Friday, February 27, 2009

New Perspectives, New Life

I'm searching for a new way of seeing my life. Of being in my life. New perspectives, new understandings, all based on where my life is right now. I feel like I'm standing over buried treasure and the Universe has handed me a shovel. "Start digging, " they say, "you've already got everything you need to make it happen." Make what happen? I almost know. I almost know. But like a word on the tip of my tongue I can't wrestle from my brain, the "it" in make it happen hasn't arrived on the threshold of my consciousness. So I'm digging. Online, through the lens, in front of the blank page, and in my dreams.
Jewels are rising to the surface in the form of unexpected email requests, weekly assignments in my online photography course, spontaneous visions while driving, oracle cards and the candy-apple-red peonies, clustered in clear vases, in this morning's dream. Each jewel that rises seeks to be strung to the next until the message becomes clear, the clasp is secure and I find myself wearing the shimmering gift of purpose.
Somehow, some way, everything I need to launch the next phase of my life exists within me right now. I'm having trouble seeing it and putting it into words, but I can feel it. I can feel it coming. It feels larger than the life I am living now, but it is based on who I am in this very moment. Who I am is ready to see the same old things in fresh ways, entertain new paths to known destinations and notice more keenly how people respond to my thoughts and actions. Each shovelful of heightened awareness brings with it another jewel.
I'm stringing the jewels together on paper to see the emerging pattern and not miss a bead. I'm asking my League Of Angels to keep it simple and concise. No grand mysteries to solve, just a beautiful string of quiet revelations. Because it's time. And I'm ready to live a life adorned.
{Assignment for week #2 of my e-course: use reflection to see my world differently.}

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I brought pink tulips, Beloved, to distract you. To ease the cold and tingles of the clear, poison drip. I brought them, Beloved, for myself as well. To stare at during moments when biting the side of my tongue would not be enough to stave off tears. I brought pink tulips to remind us of spring and rebirth and hope and love. To remind us that, amid the painful needle sticks, the beeping, the constant motion outside your cubicle, the full house of patients enduring their own poisonous drips, there is great beauty waiting to be embraced. Within and without.
Cancer is a funny thing, isn't it Beloved? What threatens to tear us apart is also the gorilla glue that makes our hearts inseparable. What makes a body weak gives strength not seen before. Cancer offers up courage and comedy. It reduces walls to rubble. It offers the soul redemption. Its dark pathway shimmers with opportunities for light. It's a funny thing. It's a blessing. Yes. A blessing.
3 weeks from now, Beloved, the tulips will be red. They, too, will remind us of strength and beauty within and without. 7 years and 3 weeks from now, the tulips I bring will be yellow. They will remind us of the light on the path, the love on the path that led us out of darkness.
{The comedy of cancer shows up when my Mother has to bundle up like a mummy to ward off the cold after a session of chemotherapy. The first time she mummified herself, she giggled and asked me to take her picture.}
Pink tulips are a stock photo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Speak To The Heart

Last night, at 10:20pm, I lay in bed and listened to one of my favorite sounds. The sound of church bells. The Methodist church at the top of my street usually regales me with its chimes twice on Sunday mornings. But last night it rang the bells for reasons other than calling its flock to worship. It rang its bells 50 times. Once for each person who perished one week before, at 10:20pm, when Flight 3407 went down.
I lay in bed, counting each peal, and thought of the vast web of connection each of those 50 people had created in the course of their lives. And how that web of family and friends and co-workers and teammates was now in such turmoil and transition. So many hearts have been crushed. So many things have been left unsaid. So many questions will never be answered.
It doesn't take a plane crash to count one's self among the ranks of those in grief, however. It could be accidents or cancers or wildfires that have severed connections too quickly. Soul deep grief is an affliction all too many succumb to when there is no time to say a proper goodbye to the friends and loves of our lives. But there is a way out of the shock and the seemingly bottomless well of grief. There is a way out. And that way out lies within. It lies within our hearts.
The love and friendship we think we have lost is not lost at all. The heart connections forged in life do not cease at death. Time and space are no match for the unshakable bonds of love. If there is unfinished business, finish it. If there are important words left unspoken, speak them. If there was no time for goodbyes, make the time now. How is this done? With visualizations and words.
Whatever you need to or want to or wish you had said to the loved one who left you behind, picture them in front of you and speak. Visualize your words as a stream of energy flowing directly into their heart. See every word you need to say entering their heart. Hold nothing back. Say everything you can think to say. Because love is the highest connecting force in the Universe, the love you shared in life is the same love you share after this life as we know it. Your loved one can hear your words and feel your words, if they are aimed at the heart, no matter where they have gone. They can feel your words. They can feel your emotions. They are healed right along with you when you aim your words at their heart.
Know this as truth and it shall be. Tell them how much they meant to you and still do. Thank them for each moment of love shared between the two of you. Be brave and start the conversation flowing. Keep talking until you instinctively feel all has been said. This might take minutes, hours or days. Then ask the Universe to give you clear signs that tell you your message has been received. The signs of confirmation will come. And your heart can then climb out of that soul deep grief.
The physical heart is the same as the ethereal heart. Both are conduits for that most powerful force in the Universe, love. Heal yourself and the one who has moved on. Speak from the heart, to the heart. Let peace and gratitude become part of the legacy of the love that remains.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Technology Of Blooming

