A Break…

““Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”
~ Robert Holden

Just a short note to say that I’ll be taking a bit more time for me this coming year. I’ll still be writing on occasion, but not as much/often … rather, I’ll be “having a relationship” with myself, tending to my needs a bit more. I’ve been writing and blogging to various websites daily for the last 16 years, working to (hopefully) encourage everyone to see the joys of life and to follow their dreams … and I’ve spent the last three years fully immersed in doing so, often answering dozens of personal messages and comments every day. Now it’s time for me to shift gears, and take time to enjoy friends and this lovely place I’ve chosen to call Home. To make more art and more photos, maybe even write more poetry. To cook, and to create. To get a guitar and start playing again. I want to decorate my home, eat good food, enjoy good times. Go to movies and shows, visit galleries, wander the woods, laugh, dance. Learn more about my recently discovered Nordic and Celtic heritage, and their customs. Just to relax into this new life, and enjoy this moment in time. ❤

A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened. “
~ Albert Camus

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Silence….

“Go deeper. Past thoughts into silence. Past silence into stillness. Past stillness into the Heart…”
~ Kabir

The end of the year has long been my time of silence. I spend most of my hours in reflection, thought and meditation. And in thanksgiving, most of all. Then going past the silence, the stillness, and into the heart. Into Spirit.

Time is given to reviewing the year – the lessons, the joys, the blessings; offering grace to where I want to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically in the days ahead. Motives are examined and decisions are made. Other time is spent in mindful work – mundane chores must be done, but completed with intention and thankfulness that I have the food to prepare and dishes to do, laundry to wash, furniture to dust, and steps to sweep.

At the computer, I add the finishing thoughts, and contemplate “The List” … a tangible record of what I intend to have in my life, and how it will look by Christmas of the coming year. All of the joy, all of the love, all of the beauty. The peace and contentedness. Where, what, and how I want my myself and my life to be. Late New Year’s Eve, I print and read it once more, then tape it to my refrigerator, where I’ll see (and read) it every day … reminding me of the path I am traveling. It has truly been amazing to watch these lists come to fruition as the years have gone by … and to learn and understand when some haven’t. It is a cherished gift I give myself every year.

So with this post, I enter into that silence. Good thoughts and peace to all, and a very Happy New Year. See you sometime in 2019. ❤

A Raven, Peace, Gratitude & the Holidays…..

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”
~ John F. Kennedy

A gentle sunrise from my deck this morning, and a raven grawking … calling to me every time I opened the door and stepped outside. I could not see him initially, but when Raven speaks, I listen…..

Black – the color of the raven – is considered the color of birthing, and those of the Christian faith across the Earth celebrate this time as a time of birth … an observance of the birth of a baby whose journey and message was one of peace, and of love. An epistle of reaching out to help others. And a message of living with an open heart and kindness.

Today … no matter your beliefs, no matter where you are … I wish you a very Happy Holiday. I hope it will be one filled with magic, love, and wonder. If you are alone, know that you never truly are alone: We are all parts of One in an incredibly amazing cosmic body.  We are all cells, atoms and neurons, in that body. What touches or affects one person – a living cell in this eternal body – touches another. The connections are there, like the synapses in a human body. Take a walk today – reach out and look up to the heavens … listen to the creatures of the earth, sit with the trees … you will know then, I promise you, that you are not alone here.

*****

I also want to thank you for allowing me to come into your lives through the these medium of WordPress and Facebook over the last few years on my blogs and pages; and for coming along with me as my life and journey continues to change and move forward here now in New Mexico. Life … it IS change, indeed. And it has been a wonderful gift to be able to share bits of myself, and the things that I love and touch my soul with those I’ve met along the way. I am truly grateful and incredibly humbled for your care, your likes, your love, your comments and your support. Thank you, once again.

So with that, I wish you all ….
Merry Christmas
חנוכה שמח
Joyous Kwanzaa
Fröhliches Weihnachtszeit
Happy Boxing Day
메리 크리스마스
Feliz Navidad
Mele Kalikimaka
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
счастливого Рождества
Nollaig Shona
Hyvää Joulua
圣诞节快乐 …
Shalom and Happy Holidays …
from my side of the mountains to yours,
where ever that may find you.
May it be a beautifully joyous and peaceful one for all! ❤

 

The List….

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
~ Sarah Dessen

*****

The last few weeks of the year are always a reflective time for me … a time of thanksgiving and contemplation. A time of looking back over the roads I’ve traveled during the last 365 days … both literally and figuratively.

Since the tragic – yet what one could argue, undoubtedly destined – accident almost four years ago, my life has been transformed in ways I never could have imagined both physically, and also in profoundly deeply spiritual and emotional ways. And, as every year since January 2015, the same holds true these last 12 months. I have so much to be thankful for, and to remember. This year in particular, now having had my old photos returned, fragile paper remembrances remind me how much time has past and how much has changed.

Since 2012 I’ve created something I call “The List” at the end of each year … a list of what I intend to have in my life by the following December. It has always been amazing to watch these come to  fruition over the years … and to learn and understand if, or when, they don’t. Sometimes my heart wasn’t fully willing, sometimes I wasn’t ready, and sometimes what I thought I wanted, I really didn’t. And sometimes, it was ego or hurt that gave birth to the desire … not my soul. And this year was no different. The road I have traveled these last 12 months held more challenges and growth than I ever could have anticipated, yet it was also replete with a wealth of incredible new experiences, sweet memories and many smiles. Little could I imagine, as I watched the snow fall last winter, all that was to lie ahead: I was back in NY, believing it to be “home,” as so many generations of my ancestors had been born, lived and died there. I believed the waters of the Finger Lakes coursed through my veins as they had for all those who’d walked and hunted and farmed that land before me. But it no longer fit, and in my broken heart I knew what I had to do … strip my apartment, sell everything again, pack up the car, and find MY true home. With the Spirit of my Grandmother’s blessing, I left NY once more, and headed west. And now … now, I truly am at home among the mountains and sage, and the ravens and magpies. A home, a land, a people that fit who I’ve become … not who I was. Life is truly an amazing journey.

