December 2017
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Author Archive

The Odd Day

Yesterday was one of those odd days for me.  No appointments,  car in the shop, no pressing chores.  Plenty to do, but….

What I know about myself and the odd day is that when it comes along it shines a spotlight on my productivity and/or lack of same.  I did get things done yesterday.  But it seems when my schedule opens spontaneously, I get out of my structured rhythm.  It is not about what I do, it is about what I don’t do. 

Many years ago a woman commented to me that she was a much better housekeeper when she was working.  Chores had to be done on a schedule or you would spend your days off cleaning and catching up.  At first it didn’t make too much sense to me, but as the years passed I finally get it.

So, if you missed my blog yesterday, you now know why.  There wasn’t one. Blogging  went completely out of my mind, not returning til much later in the evening.

I am not getting on my own case, just entertaining my observing self and the insights provided.  Don’t know if I am going to do anything to change the odd day; don’t know if I want to. 

Odd days are kinda cool, like little mini-vacations. Enjoy one if it comes your way.

Fall

After a sound drenching ( 4 inches of rain in 24 hours) this past weekend, I find myself deeply breathing in the spicy smells of Fall;  rich, scintillating and earthy.  It is a smell that surprises me every year with its unpredictable appearance, and its thoroughly delightful and engrossing spell.

It will soon be Halloween and then Thanksgiving and their associated smells are already wafting through my consciousness.  And again, amidst the frenetic pace of  these times, I am reminded of  the simple elegance of  Fall and the many gifts of  abundance that surround me.

Potlatch

The Potlatch ceremony originated among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest.  Potlatch literally means, ‘to give away’ or ‘a gift’.   Usually a winter festival, one tribe would host another and the ‘gifts’ exchanged were blankets, food, dances and songs.  The potlatch is considered a redistribution of wealth.  I believe that, for the most part, it was a way to ensure survival for all during the winter months.  The potlatch was banned by Canada in the late 1800’s and by the US in the early 1900’s.

I am reminded of this tradition because I recently was gifted by a friend with some awesome hand-me-down clothing.  We dispose so much of  our wealth into landfills when there are so many ways to potlatch.  Passing on unwanted, and unused items to family, friends or the community at large is a wonderful way to recycle.

Although many people attach a emotional stigma to this kind of giving, it is a sensible and easy way to spread wealth.  So, next time you are cleaning out your closets, the garage, the pantry, think about doing some personal potlatching.

The Weasel

At the beginning of  Retreat Weekend each attendee picks a Medicine Card and the animal represented is their totem animal for the duration of the Retreat, (and beyond , if one wishes to work with the energy).

This year I choose the Weasel.  I was surprised as I usually chose a hawk, a fox, a panther, but never a Weasel or member of the mustelid family. However, when I read about Weasel in Ted Andrews fine work, Animal-Speak, I was duly impressed by how much I resonated with the book’s description.  I laughed out loud when I read, “Are you missing the obvious?”

I see complexities with astounding brilliance…but the obvious continually eludes me.  I am thankful for family and friends who unfailingly continue to direct my attention to the obvious. 

Animal totems can be very useful to us for the insight they provide into our own nature.  In many cultures the animal totem can be one of the most common forms of spirit guides. 

I gained a great insight into some aspects of my own nature through the weasel.  I invite you to look into the animal totem in your life.  It will be the animal you feel closely associated with during your life.

Rainy Day

When I commented that the storm door had opened early I didn’t think it was opening to this much rain.  This is a classic storm for January or February, not the week before Halloween.

We are pretty much ready in the physical sense.  The furnace has a new filter and the patio furniture is tucked away til spring, but my psyche is floundering around in the wash. 

Getting out the substantial rain gear, including shoes, gloves, hats and umbrellas, and then just being in out in the storm is feeling really odd.  There was no appreciable ‘summer’ here save for the unseasonably hot weather earlier this month.  I find myself unwilling to welcome the wind and the rain. Their appearance is premature.   I am not ready to don the gear; I am not happy getting wet as I venture out into the stormy days. 

And then in that quiet, unhurried moment, I turn my bare face upward toward the heavens and the rain splashes me.  I taste the water falling from the heavens, I feel it running down my neck, sneaking under my protective wear, tickling me.  In this moment I am wet, I am happy;  I welcome the rainy day.

Car Karma

Recently I wrote about getting ready for winter, focusing on the home.  Earlier this month I had to have tires and brakes all round, new shoes for my trusted transport.  Then yesterday I needed to have a jump to the battery when my car locked me out and the problem was not my Karr alarm system. 