I've been setting aside money, tucking the 10 and 20 dollar notes into small envelopes marked "printer" and "camera". "It's time to open your petals a bit further", my instincts called out. "It's time to see how the next level of technology can pull more creativity up from within". Last week, when the envelopes were full, the purchases were made.
Hello, my new Fujifilm Finepix S8100 with your 10 megapixels and your lovely macro abilities. You're more than what I've ever had in digital, but thankfully, less intimidating than the professional SLRs. Hello, my new HP Photosmart All-In-One printer/scanner/copier. Since I have not had a printer of any level in more than 3 years, and never before a scanner, you my friend, are the bomb. Just enough capability for a novice like me. And hello, bonus download of Photoshop. I think you will blow my Printshop program away. But for now, you intimidate me, so don't be offended when I avoid you for days on end. Baby steps are required. And lots of free time for investigation. I've been told, however, you will rock my world after our very first kiss.
As if my head wasn't already swimming in the deep end after this influx of untapped potential, I have signed myself up for an e-course. The lovely and brave Susannah, of Ink On My Fingers fame, is offering an 8 week photography course called "Ways Of Seeing Myself". It's her first of many photography/writing/video e-courses that help a soul to see Itself more clearly, with more love. I'm one of 116 lucky students taking the plunge into self revelation. It begins today.
There is no longer any excuse to stay tight in a bud. It's time to allow more visibility. It's time to find out what can be revealed and healed and pulled up from my creative well. Click, whirrrrr, shudder, flash. It's time to get on with the blooming.

Video Tribute Flight 3407

The media will move on to other stories, but the devastation and the pain of Flight 3407 will remain for those of us in Western New York, and especially Clarence, for a very long time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

For Clarence Center, New York

For the People of Clarence Center, New York~
You have been chosen. You have been assigned the task of ushering in a mighty force of love. A force not seen before in your part of the world. It stems from great tragedy, from nightmare imaginings, from bitter forces of gravity igniting the fires of hell. You have been chosen.
Oftentimes, the human heart does not burst open at the seams until we are dropped to a kneeling position. When we are shaken, stirred and poured out of our selves by sudden, violent trespasses, love is the energy that bends low to swaddle us in soft feathers. But it feels the opposite. It feels like agony, like unbearable vulnerability, down there on our knees. I tell you, stay there. Stay in your agony and your vulnerability. Feel the full effects. Let all your fears flow up to your conscious mind and spill out on the ground around you. Shed your tears. Feel the haunt. You are being cleansed of your worst fears and wild imaginings, your core issues of not feeling safe.
The mighty force will reveal itself when Clarence Center, collectively, has released its hidden fears to the wind. It will take an undesignated amount of time. But a time will come when you greet each other on your streets, in your cafes and parks and fire hall gatherings, and you will feel the effects of the cleansing. You will see the effects of wide open hearts. Hearts unafraid to laugh and embrace and live life to the fullest extent. Because tragedy is meant to unite and uplift once the sorrow has passed.
You have been chosen, good People of Clarence Center, to set the example for all Buffalonians who share your sorrows, as well as the world at large. Welcome the families of those who perished, should they need to come. Honor the portal on Long Street as sacred ground. Surround the women who lost their home and loved one with more support than they have ever known. And allow your personal cleansing.
The experience of vulnerability takes courage. Be brave. Let it wash through you. Let your heart open wider than you ever thought possible. When you know you are safe, even if the sky is falling, you will be filled with the mighty force of love. Use that force for all it's worth. Rise together out of ashes. Light up the world with your hearts.
{The photo of the sunlit dahlia was taken in a garden on Clarence Center Road, near what became the crash site.}

