Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Praise of the Unexpected

Among the gaping jack o'lanterns perched on porches around Akron, these painted and bejeweled beauties took me by surprise. How unexpected. How creative. How mind expanding. Who knew that pumpkins did not necessarily have to remain orange? The silver, the blue, the black and the gold spun my insides around and gave me a little thrill. I felt grateful for the quirkiness and the beauty that surfaces when one steps outside the box. When one dares to let the unexpected happen.

I've been living outside my box, my comfort zone for some time now. With people and with choices. I've dared to let the unexpected in, to see what my life could be like beyond the borders of my narrow queendom. I admit it's been unnerving. At times, nerve-wracking. I have had many moments of doubt and simmering discomfort. But tonight I choose to settle my nerves with awareness of how good living outside my box feels.

It feels like adventure.
It tastes like freedom.
It smells like home.

It is expanding my mind, expanding my heart, expanding my soul. It is priming me for great love to wash up on the shore of my narrow queendom and sweep me out into the larger, more bountiful sea.

Courage is what I ask for from the Universe now. Courage to stay open to the unexpected. Courage to praise whatever comes for however long it stays. Courage to keep the doors of my heart flung wide, and the gates of fear shut tight. Courage to keep seeing the beauty outside the box.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Late Afternoon Sanity

Finally, a beautiful autumn day. And unexpected sanity maitenance time in the waning afternoon. I was drawn to visit a small patch of woods in the Village of Akron. Familiar territory for me. The storm has left its mark, but beauty still remains.

Warm sunlight on altered wood. A nest slung low, woven with one white strand of ribbon. A close-up view of a 3 1/2" golden crowned kinglet hopping amid fallen branches. The smell of damp earth and leaf litter. Hope and promise of rebirth.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

To Decide What Matters

The winds of change are blowing through Buffalo today. As if we haven't been through enough changes. The massive cleanup of "Arborgeddon", (a catchy description of our October storm, as headlined in our cultural newspaper Artvoice.) continues. Massive trucks and multitudinous men are methodically removing massive piles of dead wood. Removing the bones from yard and curb and heaping them into mountains in parking lots throughout the region. The mountains of ground-up bones are steaming.

The aftershock of this natural disaster continues to keep many people unsettled and agitated. Long after the media deems a disaster uninteresting, the effects and the recovery linger in the cells of the region's inhabitants. Ask anyone who's been through the fire, the flood or the quake.

We are agitated because our cells are rearranging. A cleansing has been forced upon us. Ready or not. We are being asked to consider and reconsider what is truly important to us. As individuals and as a community.

Today I am considering and analyzing and making note of what matters to me. Of what my needs are. Of what I will accept into my life and where I must draw the boundary lines. I am considering what I need to feel safe and supported. What I need to feel loved and fulfilled.

While thinking these deep, analytical thoughts, comfort is a necessity. I'm gorging on marzipan and slurping rose petal tea. With all this sugar and caffeine running through my veins, I expect to have redefined my entire life by Tuesday. By Wednesday, I may have decided to move to Scotland and raise sheep or spend 3 months sampling Italy's wines and cuisines. Or I may have decided that communication is the new #1 priority in my waking moments. Or that I need to make meditation a more regular practice.

Whatever I decide, whatever anyone affected by this or any other storm decides, if the decisions made to improve on life are grounded in the energy of love and kindness and respect for the self, the storm, with its agitation and loss, will have served its higher purpose.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vade Mecum

After any storm, there comes the void. The pause in time when the inner and outer landscapes are irrevocably altered. When all must be reconceived, redefined, reborn. Like the storm-battered trees around Buffalo, I have spilt apart from myself. Old limbs, old issues, old doubts, all visibly piled around me. Some issues and doubts have been ground up and carted away. Some are piled at the curb awaiting removal. Some are still attached and dangling.

For weeks I have watched myself from across the room, standing guard as I wrestle with the broken limbs of my past. The broken limbs that have weighed me down and blocked my path to a greater realization of love. While wrestling and hauling and grinding my inner debris, I have felt hollow. I have felt weak. Information has been withheld. Decisions have not come easy. Commitment to anything has been impossible.

