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Archive for the ‘Finding Your Center’ Category

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.

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.

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.

Miracles

The miracle of the miners.  The whole world has been witness to the courage, endurance, community, technology, and amazing faith of so many.

I take with me into this day the inspiration of this miraculous event.  A reminder for me to be grateful for all the beauty that surrounds me, and the tenuousness and preciousness of life.  Take a few moments today to acknowledge the miracle.

Be well!

Reflections

The past several days have been difficult.  As we know living is not always easy.  I found myself unable to blog, so I posted quotes.  Yesterday it took me a couple of hours to find a quote and I was thinking that I could write something in less time.  Later in the day I was reflecting on the nature of this blog.

Cued by the ‘Moods’ post, I decided that I would continue to post information and inspiration, but that I would also put myself  more actively into the daily message;  not easy for me as I am a  private person, and making myself vulnerable is this manner is uncomfortable to say the least.

It’s morning.  As I ambled down to get the paper at about 5:15am, I stopped and studied the sky.  A crisp and clear sky full of  stars.  Breathtaking, humbling, and a good reminder to me that I am not alone.  I want the mood of the past week to shift.  I know well that grief is a process and the shift will come…is coming.  That this too shall pass. 

 It is warm in wine country.  The intense beauty of fall presses hard into my senses.  I am comforted by the sights, the sounds and the colors.  And another day begins….

Moods

“Today I will be master of my emotions.”

“It is one of nature’s tricks, little understood, that each day I awaken with moods that have changed from yesterday.  Yesterday’s joy will become today’s sadness; yet today’s sadness will grow into tomorrow’s joy.  Inside me is a wheel, constantly turning from sadness to joy, from exultation to depression, from happiness to melancholy.  Like the flowers, today’s full bloom of joy will fade and wither into despondency, yet I will remember that as today’s dead flower carries the seed of tomorrow’s bloom so, too, does today’s sadness carry the seed of tomorrow’s joy.”

The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino

Accepting Mistakes

“One thing is certain: you can’t correct mistakes if you feel ashamed of having made them.  Those who secretly believe themselves deified are chagrined when something goes wrong.  Being saints, and utterly wise, their conduct should of course be perfect.  The rest of us know how easy it is to be at fault.  We’re making mistakes all the time–and patiently correcting them.”

“Hell is in your memories.  The cauldron of remorse for what you did not dare to do is worse than any pain from wrong efforts.  A forthright striving, whatever its outcome, gives one protection by its very strength.”

The Art of Selfishness, David Seabury (1937)

The Trick of Living

“The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster.  I’m not a professional philanthropist, and I’m not running for sainthood.  I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

Paul Newman