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flight 3407

I woke this morning, in Mayberry, to the shocking news of an airplane having crashed into a home, one small town to the left. I used to live in that town. Clarence Center, NY. I lived one mile north of the house that now serves as the portal to eternity for 50 souls. I spent a busy day at work today fighting back tears. Tears of utter sadness at the loss so many people were feeling. Tears for this beloved little town that will now be over run by media and FBI and gawkers. It's overwhelming. Sobering. And nothing I ever imagined.
I feel inclined to pray fervently for the well being of all those in transition; the deceased, the loved ones left behind and the good people of Clarence Center shaken to their cores. I feel inclined to say "I love you" louder and more often. I feel inclined to say "yes" a whole lot more often than I say "no". I feel inclined to thank God for the lottery I win each morning when I open my eyes. I feel inclined to study the stars. Watch more birds. Savor every morsel of food. Look into more eyes and more hearts. Live my truth.
Say a prayer with me, if you will. A prayer for the highest and best possible good for all souls. And knowledge in our hearts, despite appearances, that we are held firmly in the palm of never ending love.
{Photo from the Clarence Bee newspaper.}

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Search Of Negative Ions

Did you kow that negative hydrogen ions, caused by splitting water molecules, increase serotonin levels in the bloodstream? Restore your balance, ease mild depression or get more happy vibes in your brain by visiting the nearest waterfall.
I'm smiling. Can you see?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Purpose Begins At Home

Each of us has the ability to make a difference in the world. A real and lasting difference. A difference that makes our souls light up and gives purpose to our days. Most people I know want to make a difference, contribute to the greater good or leave their positive mark. Some people I know are fully engaged in living their purpose, some have stretches of time where they feel useful and fulfilled, some are stuck in uncertainty, and some are stuck in the quagmire of self pity. In each of us, though, lies great possibility.
If we could tap into our abilities for sustained lengths of time, the world would be healed. If we could figure out just what we are meant to offer, what talent we possess, what is special within ourselves that completes the outer puzzles, there would be no more questions to ask. There would be only the singular answer to all the whats and hows. That answer would be love~ given freely, reciprocated, circulated, and ever present. If only we could understand, harness and live our purpose out loud.
If we are not fully engaged in living our purpose or lose sight of it on cloudy days, there is an antidote, a way forward, a path to follow. If we care enough to bother. If our soul feels restless enough to "get on with it" before our time runs low. The path to purpose, the way out of uncertainty, lies in the way we treat ourselves.
There will be no greater good served if we refuse to take care of our own good. What we do or do not do for ourselves is what we will do or not do for the world. If we neglect the most basic things in our lives, like eating well and moderately, caring for our clothing, keeping our homes clean and unclogged, the world will also be deprived, by us, of basic goodness and respect. Our purpose, which is meant to bless the world, is only revealed when we show respect for our bodies, minds and spirits. We must be blessings unto ourselves before we can be blessings to anyone or anything else.
Purpose begins at home. Our first home. The home of our self to our self. If we feel restless, unfulfilled, inert to our talents, we need to love ourselves more. Love. Ourselves. More. It is the only path that leads to healing the world. It is the only path to leaving a memorable, sustainable, needful mark. We must choose to do better for ourselves. How we speak to ourselves, how we support ourselves, how we live beyond or within our means, we must become aware and make more loving choices. Over and over again.
When we do right by ourselves, magic happens. Clues and coincidences and happy flutters in our stomachs point us succinctly and quickly to our joy. The path of purpose becomes lit with ten thousand stars. We know what to do and we can't wait to do it. Let's look within and find where we are wanting. Let's supply our own wants and needs. Let's honor and respect, listen to and support ourselves the way we truly deserve. Let's make a real and lasting difference in our own lives. We are adults. We can do this. Let's love ourselves like we've never been loved before. From the overflow of our love, the world will, at last, be healed.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tickle and Bliss

