In June of 2020 I ‘graduated’ from teaching. Teaching requires mindfulness and extreme focus, a one-hundred percent investment of love during time spent one-on-one with a child or with a group in the classroom. It requires setting aside self to see and hear others instead.
One of my sister writers, author of “Cross Roads,” Anne B. Jeffries, agreed to post on my blog this week. She had just finished a full day of commitment at school but she came to write with us. She is adept at pouring Heart. When she attends our Wise Women Writing group, she feeds our souls. In a mere ten minutes, she addresses each prompt with profound honesty. Her act is an inspiration for the rest of us. She demands authenticity for herself, while maintaining curiosity, joy, love, and compassion for the rest of us.
Dear Readers, I don’t know what some of you do, but I do know that if you are reading my blog you have a sincere desire to connect with heart. Anne’s heart makes a big connection.
Anne, thank you. I feel honored that you have given me your words to give to my readers. Fellow teacher, fighter for children, fighter for people, Anne, I love your heart. You pour out all it carries every day and I know your students feel your intent. Your writing takes away my breath and reminds me that teaching is something I still love to do.
It’s not just my memories sleeping,
It’s all of it.
A honey drip slowness.
I can catch up tomorrow.
Just want to sink down in sleep.
Like a frenetic fall.
What is the charge?
Is it my nervous system that signals the experience to fizzle,
Lose its edges?
Then, sink away in categories and compartments,
With no present security access?
Where is my agency?
Who is filing these memories and who granted permission for this protocol?
Or, maybe, it’s all chaos and no “thing” has access.
My consciousness just sifts above it all like a metal detector pulling up old coins.
What about the pieces made of wood and plastic?
What loosens those?
He said it’s like wearing a lie on his face.
I feel that way all the time.
In class- with him- with them.
Like I’m a puppet driven by a motor I did not program, or know how to run.
I peered out from below the lip where I stuffed myself down into a pouring cup,
Until all the drops of the eternal minutes,
Ran out against the automaticity
Of that forced time.
There is something about the inability to walk away.
A fabric woven together?
Fabric doesn’t work
because it’s made of thread that can be woven into something else.
My sentiment is too deep to separate out –
Like color in the sky?
Color is only light.
What holds us together?
Is it, in fact,
Check it out
If you would like to read more of Anne’s work, check it out here:
Author’s Notes: Writer’s block. Everyone has heard about it, jokes made, condolences offered. It’s a real thing, a time most Creatives face. The well of ideas runs dry, the lake of inspiration empties and a desert of despair stretches farther than one can see. I had it bad, wandering that desert for at least six months.
One of my writing sisters sympathized, stating her creativity had recently become dormant. We discussed the idea. She was taking a course by David Whyte who offered a solution.
She shared it with me. “Ask yourself, what do you want to say that you are not saying?”
It is a question any creative person can mold to unblock many avenues of stagnation. For an artist, “What do I need to see that I won’t look at?” For musicians, dancers, actors, “What do I need to feel that I haven’t allowed?”
When Lynnea Paxton-Honn shared this with me, my re-awakening began. “What do I want to say that I am not saying?”
In California, where we live, January roared into our state with a deluge capable of filling dry lakes and ponds, and creating new ones, seemingly overnight. It ferociously filled rivers, washing away many things. Tides surged, waves plundered. From Earth’s perspective the rain was needed even though it was so destructive. From a spiritual viewpoint, it was a physical expression of the need to wash away all that no longer serves, a process that caused great grief, but also opened new solutions and opened hearts. It awakened memories, and filled our creative lakes and wells with words for both of us…I am thrilled to present Lynnea’s poem Memories Sleeping.
When I woke in the morning, I could feel it. A miracle was coming. My heart wanted me to see the full eclipse of the super moon in Scorpio. I looked out my window. Overcast. I would see it only if the clouds in the sky moved on. I wished with all my will for a strong breeze to push them along.
As the day slipped by, my anticipation grew. Something would change tonight. I felt sure of it. Whether I witnessed it or not would be another story, but if I couldn’t see it with my own eyes, I could still sit under the canopy of the sky and feel it…maybe.
Ghrian set late. His orange arms wrapped the sky for one last hug as he slipped beyond the Pacific horizon.
Ghealach lan was exasperatingly slow to rise. I did not know the exact location she would appear, and I didn’t want to miss anything so I did not wait on my property for a chance to see her through the branches that umbrella my yard. Instead, I walked up and down the hill trying to glimpse her from a view that was not obstructed by tall trees.
My cats wondered what I was up to and sat on the front stairs watching me crest the rise, disappear, and then reappear.
My neighbors must have wondered, “What’s up with her,” because ordinarily I keep to myself. This moon was drawing me out, asking me to venture forth, to witness…something. I had to go.
I made several trips waiting…waiting…waiting. Would she rise above the Sierra Nevada in time for me to see this event?
Finally, the imperative to walk away from my property to a place up the street paid off. Ghealach lan rose slowly, peering through the trees which sat on a higher point of the hill to the southeast.
