Thursday, December 30, 2010

in the beginning was the word

it has been an unforgettable year. a year i chose the word "soul" as my guide and my map. that word, that way, was everywhere for me.

it rose up with the unexpected and compelling need to better the lives of 4 stray cats. it revealed its breath-taking force of animation and its singular, unbending process of decision as i witnessed my grandmother's death. mostly, it revealed how under-wraps it has lived within me for 45 years. and it showed me, repeatedly, in no uncertain way, what i had to do and concede to make it more visible and allow it to breathe more life into my life.

for what felt like great stretches of time, this has been an emotionally difficult year. so many of my ridiculous defenses had to be smashed to bits. from misunderstandings while visiting the cusp of asia, to an army of fleas that forced a level of attention to cleaning i'd rather never repeat, to assessing boundaries, to too much cancer in my family, to the december car accident that flat-bedded my car off into the dark, to the truth and the larger truth and the unbending trust in myself.

i do not mistake an emotionally difficult year with a bad one. it has, instead, been a good and  powerful year. a decade of lessons was compressed into 12 short months. i consider myself fortunate.

and so, with my soul fortified and leanings toward more visibility, i peer ahead to twenty eleven. it will be another good year. with great care and understanding of the force unleashed in adopting a word-map to guide me forward, i choose a new word.

actually, i choose two.

in twenty eleven, i choose joy and i choose family. plans are already in the works for the regular invocation of joy, and concentrated care for my mother's continuing journey with cancer. as well, i will let the idea of family expand and fill my heart. i will let myself be surprised. i will let myself be warmed and welcomed and safe.

for you, what ever helps you to know yourself more deeply and more compassionately is what i wish for your year ahead. trust your instincts. be brave. laugh at yourself. and sleep well.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

there is too much sugar

there is stillness and formulation and
scribbles of what i'd like to invoke.
there is too much sugar coursing through my veins.
there is a need for rest.
and the need to gently let go.

Friday, December 24, 2010

advent calendar 24



Let your efforts be enough.

Be the Child,
the hope and the love.

{thank you for spending december with me.}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

advent calendar 23

My Wish For You

This Christmas, if you have lost someone dear to your heart, I wish for you 3 moments of peace amid the sadness. Just 3 small moments where the pain recedes and the presence of your loved one is palpable in the glow of white lights.

This Christmas, if you are alone, I wish for you the knowledge that God is always with you. Stillness and candle flame and a quiet mind will invoke for you whispers in your heart that confirm your worth and love-ability. Be still until you hear "I love you, Child" at the very edges of your awareness. Know you are never truly alone.

This Christmas, if you spend it with family, forgive everyone their foibles and dare to see them as individual human beings doing their best to live a valued life. Just one day of removing judgements and "shoulds" and expectations, just one short day of seeing them exactly as they are, will produce miracles. In you.
This Christmas, if you receive everything on your list, or you receive nothing on your list, or you had no list to begin with, I wish for you the most over-looked and critical gift that exists. Your breath. And its continued flow. Without your breath and the life-animating force it carries, you would have no lists to enjoy or aspire to or choose to never write.

Breathe deep the scents of the season. Breathe deep the love that time and space cannot erase. Breathe deep the God-force within and around you. Breathe deep the miracle of forgiveness. This Christmas, inhale love. Exhale peace.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

advent calendar 22

let's be open to the mystery
without needing to figure it out.

let's allow myth to be reality
and give us permission to be  
who we long to be.

when that longing is met,
there lies our comfort and joy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

advent calendar 21

the flame in your heart, 
your golden heart,
is the sun whose return
we await.

Happy Winter Solstice

Monday, December 20, 2010

advent calendar 20

warmth is the secret ingredient to successful,
fulfilling relations. warm attitudes, warm greetings,
genuine interest and concern make all the difference,
all the difference, in how we treat and are treated in return.

we begin by extending warmth to ourselves, respect to ourselves.
when we are warmed from within, we naturally radiate outward.
it is warmth that bonds us together.
it is warmth that begets love.

and love is the bread of life.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

advent calendar 19

no lasting peace, salvation or love
is possible without the foundation and strength
of the willing feminine light.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

advent calendar 16

christmas has come early for me. it came via istanbul,
from the lovely nihal of crossroads blog.
nihal offered a little give-away back in november
and the stars aligned for me to be chosen.
what arrived was a beautifully presented compact disk
of tarkan's fabulous turkish groove.
{excuse me, but is he not seriously hot?}
along with the music came a hand-made origami crane,
a coin, a turkish tea bag and a wee note.

thank you, dear nihal. i love all of it.
burl ives and bing will now have to wait,
i've got a new way to get toasty this season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

advent calendar 14

it was raining when it should have been snowing.

the street was empty when there should have been crowds.

the much-lauded, vintage decorations were disappointing,
 some, more suited for all hallow's eve.

but we went, even when it made no sense to go.

we made our own fun with cameras in hand.

and we laughed.

