February 2018
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Archive for the ‘Finding Your Center’ Category

Solstice 2014

Whew! The Cosmos is vibrating.  A full moon last Friday the 13th (a rare event that does not happen again until 2049); Mercury retrograde (for an excellent analysis go to www.starwatcher.com);  massive sun-spot activity; and Saturday, June 21, marks the Summer Solstice.

The Ancients paid attention to heavenly signs, noting changes in the  Moon and the Stars, as these shifts influenced agriculture, politics, and  religious/spiritual well-being.

I invite you to take a moment on Saturday, to breathe, to ground and center yourself; to acknowledge the power and beauty of the natural world.




I have never attended a Grade school or a Jr. High Promotion Ceremony.  Last Friday I went to both.   I admit to thinking it all a bit overboard.  In my experience such ‘Rites of Passage’ began with High School, no sooner.

Family and friends gathered together in the school assembly hall  to witness the 5th Grade Promotion, no caps, gowns or Pomp & Circumstance.  Speeches were given by the Principal and 5th Grade Teachers.  The students,  barely containing their nervousness,  moved flawlessly through the morning event, including singing to their audience of ardent admirers.

Balloon bouquets, leis,  flowers and cards showered the students when the ceremony was over, and cameras got a work out.

That evening on the field at the High School we gathered again to watch the 8th Grade Promotion.  An atmosphere charged with excitement; a much larger crowd.  Gowns, but no caps, Pomp & Circumstance, Pledge of Allegiance,  speeches by Principals and Students, and a stunning student musical performance, followed the well-rehearsed program to a tee.

Grand applause, raucous hooting, hollering, ringing of cow bells and the occasional blasting of air horns accompanied the presentation of each Promotion certificate.  Then the gifting of more balloon bouquets, flowers, leis and cards was followed by hundreds of Kodak moments.

I was very impressed; by the students, the teachers, the families and the events themselves.  My experience has given me a new attitude about Graduation.  I am eagerly looking forward to next year’s 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony.





I am making a left turn on a green light.  He appears suddenly in the middle of the road; going the wrong way and against a red light.  There is no way to avoid colliding.  He is on a bicycle.

I hear the heavy thud bounce down the passenger side of my car.  I stop, put my car in park, turn on the flashers (it is a really busy road), and jump out of my car.  Profound dread is filling my being; I expect he is dead.

He is upright, straddling his bicycle.  He greets me with, “Oh Maam, I am so sorry, I am so sorry.”  I start crying.   I am working to control my breathing; control my out-of-control adrenalin response.  I am stunned.  I am in shock.  I keep saying, “Are you OK?,  Are you OK?”  He says he has a little cut on his hand.  He keeps apologizing.

Passersby are asking me if I am OK.  Asking me if I need help.  Many witnessed the collision.  I just keep crying.

Then anger.  I scold the young man.  “What are you thinking?”  “You could get killed!”  He shouts at me, “…yes I could as fast as you were driving.”  He rides off.

I get in my car and continue on my way to the grocery store.  I am in a weird daze.  I can’t stop crying.  I manage to compose myself, and in some sort of adrenalin stupor get my weekly shopping done.

The stupor continues long past the drive home.  Finally, the groceries are unloaded and put away.  I am still weeping, but softly now.  I pour a glass of wine and  seek the comfort of my favorite chair.

My mornings begin with a prayer, “Guide me, lead me, direct me and protect me.”  My evening prayer is, “Thank you, for guiding me, leading me, directing me, and protecting me.”

That night, safe at home, I was overwhelmed by the  protection that extended beyond myself and blessed that young man.


Flags In

Just prior to Memorial Day, The Old Guard (the 3rd U.S. Infantry), places more than 260,000 flags in front of gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery and 13,500 at the U.S. Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.  They place an additional 7,300 flags on niches at the cemetery’s columbarium.  They have been doing this for 40 years.

The Old Guard soldiers remain in the cemetery throughout the weekend, ensuring that the flags remain in place.  They also place flags at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and by the Tomb Sentinels.  After Memorial Day all the flags are removed before each cemetery opens again to the public.

I invite you to take a moment today to remember; to honor,  not just those who have fallen, but those who still serve and their families.



As in, I don’t wanna.  There is a lot I don’t wanna do.  There is a lot I wanna do.  I struggle to find my way between the opposites.

At the moment, my mind and my body are  on opposing teams.  My mind keeps fielding ‘Shoulda’, ‘Gotta’, ‘Coulda’ and ‘Woulda’;  formidable opponents. My body fields ‘Don’t Wanna’, who keeps chanting, ‘Get off the field.’

There is a Wanna in Germany and a Wana Pakistan.  What catches my attention,  is the Wanna Wanna Inn, Beach Bar & Grill on South Padre Island.  I think I might  contact them.  They would be a perfect team sponsor

I hear echos of The Spice Girls song, “Wanna Be” …  “I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna.”  I don’t gotta, but I very well might wanna.  Choice words are empowering.  A grounding meditation and some time spent in Nature will guide me through this passage.  And I will find a balanced Wanna.



“I don’t go to church and rarely meditate in a formal way.  I wear ordinary clothes and eat an ordinary diet. I have an aversion to much of the language I hear and read from today’s spiritual sources.  I don’t aim to be whole, I don’t feel a need for special community, I don’t want to live in the present, and I would rather figure out how to be comfortable in life’s complexity and darkness than to find the light.”

So writes Thomas Moore, Psychotherapist and former Monk,  in Spirituality & Health, May/June 2014.  I resonated with much of what he said.  Although, I have worked hard to be ‘present’;  for me, the ‘trick’ to traveling my life path, is finding the way between the opposites. Walking as best I can between piety and impiety.  I don’t want to be too spiritual.  I don’t want to be too mundane.