It took forever to show her entire face. I sat and prepared to wait. People were out. I could hear their voices, but no one came down the road upon which I sat. The sky was clear. I was a grateful witness.
My faithful black cat, venturing out of his territory to check on me, wondered what I was doing sitting in the road. I pulled him into my lap and said, “I am safe. I can’t go home. I have to be here.”
Time stopped as Ghealach lan floated higher against the black sky. Purpose obscured her light. She looked like a dull, orange marble floating in a black sea. I felt her stealth, a wolf taking her place as guardian of the pack. Her energy increased, though her light did not. She prepared for something….
Slowly, she inched toward the zenith until she settled within the ‘v’ between two trees.
As I gazed, my heart reached toward her. Blood stilled in my veins. I held my breath. Even the twinkling stars fell quiet.
Shadows trembled around me, rising one by one.
“Come,” said Ghealach lan. “Your time here is done.”
Releasing their hold on Earth, shadows slowly rose at her bidding. They swirled through the air, catching zephyrs as they followed an inescapable impulse to join her.
My bones loosened. I felt my energy sink into the Earth. Shadows long wrapped around me let loose.
“Come,” said Ghealach.
My shadows drifted toward the heavy darkness that swirled toward the moon. She gathered them one by one, accepting each as a long lost child. When she grew heavy with their darkness, she silently slipped away, leaving the sky and my heart to grieve her disappearance.
Intellectually, I know what happened in that brief instance, but I prefer the magic. I could no longer see her or feel the comfort of knowing she was there, hovering watchfully above us. In my heart, I saw her release each shadow to the Universe, Itself a willing swallower of sorrows. As the shadows slipped from Ghealach’s grasp, her face, a mere promise of orange against the matted sky, became visible to a sharp eye watching for her.
I breathed a prayer, “Thank you, Seanmhair.”
She had willingly taken my shadows from me.
They had answered her command.
I heard her say, “From this moment, your life is forever changed.”
I folded my hands against my heart and took a deep breath. Then I bowed as I felt the gravity of that.
Slowly, her dull orange face glowed brighter.
I slipped back whence I came, to the shelter of my trees and my home.
I don’t believe in lawns. I don’t like wasting water. I certainly don’t like mowing a swath of grass that has no purpose except to use water to stay green. I do appreciate a plant that resembles a lawn in the springtime: three-cornered leeks (Allium triquetrum), commonly known as Snowbells.
They are not natives to California. Settlers brought these Mediterranean beauties with them when they settled here during the Gold Rush. Considered an invasive plant, and by some folks, noxious weeds, I love them. As a reluctant gardener, I am always happy when plants, especially edible plants, invite themselves into my yard. I especially love the plants that grow prolifically because they crowd out any Bermuda Grass, which I consider a noxious weed. My entire yard supports them.
I use them in place of onions and garlic. The entire plant is edible with a very mild taste. They grow in the spring and die in the summer. When they die off in the summer, they form mats on the ground, which rake up easily, but also provide a perfect mulch for holding moisture in the soil. I’ve always been impressed by how the stems and leaves line up directionally, like hair that has been combed down the sides of my yard spaces. I never questioned why.
This is my year for noticing things. It’s the first year since retirement that I have spent anytime practicing the art of Being instead constantly staying busy. There is good reason to be a reluctant gardener, to sit, observe, and learn how the environment is adapting to the changing global climate patterns. It became really clear during the quarantine that Earth recovers quickly when mankind is not out and about. It also has become clear that to continue growing as we have is not sustainable.
In my mind, I think we need to work with the change and with Earth if we want to continue to feed ourselves in agrarian societies. So, I sit and watch. My yard is not the same yard it was when I first acquired this property. The angle of the sun is different, tree cover is different, temperatures are different. Plants do not respond the way they used to. So how does it work? That’s what I hope to find out.
Along with reassurance that I still had massive amounts of three-cornered leeks, I also discovered another form of life that I had not observed before retirement. The first time I noticed it, I thought my plants were growing moldy. I wondered how to treat them for mold. Then I noticed the mold writhe across the blades and stems. OMG! I looked more closely. Black aphids. I had never heard of black aphids. (Hey! The juice from these plants is supposed to be a fabulous insecticide. Pssht. Not for these tiny creepers!)
280 million years ago aphids sucked plants dry. Since then, over 5,000 variations of this amazing insect have developed special appetites for the plants of the world, especially in temperate zones. The trouble with this appetite is that they are sipping sucrose, which they cannot digest. Why do they do it? It seems that sap is the ultimate addiction.
Their inability to process this food source makes them tasty for predators such as ladybugs, hover fly larvae, sparrows and the American goldfinch. Crab spiders are quite fond of them. Ants, acting very co-dependent to this addiction, go to great lengths to herd, protect, and propagate the little beasties because they cannot get enough of the sucrose secreted from their bodies in the form of droplets of waste, called honeydew. Ants eagerly milk this nectar from the aphids’ miniscule bodies. Even bees claim herds of aphids as their own to delight in this particular habit.