Even when it shirks logic and comfort.
Go find out for yourself.
Be surprised.
Let it be good.

Your thrill with this world is up to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

advent calendar 13

do not be afraid of the softness in your soul.
that softness is your strength,
your delectable interface with the world.
embrace it.
learn to work with it.

allow yourself to rise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

advent calendar 12

reverence and awe can be found
in so many places.
this season, this month, this moment
i want you to find them in yourself.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

advent calendar 10

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Anthem by, Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

advent calendar 7


let us not forget our common origins.
the 6-pointed star preceded the 5.

we are all waiting.
waiting to be saved.

if we would only realize,
the 6 point, the 5 point and the star with sickle,
love is the only thing that will save us.

and it is already here.

{stained glass star. presbyterian church window.
buffalo, new york.}

Sunday, December 05, 2010

advent calendar 5

we each have a unique light.
when our lights are brought together,
in love and cooperation,
evil is set ablaze.
and vanishes.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

advent calendar 1

a treasured tradition of my childhood holidays is the advent calendar. one little door to open or one small gift to unwrap for the 24 days leading up to christmas. this season, i offer a countdown calendar, of sorts, for you. 24 days of random images, maybe a saying or a poem, possibly some longer posts that need to spill out of my heart. each day, a little door to open with the click of your mouse.

join me, if you will.

{i took this photo at the swamps while watching the canada geese. this image is my reminder that in the colder, darker days of the year, truth and purity of the self is the focus. those things that are hidden, those things about ourselves that make us cringe and shy away from public view, are very often, the most beautiful parts of ourselves in disguise. the bones of our soul have a magic of their own. and the light. in the darkest days of the year is the time to make our own light.}

Monday, November 29, 2010

horse power

Chance~ belgian draft and (possible) fjord mix

like straddling a barrel
baby Clydesdale
belgian draft horse
the most intriguing, with white face and one blue
chincoteague pony

i'm very attracted to horses. from a safe distance. oddly,  i'm most attracted to the larger, draft breeds~ the beligians, the percherons, the clydesdales, which makes little sense considering my skittishness. my friend, tina, rescuer and owner of draft mix, chance, invited me to come meet her baby and begin to gain a level of comfort with a ginormous animal. so i went, with apples, camera and courage.

chance, likely abused, destined for the slaughter house and rescued at the last minute by tina, has become a gentle giant under tina's love and  persistent skill with horses. still, i was overwhelmed by his size up close. it's the big feet and the unexpected spooks that usually keep me beyond arms length. when, eventually, i climbed onto chance's back in the riding ring, i cried. for a thousand reasons.

after our slow walk around the ring and the surprisingly long drop from the saddle to get my feet on the ground, some fear had slipped away. i even endured some untethered time in front of chance while tina did other things and i brushed him when the saddle came off. for his even and winning ways, he received most of the apples i brought.

we toured the farm, handing out apple quarters, marveling at the amazing variety of stars and blazes on faces. not surprisingly, the chincoteague pony gave me the most comfort. her size  and sweetness felt perfect for me. and yet, it's equus giganticus that pulls at my heart.

as with most new experiences, the magnitude of simple encounters and changes in points of view takes time to digest, to integrate. horses represent forward movement, new journeys and if ridden, rising above the mundane. they especially represent freedom and power, of the personal kind. thanks to tina's invitation, i'm taking a chance on all of it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

here and now

the first snow has come. and my first mini-vacation, a string of four days in a row, since april. it's been a long, somewhat grueling stretch of wedding flower making (89 brides and counting for the year), and the holidays, for flower designers, can be quite tiring. but no matter. i have here and i have now and this is the glory of my four days:

*staying in bed 'til 7:30am. deep sleep with dreams upon dreams, waking to the sounds of 2 cats eager for wet breakfast.

