so I slipped on the pearls as well.  I loved the way it felt to wear them and I loved to tangle my fingers in them, being a natural born hair twizzler like she was, like my sisters and daughter are.


In the middle of a lively conversation at dinner, I absently reached to twirl mom’s pearls and discovered that they were gone!  I’d never had occasion to unclasp them before because the strand was long enough to slip over my head.  I looked everywhere, retraced all my steps, enlisted my friends in the search.  No pearls anywhere.  I was devastated.  I drove home in tears and shock, my heart broken, feeling almost the same as if I were suddenly losing my mom all over again.  The pearls never turned up.  Eventually, I  accepted that they were gone forever and hoped that whoever found them would wear them every day.  I put my own pearls in the red satin box and never wore them again.


On Christmas Eve two years later, as I was dressing to go to a party, I thought about mom’s pearls and missed her, wished I could wear them and feel her.  I decided I would wear mine and opened the red satin box for the first time in two years.  Empty!  I stared at that box in disbelief and stunned confusion.  The submerged sense of loss that had dissipated with time, welled up inside of me again and I sat on my bed and cried until I was spent.


Finally, resigned, I approached my dresser to retrieve my pearl earrings out of the jumbled tangle of bracelets and necklaces in my jewelry box.  I opened the box and there were my pearls, part of the tangle.  What a relief to slowly realize that I must have simply forgotten that I put them there.  I picked them up to put them on.


Hanging in a loop from my string of pearls were mom’s, clasped in tact, held together, as if they were linked arm and arm, as if they were meant to be together, as if no explanation were necessary.  What could possibly be the explanation for something like that?  I felt my Mama’s sweet presence acutely and my knees buckled.  An extravagant rush of gratitude washed over me, and I began to cry all over again, despair replaced with intense joy and wonder at life’s delicate mysteries.


I wore both strands together that night and the next, the pleasure of them hanging together around my neck and over my heart was delectable.  I never suspected in the midst of the music, feast and toasts, all the gaiety of those holiday parties, that it would be the last Christmas I was to share with my dad and my brother alive.


Life and death are so strange, so bittersweet. Life can seem so temporary and death so final.  But is that really true?  What is real and constant for me is the presence of mystery in them both, the challenge to make some kind of sense of their experiences and stories.  I love that.  I’m wearing my mother’s pearls.

An Gorta Mor…The Great Hunger

It’s Christmas day, the end of the year 2010.  Many of us are awakening to special breakfasts filling the house with delectable aromas and gifts to open in the warm embrace of family and friends…but not all of us.

What does it mean to be hungry?  How does it feel to be alone?  How can that be relieved on any day…but especially on Christmas?  Here in the 253, although not nearly so much as most other places in the world, hunger and loneliness are a daily concern.  Children, families and the homeless go hungry.  But no one has to starve.  Clearly, if you have an empty belly, if your children are hungry, the primary concern is to find nourishment.  The secondary concern is finding shelter, a safe place to stay.  There are so many degrees of these basic needs to be met, and Here in the 253 there are many avenues for finding help and hope.

Here in the 253 there are many hardworking organizations that strive each and every day to provide for at least the minimum basic needs of people in dire conditions.  Here in the 253, in fact just down the street, there is The Food Connection, The Hospitality Kitchen and Operation:  Keep ‘Em Warm and Fed.  Our general populace is well schooled in giving.  It’s something most of us do without any strain or worry of personal sacrifice.

But there is a larger hunger in the world, as well as Here in the 253.  There is the Great Hunger…from the Gaelic:  An Gorta Mor.  Does this hunger have anything at all to do with how laden your table is with food?  Once your belly is full, does food have anything at all to do with  this deeper unsatisfied hunger…this unquenched thirst?

Even in the midst of the struggle for survival, the An Gorta Mor cries out in the wilderness searching for Love. There is a Great Hunger for Love and belonging, acceptance and appreciation, recognition and respect.  There is a Great Hunger to be seen and heard, honored and counted, to be understood, to matter.  There is a Great Hunger to create and express, find meaning and connection, contentment and satisfaction.  There is a Great Hunger to continue, to find Peace and feel Hope.

On this Christmas morning, I pray that each being on earth find nourishment for our bellies and gifts that nourish our hearts and souls.  May our An Gorta Mor…our Great Hunger for Love and Peace be understood as a gift that once opened, is shared freely and lavishly with All.

On this Christmas morning in 2010, may you be graced with gifts that bring Peace to your mind and Love and Joy into your heart.

Blessed Be in this Season of New HOPE.   xoxoxoxox  !!!

The Blessing of Winter Solstice

The Blessing of Winter Solstice


As the long night slowly yields to day,

We too, yield to our higher nature and move toward

Our natural state of Light.

The winter teaches us to go within and contemplate,

Our inner work,
Our inner abundance,
Our inner completeness.

As we prepare for the outer learning that lies ahead,
We reflect on both the natural and spiritual nature of
What is meant by Eternal Life.

Why do we instinctively feel the pull of introspection in winter; the need to hibernate, examine and assess what is good?  When we take some time to examine what has worked for us, we can’t help but to notice even more; has not.

Each winter, as the days grow shorter and colder and increased demands for our attention the Holidays ahead, I remain cognizant of a need for inner calm.  The year is ending and I notice and remember what has ended in time.

People I have loved and been loved by have passed away or passed on.   Certainties and verities that seemed real and true  seem now shaken, less clear, less confident.  What was, is no more, what is, keeps charging for better or worse.  Where do we find the promised glad tidings of comfort and joy?

First we must delve within acknowledge then release our sorrows, failures, disappointments and mistakes. We make the effort to transcend any thoughts that detract and distract us from our ability to grasp and feel gratitude for the blessings that surely exist for each of us.

In our clan of northern European Scots/Irish/Swedish decent, we gather in the waning light each Winter Solstice for ceremony and celebration.  We perform the ritual of ‘shriving’, an old Scottish word meaning:  release, reconciliation.  We spend some moments of quiet in the midst of festivity, to recollect, contemplate and write privately all that we personally wish to release for the year ending.  We notice deeply how we have been affected, have perhaps affected others, by that which now begs to be released.  We forgive our perceived failings and regrets.  We write rather than simply think these things because we wish to bring our thoughts and vows into present manifestation in order to transform them by fire.  We commit our scribbled slips of paper where we have confessed our personal pain, that which no longer serves us, with appreciation for the learning it brought and release into the hearth fire.

