Friday, February 26, 2010

Limits, Boundaries, Flying Free and Feeling Safe...

Leap and the net will appear...

What a time it's been. The move, the great sweeping learning curves, the laughter, the weeping, the joy, the profound moments, the tender times, and watching, truly seeing, magic happen.

Today, fairly settled in -- still more work to do unpacking and organizing but each day it looks more and more like a home -- the most marvelous thing happened and you will see pictures soon.

The shutters and ornate iron pillars, now rusting a bit, were a dark, not very attractive, green. I had to add softness and color, and the colors of my heart when it comes to a home, are that of the adobe walls of New Mexico, and their sky blue doors. The shutters and pillars are now painted that soft pinky brown adobe, my front door a bright sky blue, and my attached garage door is sky blue with a thin strip of adobe on top, the trim on the little windows painted blue. It is just beautiful.

Then ... then! Ha! Into the secret world where magic is afoot. In the huge yard where the dogs play there is a wonderful large shed, and and at the back my beloved ship which was more rotted than I realized. My wonderful workmen powerwashed the shed and the boat, reroofed the shed, tore off old and worn boards, and gave my ship a facelift, and the shed was painted the most wonderful purple, a bright orchid really, with brilliant orange trim, the same persimmon that my studio is painted. The ship is the same purple as the shed with the trim persimmon and the stairs and plank up to the ship and and some of the other little bits of trim and deck will be painted a deep hot pink on Monday. Oh heavens! wait until you see what is going on out there. The workmen just laugh and laugh. They say they can't imagine what is coming next. I said maybe the cream colored brick of the house should be painted lime green! Of course I was kidding. One of the workman, delighted by all the goings on, said that with the shed and the ship painted such bright colors the place is starting to look very like a page out of a Dr. Seuss book! Just you wait ... I'm only just beginning!

Next week after they finish painting the ship, swirling in hot pink, the garden just off the deck will have a little fence put up around it with a gate to keep the dogs from doing their business in the potager (kitchen garden) where flowers, herbs and vegetables will grow, and the fence will be painted that hot pink, going right up to the purple and orange shed. It is to the left of the shed, and just off the marvelous deck where the dogs go out and down into the yard, and yes, the deck will be painted a wonderful color too. I think a bright grassy green to go with the landscape. Eventually, with a little project each month, there will be a magical land behind the privacy fence out of the back of my house, hidden from the road, with the front of the little cottage looking soft, lovely, and sedate. I like the idea of being rather hidden and anonymous. I love the thought of an ordinary world opening onto a magical land, and that it shall be, from the hollyhocks, sunflowers, foxglove, roses, wisteria and other old fashioned flowers, to the small herbs, tomatoes, bright neon colored chard and more in the little garden. There will be many gardens, thematic and surprising.

There is a wonderful garden shed at the back of the yard near the boat but it is a plain silver, well, I don't know what you call it, aluminum? You all know what they look like. It won't look that way for long! And in the middle of the yard, between four trees that make a big squared off area, we shall dig a big pond, my worker bees and I, and it will have koi and water plants -- lotus aplenty, water hyacinth and more, with plants and koi shared from the worker's mother, with old benches I shall hunt for, under the towering trees, a wonderful place to meditate and reflect, perhaps write haiku, and dream the dreams that nature inspires.

Some years back my psychiatrist put a little tile up on her wall that had been painted. A little figure was leaping off a cliff into space. It said, "Leap and the net will appear." I loved that and never forgot it. That's why my life has been like lately. Even with toilets flooding and needing to be replaced, not to mention the roof, and myriad and sundry other things, I have loved this little house with all of my heart, and I knew from the start that this was where I was supposed to be, and it just fits, like an old pair of slippers that just feels good.