To get around this inability to digest their main food source they have developed interesting tricks and relationships. Aphids harbor bacterial endosymbionts who recycle glutamate, the metabolic waste produced while aphids try to digest plant sap. The bacterial endosymbionts turn the waste into essential amino acids. Some aphids synthesize red carotenoids using horizontal gene transfers. The way I understand this is they use the genetic material from plants, add the coding to their own, which then enables them to absorb sunlight as a food source. I guess if you have been around since the Early Permian Period, you acquire these talents.
Aphids are bad boys. Or are they?
My yard is a refuge of divine feminine it seems, for the aphid army you see on your plants is entirely female. (see: Reluctant Gardener post 2 for more information about female armies: https://avsingerauthor.com/2022/01/19/post-2-reluctant-gardener/ ) As the weather cools in autumn, males with wings and winged females mate. The males die off, their job done. Winged females lay the eggs. The eggs overwinter and hatch the first generation of a parthenogenetic army. The babies are born pregnant, and soon birth live and pregnant female offspring, who in turn birth live, pregnant offspring and so it goes. There can be as many as forty-one generations a season for each female who births another clutch of live, pregnant females every few days. These females are of course voracious in an attempt to create this army. My three-cornered leeks didn’t have a chance.
If you rid your garden of their food sources, some females grow wings and produce a generation of males in preparation to migrate. They fly as high as 600 meters to catch winds that can carry them where they need to go.
So for you, my dear friends, I have left swatches of aphids to their task. I’m not worried. My leeks appear to go through this process every year. I just haven’t been quiet or observant enough to see this before. They will be back next year for me to happily eat and share them with anyone who asks for them.
For those of you who follow this blog you know that, once a week, I meet with a group of writers who meditate together. We write from our hearts, and then tackle weekly prompts. We share what we write each taking their turn in our circle of love. Each of us has come to this group for our own purpose, but I speak for the group when I say, if you are a writer, the best thing you can do for your craft and for your soul is to meet with other writers, to write and share your words.
You know I am all ‘about the magic.’
Something magical happens when we are together.
After meditation or with particular prompts the group responds as if it is one organism with multiple viewpoints. Those are my favorite meetings. The “connection” is strong and we write with one heart.
This was one of those times.
Marilyn Crnich Nutter
Undoing, undone – downfall or disentangle? In free-fall, it’s hard to know where one is headed. Crashing towards oblivion? I like to think of it as an unraveling—like a knitted work that doesn’t take shape or form and needs to come apart so it can be made whole again, or splintered porcelain pieces which we can’t use but can artfully piece together in new form that will please the eye and fill the heart. It’s part of life’s pattern of being, our longing for wholeness and beauty, making sense of our broken and fragile world.
but this is how I feel
you’re being too sensitive
I feel insulted
they say, sorry you feel that way
I say, stop using language as a weapon
Anne B. Jeffries
I’m the Un-Doer right now
As I glance up,
And take in the tops of your heads
All bent in your own space
In your own minds,
Maybe I’ll just watch this unfold.
Be the Un-Doing,
Not the Doing.
But I cannot remove the Un-Doing
As I analyze the Doers.
That’s just it,
It is only in the Un-Doing
Where the true action takes place.
Isn’t that what we are doing now? Undoing? I love the concept, the practice, the awareness of Undoing. It is the purpose of our Elder-years. To Undo until we greet The Wonder of Who We Are. The Undoing—so dramatic in the essence of itself. The Undoing sets us free–Undoing the scaffolding about our egoic constructions.
There is no Undoing to be done in Presence with a capital P, in Stillness with a capital S, in the essence of Soul Self with a capital SS.
It is the Great Undoing, the Great Awakening, the Portal to Who We Really Are. (or The Truth of our Being.)
There is birth, the entry. Then decades of doing that follows. Should we grow into emotional maturity we acquire wisdom. Wisdom is the antidote of doing. Wisdom is our conscious undoing.
Joyce Ann Campbell
Too much of humanity’s progress has left a trail of destruction across land and sea, below and above, within and without.
The undoing of so-called development will not be a simple task.
But undoing is one of Nature’s talents. Wearing down mountains just takes awhile and building them up can be a blast.
The sound of undoing takes me to the dance of life
A waltz where a 1,2,3 syllabus is moving
In the rhythm of a simple word
A lonely movement of myself
Doing, redoing, undoing of my heartbeat
Undoing the leaves of a tree
that shows itself with its beautiful lacey shape
I undo in facing the shadows
That haunt my dreams
In moving images of an unknown story
With its hurting steps
after the dance of my own truth
Undoing is much more difficult than the doing that is being undone.
Especially, if that original thought or action has become habitual.
It’s like trying to untie a knot in a necklace. Everything is entangled in
such an intricate way, that even finding a start seems impossible.
But— maybe the beginning of ”The Great Undoing” of our fearful manifestation, is just to start laughing. That laugh sparks another laugh, which sparks another, which quickly becomes viral.
A viral belly laugh to shake away the doing.
DC Little :A sneak peek from Mercy Rising: The Deliverance
The undoing of Mercy came on a day that had begun warm and bright, full of promise. They sat on stumps or rocks in small pods throughout the camp, discussing how well yesterday’s battle had gone.