We reflect on the natural and spiritual nature

of what is meant by eternal life.

But, we are a hopeful resilient clan as well.  As we continue, we begin to contemplate what we can bring to the Light in the New year arriving. We light a candle and speak aloud our own prayer, wish, desire, goal or intentions to make manifest and be witnessed within our community of family of friends gathered in love and support of one another.  Each one speaks their heart. It is a high and holy moment to be witnessed and blessed by the ones who love us most.

We yield to our higher nature and move toward

Our natural state of Light.

There is reverence, there is community and there is reveling!  The table is laden with the bounty of our kitchens, joyful toasts to life and love, family and friends and to the future are enjoyed by all.  This is how we ignite the longest night and begin our Christmas Holidays:  with gratitude, hugs and kisses, prayers and festivity that continue all the way through to Epiphany.

And thus, the Old is laid to rest and the New is begun.

God Bless Us One and All and bring us Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy In This Season of New HOPE!

Do You Want To Make Love Last?

“Do You Want To Make Love Last?  What do you want to do first?”

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, local author and personal hero.


It’s a yummy double juicy entendre.  How do we make Love last?  It’s an eternal question.  It’s a question with many simply complicated answers.

First, what constitutes making Love…let alone making it last?  If you want to make Love last, what role does fore play?  Something has to come first if there is a last.  What do we do first to make Love last?

Perhaps we must first decide to believe in Love.  Believe it’s real and valuable.  That it matters.  Not because we are told that it matters.  Not because we are lonely or afraid to be alone, but because we care deeply about someone or something.  That someone could be ourselves, our kin.  That something could be what’s in our heart, our community, our cause.

“Love your neighbor as yourself”.  (Mathew 22:29-Mark 12:31)  It’s the second commandment of Christ.  The first, of course, is Love the All Encompassing Organizing Principle of the Universe we call God.  Then Love someone else as much as you Love yourself.  Love yourself first, though.  Enough.  As much as you can.  If you can.  You can’t make Love last if you aren’t able to do what’s required first.

“Love never ends.”  (1st Corinthians 13).  It’s biblical.  It’s epic.  It’s metaphysical.  It’s a concept.  It might not be true.  Or maybe it is true that love never ends if you have ever, in fact or indeed, truly Loved.  Maybe what’s left of Love that seems to have ended is the memory of it buried deep beneath the rubble of abandonment, rejection, neglect, apathy, change of heart, change of circumstance or even something horrific like abuse.

I once imagined that if I ever Love someone, I always will.  I won’t quit.  It can never end.  That might not be true. Or maybe it is true if I have, in fact or indeed, truly Loved.  Maybe I only thought that I Loved and if pressed would be forced to admit that I was mostly addicted to the thought of Loving.  But if, for instance, I was seriously unloved, the opposite-of-loved in return, then I must not have Loved myself much.  I didn’t remember to do the first thing.  I didn’t Love myself enough to honor myself over un-love. This is an attempt to make sense of making Love…first and last. It’s an exercise.  It’s a process.  Quite possibly futile.

Un-love is not the same as unrequited Love.  I am not making this up.  Unrequited Love is heart wrenching, even common, but it’s not un-love. We can’t try to Love any more than we can try to be happy, try to meditate or try to believe in God.  Love just is.  We can’t make it happen and we can’t make it not happen when it does.  When it does happen as we wish it’s grand.  When it isn’t returned as we wish, no amount of trying or cajoling or begging or manipulation will make it be what it isn’t.  We could take it personally, but it isn’t personal.  Not really.  It is what it is.  We still Love whether returned or not.

Un-love though, the opposite of love, is intentional.  We decide it.  We make it happen. We go against Love.  We break the Law.  We harm and are harmed by un-love.  We don’t do the first thing.  We don’t love ourselves.  When we un-love someone or something, there’s just no way we can make Love last.

Let’s make Love not un-love.  Let’s make Love not war.

Let’s make Love first so that Love can last.

When I Was Montana Skye

Back in this day… my Billy Kid Stetson…those Tony Llama boots you don’t see…my .357 magnum…none of which I have today, I learned to shoot straight (cans off a stump) and I called myself Montana Skye.

I had felt most all my life that I was misfitted, had been born into the wrong times.  I was an outlaw at heart then, a contractor by trade.  I lived dangerously although viewed in retrospect, foolishly.  I experienced the thrills of life on the edge…was alert, felt alive and free and I was kick-ass.  Apparently, I needed to learn some harsh lessons. To this day, I could regret that, but except for the inadvertent difficult impact on others, I don’t.

One night, I had to decide if I could pull the trigger on this gun to protect myself, my children, my home. I had to decide if, in fact, I could know for certain that I would shoot without hesitation if I was forced to. I understood that my slightest doubt would jeopardize the outcome.  As devastatingly rich in angst and terror as that night was, I learned something immensely valuable about myself:  I can and will do what I need to do…what I choose to do.   Agonizing over the difficult choice is where the angst lives.  Holding steady… shooting straight once the decision is made is my act of power.

I am not so outwardly lawless now.  These days my outlandishness runs to the deep and within. I still have this portrait hanging in my home office and although these days I much prefer to wear dresses, here’s why it still reflects me:  the inscription reads

“Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for truth and justice“.       Henrik Ibsen.

I still go out to fight for truth and justice…and I still don’t wear my best trousers when I do.  Instead I only wear my very best most beautiful dresses for the good fight.


Pay Attention!

Do you have ADD or EAA?

(Attention Deficit Disorder or Enhanced Attention Abilities)

“The world is so full of a number of things I’m sure we should all be

as happy as kings.”     Robert Lewis Stevenson

But we aren’t, are we.  The world is so full of so many things that we can’t keep up with it…can’t get a grasp on it…can’t assimilate it…can’t deal with it…can’t sort out what to pay attention to…what should be first…what’s most important.

Ask someone of a certain age, like me for instance, who after having my children diagnosed with the curse of ADD, was told that it was because their parents both had ADD.  We all have ADD.  But who doesn’t?  How can we not, in this information-saturated world we inhabit now?

The kids couldn’t sit still in school.  It was recommended by the teachers that they be medicated so they would fit in and not flit about or play too much, which was deemed highly disrupting to their ability to learn.  They were bothersome.  They were also brilliant and creative, loved to laugh and move their bodies.  They enjoyed life.