This year also brought many new experiences and new friends into my life. I have sashayed to unfamiliar tunes, savoured new food and drink, watched the sun paint the sky in ribbons of color both dawning and dusking. I have sighed in nights of sweet repose, and mourned the mornings when sleep didn’t bother to stop by. My heart has danced with the joy and laughter of beginnings, and wept in the muted vacuum of endings. I said goodbye to the Silver Backpack – my sweet little Subi – who carried me safely almost 30,000 miles in the three years we traveled together on the road, rattling and banging through it all with me. We both aged, we both added a few dings and a bit more gray to the hood … and She was tired. In June, a new-to-me backpack – Miss Gracie Gray – brought me back west … and hopefully, we’ll have many new adventures ahead together.

So, as these last 10 days of the year begin, and with the advent of Solstice today and a full moon on Saturday – a time that marks new beginnings – I will be preparing myself … and my List. During these days of the darkest time of the year, I allow the past to take it’s rightful place in The Past … and begin to lay the groundwork for the next season of my life. I hope to discover more ways I can make a difference … in the world, and in my community. And as I look ahead, I know there so much more to come … more joy, more adventure, more spirit, more love. More living Life with a heart gloriously broken wide open. Though none of us know exactly where the road ahead leads, or how long our journey in Life will be, my “List” will hold things I want to accomplish, enjoy, and intend to happen this coming year.…

And as my father would say, “Make it so, Sweetheart, make it so….”

Solstice Sunrise 12-21-18

Every Morning…

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.” ~ Mary Oliver

******

Every morning, I stand at my window, looking out as the Sun begins Her ascent from behind these mountains that are just two miles from my door.  Sometimes the heavens are ablaze with the glory of brilliant, almost blinding color; other times there is a hushed, single-hued whisper as the Earth almost silently meets the day. It so often brings tears to my eyes, my heart rapidly drumming a greeting to the dawn and new day.

How beautiful, yet how simple, of a ritual. To allow my body, my mind, and my soul and spirit quietly recall how very divine each breath, each sunrise, is. There is so much more to life, to our journey here, than working, acquiring, rushing back and forth. We all know this, yet we forget it so easily. To stand at the window each morning brings the gift of remembrance. A few moments in silence, and the soul smiles as it loves what it loves….

Good morning, World. ❤

 

Gratitude Manifested…

“When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself…

That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life.” ~ Stanley Kunitz

I am not the best photographer in the world, nor the best writer. But, when I look out of a window in the morning, and witness the love the heavens have for this amazing earth … and all the beauty this encompasses … I cannot help but attempt to manifest my deep and humble gratitude for the privilege of being here yet one more day. My heart stumbles in loss of words, my mind ceases its useless thoughts … and my spirit bows, to rise soaring with the ravens in the dawn.

Thank you …. thank you …. thank you.

Good morning, World….. ❤

 

Giving Thanks … Thanks Giving

Our minds are one….

Thursday marks the US holiday of Thanksgiving. Many will gather together with their families and friends to celebrate and feast. Some will not; some will weep.

My Grandmother was Haudenosaunee/Seneca … what most people refer to as “Iroquois,” and from the cold lake lands of northern NY state. Though my eyes and skin are fair, the heritage is there, and it is one I honor with pride. In Haudenosaunee culture, every day is a day of thanksgiving. Every one a day to give praise and express gratitude for all that sustains us… the plants, the animals, the waters, the air, the sun; our families and loved ones.  And there is something known as Gano:nyok, which is sometimes called “the words that come before all else” or the “thanksgiving address” … an invocation and reminder of our deeply connected relationship to all that is in the world. It is used to open and close every social and religious meeting, and also said as a daily sunrise prayer … an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants. Children are taught that people everywhere are embraced as family. Our diversity – like all wonders of nature – is truly a gift for which we are thankful.

When one recites the Gano:nyok, the natural world is thanked … and in thanking each life-sustaining force, one becomes deeply spiritually tied to each of the forces of the Natural and Spiritual World.  The Thanksgiving Address teaches mutual respect, conservation, love, generosity … and most of all, the responsibility to understand that what is done to one part of the Web of Life, we do to ourselves.

Though it is lengthy, it is simple, and I ask that you take a moment in solitude and silence to not only read, but to contemplate the depth of these clear and straightforward words. And then to share with others.  Nya:weh – thank you – and may your day be a gift to the Creator and this Earth……….

Iroquois Hiawatha Belt
Iroquois Hiawatha Belt


The People

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.

Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Waters
We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.

Now our minds are one.

The Fish
We turn our minds to the all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Plants
Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants
With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs
Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

Now our minds are one.

The Animals
We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one.

The Trees
We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.

Now our minds are one.

The Birds
We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-from the smallest to the largest-we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds
We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one.

The Thunderers
Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

The Sun
We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon
We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.

The Stars
We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers
We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers.

Now our minds are one.

The Creator
Now we turn our thoughts to the creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

Now our minds are one.
Happy Thanks Giving, everyone.

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