This Time of Gratitude

Photo Credit: Pixabay

As we spiral into another month (longer for some) inside the nest of our homes, many of us are turning to gratitude. Beneath the blanket of fear, we are finding a renewed, and perhaps even new, appreciation for life. All that we no longer have may feel like a loss, but what we do have is felt more poignantly.

How many of us now wake to greet each day with gratitude? “I am alive!” we think or may even say out loud as we feel the fortune of existence. Around us we see the blessings in our lives. The companionship and love of pets and family, the birdsong outside the windows that we can open to the wind, the budding of spring, and all the growth it offers…

We are being offered another chance at Life, and an opportunity to reflect upon what we hold essential and what we no longer need. Perhaps, after this time of turning inward, this hibernation in spring, we will emerge not quite the same as we were before isolation came upon us. Perhaps we will continue to see our world, as well as our individual and collective lives, differently. Perhaps what we deemed essential before may softly fall away to become the detritus for new growth.

There is an exquisite beauty to the heart song opening around the world. It sings love and empathy in the voice of unity, threading its notes through the darkness of fear, despair, and hatred.  We are turning over the ground we walk upon, discovering the roots that lay hidden. We are finding that life connects and weaves a grid of which we are all a part of, even though we may have walked in separation concerned only with our own path, or the paths of those we hold dear.

We are seeing how the farmer is essential to our lives, just as the rain that falls upon the fallow land. We are seeing how precious the seed is, pulled softly from its husk before it is nestled into the body of earth.  Upon our window sills, we are growing our own food and watching the wonder of creation in real time. Slow, unfolding, time.

Each time Earth turns towards the sun and the sky parts its clouds, we give thanks for the energy of life. It asks nothing of us, but continues to pour down its golden rays to keep life moving, growing, and hopefully evolving.

We find ourselves questioning the hold that we once felt and seeing that perhaps it was false. That perhaps the new house, car, vacation, shirt, or electronic device we yearned for and  thought we needed is really not so essential to our happiness anymore. Now, we are realizing, that wellbeing is the folding into the abundance of love in all its myriad forms. A love that surrounds us, but is also within us. Ever-flowing and sustaining real life.

This is not to say that we are all going through this time of renewal with ease. Although there are those of us with the privilege to still have the fundamentals to sustain life, there are even more who are going without. The polarity of life is becoming acutely apparent. And although we may shun labels like “socialism,” we are seeing how essential it is to care for the “other,” who is more like us than we once cared to see. The “other” it is now becoming unavoidable to see, is the “I” in another form.

In one, blinding moment, the wrap of security that once bound us tight may be pulled from us, as it has already for so many. Will we continue to allow ourselves to open our eyes to see the bare, unfettered truth as we become unraveled? Will we grow a new appreciation for the farmer who grows our nourishment, as well as the plants and animals that we consume? We will walk this Earth with steps of gratitude, realizing that we walk on life, itself? This ground that feeds us and sustains us?

Will we reach our roots down, deep into our Mother and rejoin not just with her life force, but allow our roots to reach out and nurture our neighbors, far and wide? Those we know, and don’t think we know…. Those we love, and those we thought we despised…Realizing that we are all interdependent upon each other down to the tiny microbes that we cannot see but swim through our cells?



Hope Held in the Doorway of an Election Day #nhprimary

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I’m a little surprised that my heart is filled with hope and not despair on this auspicious day. That instead of focusing on the outcome, I am thinking of the opportunities. I believe that life is given to us so that we may find our own paths to Truth and Love. Sometimes we get off track and decide to linger inside the darkness of the shadowlands of the self, but eventually the light inside points us to home.

Today is primary day for the presidential election in New Hampshire. It’s also the eleventh day of the month. A doorway date. Today, the doorway feels rimmed with hope. The doors present before us to open as wide as we choose through the hands of our hearts.

I voted just a short while ago. The parking lot in our small town was crowded with cars, yet each waited patiently for their turn. Inside the voting hall, people queued into lines, while others greeted those who may be confused where to go. I was one of the confused ones, until a kind selectwoman guided the way. As I stepped into the empty line blocked from view by the one beside it, a couple discovered they had followed, unknowingly, the longer queue of bodies. I stepped back, and ushered them ahead of me.

I think they were grateful, the seemed so. It didn’t matter really, because it was the right thing to do. I was in no rush, and they had been waiting longer than I. I watched as they took their ballets from the smaller stack of red before I took mine from the blue. I looked around, noticing the tables that seemed to all share smaller piles of red than blue.

It’s okay, I thought as I marked my choice and sent it into the ballet machine, I had voted with my heart. It’s okay, I thought, if the election, in the end, turns out contrary to what I hope for. It’s happened before. It may happen again.

It’s okay, because that is how Life works. I cannot still the hand that votes, or guide it to another choice. I can merely guide my own, in the best way I can, toward Love and Truth. In the teachings of the mysteries and of yoga, the individual journeys not just toward Love and Truth, but toward non-judgement. Of the self, and of others. Realizing, as s/he journeys, that there is, in essence, no separation.