But then we discovered we were all ADD.  We had a problem.  Problems inherently need to be fixed and I looked for palatable methods of going about that.  But fixing this problem spawned an unprecedented plethora of more problems.  Labels and categories were invented.  Now we had more than just ADD to deal with, we also had ADHD.  We had drug pushers.  We had time outs.  We had punishments.

We tried everything because at school we had problems.  But the problems created by fixing the problem became even more problematic.  Soon each kid, along the way, began to Not feel brilliant.  Their creativity was criticized and unappreciated. They colored outside the lines with the wrong colors.  Their streams of consciousness burst beyond the boundaries of proper paragraphs.  Tapping their toes as they hummed songs of their own creation to help them concentrate was deemed incompatible with the rules of acceptable concentration habits.

It didn’t take long for each of my kids, being precious, unique and astounding in their own way, to rebel…in their own way.  None would cooperate with taking the ADD medications.  They said they didn’t recognize themselves.  They said they felt funny.  They said they didn’t feel right.  Behavioral modifications were primitive, punishing and exhausting to implement in those earlier days before medications became the easier to implement norm.

Soon those kids, and now their parents, were not laughing much.  Problems have a way of extinguishing laughter and the expression of joy.  Number one dropped out of the mainstream.  Number two raged against the machine.  Number three saw the retaliations the first two experienced and confessed to nothing but sports.  By the time number four came along and was ‘diagnosed’, there was an extensive battery of tests that sub-categorized the ADD into twenty new areas of disability to name and label.

We were told our lives were ruined because we are…not have… but are… ADD.  Now it’s late and we have ADD grandchildren.  We may not be able to save them from the archaic educational model they are still stuck in.  But I am now strongly suggesting to my darlings that by changing the ADD acronym they’ve been assigned and imprisoned with, to my more accepting and pleasurable EAA, they can adopt a more enjoyable and expansive relationship to education as a lifelong learning adventure…in spite of what they’ve endured in the past.

Our brains are incredible.  Our brains are fantastic.  Our brains are not the problem.  In fact, instead of sinking into the self-admonishing world of problems associated with ADD, we can choose to celebrate a life-affirming world of possibilities associated with being EAA.  Technology is catching up with us, not the reverse.  We can learn the way we need to learn.  There’s an app for that.  We can learn the way we want to.  We have the technology.  Instead of dropping out because we don’t fit in, we can learn to love this world.wide.web.  We can all find a place to fit in somewhere.  Your tribe is either already gathered, or is waiting for your call…your own uniquely expressed invitation.

Find your best place with your own Enhanced Attention Ability.  Put some fun in your former dis-fun-ction.

Live Love Laugh and be Happy!  I am convinced this is the way to be ready for the great big changes still coming.

Sweetness Out Of Difficulty

Sweetness Out Of Difficulty

“dulcius ex espiris”

The Latin expression “dulcius ex espiris”, which means sweetness out of difficulty, suggests a different outcome and meaning from relief after difficulty or character building after difficulty. It lends a softer, gentler, kinder result to the depiction of a difficult and challenging experience.  Rather than placing a focus on getting through a problem in tact or succeeding in spite of every obstacle, the texture and nuance of “dulcius ex expiris” feels more like a soothing harmonious possibility that would not have occurred without the difficulty.


Our perceptions flavor and edify our experiences to such a degree that they can become captive within our memories.  Besides relief or character building, sometimes we can feel as though we have made a terrible irrevocable error and are forever after prisoners, our memory of the difficulty a self-imposed sentence.


How do we wish to experience our lives and how do we wish to catalog or label our experiences?  Pleasant, loving, satisfying moments have a silky easy way of weaving themselves into our memories.  Difficult, excruciating, humiliating experiences are like a sliver festering in our foot.  A bandage doesn’t ease the pain of a step in any direction, forward or in retreat.


We have choices if only we can discern them.  We can change our perceptions if only we realize we have custody of them.  We can decide to seek the sweetness in the aftermath and this can take some time.  The retro-vision we direct toward our experiences allows us to take all the time we need.  Whatever the experience, it has no meaning at all until we ourselves subscribe to it.  Even if we have immediately attached a meaning or category or decree to our difficulty, we can change our minds and reassign our attachment to it.


I use Alchemy to do this for myself.  Alchemy is a free, simple, effortless energetic intention that can release us from our attachment to the meaning we have assigned to the difficult outcome.  Alchemy’s effect can be felt mentally and emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Anyone can produce “dulcius ex espiris”.  It takes no skill or prior training.  We can change an entrenched concept into something else; from bitter to sweet, from distress to hope.  That’s alchemy.


Here’s what I do.  I get quiet, I hold still.  I find my center and grounding and feel it without tension or effort.  I just do it, allow it, wait for it till I’m there.  Next I call upon the highest aspect of myself and also the highest aspect of the person or circumstance associated with the difficult situation.  Once I feel attuned, I take a deep breath and say aloud or silently send a prayer of offering.  It might be something as simple as:  I wish for you all that you wish for yourself.  I also wish this for myself.  I give you back your power and I also take back my power.  I release you and I also release myself with love and blessing.  So be it. Often I have a more specific and detailed idea of what I wish to express and offer to the process.  It’s all good.


When we are in the depths of despair or anguish, something as simple as this process may sound false or even ridiculous.  Still the intention is for circular healing.  It can happen all at once or it can require a more sustained intention. It’s proactive, it’s self-actualizing, it’s a step forward after dabbing some bubbling peroxide on that festering foot.  It’s a move from prison to the hospital. I say this prayer for 21 days.  It’s a good number. It’s sweet. It’s maintenance.


I Wish For You All That You Wish For Yourself.  Blessed Be.

Letting Go

Letting Go

When you absolutely have to let go, can you?  In your life, what or who is the most difficult to release?   For me, letting go of someone I have loved is impossible.  I won’t do it.  If I have loved you, I always will.  Letting go in this sense, then, becomes more of a concept, releasing the idea of expectations.  It’s a tricky balance to hold steady when an expectation is not met.  Much stickier when it involves a person, murkier still, when I have cared deeply.

Letting go of a dream or a strongly felt want or need for a particular outcome that cannot be met is necessary for my inner peace and ability to move forward.  Tyranny is another word I use for expectation.  Every expectation exerts it’s own pressure on me to let it go, to constantly allow and accept what is…to be.