Just when I thought the void was permanent, I hear myself from across the room. I say clearly and definitively, "Vade Mecum". Come with me. I offer myself red roses and beckon myself to step beyond the broken limbs, broken dreams, and broken hearts. I lead my reconceived, redefined and reborn self back to my shelves of metaphysical books. Back to my canvases and papers. Back to my computer. Back to the heart that will never abandon me. My own.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Night Poetry

When it's cold and raining,
you are more beautiful.

And the snow brings me
even closer to your lips.

The Inner Secret~
that which was never born~
You are that freshness,
and I am with you now.

I can't explain the goings,
or the comings.
You enter suddenly,
and I am nowhere again.
Inside the majesty.

Jelaluddin Rumi
Born 1207
Scholar and teacher who attained spiritual enlightenment,
and transformed into an artist, writing ecstatic poetry.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Since October 12th, 400,000 people in the Buffalo, NY area have been without power for varying lengths of time. 5,000 people from around the country have been working feverishly to fix downed lines and restore the lost power. Their efforts continue, with an estimated completion date of Sunday October 22nd. Everywhere I go, people are asking, "Do you have power?" I am keenly aware that no one is phrasing the question as, "Do you have electricity?" There is a message and a metaphor in the question. There is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to be taken. If enough people grasp the message and take the opportunity, this area will shift on its axis.

The message is about personal power and the need to cultivate it to a much greater degree. Personal power is the ability to live a balanced life, largely free of chaos. Personal power is the ability to respond to a situation in a self-supportive manner, instead of reacting to a situation and feeling victimized. Having personal power means you know how to take care of all your needs. It means you know when to ask for help and when you can help yourself. It means maintaining personal boundaries and having the courage to enforce them when someone would seek to infringe their will on you (however well intentioned they appear to be). It means speaking up for yourself. It means being pro-active in getting what would support you. It means having enough self-respect to ask and get clarity about things that matter to you.

Personal power comes when you feed yourself properly. When you have enough candles and batteries in your emergency stash. When you walk away from abusive circumstances. When you fill your own coffers first and give generously from the ensuing overflow, instead of draining your personal energy on behalf of some one else.

Personal power comes when you stop being so blasted critical of yourself. When you stop trying to control others around you and let them be who they were born to be. When you stop denying your gut instincts and let yourself be who you were born to be.

Personal power comes when you extend love instead of criticism. When you extend love instead of sarcasm. When you simply extend love instead of withholding it.

To live without power is to live an uncomfortable life. You need it, both personal and electrical, to take command of the vast opportunities this world has to offer. To take command of yourself and light up our life.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Beauty in the Aftermath

Nature is my church and my spiritual sanctuary. Trees are the priests, the shamans, the goddesses. Regularly, I get a deep pull within my being to strap on my water-proof hiking boots and receive spiritual wisdom in the great outdoors.

Today, the pull was stronger than usual. I was prompted to find the beauty in the aftermath. To walk among the discarded limbs and leaves sprinkling prayers and blessings. To touch the trunks of those left standing and whisper words of encouragement. I was prompted to give back to Nature what it unfailingly gives to me: solace, love and spiritual peace.

I started in Russell Park, the beautiful green space in the center of the Village of Akron. I walked around and over the remains of long-lived oaks and chestnuts. I asked that the highest good be done for all the trees. I asked for blessings on the transformation of this beloved public space.

I then headed for Akron Falls Park. Murder Creek was a torrent. The long path to the water fall was blocked by dozens of fallen trees. Regardless, I crawled over and under the mangled maze. I splashed through newly created streams of melted snow-water. I sloshed through thick mixtures of orange leaves and slush. And while I crawled and splashed and sloshed the trees spoke to me. They said over and over and over, "We are still here...We are still here."

I began to see the beauty. In everything. The wet leaves on snow. The wet leaves in water. The artistic, sculptural quality to the twisted, broken limbs. The power and majesty that 24" of melted snow adds to a water fall. And the newly-created "keyhole" tree, standing guard and asking all passersby to find the spiritual key that unlocks the wisdom within.

