Sunday, August 30, 2009
I said it without thinking. And, I was amazed that it was my answer. I had never thought of it that way...
After experiencing an amazing crystal healing session using the little tachyon pyramids, my client wanted to purchase a larger pyramid to take home and use in her meditations. Instead, she was drawn to a collection of jewelry that I also offer for sale in my office and on Bonanzle and my website.
"What does the spiral symbol mean?" she asked, trying on a chain of tiny spirals.
My scientific mind sees the spiral as the universe. In constant motion, it expands out infinitely. The spiral symbol represents the consciousness of nature beginning from the center and expanding outwardly. This, of course, is the way of all things...
That would have answered her question, in a rather profound way...
She held a mandala to hear heart. "I can feel this one!"
I also know the spiral as a key in sacred geometry. It is the pattern of growth found in abundance in the natural world. On Earth we see it as seashells, fern fronds, snails, and whirlpools. Like tornadoes, they all make use of the power contained in the spiral to grow and change. A spiral is the form of perfect balance, progress, and forward development. It speaks of evolutions of time, stars, planets and the way of natural progress for the highest good. It is a representation of the dance of the universe.
I could have said something like that...
"Wow, this one looks really old, can I try this one on?"
In the ancient world, spirals were a symbol of the journey through life. They remain a universal symbol found in almoat all cultures representing the cycle of the sun, the seasons, and the cycles of life and death. Spirals also represent life force and regeneration. They reveal the feminine serpent force. They are the ancient symbol of the Goddess, the womb, and fertility. Yes, spirals are the domain of the Goddess.
That would have been really good.
But spiritually, I intuit the spiral representing the path leading from our outer consciousness to the inner awareness of the soul. It is the movement between the inner, intuitive, and intangible worlds and the outer world of matter. Actually, I see the spiral as a road map to the evolution of humankind, both personally and collectively. Spirals represent our learning to let go, surrender, and release. They represent an awareness of the one within the context of the whole. They lead us to our connectivity to each other and to the mystery of cosmic energies, to our union with the Divine.
And although each loop of the spiral brings us back to the same place, it takes us to a higher and more evolved level at each turn.
And so I answered, "hope."
May you be blessed!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Despite the 21 days of rain in July, August gifted the gardens with abundant sunshine and perfect balance was restored quite beautifully. It amazed me to witness how the equilibrium was reset naturally in the landscape while my container gardens all suffered root rot. Recently I tipped them over and salvaged what I could. And today, even a few of those wounded plants are growing something beautiful or edible with their roots tucked happily into the Earth.
This morning I found myself quite humbled by the entire process. Standing silently for a minute or two, I became aware of my fellow gardeners, the hummingbird, bee and butterfly. Grateful for the invaluable services they provide, I blessed their day’s work. I put my palms down on the soil and gave a shout-out to the earthworms, also doing their part on behalf of the harvest. I watched newly hatched goldfinches feasting on seed heads, and mama chipmunk filling her jowls with my morning offering of raisins. I felt such gratitude for being included that I was almost moved to tears by the simple pleasure of the moment. And then I knew.
I had been kissed by the Spirit of the garden.
It is this Spirit that restored the refugees from the container garden, and that held the seedlings and tender plants firmly through the torential rains and cold winds that drove me out of the garden for weeks at a time...
In June, I sprinkled a tiny bit of cornmeal in each of the four directions in my garden, thanking each direction for its teachings. I thanked the life force of the Great Mystery as it manifests in that little patch of Earth. I placed myself in service to that Mystery and to the garden, so that together we might grow fertile, beautiful food and flowers. And then it was cold, and the rain came, and would not stop, and I gave up for a while. But the Spirit of the garden did not.
In May, when I turned over the soil and planted small crystals in each corner of the garden, I pledged myself to anticipating the garden’s needs for water, food, and care.
"May all that grows here be of benefit. May I serve you with an open heart," I said and then I didn't. It was my responsibility to nurture the Spirit, to remember myself and my garden in a loving partnership. In the mud, the weeds, the dampness, I forgot my pledge. But the Spirit of the garden did not.