It’s not that I think anyone or anything needs to live up to my expectations of them or worse for them, and herein lies the rub; constantly letting go is a double edged sword. It requires compassion not only extended outward but maybe more importantly… drawn inward. My unmet expectations for myself are a personal tyranny. When I don’t expect something or someone or myself to live up to my subjective expectation, and they/I do, it’s a sweet surprise. When it or they or I don’t, it’s hard not to care deeply  because the tension that arises from expecting something either favorable or not, is the stuff of emotion.  I feel deeply.  All this is hard labor for me.

Yet, each moment I can choose to live my life in the present so that I am not mourning unmet expectations from the dead past nor creating tension and anxiety with expectations projected into the imagined future.  I have that choice if I can just remember.  I can do this, but I am undisciplined.  Discipline is a tyrannical expectation I have for myself that elicits angst and longing and often disappointment.

Letting go with compassion sounds simple and easy, doesn’t it?  But is it? Simple and easy are not the same thing.  Accepting life as it is has become, for me, a compassionate choice.  I accept and I still care deeply. It’s a concept and it is also an action I seek to embrace that is becoming easier each day I simply live and love on this planet.   How does Letting Go work for you?   Blessed Be.

Conspiracy Theories

There is the truth that the collective consciousness, the media, many teachers, political leaders and spiritual gurus would have us believe.  And there are other truths.

The almost universally agreed upon current truth, generates fear and loathing, undermines the common global good, grabs, takes and uses, hijacks basic human rights, declares peace and brings soldiers home only to hire unaccountable mercenaries to continue war, applauds haters and reactionaries and allows non-human paper entities legal rights and freedom to rape, pillage and plunder the world and everything in it.

This is the conspiracy theory the lower astral plane orchestrates and influences.  We buy ‘no’.  We’ve gotten used to ‘can’t’.  We believe ‘not enough’. We think it’s just the way it is.  We’ve been taught that human nature is by it’s very nature depraved.  We have accepted that power corrupts. We think money is real.  We don’t like it, but we live with it, eat it, have it streamed into our homes and downloaded it into our consciousness.  Every once in a while some of us make a feeble protest that wilts under the weight and retribution of this retched dominant truth.

It’s a conspiracy.  It appears to be the only reality.  It is, in fact, only one reality, only one truth. There are others.  And there is one in particular that consistently gives this currently dominant conspiracy theory the shake down.  Every now and then this other conspiracy’s existence and successes are reported although so rarely, most people have no idea of it’s vast possibilities.

This other truth is one that conspires to uplift and enhance the lives of every living creature on this living breathing planet.  This conspiracy is very dangerous.  This truth is called a lie by the current truth in power.  This conspiring could undermine the entire current conspiracy that has a stranglehold on truth, if given half a chance.

Here’s why:  It’s fun.  It’s alive and lively.  It captures the imagination. It feels really good.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  It’s idealistic.  It’s catchy. It’s lovely and loving. It’s free. It’s a shot at redemption. It’s cost is affordable to all.  It asks one simple thing:  change your mind.  Change your theory.  Change your perspective. Do it if you want to, because you can, because you have the right and the power to do so!

Yep it’s that simple. Just say; Yes, OK, Why not, Wow! Just change it.  Decide that in this truth, there is a loving Presence that wants you to be well, to be happy, to be prosperous, to be free from fear and want, to love, to feel joy, to experience pleasure, to laugh, to create.

One of the most alluring and powerful aspects of this conspiracy theory is that there is no one person or entity orchestrating it or pulling it’s strings.  This truth recognizes  the wisdom and power and glory in All.  Leadership is circular and inclusive and asks only that every crazy believer recognize this one unalienable truth:  You are it.  You are the one.  You are the wisdom and the power and the creator and the leader.

This Perspective of Truth, that is considered by the current sinister conspiracy theory, as the lunatic fringe, has one basic simple commandment:  Take good care.  That’s essentially it.  It suggests that we consider our stewardship of all creation as a noblesse oblige.  And why wouldn’t we be honored to take care of this creation that supports our very existence.  And why wouldn’t we want to take care of what we have manifested from this creation?

I’ll wager most may consider this conspiring perspective naïve, pointing out as the true reality, the obvious suffering, pain and despair that constitutes the lives of the largest percentage of beings on this planet.  There is no denying that reality. We witness it and we live it. That’s what the current conspiracy hath wrought.  But even amidst the pain, poverty, suffering, loss and despair, there is the choice to change one’s personal theory, change perspective.

When that can happen…and although it’s a simple process it is not at all easy…when that sliver of changed perspective grasps a lifeline and clamps on and there is the faintest hint of a victory smile… then the shift in consciousness is born and a glimmer of the essence of beauty and hope and a truth that had been hidden from view shines through.  The great difficulty and discipline is in continuing to hang onto this affirming conspiracy, despite appearances, despite afflictions, in spite of the onslaught of heavily funded contrariness with which the current dominant theory conspires to entrance and enslave us.  Perspective is power.

There may be difficult circimstances and conditions and drastic consequences to our actions that are out of our control, but with detemined courage, we always have the personal freedom of choice in how to think, what to believe, how to feel, how to treat ourselves and others.  Which conspiracy theories rule your world today?  How’s that workin’ for ya?


When do we know that we have reached one?

Mile-stone (noun)  1.  A stone showing distance to a place.  2.  An important event.   (synonyms:  landmark, highlight, high point, sign, signpost)

With this definition almost anything we choose can be considered a milestone.  I had always thought a milestone had to be not just ‘important’, but momentous…not just a ‘high point’, but a pinnacle.

I have been known for Celebrating as a raison d’etre.  It’s more than just a pastime.  What I hadn’t fully realized until just yesterday, is that although I am prone to celebrating outer events, other peoples accomplishments and victories…large or small, my own I gloss over and quickly move on to the next whatever it might be.

Coming upon this awareness…yet again…didn’t seem too ‘important’ at the moment it occurred, and in keeping with my habit, I quickly glossed over it.  I had just completed the first phase of a project that had taken months of my passion and time.  It didn’t seem ‘monumental’ to me at the moment, because…well…I knew it was just the first phase of an ongoing project.

What got my attention, much later in the next day, was my emotional state!  I was feeling all kinds of emotions that didn’t seem correctly placed.  Strong emotions that seemed more suitable to something really ‘monumental’.  These kinds of signs tend to occur for me later at night, when I have slowed down enough to reflect on the day.