October Snowstorm~ Russell Park

October Snowstorm~ My Neighborhood

October Snowstorm~ My Place

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Shattering

I have a common affliction. I like to be in control of my life. The energy of love, however, has other ideas. When ever the energy of love shows up in a life, everything that is not love is destined to be purged. The larger the influx of love, the larger the purge of all that stands in its way. Love is an energy that will not be denied. It seeks to remove all thoughts, out-moded ideas, fears and denials that would prevent its total reign. Sometimes, when love moves in, the purging can be difficult and seemingly disastrous. Control is not an option. Shattering is in the forecast.

Perhaps because of my Dalai Lama experience, my forthcoming promotion at work, my 20 hour hands-on healing seminar, and my 3 recent lessons in the romance language of Italian, given by a blue-eyed Sicilian professor, the purge of all that isn't love within me has been difficult. Even disastrous.

It began Thursday October 12th, late in the afternoon, with big, fat, unforecast snowflakes. I was caught without my snowbrush in my car for the drive home from work. Later in the evening, I heard a giant popping sound, a rumble and a crash. I looked out my window to see bigger, fatter snowflakes and a limb from the tree next to the house lying in the driveway. Thunder and lightning filled the sky. I thought to myself, " my life as I know it is breaking apart". The popping and rumbling and crashing escalated as the leaf-laden trees all around my neighborhood began to buckle under the weight of the heavy snow.

The popping sound was devastating. It forced fear up from the depths of my being. The power went out at midnight. I lay in bed with my clothes on, thinking the tree outside my window would come crashing through the roof before the night was over. By 1 am, the popping and rumbling led to structural limbs crashing into my house, rocking it to its foundation with each blow. I mark the hours between 1 am and 5 am as among the most lonely of my life. Love's insistent purging almost overwhelmed me.

Dragging myself out of bed on Friday the 13th led to waves of sorrow. The view out my window was crushing. Every tree in my neighborhood was damaged. Wrecked. Split. Shattered. Trees that had survived 80 to 100 years had met their match in the earliest snowstorm Buffalo has ever seen. In my driveway was 2 feet of the heaviest,wettest snow imaginable burying the wreckage of trees.

Being unable to dig myself out, I walked around the Village of Akron with my camera. I felt as heavy as the limbs beneath the snow. I had an inner storm whirling that matched the one that passed in the night. It felt as if every blockage to love left unaddressed was forcing its way out of my cells. I felt trapped, helpless, turned upside down. My empathy for the plight of the trees kept me in tears.

Phone calls with friends and loved ones, checking up on each other, helped bring me out of my inner storm. The temperature began to rise and the 2 feet of snow compacted. My girlfriend and her kids picked me up for a 20 mile drive to find a warm dinner. And miracle of miracles, the Village of Akron (one of the few townships to own its own electric company) had the power up and running only 18 hours after it went down.

Today, October 14th, found me returning to love. The snow was rapidly melting, the trees limbs were dragged to the curb, my car was freed and my house was warm. And so it's time to share the love and the warmth with those whose power is still out. My friend Kat and her daughter Violet came for hot showers and tea today, along with homemade brownies. I invited them to stay the night. And likely longer. Hundreds of thousands of people all over Buffalo remain without power and are forecast to be in the cold and dark for up to 1 week. My home is small, but my love has grown bigger. My heart and my heaters will warm any and all who need love amidst the shattering.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Energy of Love

Do not despair for a world obsessed with murder and mayhem. A world steeped in darkness. A world gone mad. Behind, above, below and amidst that world of insanity and illusion lies a world that is filled with the energy of love. In fact, this world of love~ perilous to pharmaceutical companies, news media, terrorists and governments alike~ is our true reality. This world of love is our heritage. Our present. Our future. Our core essence.

This world filled with the energy of love is right before our eyes. Right within our grasp. And everywhere around us. We have only to put our focus on it and dare to invoke it. We have only to join hands and hearts and march boldly forth into the world of madness and mayhem and pour love over everything in our paths.

This past weekend, myself and 70 other individuals, from varying points on the globe, convened in a hotel ballroom in Buffalo, New York to learn to pour forth the energy of love. We spent 20 hours together, over 3 days, learning to channel this divine and refined energy through our hands and our hearts. We learned to channel this energy, (available to anyone at all times) individually and collectively. All for the purpose of healing ourselves, healing each other, healing the occupants of mother earth.