Mercy stood up, feeling hope rise with her, as she bade her exit from the group. The need to feel the sun on her skin and bask in some time alone grew, besides if she stayed amongst the others too much longer, her head might bloat to an uncomfortable size.
The need to stay humble thrummed within her, and where else then spending time with the Creator to help her remember that?
She glided through the camp, smiling at those who said hello, but she kept her intention focused, finally coming to the newly planted garden. Small green shoots had burst through the tilled earth overnight, uncurling to receive their first touch of the sun.
A deep satisfaction filled her, her purpose realized, her calling answered. She allowed the sensation to infiltrate her, shedding tight throngs of fear and burying the worthlessness that had plagued her.
Just when she began to believe everything was falling into place, she picked up on a frantic heartbeat, racing too fast, tight with fear, dripping in horror.
Mercy jumped up, instantly alert, hand drawing her bow without thought and scanning the area the emotion embarked from, searching for any slight movement or sound….
AV Singer: Connection
Time is not linear.
We like to think it is because logical progression is easier for our emotional systems to handle, but this has been an undoing.
Most of us operate on three cylinders of a twelve-cylinder engine, never questioning our inability to ‘get up to speed.’ We mosey along, secure in our own shells like snails seeing only our own paths. We do not understand that thought can transmit simultaneously with the thinking of it.
And thinking is slow. Emotion is faster, the difference between 10 and 102.
The world is Turmoil right now. It seems criminal to add to the angst. Imagine how quickly an emotional actuality of serenity can travel. Imagine transmission of trust, or a whole-hearted knowledge of what peace feels like. (When I was younger, I imagined the absolute silence of falling snow blanketing the Earth to get in touch with peace. That imagined event helped me get in touch with how quiet the Earth can be: how peace feels, like a quiet in-breath, an in-between place – profound rest.)
Those of us not fighting for our lives owe to those of us fighting, a door that opens upon that space of Peace, where Trust reigns, and Serenity holds us in comfort. It takes as much energy to “feel” despair as it does to hold that door open.
I implore you, if you are not fighting, join us. Recharge your batteries with intentional filling of your cups every day. Keep up your strength. Hold open doors. Connect.
We would love to hear from you. Leave a message in the comment box.
As the world increasingly challenges our senses of stability and well-being, an intentional daily recharge of spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical batteries is a necessity. Most of us have ways of making our lives pleasurable and happier, but we do it far too tight-fistedly. Often, we indulge in seeking to recharge only when the Universe presents us with an opportunity.
I want to throw down a challenge. Spend at least 66 days making a conscious decision to do things that recharge your batteries.
When I was a working person I intently focused on my job, I focused on being a single parent providing for a family, I focused on maintaining my place within my community; I did not focus on myself, nor did I take care of recharging my metaphorical batteries. When I retired in June of 2020, I kept the pace, because my primary reason for retiring when I did, was to give myself more energy and time for writing. Admittedly, I enjoy writing, but I was used to working at 120%, many times beyond my energy reserves, so I pushed myself.
I forgot what fun was for me. I didn’t know how to have fun. I resigned myself to thinking I was a person who just didn’t have fun. I tried to trick myself trying to find the fun in my new “job” of being retired. However, I soon suffered the effects of “burn-out.”
I had to stop to rethink this.
When one has had a long life of working, especially in a career of service to others, it is hard to stop.
Stopping became my goal.
I lazed around for weeks.
At first I felt worthless. Then, something magical began to happen. I found activities that, while not productive, were extremely enjoyable. I began to let go of my taciturn seriousness, to experience tiny frissons of joy that bubbled up from time to time. They were delicious.
Eleven days ago, I accepted a 30-Day Challenge to Fill My Cup. The idea was to do something that made me excited and energized every day, to find things to do for myself that made me feel happy and satisfied with life.
The first day, March 21st I drew pictures from memory of someone I love. It pleased me. The images didn’t have to be perfect because I was drawing from memory, and I really wanted to do it. The project made me excited. That excitement colored other things I did that day.
The second day I baked cookies for breakfast. Then I treated myself to a movie – Pitch Perfect. It was ‘perfect’ because it reminded me how much I used to love singing “a cappella.” I found things to love about the whole day.
The third day, I drove country roads on my way to a tax preparer’s appointment. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. It set the mood for a meeting to discuss a subject about which I was worried, this being the first tax season as a non-salaried person with a home-based business. I was so relaxed from driving that the meeting was wonderful and I didn’t have to pay extra tax fees.
The fourth day I foraged my yard for greens. Being a Reluctant Gardener, I had to try what nature was offering. I can assure you “lawn eating” is enjoyable and satisfying. I also began to notice something else. Little things that used to bother me, no longer bothered me.
I was getting used to sitting on my stump to meditate. I had the pleasure of watching ladybugs hunt together. So interesting.
I continued the practice of “filling my cup.”