There is a tickle and a smile and a song in my soul. There is a new sense of lightness, a new sense of joy. A shift that began last September has suddenly shifted again. It is an ascending energy, this tickle and lightness. A movement skyward. An unfurling freedom. A welcome release from serious matters.
How to explain this ascension? Maybe it's the liver detox I started one month ago. Maybe it's the permission I gave myself to play. Maybe it's the new, upgraded camera on its way to my doorstep. Maybe it's the extra hours of sleep I am purposefully fitting in each week. Or my acute awareness of the present moment. Or my decision to slow down. Or my dialogue with mortality. Or my sudden, profound gratitude for everything in my life.
Or maybe it's all of it. Maybe the tickle and bliss comes from respecting myself and nourishing myself on all levels at once. From finding the balance of self care and gratitude that allows me to smile and giggle out loud when I am alone. This culminating collection of moments, suspended for days or possibly weeks, is meant to imprint my heart with more courage and faith. It is meant to remind me that bliss is my birthright.
While the winds are calm and this bearable lightness of being prevails, I will store away the memory of this joy to fish myself out of future wells. I will stretch my arms to the heavens, and I will find new ways to give more love.
P.S. Thank you to the lovely ladies who played along with me and left a comment for my apron give-away. I appreciate every single word you all left. The winning name drawn from the apron pocket is: Flamingo Girl!! Meegan, please send an email to with your address.
And just who is that gorgeous amazon woman in the pictures? None other than Dolly, the super-sized, 1960's burger-joint statue who holds court in the parking lot of Valvo's Candy and Statuary in Silver Creek, NY.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Way Of The Buddha

This is my dream come true. My blurry, furry scaredy cat. This is Buddha. We have been together for just over 2 months. In that short time, he has taught me many things. Patience is near the top of the list, due to his skittish ways, after spending 2 years in cat shelters. Trust is one notch above patience, with the lesson it must be earned through repetition of positive, unhurried offerings. At the very top of the list of the teachings of Buddha is the new understanding that dreams come to us disguised.
Last autumn, when I decided to adopt a companion for my young cat, Remmington, I declared a list of wishes to the Universe. This new cat needed to be friendly, lovable and playful. A best friend to Remmi. I asked that the 2 cats would be so bonded they would nap together. I asked for a minimum of disagreements between them. I asked for a non-destructive cat, as Remmi had already done his share to alter the look of my home. Buddha, it turns out, has supplied all that and more.
Although Buddha is still nervous when I am upright or walking, preferring to get his love-pets when I'm less imposing, he is the very best of friends with Remmington. They chase each other, eat out of the same bowl at the same time, hide side by side under my bed, and sleep curled up together on a burgundy, fleece blanket. Remmi licks Buddha's head profusely and has decided that long, stripey tail is his very favorite toy. They have argued once. This feline scenario is everything I asked for.
But I almost didn't recognize it. I declared my wishes for a companion cat, and at the same time formulated a vision of how that wish should be granted. What the qualifying cat should look like and act like from the start. Because of my imposing, controlling visions, I initially dismissed Buddha the first time I saw him. He seemed to offer none of my wishes, cowering behind a chair, even though the little Universal bread crumb trail led me right to him. It took me 3 weeks of scavenging cat shelters, with not a single, viable candidate, to finally understand the Universe chose Buddha to fulfill my wishes. When I was able to let go of how I thought the wish should be granted, the message became loud and clear. And Buddha finally got a home.
From now on, I will live the way of the Buddha. I will ask for my needs and my dreams to be met, but I will cease to impose my own narrow ways on the outcomes and the answers. I will send up my prayers, apply patience and trust in a power much greater than me, and look for fulfillment outside the confines of my ego. I will stop limiting myself. I will stop interfering with the natural flow of goodness. I will open my mind and my heart and let my dreams come true.