I have been reflecting upon something these last few days. In your own little corner of the world, you can, like I am, with seemingly limited resources, in an older home with it's share of quirks, and not the dream place in New Mexico I'd always hoped to have, find paradise just where you are. Within the boundaries of my own little world the possibilities are limitless. I could go on for the rest of my life creating this paradise. When we have no boundaries we feel lost. A child will test you to the nth degree, but they feel safer within those boundaries than without them, even if they pout and act angry and carry on. And so I am learning how to take this little plot of land that I have found and let my imagination fly as little by little I transform this space into a place filled with love, creativity, peace, always and ever framed by what is sacred and holy in my existence, and working, reaching out to the world, from where I am, a place where big ships fly up out of little creeks, and miracles are abundant everywhere, as God's creatures keep me company, and the silence and solitude provide the nourishment I need to create a ministry of the heart, one of tremendous love, tenderness and compassion for the world, I shall do my work.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you so that perhaps you might see your own world a little differently. Instead of feeling stuck where you are, take what you've got and transform it into your own paradise. Do what you want to do. I think the saddest thing in the world is when people move into a house and leave the entire house white "just in case they might have to sell it one day" and the potential buyers might not like the colors they pick. Phooey. You can always paint it if need be when it comes time to sell it, or surely potential owners can see past color to a wonderful home, and you might end up there twenty years or forever! We are living now! Set yourself free, within the boundaries of your own life, job, and living situation, and within it make all the happiness and joy that you can. And yes, I am a minister, but a minister needn't be all serious and stoic. I believe that we have the capacity to love more when we come from a place of joy. Set spirit free! Let your spirit soar!

One of the most wonderful things I ever saw, and oh, I wish I could remember who it was and see those pictures again, was a woman who lived in an old house and painted the whole, entire house PINK! Then she accented everything in black and white. It was pure whimsy and such a delight you had to laugh when you saw it. In my house every room is painted a different color, even the outsides of the doors match the color of the inside of the rooms, and open onto an aqua hallway. It makes me feel positively gleeful. And with Big Dog Moe, a bevy of little pugs, and a flock of parrots right in the front room, this place is everything I could have hoped for and more. I am itching to get to my book and my fiber work and I am almost at the place where I can.

I bought all old vintage furniture and other than the roof most of the work has been colorful paint and boards. The garden will be grown organically from seeds and I will work with what I have, what I can find, and one day a week will be a scavenger hunt in junk shops and other such mysterious and wonderful places, to find inexpensive surprising things to add to this little home that I am creating.

Every morning after the dogs have been in and out 2 or 3 times and the parrots are up and all have been fed, I make my coffee and build a fire in the fireplace in the "cozy room" and sit sipping my latte and watching the lively fire pop and crackle, the woodsmoke drifting up the chimney. I save the ashes in a metal bucket for the garden once they have gone cold (The roses love the ash.), and I carry things out to the recycling bin as the day goes along, and look out my window at my big ship and can't believe that I am here.

I feel safe now. In this very moment there is a pug asleep on the arm of my chair, lying against me; snores here and there from the other pugs, and Big Moe, and the parrots are silent. I love this time of night. With one little light on beside me it is a time for reflection. I had a long hour or more of meditation and prayer before I began to write after getting the dogs out for the last time and taking a shower, and I love the new essential oil blend that I got when I had a massage this week to work out some of the kinks and aches and stiffness of a body too filled with tension for too long. I hadn't had a massage in so long I couldn't even remember when I'd last had one, and the massage therapist used the most wonderful essential oil blend called "Serenity," a perfect blend of bergamot and vanilla. I bought a small bottle on my way out and just put the tiniest little dabs on after I got out of the shower and love feeling clean and soft and fragrant, in this land of pugs and magic ships and writing late into the night.

I hope you are well wherever you are. Know that I hold you in my heart and think of you often. You are in my prayers and in my dreams. We are all one. I hope that some of the energy of this wonderful little place I am creating, with the help of some wonderful men, will slip past the borders of this landscape out into the world to you. This is my intent. To share, through my writing, what I find, and how we all might find it, and to celebrate with you what you find too.