And so this morning, feeling undeserving, a bit negligent, certainly guilty and lazy – yet awestruck and amazed – I got down on my knees and thanked the Spirit of the garden. It was another simple ceremony, and I know it was more for me than the plants. Then, I re-staked what was tumbling, and weeded out that which had encroached beyond the perennial beds. The mint had to be tamed again, it's not that mint has bad manners, it just needs reminding. I tore out some tansy, and bundled up the daylillies. And then I filled a basket with beans, tomatoes and herbs.
I felt such connection, welcome, and forgiveness – a profound gift from the Spirit of the garden. And then the kiss!
It was a brief awareness, a sensation of pure love and oneness, and then my silly monkey mind filled again with the scheduling of the days appointments, the shipping tape I must purchase in order to send out the packages, remembering to leave a check for my son's oil change and tire rotation... I returned to the house and to the responsibilities I pledged to honor.
In that kiss, the Spirit restored me and my promise.
Like the mint, I just needed reminding.
That I might serve you with an open heart...
May you be blessed!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tomorrow marks my one year anniversary selling on Bonanzle. I arrived on the shores of Bonanzle with a boatload of other refugees from ebay, huddled masses seeking a new marketplace in which to set up our shops. Bonanzle whispered to us...
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
"As many of you know, I have a new storefront on Bonanzle.com Bonanzle is a brand new e-commerce and social marketing site that reached a million listings in 6 months, and was recently voted the best ebay alternative according to Examiner.com. It's a grassroots effort, championed by a growing base of forward-thinking veteran sellers, who share a community-centric, cooperative spirit. Management is responsive, accountable, hands-on, and creative. There's team spirit at Bonanzle, a refreshing change for sellers migrating from ebay who have felt that they had become more like spectators watching their on-line marketplace storefronts being managed more and more by the venue and less and less by themselves. While Bonanzle expects business owners manage their own businesses, they simply provide the venue, albeit a venue that listens, really listens, to the wants and needs of the sellers who are setting up shop there."
I went on to announce a line of Bonanzle bath and body products I had developed to fund-raise for the fledgling site, giving 20% of the sales to the venue on top of the $24 voluntary monthly membership fee I happily paid for the privilege. (You can read it in its entirety if you are so inclined, here.) It was an exciting time, everyone had their sleeves rolled up, generosity in all of its magnificent forms flowed freely! And, of course Bonanzle flourished!
Bonanzle has really grown in the past year, with now over 2 million listings on its books! Many features have been added and tweaked for the better, and yet some key elements are still left wanting creating real barriers to sales. There are a lot of bells and whistles to play with, and the new syndicated selling and affiliate programs promise to drive traffic to the site. Although I no longer keep a memebership there, and so I no longer sell BonanzleSudzle, I maintain a storefront at Bonanzle, and I do believe that the venue has the potential to take off. In my heart of hearts, I hope the huddled masses will find the promised land.
All in all, my experience at Bonanzle has been extremely positive: I have made great –lifelong– friends through the forums and I have learned e-commerce marketing skills that are transferable to my own website and beyond. I have witnessed the beautiful spirit of community and cooperation soar to the stars! And, although there have been some ugly moments that left me scratching my head, all in all it has been a wonderful learning curve and a fertile field for personal growth. And so, this Sunday morning I raise a Mimosa to my fellow Bonanzlers, in gratitude and celebration!
It is my regular Sunday morning habit to write, so I took a moment of reflection and focused on the past year and my adventures in e-commerce. I'll call it my Bonanzle Awakening as it was the event of my journey beyond ebay and my anniversary there that has inspired me. I think it's a celebration of personal growth that can be translated beyond its application to my e-commerce businesses and marketing plans. And so I'll share...
Awakening... at some point you realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for fulfillment, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You affirm that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen. You focus and get going!
You awaken to the fact that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say. You decide to be true to your truth and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You remember that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is powerful joy in creating and contributing. You stand firm in your conviction that principles such as honesty and integrity are not outdated ideals but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your business, and life.
You humble yourself to the truth that you don't know everything; that it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
And, then you learn about love.
You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn about trust.
You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.
You learn to be thankful.
In my Awakening I vow to take responsibility for myself, and I make myself a promise to never betray myself and to never ever settle for less than my heart's desire. I promise to keep my chin up, boobies out, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
I am thankful.
May you be blessed!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." I heard the words loud and clear reverberate through my being. I've read them before, but this time I truly heard them.
In my little community, the poor are cared for by our church groups, local non-profit organizations, downtown shopkeepers who quietly see to it that there is always enough to share. I am regularly asked to give: of my time, through financial means, or simply by extending a bit of compassion – doing a little hand holding, listening without judgement. I do what I can.