I began to realize that I had not celebrated my own efforts and upon acknowledging that, I gave myself a pat on the back and made a cup of tea.  Neither of those actions had any effect at all in appeasing my emotional state, which was feeling a deep sense of undirected loss.  Loss, I have become familiar with.  Many loved ones, cherished ideas, hopes and dreams, including any kind of security or certainty have left my life, and recent years have seen a monumental ramp up in all of that .  My rational mind scolded me and admonished me to ‘get over it’, because it thought my emotionality was about the completion of something and the loss of focus the project had provided for me.  That might have even been true to some extent, but not completely accurate, because I have lots to look forward to in the next phases of this project.

It wasn’t until just before falling asleep that I realized that the emptiness I was experiencing had to do with the loss of people not focused direction.  In the course of the last few months, I have had to choose where to place my energy in order to get to that completion point with my project.  I had made a conscious decision to direct my energy inward and in so doing was forced to notice who was pulling on me without offering me any of their time, support or energy, and who wasn’t there at all.  I began to delete them one by one…not from my heart or permanently from my life, but in energy.  Intellectually, that action is compatible with my political views on energy conservation!  It just seemed prudent and well…necessary and responsible for the times.

But the forced reality check of who made that list also made my heart hurt.  The truth of unreciprocated love is a painful reminder of how isolated and self-absorbed any of us can become.  I pulled back my outward extending energy and it was scarcely noticed by people who have mattered deeply to me.   It’s not tragic but it’s been every bit as honing and edifying as the discipline I rarely have, to complete something.  And it’s all good!  This awareness is actually as significant and possibly a more far-reaching milestone than the completing of a goal or project.

Milestones are Important Events!  How important or monumental is only as significant and individual as any one of us personally decides it is.  I am a Celebrationist by nature.  I have decided to focus my awareness on acknowledging and celebrating all the milestones…major and minor…that this miraculous life places before me…showing me the distance to a place!  The place isn’t ‘out there’.  When I remember that the ‘place’ is in my heart…I can never get lost.  Just understanding and feeling this is a very momentous Milestone!  Maybe it’s even a Pinnacle!

der mom…the wurld is goin krasy!

My daughter wrote me a note 35 years ago, which I have kept to this day, reminding me of the Truth.  Her 5 year old awareness already recognized a Truth.  She is now an adult with a child of her own…her note still rings with this Truth.

“der mom…the wurld is goin krasy”

As time passes, most people look back on the good old days with nostalgia. I am as guilty of this as anyone, even though I also look forward to the future with optimism…often with no good reason…but why not?  There’s always Hope!  Looking forward to innovation and social evolution, I also desire to hold onto the fundamental basics!  How do we juxtapose the two and live happily ever after?  There is always the swing of the pendalum…from one end of the spectrum of polarity to the other…seeking a workable balance.  There is never a stasis…it’s always in correction mode.  Or so it seems to me.

The following scenarios came to me via an email, which has made it’s way around the web again and again.  I think it’s worth noting as an example of  the way …’the wurld is goin krasy’ and crazier for our kids.

High School    1957 vs. 2010

Scenario #1

Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with hishotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

1957 ~ Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2010 ~  School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again.  Counselors called in for traumatized  students and teachers.

Scenario #2

Johnny and Mike get into a fist fight after school.

1957 ~  Crowd gathers. Mike wins. Johnny and Mike shake hands and end up buddies.

2010 ~ Police called and SWAT team arrives.  Johnny and Mike both get arrested.  Both are charged with assault and expelled from school, even though Johnny started it.

Scenario #3

Jeffrey will not be still in class.  He disrupts other students.

1957 ~  Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal.  He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt the class again.

2010 ~ Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin.  He becomes a zombie.  He is then tested for ADD.  The family gets extra money  (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario #4

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 ~ Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2010 ~ Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse.  Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang.  The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and dad goes to prison.  Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario #5

Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 ~ Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2010 ~ The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations.  His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario #6

Pedro fails high school English.

1957 ~ Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2010 ~ Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state.  Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist.  ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher.  English is then banned from core curriculum.  Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.

Scenario #7

Jimmy takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant hill.

1957 ~  Ants die.

2010 ~ ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called.  Jimmy is charged with domestic terrorism.  The FBI investigates his parents.  All his siblings are removed  from their home and all computers are confiscated.  Jimmy’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario #8

Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.  He is found  crying by his teacher, Mary.  Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 ~ In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2010 ~ Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.  She faces 3 years in State Prison.  Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

The World Is Going Crazy. What do we want to do about it?  What can we do about it?  Where should we start?

What Women Do

What do women do?

When women are healthy, this is what we do:

We gather together to support one another.

We know that as women we are able to love and embrace

with our arms and our hearts and our thighs.

We know that as women we are able to assess a need

and find a way to fulfill it.

We know that as women, our children and our families

are more important than anything else.

We know that as women, because we feel it,

that which affects one of us…affects all of us.

We know that we are all connected in love and spirit

to all women across the globe.

As women, we love, we understand, we grow, we feel, we know, we dream, we despair, we laugh, we weep, we live, we feed, we desire, we create, we accept, we learn, we believe, we give, we hold the world steady.

When women are healthy, we understand and demonstrate

the difference between anger and righteous rage.

When women are healthy we are fierce in our protection of those we love.

When women are healthy, we forgive each other’s weaknesses and failings

with love and understanding.

As women, so many times we are asked to open our purses

to support important causes near and far,

and we are grateful if we are able to do so.

Whenever we can, this is what women do.

So many times we are moved to open our homes

in welcome and feast and celebration.

Whenever we can, this is what women do.

So many times we are moved to open our homes to those in need.

Whenever we can, this is what women do.

So many times we are asked to forgive and forget pain and neglect,

hurtful words and behaviors.

When we can, we make the effort.  This is what women do.

Women’s true worship is in the heart that rejoices.

All of our acts of love and giving and mercy

are in service to what we hold sacred.

This is what women do.

When we are healthy, we do what must be done.

When we are healthy, we know who we are.

Almost Perfect!

Almost Perfect!

A friend, who lives most of the year in a small Mexican village, recently told me a story about Casi Perfecto! or Almost Perfect!.  One of his best friends had hired a local seamstress to make full length curtains to go across a long bank of windows.  Days and then weeks went by and still she hadn’t finished them.  At last, a month or two later, she arrived with her bundle, smiling broadly.   When they were all hung, each panel was a different length…not one was even or matched the other.  Standing back to admire her work, the seamstress clapped her hands and enthusiastically declared, “Casi Perfecto!”  Almost Perfect!  Who could argue?

