Thursday, June 29, 2006

Baha'i Prayer For Peace

Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.

Be fair in thy judgement,
and guarded in thy speech.

Be a lamp unto those who walk
in darkness, and a home
to the stranger.

Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring.

Be a breath of life to the body of humankind,
a dew to the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

From the book: Emissary of Light by, James Twyman

{My Onkel Thomas and his accordian, of Flensburg, Germany.
A dew to the soil of the heart, is he.}

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Backyard Magic

For 49 weeks out of the year, my backyard is ordinary. It sports a large walnut tree, a sprawling patch of lily-of-the-valley, and a cringe-invoking view of the neighbor's above ground pool. I rarely enjoy my yard.

But for 3 weeks out of the year, my backyard is extraordinary. Dreamy. Magical. For 3 weeks, just past the summer solstice, the starry firmament bends low and sweeps stardust across my lawn. For 3 weeks, my backyard is lit with the come-hither dance of untold numbers of fire flies.

Like pagan lovers, they emerge at twilight. For one fleeting hour they sparkle and twinkle and form constellations on my lawn. For one fleeting hour, 3 weeks in a row, I stand breathless and mesmerized before them.

Each little point of light is on a mission. Each one has an objective, a goal, a purpose in life. With limited time to accomplish their goals, they waste no time on stage fright. There are no fire flies wavering in uncertainty at the bottom of a blade of grass. At twilight, they get right down to business. The business of being themselves. Just as God made them to be. And just how do they accomplish their goals, their objectives, their purposes in life? They shine. And they shine. And they shine.

They reveal their light to draw towards themselves exactly what they want. They reveal the light that shines within. Unabashedly. Magically. With purpose. With no apologies.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Wisdom is the result of knowledge combining with action. When we gain intellectual knowledge, it doesn't mean our lives will significantly improve. It means we have more information than before. It means we have the potential to improve our lives. That improvement does not manifest unless we put our knowledge into action. We must use it and do it. Otherwise, we simply have more crap crowding our minds, distracting us from leading more meaningful lives.

I have recently gained the knowledge of how to attract everything I wish into my life. I was told to dismantle the wall straddling my shoulders. The wall that has kept my heart and my mind on opposite teams. I was told to build a bridge to replace the wall and let my heart have equal say in my everyday life. It was also suggested I get a massage to release the stress from holding the wall.

Not wishing to add more weight to my over-stuffed brain, I've taken action. Today I had a 1 hour massage. Not surprisingly, my shoulders and wing bones were tight as a virgin. I'm currently feeling like cherry jello. Yummy and loose. Wishing to be a very wise woman, I've already booked my next hour of action.

Dismantling the wall may be a bit more tricky. Baby steps are required so I don't get the sh*t scared out of me and franticly hire a mason. Here's one baby step action: I've taken my original images of the Berlin Wall, from a recent trip to Germany, shrunk them, cut them apart and made them into tiny houses. I've added shiny red hearts to signify the freedom that comes from dismantling a wall. My wall, the Berlin Wall, any wall.

My wish, my dream ,my goal is to be a heart-centered wise woman. This will take time. This will take effort. Let's throw patience in for good measure. Most importantly, it will take knowledge of the brain put into action by the heart.

{My wall-turned-love-house collage, shown above, is available at my eBay auctions. Click on the link in the right hand margin.}

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mary's Message To Me

This is me with my friend, Mary. We've been friends for about 4 years. In some circles, she is known as the Mother of God, The Blessed Virgin, and Our Lady of Peace. I believe she is known by 462 other names. For me, she has simply been Mary.

We first found each other at, of all places, Our Lady of Fleas one sunny Sunday morning. Being non-Catholic, I surprised myself by stopping to admire her amid the chipped enamelware and stained doillies. She was beautiful. I suddenly had to have her. And for a mere 7 bucks, the Queen of Heaven came home with me.

From that Sunday on, Mary has made herself a part of my life. I now have a wall in my home covered with her images, each one altered to varying degrees of possible blasphemy. I have few worries, though, of frying in hell for taking creative license with this icon of Christianity. Mary, it turns out, has a dry sense of humor. She confided in me one day that her favorite dessert is cherry tarts. At first, I didn't know how to respond to that confession and I felt myself blushing. But Mary's eyes twinkled and soon we were doubled over in laughter. To reassure me further, she led me to a book that quoted her as saying, "Whatever anyone has needed me to be, I have become". I have needed more laughter in my life, and she has become my jovial muse.

But humor is only a small part of her message to me. I've known there is something bigger, something deeper, something more life altering up Mary's blue sleeve. For 4 years, there has been a message I have been unable to hear, unwilling to hear and likely, unprepared to hear.