Moore cites the wisdom of Sioux mystical teacher, Black Elk, that what we need is to see in a sacred manner.  The handiwork of Divine Intelligence is all around us. We need only open our vision to it’s crystal clear presence.

I really identify with Moore when he says, “This isn’t simple piety.  A sacred vision is something you win through deep initiations, painful endurance of illness and setbacks, and a willingness to take life on rather than avoid it.”

Some heady grist for the mind’s mill.  Late Spring is a perfect time to open our eyes to the experience of  sacred seeing.


Mother’s Day 2014

Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Second Sunday in May’.  And so in 1908, the honoring of individual Mothers with a special day began.   President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day an official Holiday in 1914.

The ensuing commercialization of Mother’s Day was so upsetting to Jarvis that in 1948 she was arrested for disturbing the peace at a public demonstration protesting what she called ‘the Hallmark Holiday’.  Although many believe that without adoption by retailers, especially florists, Mother’s Day might never have survived to become the event we currently enjoy.

Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries throughout the world.   Cards, flowers, dining out, family gatherings, and gifting abound.  Church attendance  ranks third, behind Christmas and Easter, and it is the biggest long-distance phone call day of the year.

Last week Earth Day celebrations honored Mother Earth;  tempestuous and tender; forgiving and unforgiving; verdant and arid; sweet and harsh.   Sunday, regardless of how you choose to celebrate, I invite you to honor your Mother.


There are powerful and despairing moments when we find ourselves standing in the crossroads of life, uncertain of which direction to take.

Fraught with  confusion, frustration, uncertainty, fear and the inability to move forward, we struggle with making a decision and/or committing to a path.

When the issue confronting us is big – moving, quitting a job, ending or beginning a relationship, starting our own business, retiring – there is a strong emotional charge.  This emotional quotient makes it very challenging to move past the turmoil of the process.

Beyond rational evaluation and analysis, there are tools we can use to assist our decision making.  First, breathe, relax.  Shut off the chatter-box. Go for a walk, take bath, meditate.  Ask for guidance,  from the Divine Universe, seek  the wise counsel of friends, family and professionals.  Confront your fear around the situation.

Afraid that the decision we make will bind us to a position for the rest of our lives is fallacious reasoning, a trick of the negative mind.  Trust yourself; trust your Higher Self.  Move forward with confidence, knowing that the future if fluid;  nothing is set in stone.

Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.  Now in it’s 44th year, the Earth Day Network estimates that 1 billion people will participate in some activity related to improving our environment.  Officially celebrated on April 22, Earth Day is considered  the largest secular holiday in the world.  Next week is full of Earth Day events around the globe.  And in our agriculturally rich area, there is much to see and celebrate.

Day trips to local nurseries, like Aztec Dahlias in Petaluma, Bamboo Sorcery and California Carnivores both in Sebastopol, Halberg Butterfly Gardens,  Lavender Bee Farm and Deer Meadow Bonsai reflect the remarkable diversity of Sonoma County.

Montgomery Village will celebrate it’s fifth annual ‘Day on the Green’ April 26 from 11am to 4pm.  Activities, music, food, beer and wine can be enjoyed at this free event.  For further information email artep@sonic.net.  In Petaluma on May 4 & 5, the 14th annual Spring Planting Festival will be celebrated at the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.  A visit there is a special experience any time of year.

Spring is a time to plant.  Not only the planting of food crops and flowers, gardens and trees,  but also a time for planting our hopes and dreams.  It is time to take advantage of the season, time to get your ideas and plans for the coming year into the ground. Think annuals and perennials, short-term and long-term goals.

Taking inspiration from the blushing beauty of the Earth, pick from the magic of your creative mind. Choose what is most suitable to who you are and where you are in this Spring moment.  Plant those dreams, hopes and ideas.  Nurture, water and feed them.  Enjoy the beauty, relish the bounty, and prepare to reap the rewards of your efforts.

Mother Earth deserves to be loved and honored.  I invite you to celebrate our celestial home.  Happy Earth Day!




Friendship enriches life, and good friends are good for our health.  Many studies show that friendship can increase our pain threshold, stave off cognitive decline, and even enhance the immune system.  For example, the now famous Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women who had ten or more friends were three times as likely to survive breast cancer.

This study also revealed that the more friends women have, the less likely they are to develop physical impairments as they age.  And they are more likely to lead a joyful life.  Women’s friendships may be a significant factor in their longevity.

In a landmark UCLA study, Drs. Klein and Taylor showed that men and women respond differently to stress.  Their work demonstrated that women ‘tend and befriend’ rather than ‘fight or flee’. 

Study after study reveals that social ties reduce our risk of disease, can lower blood pressure, contribute to lowered cholesterol and reduced heart rates.

Maria Paul writes in The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You Are Not A Kid Anymore,”Your friendship menu needs a range of both intimates and acquaintances.” Casual friendships and deeply intimate friendships are both important and valuable  to our overall health and well-being.

To have good friends, you need to be a good friend.  Good friends have meaning to each other.  Our BFF’s are the ones we can bare our souls with, cry and laugh together, support and mirror, give honest feedback to, and, be open to receiving the same in kind.  They are people we trust with our secrets, our lives and our hearts.  This does not happen by fiat.

Cultivating a gorgeous garden of friendship requires being willing to stick our neck out; to take risks. Weed out what is not working, and allow the seeds and plants of good friendship to grow strong, healthy and beautiful.

I invite you this week to give thanks for your circle of acquaintances and friends.  And continue cultivating your Friendship Garden.


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