Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Divine LIght

(This is a shorter version of the 10/01/10 Musing.)
This morning I set out in search of the brush pile I noticed yesterday enveloped in morning glories. Just as I was about to give up on finding my treasure, there it was in the same yard where the Snow Goddess sat only eight months ago during an infrequent Nashville snow.

What a beautiful example of life and death, living and dying succinctly expressed in this one spot. Even as they bloom the morning glories are dying while the seeming dead limbs and branches provide a framework for the flowers and ultimately food for new life as this pile eventually decomposes returning to Earth.

I snapped a couple of photos, hoping also to capture the star in each flower. Yet upon arriving home, I realized these flowers gifted me with more. See the light coming from the star? The Light from which we come and to which we return emanates from these beautiful flowers gracing the dead pile of brush.

I set off this morning in search of morning glories. I am shown that we are surrounded by morning, noon and night glories, the glory of being alive on Earth in such beauty with one another in these times. From all the dying in our world, so much unnecessary dying in our dear world, there comes a Divine Light, a Light of awakening and compassion. May we each awaken to the Divine Light within as well as in one another.

Imagine the shift as we remember the Light we hold and why we are here.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 28 Sept. 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

The First and Last Morning of Vacation

(Enjoy two simple vacation stories, bookends of sorts, which despite their mixed verb tenses carry much meaning. Sandwiched in between was backpacking in the Grand Canyon and that's another story.)

The first morning of vacation I came outside early hoping to find 'my' chair at Sky Ranch Lodge empty. For several visits I've made my way to a willow chair on the grounds where I can usually get in-sync writing wise and find the rhythm that often eludes me during vacation thanks to beds, bathrooms and coffee pots that aren't mine as well as living from a suitcase.

Outside our room was a cluster of evergreens and just beyond them the hot tub where I finally succeeded at Bean Sight after having failed miserably on the flight out. (That's another story.)

The evening prior we sat in the hot tub hoping to wash away jet lag as well as reminiscing about the desert quail we'd previously seen as they ritually made their way to the largest shrub in the cluster. I wondered if they were still on the grounds.

Previously the quail arrived at dusk. They'd waddle walk single file to the base of the shrub where each would then give a hop to the first limb. The shrub would shimmy as an entire group of quail made their way up the staircase of limbs before nestling in for the night.

The first morning of vacation I rushed out the door determined to find 'my' chair. Instead I noticed the shrub trembling and heard the familiar staccato sounding like shy hiccuping sopranos warming up.

Then the ritual began. One at a time they hopped from bed, sixteen of them, in the shrub to the ground where they congregated before making their way to another part of the motel grounds.

Earlier in the week while still in Nashville, I heard my friend Ernestine visiting from NYC impromptuly sing a song from the Seventies (I think) that included the line: "Everything changes."

As I sat, not in my anticipated chair, but in the perfect one from which to be mesmerized by the desert quails descent that song came to mind. Everything does change except as the lyrics go: "...the sun in the sky and the rain that falls."

And at least for now I would add the desert quail who find protection and rest in the evergreen at Sky Ranch Lodge. Theirs is a deeper ritual that touched my rhythm and magically overrode my physical discomfort, allowing me to sink into the Present without ever making it to 'my' chair.

Amidst life's inevitable changes, Nature's rhythms weave quiet threads through our lives providing a constancy of pattern and ritual, a haven of renewal if we're listening and watching. That Shift is all around us. See. Hear.

The Last Morning of Vacation
The last morning of vacation I came to my chair, the one I started in search of the first morning, the one in which I've spent many mornings over the years.

while in the Canyon, I sat in this chair each day last week as the sun
its trek across the sky. As in prior visits, I photographed the nearby cactus with which I'm mesmerized and watched the birds feed under the juniper as curious bunnies came around me.

Unlike prior visits, I came to this particular spot on my last morning to express gratitude for this literal place on Earth where this chair, tree and cactus still stand (testament to other things that haven't changed). I had previously not consciously held intention this deeply when sitting in the chair.