Riding the subway on a hot August afternoon, I contemplated the greater meaning of generosity. Because of the worldwide financial crisis, most of us are being forced to make hard decisions about where to put our limited resources. Many givers have found themselves on the receiving end. The tides are changing.
But I believe that it's not how much we are each able to give that matters as much as that we give regularly. Even if this year's contributions can't match our patterns from the past, we can continue our commitment and our intention to be connected. Generosity is a spiritual practice that reflects an attitude of heart and mind. I'll share my daily ritual with you.
Before I leave the house to make my daily errand rounds to the post office, the grocery, and beyond – I put a few coins in my pocket so I can reach them quickly. I give this small amount away without stopping to evaluate how the money will be used. Although I may choose to drop a few coins in a blind street musicians cup, more likely I am apt to cover the difference for someone struggling for correct change in the line at the grocery, or pay the toll for the car behind me... you get the idea. Although these may not be our neediest community members, I'm paying it forward. I trust the ripple effect to work in my favor. This simple practice cultivates my habit of giving without thinking about what I might get back. It reminds me that everything I have is a gift to be freely shared.
When I see advertisements in my local paper seeking donations for books for literacy programs, food, blankets, towels, and toys for animal shelters, staples for the food bank, I include those stops in my daily rounds, too. If I walk around my house with a canvas bag just before I walk out the door, I can always find a jar of food or two, a book, some old towels for the humane society. I can stuff it quite readily. I stop in my garden and snap a few sunflowers from their stems and drop them in a jar of water. They sing of happiness, connections, abundance, community!
In just a couple of minutes a day, I model to my children, friends, and neighbors how easy it is to support these projects and I reinforce my own intention to be of help in a needy world.
While dropping off the old towels, I take a minute to pat a dog or two. I might meet a prospective adoption family and revel in their excitement of finding a new family member to love. I stop by the desk to say thank you to the volunteer and leave a bright, happy blossom on her desk.
Always, I take away more than I have left behind.
May you be blessed!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I dreamed of Twitter. I am not kidding.
I have this recurring dream in which I am sitting with Lightbeings, the Grandmothers, usually on my beach around the firepit, but sometimes we meet in other places. But there is always a central fire, and the Ancient Ones are always there. These are multi-layered, multi-dimensional dreams, perhaps more real than this ordinary reality I call "awake in the daytime."
These are serious dreams. Sometimes they are life-changing. They are sacred, holy dreams. Ancient social networking opportunities, I suppose, although I never thought of it that way until today.
Because in these dreams, often, I am holding space for a very ill client, perhaps in transition. Sometimes I am with a new client who has just made contact with me but we have not yet begun our work together... these meetings with spiritual, non-physical teachers and guides serve a preparation or support purpose. Much of the ancient wisdom I steward has been transmitted around these fires. Many secrets shared. I am often shaken by these encounters, surprised. The unexpected is the norm.
But I had no idea that the Grandmothers tweet. Really, no idea.
They were talking about connections, global sharing, a restoration of oneness, the necessity of joy. A favorite topic. Guest lecturers on this topic have included Dolphin Goddesses, Pulsing Geometric Fractals, Children. They all teach about being present, attentive, and the art of listening. Loving and encouraging one another. Spirals, circles.
And then Twitter came up.
"I tweet! I tweet! I'm a tweeter, a retweeter, I'm in a group, no two, three, four... and I'm a friend on Fridays, I have 28 cheap tweets!," I jumped up and down, one of us.
They kept on talking, teaching.
Always the student, I listened, and shut up.
And then I woke up.
And then I thought about it for a few days.
If we are aware, we can appreciate that Twitter provides us with opportunities to connect with others around the world so we can sense how self and world are linked in ever-expanding circles. Twitter enables us to share our deepest dreams and to encourage others. Twitter promotes the art of listening in which we lean toward others in love, realizing that everyone wants to be heard, valued, understood.
Twitter facilitates our exploration of a wider world, of other cultures, and points of view while it reminds us to share the stories of our lives with our companions on this journey toward oneness.
Twitter taps into the enthusiasm that lights up our lives and spreads it around. It is the domain of Healers, Lightworkers, Angels, and Mothers.