Amidst all the darkness of the world, we can light one candle where we are, and we can spread the light. Let us try.

Peace, Love, Serenity & Joy...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Yeah yeah yeah... "To get to the other side..."

Right. But nobody ever tells you what in the world the chicken did when she
got there!


For so long the goal had been to find a new home, cross through the threshold into the next part of my life and begin to build the new life, long in the planning, imagining myself kind of skipping through wildflowers on a sunny day. Ahem.

Nobody tells you that the fenced yard is going to need 3 times as many boards as expected.

Scribble, scribble, scribble, fake smile,

(These are the sounds of me writing yet one more check for one more thing that I hadn't planned on or expected and then having it cost 3x what I'd thought it would have if I'd imagined it at all -- handing it to the workman or the checkout woman at Lowe's hardware store whom I am now on a first name basis with, also knowing the names of all 17 of her grandchildren -- and then my head going clunk down on the table smack into piles of paper, bills, receipts, and only God knows what half this stuff is...)

Welcome to life as a homeowner!

And then it wasn't a particularly cheerful moment when I found out the whole roof had to be replaced, down to the guttering and various and sundry other things, and just today I realized that there is a problem with the fireplace that doesn't draw properly after having paid a good chunk to have it inspected and fixed. Oh Joy!

Scribble, scribble, scribble, fake smile,

Some good soul should have told the chicken a few things before she started off with her 5 dogs, six parrots, and
Alice in Wonderland sense of things before she crossed the road. And yet... And yet I wouldn't change a thing. Even the hard things. They have been startling and downright scary at times, but not during one single moment have I regretted my decision and I thank God every day, every moment, for this wonderful place. This cozy little place. This funny little place with the big ship out back who is going to get a facelift and a new coat of paint during the warm weather; the big fenced yard that the dogs are having the time of their lives in; the nice neighbors I've met; and this week sweet "Bug," a man who works for my best friend Jeff, is going to come to start helping me hack away at the beginning of the new garden. So many wonderful and often unusual people have come into my life through this whole adventure that I would not have met otherwise, that I am deeply blessed. I am making friends in unexpected places and am showered with gifts that come packaged as little lessons falling from the sky that I must open and tend to every single day.

When you went from your parents home to your married life at 20 (The year was 1974.), and go straight into having 3 children by 29, and you are one of the last vestiges of the pretty much
unliberated women, wherein your husband takes care of everything (Thank God my daughters -- and son -- know how to take care of their lives far better than I did!) and one day you wake up, divorced, alone, and not knowing how to do diddly squat. And then you decide to buy your first house ever at 55 and diddly squat ain't the half of it, if you get my drift. What an adventure! (See, that's me putting a positive spin on things!)

But while the changes have literally terrified me at times, sent me reeling or into tears, and finally into a terrible, terrifying crash in the middle of Sam's where I went to get my prescriptions filled and then, walking away from the counter, literally almost hit the floor, I have been sent, sometimes frightening hard, lessons I needed to remember to heed. At Sam's my arms and legs were shaking so hard, I was hanging onto the cart, about to collapse, not able to speak clearly and but for the kindness and quick response of a lady who worked at Sam's who grabbed me and got me to sit down, brought me an energy drink and protein bars and just sat with me, I would have gone SPLAT! embarassingly in the middle of the Bandaid aisle. And when it became apparent I was not going to be okay to drive home a friend was called to pick me up and drive me home and my car was brought to me the next day.

It seems that I, the person who rarely ever leaves the house and has had to leave and be busy busy busy in the world in a way I have never been, has been forgetting to eat and still running, and taking the meds that keep me stable in a wonkified fashion because hours and meals don't quite mesh, and in Sam's it seems I had something between low blood sugar, unbalanced meds, and a panic attack to end all panic attacks. All of the weeks of fears, woes, worries and more hit me right in the middle of Sam's Club, just up the aisle from the prescription counter and I think I left my body there for awhile. Whoo. Talk about scary. And when the people close to you are crying and confused and worried you just darn well do your best to get a grip and not let go.