I found this story delightful and just one more wonderful and vivid illustration of how much easier it is to live and love in a culture that not only allows and accepts that things are not perfect or certain, but embraces that reality.

If I truly take Casi Perfecto! to heart as I intend to, I will no longer worry about the fact that the vines I just trimmed in my secret garden have gone wild again practically overnight or the tiles I set last summer are all crooked and uneven.  I will no longer be concerned when I notice that the carwash left streaks on my windshield and didn’t actually get my car sparkling clean.  I will not get upset when I pick up my dog from the groomer and find that the kid, who was to give her just a trim, overachieved and she won’t need a cut for the rest of the summer or maybe the year!  I won’t have a melt down when I look in the mirror and see that all those miles I’ve logged on up and down hills haven’t melted even an inch off my rear.  It’s Casi Perfecto! as is.

If I truly take Casi Perfecto! to heart as I intend to, then I will be ever more mindful of the beauty of the moment, the pleasure of the company, the effort made, the best intention behind the action, the way things are.

Life was meant to be lived Casi Perfecto!  It’s just so much easier and pleasurable that way, isn’t it?

Can You Count On It?

Can You Count On It?
The Answer Is Maybe…baby!

Have you figured out what you can count on yet?  Is there a person in your life you know you can count on?  Is there a process you can count on to achieve the results you crave?  Can you count on your time honored opinions to be correct?  Can you count on help when you need it?  Is there a time or place or person you can count on not to change?  Can you count on being happy?  Well?  Prosperous? Smart enough?  Stable? Secure? Can you count on things staying the same long enough to get a handle on them before they change again?

I’m visiting a small village in Mexico at the moment, and I have noticed that, here, the answer to any and every question ends with ‘maybe’ or tas vez!  It may be cultural but I think it’s astute.  At times it might be exasperating to cope with, like when you want or need a definitive answer, time frame or commitment.  But it’s also a lesson in flow.  It’s a lesson in faith.  It’s a lesson plan for either the forced or willing surrender of self importance.  ‘Maybe’ is something you actually can count on.  ‘Maybe’ is for sure!  ‘Maybe’ leaves open a window into the realm of all possibility.  ‘Maybe’ you’ll get your delivery on time, or your house painted tomorrow, or the internet to work today.  ‘Maybe’ the surf will be up, or the car will start, or the power will stay on.

Counting heavily on certainty increases our stress levels when certainty fails.  When what we thought would happen, was true, was valuable, was meaningful, was important, turns sideways and upside down, the idea of ‘maybe’ can even be comforting.  ‘Maybe’ something better will happen.  ‘Maybe’ everything will change again, turn right, turn our way.  It leaves a space for inevitable change.

Can I count on that?  The consistently truthful answer is ‘Maybe’…baby!  I like that!  How about you?


Every institution and system I can think of tonight, seems to be in collapse, and dying. Here are just a few of the broken things on my long long list: Government, Religion, Education, Health Care, Financial, Politics, Big Business, Marriage/Families, Democracy, Civil and Species rights/liberties/protections, Social Alienation, Decent Manners….

I wonder how I can Imagine Institutional Integrity, Immediately. The failings of each are so glaring, and have so many layers of complicated and far reaching problems, I see no clear solutions or relief in site! Sometimes I feel both anxious and paralyzed with urgency. What can I do…that’s useful, meaningful, will matter at all? It’s exhausting to even contemplate!

Overwhelmed by the magnitude of great big world issues, I am grateful that my day job is in a warm, welcoming, nurturing, safe and sacred healing environment. There, I feel like I can make a small difference in someone’s life…one person at a time. It’s a much smaller world of problems. The problems are no less real or complex. They are often a microcosm of the macrocosm.

Most of the time my role is simply as a witness. I create and hold the space for healing in whatever form that will manifest. That might mean listening with compassion. It can mean sharing from my experience or understanding. It will often mean taking an action; using energy to move and correct blocked expressions of energy in the one who seeks wellness, wholeness and healing. It will usually involve all of those things.

The world goes away for a little while at The Turning Point. We do the best we can together. We do what we can together. Integration of health can have many layers of complexity that we understand may not be solved all at once. I have noticed that exhaustion is often the underlying cause of the problems we face. We exhaust our immune systems with stress, our thinking with negativity, our emotions with worry, our spirits with hopelessness.

A poem was shared with me yesterday. I read it and was overcome with emotion. It seemed to address for me the story of my small work of daily witnessing in a healing space.

Kindred Spirits

Tired after feeling your way
in the dark for so long,
you are looking for cracks of light,
need them now more than ever.

Another woman appears.
Her voice soothes.
She speaks from love,
reminding you:

no one
is ever lost.

it’s almost always
tiredness that
gets us in the end

you must dare
to tell your own story
without blinking

She helps you
remember what you know.
Hope flutters in your chest,
rising up, like birds from cover.

(poet unknown)

This tender poem also suggested to me that I could extrapolate my witnessing into the larger constructs that have me so despairing. I can stand at the edges of those collapsing and dying institutions and systems and simply be present without fear or animosity. I can hold a tone of Hope for Healing on a larger scale. I can do this.

I will also, no doubt, continue to use my energy (in the form of outbursts, postings and vigils) to let off steam when I am overcome with outrage. And I will, no doubt, be unable to restrain myself from using my energy (in the form of outbursts, postings and ceremony) to celebrate what is right and good and beautiful and working in the world.

I can be a witness all the time, holding a tone of Hope. I can do this.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…I Pray The Lord My Soul To keep

If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If in the morning light I wake,
I pray the path of Love to take.

Who remembers this children’s bedtime prayer? My Swedish grandma taught me only the first four lines. I was always resistant to saying it, terrified that I was praying to die by mistake!

Somewhere along my life the last two lines were revealed. I don’t remember when or by whom. Once I imagined that I had made them up to comfort myself. But, I am sure that someone else thought of them first.

Once those lines of comfort and direction were added, I could and would say the prayer and find peace. Until this week, I had forgotten this prayer completely, for possibly decades.