I have never had such rapt attention for such a sustained period of time. Not one yawn. Not one eye rub. Not one thought of peanut butter icecream. My entire being was captivated by the concept and reality of invoking love for the greater good of all. For the greater good of myself. In a room full of people with the same quest in mind.

In the 18th hour of learning to invoke the energy of love, my life changed forever. In that hour, 2 women among the 70 were placed on chairs in the center of the room. Each woman was dealing with cancer. A ring of new, love-invoking healers surrounded the women, each with a hand on their arms or shoulders or knees. A second ring of healers then surrounded the first. A third, a fourth and a fifth came forward until the ring of healers surrounding the seated women was upwards of 60. Everyone in every ring (I was in the second) was touching the healer in front of them, creating an unbroken energy chain. As one, we drew the energy of love down into our bodies on the inhale and pushed the love out through our hearts on the exhale. It created a concentrated wave that passed through each person in each ring on its way to the women in the center. It was the most incredible sensation imaginable. It was like taking an ethereal bath. What struck me most was the look on the faces of the people I could see. Sheer love. Unabashed love. Willful, powerful, primal love. Full-bodied, core essence invocation and sharing of every ounce they could give. The women in the center literally vibrated in their seats.

And then the sound began. It took me by surprise. A spontaneous, resonant tone spilled out of so many mouths at once. It rose in pitch and flavored the air like no sound I had ever heard before. I was too shocked to join in. I simply listened and let tears spill down my cheeks. It was the first time I had ever heard the sound of love. It pierced my heart.

I am now positive the energy of love is the most powerful force in the world. It changes and rearranges our cells and our souls. I am now positive the greatest conduit of the energy of love is the human hand. When enough of our hearts and hands are joined for the purpose of healing the world, one person and one cause at a time, mayhem will cease. The dark will become light. And our world will be mad for the energy of love.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Keep In Touch

I am acquainted with touch deprivation. I blame it on my Northern European background, the anti-touch culture of America and my pause between relationships. Lack of touch is proven to be detrimental to infants and children, but little is said about lack of touch in adults. Put simply, lack of touch at any age is devastating. It causes depression, anxiety, anger, insecurity, oversensitivity, people pleasing, difficulty in making decisions and excessive concern for other people's opinions. Lack of touch can be emotionally and physically ruining.

Loving touch, on the other hand, reassures, comforts and heals the human body. Loving touch promotes feelings of security and naturally, feelings of love. Love towards the self and love towards others. Loving touch aids in self expression and aids in the ability to learn. It prevents destructive behavior. It promotes self esteem. It reduces blood pressure.

Three times this past summer, I was witness to the power of loving, hands-on healing. Twice at Lily Dale, (the world's largest Spiritualist community 1 hour south of Buffalo) in the Healing Temple, where gracious healers channeled energy through their hands and laid them on me as I sat before them on a bench. The first time, a pulled muscle in my back was completely comforted and healed within 10 minutes. The second time, emotional discomfort was soothed away as a healer from Eastern Europe whispered prayers over me, along with channeling energy through her hands. Both experiences at Lily Dale were profound, attractive and needful for my inner growth. The third instance of hands-on healing came at a guided meditation where I was able to channel energy through my hands for the benefit of another participant. The energy coming through my hands jerked the participant backwards in her chair before I even touched her. It was in that moment I knew the energy that pulsates through the human hand has to be the most powerful healing agent on this earth. I also knew I was being called to develop this healing ability, which everyone has, for the purpose of healing myself and healing others.

So, I have committed myself to take a weekend-long seminar, in the Buffalo area, geared specifically for hands-on, energy healing. (It begins this weekend.) My ongoing inner shift is dictating the release of background, culture and pauses in favor of healing, love and service. Healing myself, so I can help to heal others. Loving myself, so I can offer love to the world. And serving the God essence that exists in every Soul I meet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Sense of the Beautiful

"A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry ansd see a fine picture everyday in order that worldy cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. "

Goethe, 1795