Filled with protein this and that with water full of electrolytes and whatnots and gotten home by the dear man who got me in and settled, got all the dogs out, and made sure I had everything I needed before he left, I went to sleep with my phone next to me and woke up fine the next morning. It was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back." It was also my Bi-Polar running amok trying to do too much too soon and then being in this house in a sea of boxes that made me feel so overwhelmed I felt like I was at the very bottom of the Grand Canyon, expected to climb the mountain. Well, that's just ridiculous. I'm not climbing any mountain. I'm taking the rocky little foot path and beginning "the journey of a thousand miles with a single step." There is nothing to worry about, simply the step ahead of me. And, too, the lesson of the snail.

I have written about the snail a great many times. I have had stationery, postcards, and more printed with the image of a snail and a slogan that came to me one morning, early, when I was then, as well, trying to do too much, too soon, too fast. It's a simple little slogan... "How Slow Can You Go?"

I also teach a class called Snail Mind Meditation, and have a book of the same name in the works. (© 2007 Maitri Libellule) But I have not heeded my own teachings and had a collapse all out of proportion with anything I have ever experienced. When we are not taking care of ourselves, God will step in and give us a bit of a KAPOW to make us sit up and notice. I noticed. So did everyone else around me. And so now I begin again, more slowly, slinking along and breathing with the snail...

So amidst unpacking boxes, starting the garden, and remembering to eat well and take my meds on their proper schedule, not to mention working on the book whose time has come, the ministry has finally taken root and will grow, like the garden, through my life and days. And there will be snails in the garden, and they will be welcome here...

Blessings and Love,

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Have Landed. I Have Finally Crossed The Threshold and The Quest Begins...

"If we are spiritual beings on a human path, rather than human beings on a spiritual path, then life is not only a journey but a pilgrimage or quest as well. Both pilgrim and questing knight leave behind their usual lives and go in search of something that they are missing, not necessarily knowing what that something is."

~ Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen ~
Crossing To Avalon:
A Woman's Midlife Quest
For The Sacred Feminine

Dear Friends,

I have finally landed after a long voyage. A voyage that has been a bit of a shock like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and fathoms deep. A pilgrimage that has taken me through the portal from one life into another. My life is now dedicated to the work of the spirit, in mundane and simple ways, as well as serving all that is Holy through my writing, teaching, healing, and counseling those who would seek it.

Moving into the new house has been a journey in and of itself, one that I could not have begun to have imagined, the kind that you would likely not choose if you knew ahead of time what you would encounter and need to survive through the letting go of the life past, embracing the present moment, as well as turning toward and preparing for the life that is ahead. Yes, there have been problems along the way, and yet this is a wonderful little home, and a perfect place to do my work. The brilliant yellow butterfly, a symbol of transformation, is my guide through the portal, I follow willingly, and am almost blinded by the light ahead. I am on the right path, and what a comfort it is to finally know that.

Many have encountered the things that I have, but as this is my first home to have ever purchased on my own, I was shocked to find that the roof needed to be replaced, all the boards and guttering around the roof's edge were rotting and even into the attic, all needing to be fixed lest the damage get worse and move into the house. It is frighteningly more expensive than I had known it might be, but it is getting done, a little at a time.

There are delightful times too. The old chain link fence was torn down and a beautiful six foot privacy fence put in it's place. These are incredible craftsman and there has been a blessing in the work that they are doing for me, and what I am receiving in return. They needed the work and I needed the help, a time of synchronicity, wonder, and grace. This home has become and is becoming a sanctuary. Garden areas are being dug, an outside garden shed will be turned into a meditative place, and the dogs have a big fenced yard to play in.