Tragedies and the ever continuing unexpected keep happening and they seem to be streaming in at the speed of light! I have my theories. I am fond of theorizing. It’s one of my comforts and coping mechanisms. My theories give my mind something to nosh on while my heart is breaking. My theories give my mind someplace to land in the chaos of change.

I have recently arrived at a theory concerning my close personal family and our seemingly continual trials and tribulations in the arena of Illness, Life and Death. I have never thought things like; Why Us? Why Now? But my current theory is leaning toward the concept of Per Capita. I am not making less of the real issues that we are and have been facing. I am merely theorizing that in a large family, tragedy and the unexpected are, per capita, mathematically more likely to occur.

When I glance sideways at the Earth and her People, Our larger Home and Family, and try with all my might to digest and assimilate the ongoing suffering and tragedy that occur every nano-second, I feel no less detached. Information that travels and is accessed at the speed of light makes it impossible Not To Know that Life and Death hang in the balance for All…all the time…and precariously. It’s almost too much to bear.

We are tender now, in our clan. We desire answers and confirmations and healings and meaning. We are not fragile, however. When I think of my ClansFolk, one and all, I am gripped with the most visceral admiration, love and amazement! What a bunch! I have friends that cannot understand the bonds, demands, expectations, issues, squabbles, reconciliations and unending challenges we face together and with each other almost every day. We only drift toward these so-called problems with each other, when we have the luxury of no perceived crisis looming. Underneath any and all conflict we ever face is simply misunderstanding or miscommunication.

Underlying All Else is the Love we share that bonds us to one another so intrinsically that when one of us struggles, we all struggle, asking how and stepping up to help. I have friends who wonder why I allow myself to become so involved in the messier dealings of the family. I have no idea what they are talking about. Firstly, these magnificent beings are not ‘The Family’…they are ‘My Family’! I’ll be the first to admit that living and loving in our Clan can sometimes feel like the worst of things but without reservation it is also The Absolute Best of all lives! Oh it’s messy and passionate and enmeshed and binding and none of us can avoid the attention of the other even though we try at times.. And, Thank God! I am grateful every minute for the blessing of being born into such a tangled twig nest of warm nurturing in-your-face love and resolute decisioned acceptance.

We’re not all the same. We don’t all agree. We are all individuals and span a wide swarth of diverse, eclectic, humorous and serious divides that could separate us. At the same time, we cannot be separated. We refuse to be separated. Even when we have divorced, our former loved ones remain loved ones and in the fold. It takes a lot to escape and only a few have managed. Fools! Just kidding….not. We think it is their loss…but it is also ours. If ever we have loved, we don’t forget it. That cannot be erased only changed.

Our Path Of Love is the One Thing I never want to change. Our family is Love at It’s Most Interesting.

So to the many who have passed from us in these last few years:

We have prayed the Lord your soul to take. And for us who remain to love on, I know in the deepest most precious knowing there is…the code of the heart…that when in the morning light we wake….We pray the path of Love to take. Our Clan makes the effort. Isn’t that what counts? That’s what makes my life, our life, this Life worth living.

Blessed Be to My Clan!
We all know who we are.

Why Wait?

Why Wait?

So many things to do!
So many ways to procrastinate!
So many adventures on the ‘Someday’ list!
So many excuses not to do them now!
So many missed opportunities!
So many choices!
So many options!
So many changes!

Wait!  Wait!  Don’t tell me!

Is it because there isn’t enough time?
Is it because there isn’t enough money?
Is it because of fear?
Is it because of ill health?
Is it because of fatigue?
Is it because of lack of imagination?
Is it because of lack of information?
Is it because of too much information?

Wait!  Wait!  Is any of that True?

Is it really true?
Is it true only for you?
Is it true for everyone but you?
Was it true yesterday?
Will it be true tomorrow?

Wait!  Wait!

Any minute, everything can change.
Any minute everything does change.
Any minute you could become ill.
Any minute you could lose what makes you feel secure.
Any minute you’re life could end.

Why Wait?

Start now.
Make a plan.
Throw caution to the wind.
Take a deep breath.
Make the first move.
Take the next step.
Don’t look back.
Don’t look too far ahead.
Be here Now…..

Wait no more!

What Do Mothers Really Want On Mother’s Day?

Mothers Love Children.

Mothers want their own and all children to be safe, to be well, to have opportunities, to feel love, to respect life, to grow up, to be able to grow up and love children, to learn empathy, to understand their personal gifts, to want to share their gifts with all, to be the brilliant lights they came here to be.

Mothers, when faced with the threat of danger to their own and all children, when faced with illness, or injustice, or hunger, or war…cry out in despair. Mothers then become fierce, Mothers then become strong, Mothers protect, Mothers give all they have to help, Mothers find a way…and Mothers need support.

Mothers are intrinsically united beyond all cultural, ethnic, circumstantial and imposed barriers. Even childless women deeply understand the bond of women as Mothers. Everyone has or has had a Mother. Mothers are not perfect and I would venture that most Mothers have immense remorse for their own perceived failings as Mothers, real or not. But if a woman is conscious, if a woman is well herself, if a woman has had half a chance, if a woman can hold onto Hope, if a woman is given a glimpse of opportunity, if a woman is allowed to be a woman and a Mother of heart to children, that Mother will instinctively act on behalf of the children. That Mother will give of herself endlessly. That Mother will never give up.

I am a Mother of five wild children. Each is now an adult. Each is unique, adorable, restless, concerned, caring, impatient, full of heart, misguided, frightened for the world and their own children, here now, or coming in the future and loved beyond all reason by me. I have been forced to consider that, come what may, each child has their own journey through pain and joy, lessons and tribulations, life and death. I can’t change that.

I am a Mother and a now a grandmother and I have a perpetual broken heart for the world and its children but I can’t be stopped from being a fierce advocate for all of them. It’s for the Common Global Good. There is nothing else to do.

For Mother’s Day, I wish Peace for this troubled tortured world, Our Own Mother.

For Mother’s Day, I wish for Understanding and Compassion for all people on earth and especially Our Children.

For Mother’s Day, I wish for an end to hunger and torture and marginalizing and profiling and injustice and ignorance of our common bonds.

That is what I want for Mother’s Day.

I offer these words…a cry from the heart of a Mother: Julia Ward Howe.
From her Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870!

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

TO ALL MOTHERS ON EARTH: This proclamation is about Community! We need each other and as I learned from the Berkana Institute: “Whatever the problem…community is the answer!”