And, Twitter is the realm of the Grandmothers. Unbelievable!
In meditating on this, I've realized that Twitter best challenges us to be mindful of every word we write and to honor others as best we can in that brevity, a spiritual practice of the highest to be certain. It can serve as a holy space where we can be deeply moved by reverence, and like koans, mantras, and the Native American wisdom-keepers, teaches us that brevity can be a path of rich communication.
Twitter is a temple. A campfire. A prayer. An opportunity...
...an opportunity to listen, love, and to be a catalyst for joy.
May you be blessed!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
One or two plants would do it. I'd have plenty to eat, plenty to share, and a few to pickle or sun-dry or otherwise experiment with: I haven't yet tried to create a tomato essential oil or soap yet...
But no, every year I lose any sense of self discipline and restraint and I plant a lot of tomatoes and the tomato goddess smiles. I must have the perfect soil and sun exposure, and very good tomato karma.
I have way too many tomatoes, again.
So today is day 4 of sun-drying cherry tomatoes. (I do the Romas too, but I especially like sun dried cherry tomatoes.)
Its supposed to rain later, and these guys are still a little moist. So I've come to the moment of choice, the fork in the road. Do I risk it all and stay on the uncertain path or take the shortcut for the sure thing?
I fear I'll have to cheat, and finish them off in the oven. So much for going green, and saving the earth's precious resources one solar powered tomato at a time... I'm afraid that they will mold if I don't take this drastic measure, carbon foot print be dammed. I know how to do it. I could get away with it, no one would know except me. And, what's a little more self deception in a world already full of it?
I could do it at night, while the house was asleep. I can trust the dogs to keep secrets.
I run through the plan in my head: Sneak down the stairs. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the tomatoes on the oven racks. Do not allow the tomatoes to touch one another. Check them in about 4 hours. Let them cool. Transfer the tomatoes to zipper-lock bags. Go back to bed. Toss and turn.
What will this do to my tomato karma?
I look at my perfectly placed tomatoes resting comfortably on their raised screens on the deck. Lightly sprinkled with salt, in the hot sun, happy. I've covered them with cheesecloth, (raised so it does not touch the tomatoes), to keep out the chipmunks and crows who come begging whenever they notice I am there. Like the tomatoes, they are loved.
With rain coming, this could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks... and then I get it.
Tomatoes as teachers.
Zen Masters, Dolphins, Wise Elders and now Tomatoes.
The lesson is the same as always: patience and love.
May you be blessed!
Friday, August 7, 2009
My kids are getting ready to go back to school. As a young mother, I eagerly anticipated fall for this very reason! But now that my sons are in college, and only sometimes home in the summer, I am cherishing these fleeting summer days. This summer, all three have been together here at the lake for the first time in five years! I am mindful that at 24, 22, and 21 years old, they may not have another season like this for a very long time, if ever again. As one goes off to grad school, another for a year abroad, and my youngest to his new off-campus apartment with all that entails, excitement and anticipation fill our conversations. With many dreams realized, an endless stream of possibilities are awaiting exploration. Blessings counted. A change of season, a new chapter. I love this story!
But a change of season also can bring disappointment. Beyond empty nests and fewer faces at the dinner table, it can focus our attention on what hasn't changed in our lives and what we might have endured in our past.
It's easy to get stuck in the past. Perhaps you've suffered a setback, experienced a rejection, or had your hopes and dreams dashed. You might be disappointed in a relationship, your work, or your family life. Perhaps your high expectations have not been met. Perhaps things just haven't gone as planned.
Some people have a talent for bouncing back from difficult experiences, and I have been inspired by them since I was young. I have taught my children to look at adversity, disappointment and challenge from the perspective of, "Wow didn't see that one coming. Now isn't this interesting... what gift is this, really?" Nothing is good or bad, it simply IS. How I react is my choice. If I choose disappointment, I quickly make a better choice. I think it might be more difficult to learn this response as an adult, but it can be done. Practice makes perfect, eventually...
Many people lack the resilience to courageously (as I say) "chin up and boobies out" carry on after a disappointment. I need to be remember to be sensitive to that tendency if not within my self or my children, in acknowledgment of humanity's collective and sometimes heart-wrenching experience of waking up to our personal power and ability to intuit choices on behalf of our highest good. I need to remember to have patience and compassion for those who feel victimized by life.