Until now.

Mary's message is surprisingly simple: the human heart is sacred. It is the gateway to everything. Love, peace, money, enlightenment. Mary has been working overtime lately to get the point across to me. Because it's time in my development to up the ante. It's time to more consciously embrace the gifts of this heavenly planet. This can only be accomplished by seeing, feeling and breathing with the heart. Mary thinks I'm ready for this. My gut says she's right.

First on the list of heart-opening exercises: stop judging myself at every turn. Stop finding fault with my body. Stop putting the needs of everyone around me in front of my own. Mary says to be more self-supportingly selfish. Miraculously, the needs of all others in my life will be met if I first and foremost take care of my own needs. Mary says to let others take responsibility for what is rightfully theirs, and I will take responsibility for what is rightfully mine. The heart is meant to be open, not burdened.

I feel blessed to have Mary in my life. She is one of my secret weapons to happiness. She knows what I need, when I need it. Luckily, she exists beyond the confines of religion and chooses to befriend anyone with a sincere calling to live a life of heightened joy and heightened love. She has willingly taken on the role of Feminine Archetype of Love. I have willingly pinned a thousand heart-shaped milagros to her blue dress.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Know Thyself

I've been trying to get into my own head. Analyze the conscious and the unconscious. Find out more about what makes me tick. Become more aware of my foibles and inhibiting habits. Get a check-up from the neck-up. Know myself. All in an attempt to invoke a more positive, fruitful life.

Yes, I should be exploring my heart, not my mind. My heart is the proverbial final frontier I've been told. The key to unlocking the sunken treasure. Or maybe Pandora's box. But old habits die slowly, so like an addict sucking on the bones of crushed cigarettes in an ash tray, I'm feverishly exploiting my brain for clues on how to fine tune my life. Eventually, I'll wear myself out and get repulsed by the taste of stale nicotine. Until then, the grey matter is in overdrive.

In addition to a consultation with a wise woman about how to build a bridge, my whirling brain has received a brief message from an angel, via a psychic, my handwriting has been analyzed and my palm has been read.

The angel said I need to say the word "No" more often, and suggested I get a massage. I've suddenly become very fond of the angelic realm. ( I plan to google Gabriel). The handwriting analyst gave me the good news I'm not a serial killer. But she repeatedly declared I'm a control freak. This was not a news flash. I live in my brain, sister. Of course I want everything my way! Conveniently, the handwriting analyst doubled as the palm reader. She told me my heart was left for dust by a past lover, but the rains were on their way and my heart would soon be flooded with love again. And just to confirm my freak-status, the palm reader told me I have two fate lines. She had no idea what to make of this.

Here's my guess. After way too much analysis, I think the lines represent the two lives I can choose to live. One life is lived mostly in the brain. The other life is lived in sweet compromise with a heart, a brain and a bridge. I believe that's the self I will choose to know. A self that's a little less controlling, but still a freak at heart.

Wooden Head Sculpture by: Gunter Skrodski/ Haddstedt, Germany

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday Night Poetry

...So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wildflower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee.

From: "To Nature"
By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Bridge

Babies and me are not magnetic. I'm not the woman who launches across the room to smell their hair or cradle their heads in my arms. They make me feel slightly uncomfortable. I usually make them cry.

Two days ago, that began to change for me. Two days ago, it was made clear to me I have a wall between my brain and my heart. And two days ago, I met Eleanor.

My status as the Queen of Denial was jeapordized the moment I was told, by a very wise woman, I let my brain get in my way. I live too much in the intellect. I deny my heart equal standing in my daily life. Yes, my personal Berlin Wall rides squarely across my shoulders, separating my dominant rational mind from those inconvenient, messy emotions of the heart. I was told it is time to dismantle the wall and use that same raw material to build a bridge. A bridge between my heart and my mind. A bridge that allows safe passage for more goodness to enter my life.

Wishing to remain Queen, I objected. "I don't know how to build that bridge," I said, with more than a hint of Chardonay in my tone. "You'll figure it out", the wise woman assured. Great. That's all I need. One more metaphor to add to my already crowded list. Doors, wondows, walls, gates and now, Sweet Jesus, I'm supposed to build a bridge.

As luck would have it, I met with my cousin Lise and her 6 week old baby, Eleanor, the very same day I was told to dive headlong into the bridge-building business. Little did I know they were each master architects.