I’d to share a couple of stories:
On that Friday, five days into the practice, I woke somewhat disconnected with Earth and still very much in that weird dream state between waking and sleeping. I couldn’t let go. I needed to let go because I had a “date” with some artist friends to work in an open studio situation. I love to work with others. I had to release the disassociated state I was in so it would be safe to drive. I was somewhat successful. When I got into my car, the battery was COMPLETELY dead.
Oh no. There was no time to deal with this.
Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sure it was safe for me to drive. Maybe this was the Universe’s way of keeping me off the road. I called one friend to explain my situation. She was sad, and suggested I call another for a ride. Then she amended her statement and said, “Of course, I will understand if you would rather take care of your car.”
Hell no. I didn’t want to deal with my car. I wanted to draw. With people. In an open studio. Chatting about life.
Why was this happening?
Wait a minute. I don’t have to put up with this.
I called another friend.
“Hey. Have you left yet?”
“Yes,” she replied. My heart sank.
“Where are you?” I timidly asked.
“I am at the end of my drive.”
“I’m calling because I don’t think I’m going to make it today. My car is dead.”
“I’ll come pick you up.”
Oh, thank God. I wanted to fill my cup with time spent with my art friends doing art, and telling stories.
“Oh, thank you,” I said. And then I added, “I don’t think I should be driving today anyway. I am having trouble letting go of Elsewhere,” which I knew she understood as me unable to release a state of being not quite in the world.
“I’ll be there in a few.”
I understood I needed to call services to get my car fixed, especially since it was Friday, but I just didn’t want to. I wasn’t ready to face the hassle, and I thought, who cares. I’m retired now. I can wait until Monday. My old self saw this as extremely irresponsible and for a moment, I wavered. Fortunately, my new, cup-full self was extremely excited to forget about the car and go have some fun.
Then magic happened after the art session later that afternoon.
On our way home, my friend and I joked about the car. “You should try to start it before you call anyone. You know how you are.”
I did. When I was working in an office, no one would let me use the copy machine because somehow my energy always shut it down. So, it was possible that my being in a dissociative state could shut down the car. That is magical thinking, but it was worth contemplating to avoid the hassle of finding help for a dead battery. We laughed.
The first thing I did was try the car. Nope. Battery stone cold dead. Oh well.
Instead of calling Triple A, I called the local mechanic’s shop because the week before this one, my daughter had a car break down and the local mechanic wasn’t taking cars for about a month because he was so busy. There was no point calling for a jump-start or tow unless I had somewhere to take the car to replace the battery.
The receptionist answered. “Yes. We can see you right away. Let me check if we have a battery.” She came back to the phone. “We have one battery left. You are in luck. Come on in.”
“Wow. Thank you.”
I had to call Triple A. My daughter’s experience the past week was that Triple A couldn’t come until the next day. I was calling late on a Friday afternoon. It was possible there wouldn’t be a driver available. I would find out, and then call the auto shop to make an appointment for another day if needed.
“Yes. We can send someone within the hour,” the receptionist at Triple A said.
“Wonderful.” I felt very lucky.
Then she said, “We will let the driver decide if you need a tow or not. That way, your tally for services isn’t affected.”
“Thank you,” I said, amazed at her generosity and feeling very cared for.
I called the auto shop to confirm whether or not they could see me in an hour, and if not to make a plan for a drop-off. I received a go-ahead. Within five minutes, the Triple A driver confirmed he was on his way and expected ETA was fifteen minutes.
Wow. Events were lining up.
I opened the car to raise the hood.
When he got here, he attached the charger, and told me to turn on the car. As I did, the horn began beeping. Nothing we did turned it off. The driver disconnected the charger, then frantically hunted for the circuit to the alarm. He found it, disconnected it, and the annoying repetitive blast of noise went away. However, the lights continued to flash.
The car easily charged, indicating the alternator was okay. I drive a Honda. Repairs can get expensive so this was a welcome relief.
“You can drive to the auto shop now.”
“The flashing won’t matter?” I said.
We exchanged pleasantries and he started to leave. I jumped into my car.
I could not engage the gearshift.
I thought, “Oh my god. I must have jammed it when I put it into park. My hands just aren’t strong enough to disengage it.”
I jumped out of my car and attempted to wave down the driver. He did not see me and crested the hill. Where was my mild state of panic? I ran though I am not a fast runner.
A car pulled over the crest of the hill coming the other way. The man inside saw me running, madly waving to the Triple A driver. He honked and yelled to the driver of the tow truck. I heard him say, “That woman is trying to get your attention.”
The driver came back.
This was becoming a huge, weird, and exciting synchronous adventure of collaboration.
Like me, he could not disengage the shift. Neither of us could drive it. The anti-theft device had turned on. He would have to tow it.
I am a person who loves to collaborate. I am energized by it. This experience felt like a storm when the electricity goes out. Everyone scurries to find and light candles and life goes on a little more exciting than it was before the blackout. That driver didn’t usually let patrons ride in his truck, but by this time neither of us was willing to let go of this adventure. Riding in that truck was a fantastic experience.