I hate to disappoint you... but I can be a little impatient with the "poor-me" crowd. I'm working on that. But lets all work together...
I think a good first step is to understand the forces that drive disappointment in our modern culture. One is consumerism. The marketplace needs us to think we deserve and therefore must have all the toys, treasures, and pleasures we can get. People and nations have accumulated huge personal and collective debts as they have tried to have it all, all at one time, now, even when they can't afford it.
I think another thing that drives disappointment is unrealistic expectations about who we can be and what we can achieve. These are often fed by the media with its emphasis on success stories, skinny blondes and reality?shows. Our goals are imposed upon us rather than created by us. When we struggle and still fail, we think there is something wrong with us, when it could be that we just took on someone else's dream, some one else's reality. In fact, we may not even have the gifts and talents for a particular choice! It may not be the best time in our lives, or our karma to travel a different path. And when we don't get where we think we should be, we can hit bottom...
But, here's the good part: Our disappointments are blessings if we can see them as a starting point for fulfillment. We can, through divine grace and our own diligence and creativity, change the way we live and the choices we make. Here are a few suggestions:
Ask yourself, what am I disappointed about? Name your disappointments, and then let them go. Do not keep replaying them over and over in your mind. If necessary, forgive someone who has hurt or disappointed you. Also, forgive yourself for being disappointed.
Release your disappointment. Find a stone that signifies your disappointment (it can be as large as you want) and throw it in a pond, or river, or ocean. Or, make a list of disappointments on a piece of paper and then burn the paper in a bowl; as you watch the smoke going up, ask the God/Goddess of your experience to help you release these particular disappointments.
Count your blessings and know in your heart that you have more than enough. See your wealth not in terms of outward possessions but in terms of the spiritual intangibles of faith, hope, and love.
Don't allow your ideas about what should or could happen to determine whether you feel happy or sad. Remember, the future is the domain of the Creator. Stay in the present. Now, chin up, boobies out, carry on!
May you be blessed!
The photo is of Mt. Washington. Snow on the peak, my favorite view as I drove my children to school on fall days. Seasons changing, back to school, warm apple pie at the end of the day...
Monday, August 3, 2009
I intuit Hope as a Spirit, a loving, driving force in my life, giving me a reason to believe there's nothing I cannot do, and nothing I cannot achieve. Hope is not a mere mental attitude, positive prose, or a vortex of potential created by a crystalline grid. Hope is not in my imagination, as wild and free as it might be! I believe Hope lives in my Soul and plays in my Heart. She flows joy to me. No, Hope is not just wishful thinking. Hope is alive!
In fact, without Hope, I think there is very little we can accomplish. The moment we stop believing that we have what it takes to make something happen, we stop "happening" ourselves. And when that occurs, our hopes and dreams begin to fade away.
When we stop believing, we stop creating.
The dictionary defines hope as 'a feeling that what is wanted will happen.' But Hope is so much more than just a feeling. Like I said, I think hope is an entity, a Goddess. She is a body of inspirational energy, a Muse!
Hope is the stirring sensation that fills our souls with excitement, expectation and anticipation. Hope is an inspiring, uplifting emotion that keeps us going in the face of life's most demanding challenges. Hope is a glorious glimmer, the breath of fresh air that helps us keep the faith when everyone around us is ready to give up.
Today, many of us are beaten, broken and defeated. Instead of making sure our Hope is vibrant and alive, we are ending up a mere shadow of what we could have and should have been, in our relationships, in our communities, and in our humanity. Entangled in an inextricable maze of doom and gloom, our lives seem empty, lonely and hopeless. Our once promising hopes and dreams lost. Our collective souls emptied of excitement, expectation and anticipation. Without Hope, we are lost.
Maybe only a memory of Hope still remains, but She is still there. Maybe not shining as brightly as She once did, but She's still in you. And that small glimmer of Hope is all you really need to turn your life around. Feed Her. Sing to Her. Take Her out dancing, whisper your secrets in Her ear. She will hear you, respond to you, sing to you!
So today, take Hope along with you. As you approach this day, see it from Hope's higher vantage point in your heart, in your soul, and expect the very best from life! Give life all that you've got to give in return. When you do, something truly amazing, something beyond your wildest imagination happens.
All of your Hopes and Dreams start coming true.
May you be blessed!
Image credit: Golden Goddess image04.webshots.com