My magical boat is being restored and painted (Pictures of before and after will be taken and appear here soon.) as are the shutters and beautiful ornate iron posts on the front porch, and I have had an arched doorway cut between my bedroom and the room next to it. In this way I can spend time in my sacred space for prayer and meditation, work of the spirit and of my ministry before I go to sleep, carrying the close connection to spirit into my dreams where the teacher and healer in me might be restored and given answers and gifts of knowledge that I need to help others. I have even been doing healing work on my animals and it is amazing how they have responded. I feel so blessed.

I have been told by my spiritual teachers and advisors that I have special gifts that were meant to be used, from a gentle contemplative place, based in peace, love, light, hope and joy. The subtle energy work, the healing of the spirit and the heart, come to me as a gift, and I am more than a little surprised and deeply grateful. As teachers, we teach what we need to learn. I do tonglen meditation as I gently hold the hands of the person before me. In tonglen meditation you breathe in the pain and suffering of the world, or the person before you, and breathe out peace, healing, and love. I am working with people who simply rest their open palms on mine, lightly, and I guide them into a gentle, soft meditation as I breathe with them in and out, out and in, while an energy exchange and healing is taking place. I needed to cross the threshold from my past life and enter the present one and the one to come, and even the difficulties and sometimes shocking problems that have arisen with the house have been a blessing and a shamanic journey of sorts, the trial by fire, the preparation for the work ahead.

I wait, with an anticipatory joy, for the coming together, once again, of she whom I love with all of my heart, my soul mate, the deepest connection I have known in my life. The separation has been hard, but necessary. We both had much work to do in our own lives to come to the place where we might be ready to reunite and share something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined possible. I don't know how it will come to pass, but I know that it is coming. I am waiting for you my love. I will wait as long as it takes.

And once the ground is tilled and made fertile with the organic material that I use, I will plant bulbs by the hundreds, poppies and other seeds that need to be planted in the late fall or here, where the cold comes late, during the winter, and there will be wildflowers everywhere and hollyhocksand all varieties of sunflowers, and I will be on my knees in the soil, my bare hands deep in the earth, no gloves, so that I might feel how friable the soil is, and with the warmth of spring not only comes the enchantment of flowers blooming, but the time when I can release thousands of lady bugs, and worms to till and fertilize the soil, and, a favorite task, ordering a great many praying mantis cocoons to hang here and there. What magic it is to see the tiny baby mantises emerge.

There will be the butterfly garden and bird feeders everywhere and behind my fence, down to the creek, a wildlife habitat that I will let grow free and abundant, as it already is, and take heart knowing that I amongst wild things and growing things, at one with Nature, also a great teacher. I bow to Mother Earth.

And so now, still surrounded by a sea of boxes, the house begins to become a home and is gradually being put in order. I am getting to know the house and it is beginning to know me. I am sitting in the cozy room with sleeping animals all around me, pugs snoring, and sweet Big Dog Moe curled on his bed behind me. Sampson, my velcro pug, is wrapped around my neck, snuggled into me and snoring, and the soft snores of the other pugs fill the air around me. A fire crackles in the fireplace, and there are books, notebooks, seed catalogs and paint samples all around me, and tonight I will work on the book that I knew would become fruitful and multiply once I reached my destination.

So yes, I am here, I have landed, and I can finally return to regular, more frequent blogging which is so important to me and yet has been lost for some time with my mother's end stage cancer, her death, the holidays, and then preparing to move, body and soul, into the house and life I was meant to lead. I am creating a house of color, radiance, grace, and joy. A place for my work, full of vibrance and life, as well as peace, prayer, meditation and a life wherein I open my heart, hands, and soul to the world around me, and share, through my writings and silent prayers, the pilgrimage that I am on, the journey, and all that I learn, so that perhaps I can offer something of value to the world that I care about so deeply.

Please wish me Godspeed on my journey, as I do you in yours. You are all always in my thoughts and prayers.

Warm regards and deepest blessings to all,