When we arrived at the auto shop, the head mechanic taught us how to disengage a Honda’s anti-theft device. Since I like driving Hondas and the Triple A driver has to frequently deal with them, we were both pleased to learn this.
Then the mechanic drove my car into the work area to change the battery. Amazingly, the dead battery was still under warranty. Not only was my battery replaced that evening, I didn’t have to pay for it.
Wow. Just – wow.
Within these eleven days, there have been several upheavals in my life.
For instance, I was so jazzed by the challenge so far, the next day I decided to pull inedible weeds from my yard. There were only a few: patches of foxtail (also dangerous for animals), inedible thistles, oat grass, tar weed (yuck). I worked too long, and because of the way I am built, dislocated two ribs. Normally, pain like this would send me down a rabbit hole of despair that lasted for weeks as I struggled to work and maintain a provider lifestyle while fighting excruciating pain. This time, I selfishly treated myself to complete convalescence. Instead of wallowing and worrying, I learned how to work around the pain by focusing on the ball of energy that roars like a small sun within my core. I did the exercises I had to do. I concentrated on relaxing the distressed tendons and ligaments. I thanked the pain for reminding about correct posture. I learned to appreciate spending time to care of self.
My ribs slipped back into place within three days, but I knew I still needed to be mindful of the way I moved because they weren’t completely settled into their sockets.
That night, when one of my cats wanted in, I opened the door for her. She ran through my legs. I carefully turned to watch her run through the house toward the sunroom where my cats eat and she sleeps.
“Oh good grief.”
A tail was dangling from her mouth. That morning when I went out to greet the day, I noticed a small liver under my feet before I stepped on it. I cleaned it up and found a tail to go with it. I didn’t mind because it meant the cats were keeping the place free of mice.
But this cat chose to bring one inside with her.
Normally, this would have sent me into a tizzy. However, my cup was full because of my practice of intentionally filling it. A dead or live mouse in the house was not going to intimate me.
As expected, when I got to the sunroom, she had dropped the mouse and was imploring me to feed her.
The big black cat was already in the room waiting for dinner. He was a renowned mouse and rat catcher. However, I guess he is respectful. It was the other cat’s catch. She had dropped it on the floor and was looking at me expectantly. The black cat sauntered over and sniffed the mouse’s nose. The mouse, whom I presumed to be dead, lifted his head and sniffed the black’s nose.
Then the black sat and stared at me, as if to say, “Well. This one’s for you.”
Oh dear. How was I going to deal with a mouse and not quite healed ribs?
I turned to the cat that had provided the mouse. “Thank you. Thank you so much. You are a mighty hunter.” I looked around me for something with which to catch the mouse. As I did this, the mouse jumped up and scurried under the hutch.
Geez. There was no way I could get on the floor to flush it out without disturbing my ribs.
However, the cats could.
I shut the door for the night, and went to bed. Okay, I know. Escapism.
Or recharging batteries.
Take your pick.
The next morning when I awoke, I expected to find body parts. I also knew I would have to clean the entire room. Was I physically up for it?
Huh. There were no mouse parts in the sunroom.
Both cats wanted breakfast. I quickly fed them. Both cats wanted out. I let them out.
I made coffee, resigned to hunting for a mouse. First, I was going to enjoy my warm morning, life affirming drink, meditate, get grounded, wake up fully – and I was going to fill my cup.
The big black wanted back in. I let him in. He quickly ran to the sunroom. I shut the door and returned to my coffee not ready to give up on my practice. My biggest fear was that the mouse had crawled under the refrigerator. I made mental plans about who to call if that was the case.
I loud clatter ensued from the sunroom. The mouse was still alive?
I went to check. The big black was chirping that strange little sound they make on the hunt. If he was right, the mouse was in the corner by the back door. I felt strong enough to move the small weight set, chair, and barrel that held my hiking, and walking sticks. As I moved items one my one, I thought, what will we do if it runs under the refrigerator. As I moved the barrel, the black struck. The mouse squeaked. I opened the door. The big black pranced outside with his catch. The skinny tail dangled from his mouth.
That cat was so proud of himself.
He was my king.
I was so proud to collaborate on a hunt.
My cup was completely full.
The hunt had totally recharged my batteries. I was ready to clean that entire room, which was necessary because the smell of mouse pee is very strong. It took me all day. Amazingly, sweeping and mopping the floor bit by bit actually popped my ribs completely back into place. Who knew?
I challenge each of you to find those things that recharge your batteries. People once thought that 21 days was enough to establish a new pattern. The new paradigm is 66 days. I plan to practice recharging my batteries every day for at least a year. I invite you to join me. What excites you? What gives you energy? What makes you want to get out of bed and get going? Do that. Do it often. Practice recharging diligently. I think you will find, like I did, that those things that once seemed so harrowing now seem like adventures. I think you will find your life bubbling with joy.
I look forward to hearing about your escapades as I continue to recharge my batteries day by day.
You asked me what it feels like to connect with the imaginal realm, a place where trees and plants speak with scent and with flavor, animals speak with images, angels with colors and ideas, and where humans speak with emotion rather than voice. In this liminal place, the geometry of serenity is a rosy quartz-colored sphere, joy is a sturdy rectangular plane upon which to stand, knowledge is fleeting ether that passes by unless witnessed. The imaginal realm seems utterly empty, profoundly silent until observed; then, it springs to life with all there is.