Let’s remember that Motherhood is what we were ultimately created for, whether we desired to conceive a child, were unable to conceive a child, were forced to conceive a child, or chose not to conceive a child. Our very being and bodies were designed to be Mothers. That energetic is in our nature and is what unites us as women. One woman can change anything, Many women can change everything!

A change must come. Our Mother, the Earth, is waiting for us to gather together as women and Mothers and Change Everything on behalf of the Children…and we are all Her Children.

Blessed Be

…and Blessed Mother’s Day to all Mothers and the Blessed men and children who love them for who they are and what and as they are!

We Can Weave From Common Threads…

…a world of strength and beauty!

Oh, there is no end to the differences that separate us as cultures, societies, races, religions, communities, politics, genders, generations or opportunities. In the rare unchallenging or cheerful moment, it’s even possible to celebrate our differences.
Yet on most days, those moments are so idealistic and downright rare, they are scarcely noticed, let alone appreciated for the gifts they could bring to understanding in these complex times we live in now.

The polarization that our world’s ideologies appear to be drifting toward, implies and fortifies the notion of: This OR That, Us OR Them, Men OR Women, Against OR For. Equality challenges these polarities with the notion of: That AND This, Them AND Us, Women AND Men, For AND Against. I wish there were an intrinsically encoded ‘Non~Compete’ clause embedded in each of our most preciously held assumptions.

What if there were ways to re~imagine and redefine a future that blurred or defied accepted polarities? What if each, and every one of us developed a core appreciation of what each, and every one of us could bring to the other? What if we could view opposition as opportunity? What if we could become alchemists who stirred discord into harmony?

I recently had an opportunity to chat with a beautiful, spiritual women about our common passions, pains, disappointments and concerns. She is a woman in my community who feels deeply, dedicates herself to the service of others…with her particular attentions directed toward the issues concerning women and youth. We acknowledged that we share these focuses in common, and yet, as she is a woman of color, and I am of the so~called dominate culture here, it felt as though we were also, individually and silently, forced to acknowledge the differences and assumptions that have defined our lives.

As we took our leave of each other, we embraced and in that moment I felt a deep stirring within and a certainty that we could learn something of value from each other, help and influence each other, create something of lasting importance together. I don’t know what that might be. I am invariably assuming it would have something to do with our ‘common’ interests and concerns. But, there might be something beyond This OR That and even beyond This AND That. There might be a 3rd Way we haven’t imagined as yet. A way that is yet to be revealed. An alchemy of ingredients and conditions we have yet to consider that would bring us the pleasure and satisfaction of co~creating.

She and I may never find the time nor the presence to look more deeply into what we can bring to each other or create together…but I will not ignore that in the realm of all possibility, we could: Weave from common threads a world of strength and beauty. I see this as more than a possibility. I see this as a way of life. I see this as more than a desire. I see this a way of being in community and togetherness. And so I pray that it be so.

The Lusty Month of May!

It’s Beltane! May Day! The official day to celebrate Life, Love, Fertility and Hope! It’s a natural impulse, as spring bursts into bloom, the Earth as our guide and inspiration. Seeds planted in the rich moist soil (and bodies!) are the impetus for the ancient adage: HOPE Springs Eternal!

Beltane is the name the ancient Celtic cultures gave to this lusty time of year and dancing the May Pole is the mid-point in the festivities of Old. On the eve, bonfires were built to assist the sun with it’s light and heat. Cattle were driven through the smoke for purification and Lovers leaped over the flames in joy and blessing. Traditionally, on this sacred Eve-ning, the old pole was burned, it’s ashes scattered over the fields to enhance fertility in the coming season. Young men would choose a new tree to erect for the dance to come. Make no mistake about the meaning! That robust young tree was the symbol of the Earth’s phallus, to be adorned and celebrated for it’s reproductive powers!

A young maiden, by virtue of her virginity, was chosen as May Queen, to be honored and adored as the symbol of the Earth’s fertile womb waiting to be impregnated with New Life! This was the day that Making Love was not only celebrated but encouraged! The energy of Bliss and Blessing would spread across the land and into hearts, young and old, renewing Hope for the future.

In Our Family tradition, the celebration of May Day was a joyous event that folded in Mother’s Day, spring birthdays, and the drinking of May Wine . (We loved a crisp white wine infused with sweet woodruff).

To be completely honest, it was the women who promoted this holiday in our clan gathering. Our men participated by burning the old tree and cutting and erecting the new one. The women and girls attached the long colored ribbons to the top of the pole just before it went up, and the men then became more indulgent observers than revelers (until later that night!)

In May, my garden in Gig Harbor, was just beginning to bloom with Forget~Me~Nots, sprigs of early Lavender, Lilacs and BluBells. The women and girls gathered in baskets of flowers and wove them into garlands for our hair , as we laughed and talked and sipped our wine (or fresh juice!). The little boys went off into the woods to choose the twigs they would need to make their headband of Stag Horns!

We dressed in our favorite flowing dresses and skirts and the music was always gay and merry; Celtic reels, pipes and drums. The boys were more than pleased to provide the percussion background to the thrum of the day. The aromas of the feast that would follow the dance, drifting out onto the deck and into the garden, reminded us of more pleasures to come at the table…roast lamb, new potatoes, asparagus, young greens, berries with thick cream and a always more May Wine!

The impulse to dance would spontaneously lift us to our feet with joy throughout the day, and when it seemed just the right time, we would go to the pole…curtsy or bow to the power of regeneration and new life it still means to us…and Dance! In and out, over and under each other’s arms, we danced and laughed. (and often the mothers, aunties and grandmothers cried with Joy to be able to continue our festival tradition with our young ones)

Such a heart filled memory this brings to me now. In those days, before children were grown and scattered, loved ones were lost to us by illness, marriages disintegrated and households disrupted…..We celebrated our lives, each other, our children and the good fortune to belong to Our Clan. The memory of that last May Day at Our home is so vivid to me today. I see our mother, dressed in her full bright skirt, the garland of flowers and ribbons that she had assembled worn as her crown, laughing even as tears streamed down her cheeks. She danced!…her chronic pain disappearing while she reveled in the embrace of her family….her greatest joy.

Today and every day can bring us Hope for new life, opportunities to rejoice and give thanks for our abundance and pleasures and a renewed sense of Belonging. Isn’t this what our deepest longing is meant to evoke? We belong together, come what May!

Blessings to All now and always!

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