As I journey through the spiral, taking yet another circle inward, I find that I have been offered another lesson in acceptance. It is not a giving in to futility, though, but a giving into hope. The heart opening, rather than shutting off. Resisting the impulse to pull open the doors I may think others should walk through, I find myself returning to the doors around my own heart. Who am I to judge the best outcome for humanity and the world? The ego reigns with fear in so many forms when we succumb to its seductions.

The body grows tired with restriction and the holding in of tension. So does the mind. So does the spirit. Life breathes freely through love. Pure and simple. It seeks always the one true path. We are the keepers of our own souls. The body, their house for a time, is kept clean or cluttered with debris by the individual housed inside of it. The choice is held within.

I look around at the gray winter day knowing that the light outside my home is only veiled by a cover of clouds. Eventually it will break through and the sky will spread wide its blue expanse to the sun. It may not be today, or even tomorrow, but the light, eventually, and always, breaks through the darkness.


The Box of Fear & Why I Believe We All Must Find Our Own “Religion”


I  have recently received an email from a friend I met years ago at a metaphysical class. We were both searching and seeking a deeper understanding of life, like all who are drawn to unravel the mysteries. Now, she has turned to religion, following the urgings of a man she loves. I am not surprised, but there is a sadness to her desperation to be loved and accepted into a secure form of life.

In her email, my friend urged me, and the rest of the group of friends to which she sent the email, to follow her path as a born-again Christian so that our souls, like hers, could be saved. She has labeled us as “New Age,” a label I have never tried to own.

I don’t care for labels, and this one I find offensive and incorrect. Although I cannot speak for the others in the group, I consider myself a spiritual being who seeks, in each moment, to heed the inner voice of truth that aligns with the core Truths of being. I do not follow one guru, or worship within the confines of one sect. I simply try my best to live a life in alignment with love.

If that makes me a sinner in some eyes, so be it. Yet, it troubles me that is should be so. Perhaps, in some ways, I am fortunate to have not been raised in what feels like the confines of a particular set of beliefs. As the child of agnostic parents who leaned toward atheism, I had to find my own spirituality in my search for inner peace and wellbeing.

I can recall many sleepless nights lying in bed wondering if my last breath would lead to my oblivion. I would wonder if my life was meaningless as a mere conglomeration of cells adhered into a body with an intelligent brain that allowed me to think both rational and irrational thoughts.

It was only when I started to think beyond the confines of my brain, and stepped into the realm of the heart, that I found a home that stretched beyond walls into the vast expanse of being. My path has lead me to explore many teachings, which all possess the same core of truths. The yoga sutras, which predate all religions, echo the words of the oldest Egyptian texts. The furthest back you go, the more threads of common truths you find. This, to me, feels like home.

Yet, it is not my place to judge another’s beliefs, nor to where they feel most at home. We are, in essence, all searching for belonging. But, do we have a right to label others as incorrect and ask them to follow the way we have chosen? This troubles me. It reminds me that we are still fighting wars and killing each other because of our spiritual beliefs, the color of our skin, and the sexual physiology and orientation of our bodies. This is not okay.

The need to destroy and convert are premised upon fear, not love. At the core of all religions and spiritual teachings, from what I have found, is Love. That is all. Love. It is a calling to find home in the knowing that we are all born from and a part of Love, which unites all life. When I breath into the stillness of being that is what I find. It fills me with a connection not only to myself, but to all life. It reminds me that I am not above or below anyone else, I am simply a part of all life. That, to me, is enough. It is a coming home.

Three Weeks With Millie: A Lesson in Fear, Trust & Love

Mille at nine weeks

We’ve had Millie now for three weeks and one day, to be precise. Millie came into our lives when she was just nine-weeks-old. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision. The four of us had been discussing what we would do once our terminally ill, 19-year-old feline companion Penny had passed. We knew our 11-year-old cat, Yoda, would miss his sister, but we also knew that the cats and the dogs in our house had chosen to live separately since we had welcomed our dog Daisy, and then two years later, Rosy, into our lives.

Zelda & Millie after two weeks together

Three-and-a-half years ago, after our beloved Daisy passed, we adopted Zelda. We didn’t know how Zelda would respond to our two cats who had long ago established their separate space inside and outside the house. Being a rescued dog with an unknown past, Zelda soon decided she would stick by her new “mom” wherever I went, which included into the cats’ space. Often Yoda and Penny would scoot outside their cat door when they saw Zelda, but not always. Over time they learned to walk around together and mostly leave each other alone. If they felt threatened by Zelda’s presence they would give her a quick swat to the nose, hiss and run away. Rosy, rarely dared venture into their space.

Zelda trying to figure out how to lick the plate around Millie

Adopting a nine-week-old kitten, though, felt like an offer of sacrifice. What was I thinking? I often asked myself over the course of the next two weeks. There were days when I felt like we had brought home a live meal for the dogs, and the stories well-intended friends were telling me about kittens murdered by their canine companions certainly were not helping to assuage my fears. I knew this would be a test in more ways than one. . .