An ensuing discussion with the quite affable knight from AAA about my car ended up on the subject of the timing belt.  As he described what happens when it breaks, I knew I better not put the work off any longer.

As the storm door has opened early here in Northern California, I realized I need to get some other things done; new windshield-wiper, anti-freeze, battery check, air-filter, and my timing belt appointment has been made.

It is so easy to overlook getting our car or truck ready for winter especially when you live in a mild climate.  However, it is so important and can save so much hassle especially in bad weather.  By paying attention and taking advantage of the reminder that the universe so kindly sent my way, I am confident I avoided some nasty car karma.

A Fine Line

I could say, ‘a fine feline line’.  We have a plus 20 year old cat who has lost her companion of as many years.  She is inconsolable; her cries of grief are so powerfully poignant that they bring tears to our eyes.

We are doing our best to comfort her.  However, she is quick to take advantage.  She has always been the ‘diva’,  the ‘queen’ of the realm.  She is able to keep up her vocal demands for attention for hours.  

I very much value her expression of her grief.  It is healthy.  I know that she will begin to heal, as we all will.  In the meantime, we talk to her, we pet her, she gets plenty of lap time.  It is a fine line. She already is demanding more and more.  So, we are giving her what she wants (she loves Doritos).

Just like we can trust that the pain won’t last at these levels of intensity, we also need to believe in our own capacity to heal.  I can extend this to her, knowing that she too will move past the pain and find her own capacity for healing.  We are walking the fine line together.

Generations

A beautiful granddaughter was born yesterday into the family of a best friend.  It is her second grandchild.  Everyone is full of joy.

This morning I found myself pondering the future of this coming generation and what wonders they will see.  My Grandmother witnessed the invention and production of the automobile; my Mother saw the development of radio and television for the masses; and I have been awed by cyber-technology and the Internet.

It is hard for me to phathom what will come next; successful ‘cold fusion’, teleportation, emancipation from fossil fuel technology?  All senarios that play around in my head. 

The real question for me is, what we humans will become.  Will the path of greed continue to grow until we reach anarchy?  Will the spirit in man be able to hang on to it’s nobility? 

This coming generation needs our guidance and our prayers, for much of that future is in their hands.

Winter Readiness

Although it is not yet Halloween we have had some fair rain in our neck of the woods and temperatures are cooling.  These changes serve as good reminders that it is time to ‘get ready’ for Winter.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting rain above normal in our Pacific Southwest, so time to get a move on.

Our preparation list includes gutter-cleaning, changing furnace filters and making sure flashlights and lanterns have fresh batteries and fuel.  We live in earthquake country so this seasonal change is a good opportunity to check and rotate water and food reserves, make sure our first-aid supplies are in order, our portable radio has new batteries available, emergency phone numbers, as well as family numbers are readily available, that our computer and other major appliances and electronics have updated surge protection, and that we have made provision for our pets and animals too.  We keep a good supply of candles at hand, cards and games, and some fun foods.

Putting the yard to rest for the winter, wrapping outdoor piping to protect from bursting,  cleaning and  storing away our patio furniture, BBQs and fire-pits, are also part of the preparation for the coming cold season; as is moving winter clothing, gloves,hats and shoes to the forefront of the closet/bureau and putting away our summer frocks.

Keeping your gas-tank full and some cash on hand can make wheathering a severe storm or other emergency far less stressful.

Winter is a cozy time of year.  Getting prepared and being ready for the cold and stormy season will enhance your enjoyment of this special time of year.

Retreat

I meant to blog about ‘retreat’ Friday, but alas, the day’s preparations rushed me away toward the Sonoma Coast. 

As it turned out my daughter and I arrived early.  We began the retreat by stopping at the Tides where she treated me to an artisan beer.  Very friendly atmosphere, very relaxing beginning to our getaway weekend.  Arriving at our rental home in Bodega Bay we eagerly awaited the arrival of our retreat sisters.

This special time away from phones, including cell phones, Internet, the hustle and bustle of the daily grind are truly sacred.  We rest, we eat, we catch up with each other, we share the latest successes and sadness’s, we hot tub, we meditate, we hug, we breathe, we laugh…we relax.

In our busy culture this one time a year is really hard to carve out, especially for busy women; women with careers and families.  Yet we manage to pull it off year after year, because it is such a valuable and priceless time for us. 

 Not only is the relaxation important but there is research that suggests that friendships with other women are vital to reducing our stress and improving our health. I invite you to find time to retreat with your friends, for a few hours, hopefully you can find a precious few days a year.