Those that honor it feel completely bonkers, but only because those cemented in matter cannot smell what they smell, taste what they taste, see what they see, hear what they hear, or feel what they feel, though it is possible for them. It isn’t a matter of a sixth sense. It does not take anything extra. It is a matter of heightened senses, using what is human and extending it to include other dimensions.
Connected as you are, what you really ask is, how does one observe this imaginal space?
Considering you are standing in the middle of it, all it takes is a willingness to believe that what you sense is actually happening. The energy of potential can seem like a mere wish, a daydream or a passing thought. Dismissed as such, it is fleeting and not noticeable…until it is too loud to ignore.
Humans speak in emotion. They can say whatever they want to, but their real language is emotion. Humans are shouting right now. Floods, fires, global warming, pestilence, earthquakes, volcanoes, unrest within and between countries…it’s nuts. Emotions are running at an all-time high.
I find myself cautioning those around me lately, “Slow down, examine what you feel. Is what you are feeling right now your own emotion? There is a possibility that you are picking up on the emotions swirling around us.” The liminal world is knocking at the door.
What is happening in your life? Where are you this very second? Stop right now, and assess.
Is something happening that is truly yours to be sad, angry, or frightened about? Then, by all means, you should be sad, angry, or frightened. Those emotions will help you discern what to do next, but for the rest of us, we need to get out of your way to send you support and strength. The only way to do that is to be in our own space, claim our own emotion, and not add to the fervor of whatever emotion is swirling about.
Is this my emotion?
If not, instead, breathe. Take into account what is really happening around you. What is the appropriate emotion for that?
Emotional ownership is a thing.
It’s important to know if you want to extend your senses into the imaginal world, because that world is EVERYTHING, with no judgment of right, wrong – good, bad – happy, sad. It is there waiting to be witnessed by YOU. You will witness that which you look for.
This is the first step to observing the imaginal realm. Own your emotions. You are an emotional being. You speak with emotions. Trust me on this. Words have secondary, and sometimes false, meaning. Emotions tell truth. It is hard to believe I am saying this as a writer, but I am and I don’t think I can say this or write it often enough. Emotions are a human’s primary language. Use them appropriately.
Think of it as a mindfulness practice. Pay attention to your first emotion of the morning. Observe emotions that follow. Do you see a pattern? Stop and ask, “Is this really me? Do I really have reason to feel this way?” Watch for stray emotions that don’t match your life, especially loud ones.
There are moments when I burst into tears, or laughter, or quake in sudden fear…for no apparent reason. Extreme emotion is easy to observe. It’s a perfect time to practice. I always ask, “Is this mine?”
For instance, yesterday I was singing Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, recorded by Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles. I had already listened to the song once and thought, “Gee. I can’t remember these lyrics.” So, I looked them up to sing harmony with Josh and Sara. Totally engulfed within the music, I suddenly choked on tears at the line, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now.” Ugh. Tears streamed down my face. Just like a wave, despair washed over me.
Since I have been doing a lot of negative pattern clearing, I first looked at that. I didn’t have any emotions swirling around me from those experiences. I don’t watch the news, I feel safe and happy in a quarantine situation, my friends and family are all well.
Living in California, it’s probable that it came from outside me. I was singing, which is my primary go-to for connecting to liminal space. I live in a fire zone. People have lost everything they have. I live in a high Covid-19 zone. There are people dying from this dreadfulness.
This wasn’t my emotion to own.
I stood tall, and strong. I took a deep breath. The waved washed back over me and disappeared into source. I finished the song. It was, literally, that fast. There was no need to hang onto it.
I have been practicing letting go of that which isn’t mine. You can too. The first step is asking, “Is this my emotion?” Be aware of that which is and that which isn’t. The emotional response won’t stop, but if it isn’t yours, it will pass within 90 seconds for most of us. All you have to do is acknowledge it, and let it move on through you. Simple, huh?
Good luck this week. May Peace find you wherever you are.
P.S. Here is a poem for those on or curious about the Twin Flame path, and a tiny glimpse into my life and the imaginal realm.
I just noticed that last week’s title was about breath. We’re doing a lot of breath work in California right now.
I always get excited when I can share my blog space with other artists and writers. Lynnea Paxton-Honn teaches presence and oneness in meditation. An avid horsewoman she bridges the Tao of horse with the Tao of human. Her compassion is boundless, yet she considers herself a student. She joins me today in response to the title of a new song by Shari Anderson, shared on the evening of August 9th at our meeting of the Women Writers of the Well.
Lynnea Paxton-Honn, 8/9/2021
Sitting in meditation
Inhale and exhale,
Stretching exhale into silence,
Jump starting with inhale.
Is it me that is breathing?
And what part of me?
How often do I
Breathe with awareness?
Not near as often
As my body
As the changing weather,
Breathe my body,
Lungs attached to
Passing breezes, passing winds.