Unfortunately this morning I found an addition to my spot - a tour bus awaiting its guests with an engine idling. While moving from bench to bench, distancing myself from the noise and fumes not to mention my chair, I hoped to enjoy the sky just the same. I then realized I do not do my sitting ritual even in Sedona for the sky view. Although I tried to find another place where the constant grumbling, mumbling of the engine was less, I realized I must return to my spot. No, I wanted to return to my spot, the spot to which I am accustomed, in which I feel connected, to offer gratitude to the cactus, tree, animals and yes, the chair. Last year there were two chairs. This year there's one, a reminder of yes, change.

I nearly allowed a tour bus to steal from me my ritual and this place of stillness, within and without. The noise represented everything that distracts me or causes me to disconnect, to forget how grateful I am to be walking Earth as well as Earth's gratitude that I am here.

So I began my ritual. I said 'thank you' to each plant around me while feeling a reciprocity between this circle of living things and me. I needed them as they needed me. They reminded me of the importance of the internal, of the stillness that comes through staying present and connected while I hopefully reminded them they are noticed and loved.

And now I am many miles away in yet another chair writing, grateful to be connected here as I was there to all around me, sleeping cat in my lap, papers strewn about, hands and heart busily wanting to convey Mother Earth desires our gratitude.

Practice gratefulness this moment, today.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse - 27 Sept. 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bean Sight

I've recently discovered previews of an upcoming trip playing in the theater of my mind. These film clips include scenes in which I sit in a garden, one I've sat in multiple times surrounded by birds and trees, hike the local trails then enjoy another sit by the stream that runs through the quaint little complex of rooms. The only antagonists in my scenes are those who come to the garden for an early morning smoke or chat on their cellphone at a level where I hear word for word their conversation. Hopefully this time I'll not judge as hastily these characters in my cast but be open to seeing them in me and vice versa.

These scenes running just beneath the surface of my consciousness suggest I already know how my vacation time is going to unfold. These scenes, suggest I, one who considers herself fairly good at living in the present, carry a quiet, unconscious attachment to following a former script. This script creates blinders so I'm not as open to events and possibilities on the periphery of experience or right before my very eyes.

It's a bit like looking for beans in my three little raised beds. Actually one of the beds was for beans, one for tomatoes and one for squash, but this year the beans and tomatoes have intermarried their vines twining and mingling, hugging one another all over the little space.

When I hurriedly look for beans, my vision narrows, a rigidity sets in visually and bodily. I am 'hunting' beans as I hastily seek the little green pods that I know are there. I've seen them usually as I walk past while watering something else or walking to the mailbox. I'm certain they've not vanished, yet my focus or seeing with such certainty causes me to miss them.

When I relax, stop trying so hard and breathe, my focus softens. I always find the beans hanging where they've always been, right where I've been looking.

How often does this happen? How many times does knowing what's next keep us from seeing and experiencing what's possible? How often do our filled schedules, repetitive travel routes and always being available via technology and now texting keep us from seeing the more that is available in the deeper text of these times? Even now as I write surrounded by trees, thinking I 'know' trees, keeps me from more fully experiencing them, listening and seeing.

I want bean sight, the soft, open way of seeing what's beyond what I think I see or know so I can appreciate what's growing in front of my very eyes whether in my little garden of raised beds or the garden in which I hope to spend some vacation time.

Bean Sight incites love and awakens us to the raised beds of growing consciousness in the Garden that is Earth. Imagine that Shift!
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at imaginetheshift.com
16 September 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Butterfly

Saturday riding down the street, I noticed wings flapping on the center line. I nearly called out "Stop" so I could retrieve the butterfly, but we were in traffic. I didn't want to be the cause of a wreck.

I've been especially mindful of butterflies this summer as they've congregated in our yard and as they've simultaneously careened into my windshield. This was the first time I had seen one literally lying in the street.

The next day on my walk I came across another. This one very much alive seeming to enjoy flitting from gravel to gray gravel on the old paved road. I considered intervening as if I could coax a butterfly to stay out of the street. I thought of the quote posted on a bench at Radnor Lake, Nashville's Walden. The quote by Tagore reads: "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."