*sipping tea on the floor of my living room, twinkle lights lit and draped along one wall, classical music whispering from the radio, the sun peaking over the rooftop across the street. i never used to be a morning girl; now it is my favorite part of the day. ideas, longings and possibilities are born here.

*catching up, online, with my soap opera, 'general hospital'. i am one of those crazies that has kept tabs on the dramatics since the days before luke and laura were married. as well, re-runs of 'family guy', because i seriously heart stewie and cartoon blood is less offensive than i had imagined.

*avoiding the dishes piled in the sink, washing one spoon at a time, when needed.

*a long-overdue massage. and not just any massage. one with applied kineseology (also called 'touch for health') that tracks the chi flow along my meridians, gets rid of my stress-induced hiatal hernia, realigns my off-kilter neck, tailbone, hips and wrists, and informs me i am lacking magnesium in my system.  one hour = improved health.

*indulging my love affair with magazines, wrapped in a blanket, sipping more tea. this weekend (some on loan from the library, others purchased): house beautiful, martha stewart, country living~the british edition, real simple, vanity fair (because cher! is on the cover), art and antiques, and my most favorite~ smithsonian. in addition, because gluttony is gluttony, i've splurged on holiday with matthew mead, and scored 2 editions of sweet paul for 1/2  price.

*thinking about (read: but not doing) cooking. soups, chowders, applesauce, sweet pumpkin anything.

*going to bed early, because, my god, i love sleeping and my new, pj bottoms are ridiculously comfortable.

*catching up with blogs, especially the scandinavian ones because their christmas ideas are so beautiful, heartwarming and simple.

*a possible date with a horse, despite the chill in the air. apples are already by the door.

*minimal cleaning, regardless of the disarray. i'm not expecting any visitors until next weekend. i pride myself on procrastination and speed cleaning.

*the best for last, the 4th day: baking german christmas bread with my mom (stollen). being a yeast concoction, it's an all-day affair. this year, a photo diary of the process, in case, god forbid, someday i must rely on my own wits alone to keep the tradition going.

i tell you something, life, she is good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

so said the buck

in the active quiet that currently fills my mind and my days, messages are being delivered. i notice them, make note of them and calmly move along. absent is the inner fanfare and hype that used to accompany the repetitious, there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence blips on my radar screen. there is only a nod and a thank you and a "yes, i see it. again.". then, contemplation.

the messages of late, strung out for weeks and accelerating today, are being delivered by the deer family in general, and bucks in particular. it's mating season, it's hunting season, and my luck with bucks would be the envy of  most men in camouflage. antlers are prolific for me. standing at the roadside, sauntering across traffic and barreling left to right like a freight train. in unprecedented numbers, the boys with nubs to 10 point head gear are silently speaking up.
the youngest buck, who succumbed to traffic and died on the grass, told me to leave the impulses and frantic energy of youth behind me, to gracefully let the tide of spring be washed away. 

the oldest buck, the locomotive force of majestic maturity, showed me the power of channeled determination. years of learning and experience, coupled with obedience to instinct, can transform the seemingly untransformable, and command  the will of the wind. so-called late bloomers, take note, he said.

the 6 pointers and the 8, steady and careful while crossing black-topped terrain,  reminded me to let myself be lured to new adventures. to trust my expanding perceptions. to remember that gentleness affords a grander, more accurate view of the way things really are.

{ the littlest buck, who could no longer stand by the time i first saw him on the grass, let me pet his ear after he died and i tell you, it was the softest, most glorious thing.}

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the art and the dance

i am learning that when some one you love dies, a void sweeps in. there is confusion as to how to live fully in the world without their presence and their particular brand of harnessing wind and molecules. memories and touchstones lay salve along the singed edges of the void.

i am also learning that to sit in the void, in silence, brings an echo from deep within. that echo, for me, reverberating along the walls of the void, carries the words art and nature up to the surface. in those words, those emotion-filled, dream-filled, soul-purpose words, a map seeks to form as to how to i can live in the world anew.

so, i walk, outdoors, with camera in hand, and i follow the echo. i am inevitably led to trees. stalwart, life-giving, holders-of-secrets-in-plain-sight trees. i lean against them and i look up. my shutter clicks. and there, in the limbs exposed to autumn's air, i see the art and i see the dance and i begin to remember how to harness the wind.