Lise gave me the blueprint when she suggested I start by consciously inviting God into my heart, my mind and my home. Eleanor laid the foundation when, after 6 hours of hesitation on my part, I surrendered to her charms, her warmth and her sweet smelling hair. She slept over my heart for 2 miraculous hours. And in those 2 miraculous hours of surrender, she took my heart to task. She inflicted serious damage to the wall, she reversed my thinking by not shedding a tear and, God love her, she started the bridge.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Plunge

Inner growth feels painful. Everytime the Universe insists I rise higher on my chosen path, I feel myself resist. I feel myself pause on the step, unsure if I wish to climb higher. Unsure if I will be safe. Unsure if my imagined vulnerability will send me careening backwards, ass to grass.

And then if I make it to the top of the steps, lord, I don't know who will be there to catch me if I take the plunge. Take the risk. Take the chance.

Usually, while I'm wavering, the Universe gets bored and puts loving boot to butt and suddenly, I'm in motion. Facing the monsters, facing the fears, facing the love I have withheld from myself. Crying the whole way down.

Just as suddenly, though, my feet hit terra firma. My tears dry. My resistance leaves. My strength doubles. And I realize, I am the one who has caught me.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Brandenburg Gate Photos

All photos and text in this blog are copyright: Graciel Evenstar 2006

The Gate: Chapter 3

This is the gate I will ponder the most. This is the gate that will demand the most. This is the gate that will lead to the most. This is the Brandenburg Gate.

The Brandenburg Gate lies in my new favorite city, Berlin. It was built between 1788 and 1791 under the commission of Friedrich Wilhelm the 2nd. It was built to represent peace. The Gate is 65 feet high, 213 feet wide and 36 feet thick. It has 12 Greek Doric columns, 6 on each side, creating 5 lanes of passage. The Gate is crowned by a Quadriga, consisting of the Goddess of Peace driving a 4 horse chariot in triumph. In her hand is raised an iron cross surrounded by an olive wreath.

The Gate has known shame on at least 3 different occasions. Once, when a little French man, with out-sized ego, took over Berlin in 1804 and filched the Quadriga. Twice, when the 20th century anti-Christ draped the Gate in swastika banners. Thrice, when the Party-Of-Lost-Souls incorporated the Gate into the Berlin Wall for 28 years.

But this is a stalwart Gate. The Quadriga was rescued and returned to her loft in 1814. The Gate was the only structure left standing in the ruins of the Pariser Platz section of Berlin in 1945. And the Gate stood firm amid the wither and decay of Communism.

The Brandenburg Gate now stands as a symbol of freedom and the reunification of the 2 sides of Berlin.

It is an awesome structure to behold. Massive and beautiful. Imposing and welcoming. It is no small event when one chooses to walk through one of it's 5 lanes. Numerologically, the number 5 represents freedom through change. To pass under and through the Brandenburg Gate (in person, or in your mind) is to agree to change. Change, within one's self, the attitudes and habits that inhibit the freedom to live as God made you. Change the comfortable self-delusion that playing small is nobel. Change the conditioned responses to the dogmas that keep us apart from ourselves.

The Goddess of Peace atop the Gate reminds us that the wild horses of the human mind can be handled with firmness and love to create a life of peace. Yes, it takes effort and consistency and more self-love than we're taught to express. But the lanes of triumph are clear and open and ready to be trod.

Peace is the goal. Love is the Gate. Choice is the way.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Turkey Vultures

On first, second and third sight, turkey vultures are no bastions of beauty. Their heads are red and naked. No headress, no crown, no excitable crest. Shriveled and bald is the mark of their Avian Order. They have blackish feathers, with a nearly eagle-sized wing span of 6 feet. They soar and circle on thermals, with wings held slightly above the dihedral. They have amazing eyesight and a highly developed sense of smell. They eliminate waste over their own legs and feet.

I respect this bird above all others. Beauty aside, there is great purpose in the design of this bird. It has a tremendously needful niche in nature. Turkey vultures are members of the raptor family, yet they do not kill their own prey. They are scavengers of the dead and decomposing. Their bald head allows them to dip their beaks into the rotting entrails and flesh, thereby cleaning the environment of infections and bacteria that would otherwise spread. Eliminating waste over their own legs purifies themselves of harmful organisms. Turkey vultures are the disease prevention task force of the wild.

These birds are specialized and amazing. They have a very specific role to play in the balance of the world. No, they can't compete with swans or cardinals for ornithological centerfolds, but they have richness and purpose. They have their own brand of majesty.