Only in full conscious awareness
Do I know I breathe
With the cosmos.
When we breathe consciously, of what might we be capable? Life is magical. Even when there is a probable, logical explanation for any given event that happens in this three-dimensional existence, it is always more fun, and many times, more impactful to embrace serendipity and enjoy the magic that unfolds. Breathe with consciousness. Who knows; someone might find the way home.
Nighttime Miracle, based on a true story.
AnaValarie, (remembered lines from Shari’s song: breathes in the light, travels through darkness, breathes out the light.)
A little boy woke up screaming.
As usual, his mother woke, was out of bed, and by his side before she had a chance to breathe out the dream she was in and breathe in the moment. “Shh, shush. It’s only a dream,” she crooned, smoothing the hair off his face.
“No,” he wailed. “Look. There.” He pointed to a shadowy darkness in the corner nearest the closet.
If she squinted, she could almost believe something was there. “Hush, Darling. It’s just a shadow.”
“It’s not. He’s, he’s talking to me. It’s a monster.” He hid his tear-stained face in his pillow. His shoulders shook, his breath labored. Worried that her little one wouldn’t sleep the rest of the night, and quite frankly, neither would she, she said, “This is what we’re gonna do. Sit in my lap.”
The boy climbed out of bed and grabbed her neck. She wrapped him into her arms. “You know how much I love you.”
“Bigger than the Earth? Bigger than forever?”
“Yes. Bigger than all the Earth. Bigger than forever. Let that big love fall right into your lap and hold it there.”
The little boy’s tummy expanded and then tightened as breath filled him with remembered love.
“When you let the air go, blow all that love right into the center of that shadow.” She pointed to the blackness near the closet.
The little boy’s breath whooshed outward as he stared into the shadow, blowing with all his might.
“Let’s keep doing that together; remembering our love, letting it fall into our laps, and then blowing that loving energy right at that monster.”
They hugged each other tightly.
“Stare right into the shadow and think about how much I love you and you love me,” she reminded him.
As they sat together, breathing love into a monster, she felt warmth build between herself and her son. A strong connection had always been there, but she perceived that this was a special moment. She stared at the shadow and pushed that feeling toward it, mother and son breathing in love, breathing out love, sending it to the shadow in the corner by the closet.
The shadow began to quiver.
Must be a trick of the eyes, she thought but she held her concentration, thinking only of the love she had for her son, and offering that love to his monster.
Slowly, a glow of light began around the edges, diffusing its darkness. Suddenly, bright white light flashed in that corner by the closet and disappeared.
She blinked. The corner looked normal again.
“There,” she said, “All gone.”
She couldn’t let on how mystified she felt by what just happened.
“Mom, Mom. It went home. It belongs with angels.”
“Yes. I believe it did,” she replied. She looked into his bright eyes. “That’s what happens when you send monsters love instead of fear. Can you sleep now?”
“Yes,” he said. He climbed off her lap and snuggled into his bed.
His little boy snores greeted her ears by the time she reached his door to return to her own room. What were the chances that someone had flashed car lights in this quiet cul-de-sac at the exact moment a little boy and his mother needed comfort and strength?
She sat on her bed and replayed the event. She was not aware of hearing a car’s engine roar to life, or tires against the gravely road, but…she shrugged. Snuggling under her own covers, she lay content that for this night, something happened that made life a little easier and a little more magical.
The first is by Lyla Fain, a poet who through her writing constantly pushes to see beyond Self, thereby teaching us to do so as well. It only takes a moment to calm down and see through another’s eyes, to see through one’s heart.
Life Time, by Lyla Fain: Meditation response, Women Writers of the Well, 8/4/21
Breath in love.
Breath out love.
That truck guy
cut in front of my car.
Now I’ve waited
of my life
to get my prescription,
which I prepaid
for faster service.
Breathe in, breathe out.
on the back bumper
says, Vietnam Vet.
I’m totally against armed conflict, handgun to military weapon,
having read, “The Red Badge of Courage” in high school
and still grieving
my brother, David’s,
while at work,
shot and killed by a robber.
World conflict continues.
Breath in love.
Feel so relieved
this veteran survived that war
Breath out love.
Such a calming thought
to let go of my anger.
All it takes is a moment, as Lyla reminds us. Breath is life.
The second offering was inspired by Nadia Colburn’s class 31+ Days Meditation and Writing Course. The prompt was from Marie Howe’s poem, “The Gate,” and the line “This is what you’ve been waiting for – this.” Nadia asked, “What is this ness?” The word bank she offered was: sheet, water, gate, sandwich. In this class, we have 10 minutes to synthesize and then write, but really, she expects open-heart writing. A memory popped up for me.
This is what you’ve been waiting for… AnaValarie Singer, 8/8/21
The evening my father died
my sister and I waited,
watching him breathe.
In, out, pause…in, out, pause.
The room at Kit Carson
was calm and quiet
like my father’s breath.
We dared not touch him.
Those that had come earlier
in sobbing regret, held his hand,
stroked his cheek.
fighting a body that no longer wished to carry him.