Our tiny and fearless Millie

And did I mention how tiny Millie was when we brought her home? About the size of a chipmunk, an animal that both Rosy and Zelda tried to chase and capture any chance they got. What were we thinking? What was I thinking? After all, I was the one who would be in charge of Millie’s care for the majority of the time.

Mille atop the stairs to the healing space where I assist others in letting go of their fears

The first two weeks seemed to test every fear my cells were holding onto. I feared for Millie’s life like a mother fears for her child’s. What will I do if they kill her? This thought filled my mind more times than I cared to count. I was, I realized, living my days on the edge of fear. Until I began to let go…

Mille the ever-curious kitten

The first time Zelda lunged at Millie, I thought she was trying to eat her. The second time it happened, I thought maybe she was jealous. The third time she tried to intercede, I thought maybe she wanted to play. By the forth time I realized the miracle for what it was. Instead of trying to protect me, or something worse, Zelda was trying to protect her Millie.

Zelda and her Millie

I’m not going to tell you the fear has entirely disappeared now that Millie’s been here for just over three weeks, has grown to the size of a small squirrel, and now snuggles up next to her dog sister Zelda on the couch when she wants to nap, and bites her ankles when she wants to play. I still don’t leave the dogs and the kitten alone together for more than a couple of minutes at a time, but I am learning to trust in what feels like a miracle to me. That one tiny cat named Millie, so filled with love and trust, can bring a harmony to our house that I never knew would be possible.


As I write this, I can hear Zelda snoring on the couch in the other room beside Millie. Rosy isn’t too far away, but for now Zelda has decided that Rosy isn’t quite ready to be beside Mille, and Rosy doesn’t seem to care all that much. A sense of peace has settled into my body, reaching its hands into the corners that once held fear. Anything seems more possible now. Outside the sun shines through autumn leaves and in this ever-turning cycle of life and death that we are all a part of I feel the deeper harmony of balance beneath the outer fears we are collectively holding onto. If this little world inside my house filled with different species with different backgrounds can coexist in a harmonious state premised upon love and trust, maybe, just maybe, we can find that place in the larger world around all of us and realize that core that binds us all together. That core we call Love.

What lies beyond fear

Two nights ago, I dreamed about disappearing. I was focused only upon point eight on a triangle, and each time I stepped on it, I would disappear. Over and over again, I stepped and disappeared, as the night progressed. Where I went, I cannot tell you, only that it was not of this world. Of this I was sure. Point eight was a portal. A seemingly impossible point on a three-sided triangle that opened the gateway to another realm. It was only when I woke, and the rational mind took over, that I questioned my journey.

A triangle has three points, and not eight.

Or is that the point? Can it be a coincidence that I was sure I was on point eight each time I woke? That each time I was pulled back, the number of infinity lingered inside of my mind, as well as the brilliant white light of the point on the triangle?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Last night, or rather this morning, I dreamt of waves. I stood before an ocean of water, which grew with each pulse. I stood with fear.

Come and get me, I told it. I am not afraid of you. 

Over and over again the water threatened to over-take me.

Go ahead, I told it, I am not afraid.

The final surge of blue loomed above me and lingered as though daring me to observe its power. Asking me to look at the full force of what I had dared the water to bring to me. So I looked. With my eyes I travel the mountain of liquid blue until it crested into a wave several feet above my head. Here I looked into the center, which swirled into an eye. There’s the portal, I realized. Go ahead, take me inside.

Image Courtesy of Pixaby


The Raven Spirit

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Since my visit to the Nest, I have felt haunted. There is a restlessness inside of me; one which my rational mind has tried to reason with. If you were meant to be there, you’d be there. You have work to do here, it tells me. The work often seems illusive as I try to focus past the longing and stay in the moment of present time and space. The tears of frustration, I allow to escape when I am alone. I tell myself I am content to stay in a place that has never felt like home, but it comes with the condition of  purpose. I have learned a lot about myself in these three weeks. For one thing, I quite like the idea of having a clearly defined purpose. A purpose that I can act upon at any moment, unwavering and steadfast. Being idle and directionless does not appeal to me, and so I am in the midst of a great test.

The raven, though, is ever-present. This guide who has come into my life, and who has perhaps been there much longer than I have noticed. When the mind becomes quiet, though, the raven appears. It tells me, Open your eyes. Remember. The land is alive everywhere. The only division is inside of the mind. There is magic everywhere. Find it!

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The curved black beak of the raven opens to eat doubt and fear. Its head turns to look, making sure I see how the flesh is stripped from the bones of the dead until only the core remains. It is ruthless in its devouring. The raven holds no mercy for the weak and wavering. Death, to the raven, is a necessary passage to Life.

Don’t be ridiculous, it tells me. Of course you know why you are here. You’ve always known. 

And so I relent. Allowing its fierce beak to devour the skin of the old self, while my cells stir into rebirth. Death is rarely a pleasant event, but the more one relinquishes the hold on the old, the easier it is to endure.