So too do we have richness and purpose and majesty. Very few of us are swans and cardinals. But we each have an incredible niche role to play in this world. We are each designed to be highly specialized in our offering to the betterment of humankind. We each possess a role and talent that no other human can offer to the mix. We must humbly ask our Maker to reveal that role, that talent. We must ask until it is made clear. And when it is made clear, we must use ourselves and use ourselves and use ourselves to clean the world of it's false darkness and disease.

Monday, June 05, 2006


My favorite word is reciprocity. It means to return in kind. Not only does the word sound delightful rolling off the tongue, it is a Universal one-word edict. When consciously applied, reciprocity creates bona-fide miracles.

A favorite example of this reciprocal energy comes to me from nature. I live my life under the assumption that nature is highly intelligent. It pays close attention and is fanatical about checks and balances. If one dares to honor nature in a world that habitually harms it, there will always be a reward specifically and succinctly directed at the one doing the honoring. Taylor-made reciprocity.

Last weekend, on the way to pick up a friend for our Sunday ritual at Our Lady of Fleas, I came upon a dead cat in the road. As is usual for me, I stopped to remove the grey tabby from the pavement and laid it on the grass. I cannot bear to see a cat reduced to bloody mush. It belongs to someone. It is loved by someone. It's crushed body could horrify someone. I can't allow that. So long as I'm not in a cocktail dress or late for a business meeting, I will stop to honor the crushed cats of America. I said a prayer on the tabby's behalf and asked for it's highest good. I honored the value of it's life. And then I went on with my day.

My return in kind came less than one week later. It came right to my own backyard. I was graced with the presence of the first red-bellied woodpecker to visit my yard since moving to Akron 1 1/2 years ago. In my love affair with birds, I am first and foremost the mistress of the red belly. Reciprocity lit the way to my suet feeder. I have swooned upon his arrival every day since.

When applied to human beings, the return in kind can save a life, restore a life or improve a life. Reciprocity does not have to happen quickly and it does not have to be extended back to the person who extended it to you, although it certainly can be. The world would be a more peaceful planet if reciprocal energy was constant and fluid. Someone gave you $30 twelve years ago when you were less than financially solvent? Tomorrow leave that same $30 as a tip for your beleaguered waitress. Someone sent flowers to your hospital room three years ago? Hand deliver an I Love You card to your grandfather in the nursing home tomorrow. Extend miracles because miracles have been extended to you. The life you will likely save, restore or improve is your own.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Gate: Chapter 2

The other night I went for a bird watching walk through Akron Falls Park. There was a veritable choir amongst the spring leaves. A few of my favorite performers took turns at center stage~ the melodious Catbird, the ever-polite Cedar Waxwing and the stunning, sunshine-in-feathers Baltimore Oriole. It was a soul-soothing 2 hour stroll. Serene and satisfied, I made my way to the park exit. When I got there, I met the park gatekeeper. We exchanged pleasantries. As I left the park, he closed the gate behind me with a clang. It was exactly sunset.

My first thought was,"Oh dear God, there's no going back". Not to the park~ that would open again at 6am, but to something in my life on which the sun had set. Something I would be wise to let shut behind me and keep walking forward.

As often happens to me regarding signs, omens and portents, I understand the intellectual meaning, but have a delayed understanding of the meat of the matter. And things often get chaotic before the meat is properly digested and a new way of being emerges.

I did not care for the events of the 2 days following that clang. Multitudinous small things went wrong, at practically the same moment. My new squirrel-proof bird feeder brought protests from my neighbor downstairs( too much bird-poop would end up on her line dried sheets, didn't I know). A platoon of small ants marched through my bathroom window. That final hair slid down the drain that caused the bath that wouldn't leave. Love-sick rabbits did the nasty in my brand new pink begonia plant and tore it to bits. Water poured into my car from under the dashboard while driving.

I was not amused. But I knew it was all about the mysterious gate I was metaphorically walking through. I knew I was being tested. So instead of engaging in self-pity,(drank that whine, didn't like the hangover), I sucked it up, bought drain cleaner, moved my bird feeder out of poop range, methodically flushed the platoon down the sink, repotted the shreds of love-scarred begonia and ignored the water in my car.

The saying goes, it is darkest before the dawn. I would choose to add, it is messiest before the gate. There's crap and poop and clogs and floods. But I sense it will all be worth it.

Perhaps this gate is simply about taking my life in stride. About rising above the minor messes that creep into my days. About taking needful action to set my life straight instead of needing or demanding someone else do it for me. Maybe it's about letting the sun set and the gate clang shut on the messy, irritating thoughts that clog up my brain and ruin precious days. Maybe it's about choosing to use my mind as the gate to daily serenity and daily satisfaction through positive thinking. Maybe it's simply about finding the splendor in the crap.