Moments. That is all we have and when I am present and accounted for that for me is enough. When I am struggling, not feeling my best or centered and at peace I want to scream, "No, I'll save up my moments for when I feel better, when I'm back to being my 'old' self."

Unlike the butterfly, I am resisting, not resting when my body says I should.

After my walk, I went to get a pizza. Usually Jerry does this, but this day he happened to be planting butterfly bushes around our chimnea, the little outdoor fireplace we named Venus for the beautiful star and the goddess of love and beauty.

I pulled into the parking lot, walked to the front of my car and there lay a butterfly, black, blue and gold wings intact but very dead. Inside and probably out, I smiled. I placed it in the car and got my pizza.

Last night at sunset, we buried this dear animal under one of the new butterfly bushes.

Life when I am paying attention, even when I am not feeling what I call myself, presents these amazing moments, gifts and as with the butterfly so it is with me. These moments they are enough. Oh these moments they are more than enough!
-Dawn!The Good News Muse, 13 Sept. 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Robin

-->Recently as I neared the turn-around point in my morning walk, I glanced right and noticed something in the nearby pebble driveway. There among the smooth brown stones lay a lifeless adolescent robin. Without hesitation, I picked up this beautifully feathered little being and said, "I am so sorry." Just as quickly, I moved a bit of mulch from the adjacent bed of roses, lay the little bird on Mother Earth then covered it.
I had been feeling particularly heavy after reading the day prior that the TN state wildlife agency has a plan that if accepted would allow the hunting of sandhill cranes as early as next year. The cranes now numbering nearly 50,000 have rebounded thanks to the wildlife refuge in Southern East TN.

What is it about an animal species being in abundance that triggers some folks fear or desire? We’ve pest control companies to kill mice and insects the smallest of creatures that frighten us and we’ve now an amendment on the upcoming November election ballot ensuring Tennesseans the right to hunt. (I’m assuming desire contributes to the need to hunt.) Although hunting rights aren’t actually threatened, there’s obviously a fear that they eventually will be (or gun manufacturers and the NRA are behind this and hope folks will get riled up and vote. I’m unsure which is more frightening, the NRA being behind this or my having just used the word riled in a sentence).
I learned of the proposed amendment the night prior to the above walk. I had just read of the cranes then as I headed to bed, I made the mistake of glancing at the Farm Bureau newspaper. According to the CEO of the TN Wildlife Federation, “As TN population grows more urban, we’re finding that people are becoming more disconnected from the land.” This man goes on to suggest that urban folk are animal rights activists who try to abolish hunting, fishing and agricultural interests.
In that moment, I wasn’t coherent enough to realize these generalizations aren’t true. In retrospect I know lots of urban folk who garden and hike because they feel connected to the land and I know rural folk who liter without thought for the land. The side effects of surgery have left me presently with a diminished capacity to ponder and wonder. Thus in the above moment, I did not think. I went straight to overwhelm and cried myself to sleep.

To my surprise the next morning, sadness didn't linger upon finding the little bird. It showed up but was quickly joined by joy and love as something my friend Marybeth said to me came to mind. After hearing of the numerous animals I had buried in the recent months, she suggested it was as if these animals came to me because they knew I would be the perfect caretaker, tending them with love and appreciation as they left this world.
This is what upsets me so with potentially hunting the sandhill cranes, as well as the numerous dead animals on the roadside and interstates, stories of intended harm to animals and the unacceptable living conditions created by agribusiness for raising cows, pigs and chickens. Mice and insects aren’t the pests. We are the pests on Mother Earth’s body and in my opinion our history of exploiting Mother Earth and her kin suggests we’ve not been the best of caretakers.
All Nature desires is that we walk Earth and live here from a place of gratitude, that in our hearts we carry a vibration of appreciation. It is so simple and yet so often I forget this truth.
Gratefully the morning of my walk, I sincerely thanked this little bird for coming to Earth as I buried it. In the next block I came to a stand of bamboo and immediately took one leaf to place on the little grave. I made my turn then realized I needed two more leaves as the words faith, hope and love crossed my mind's radar.

Three slender evergreen leaves, faith, hope and love, now lay on that dear robin's grave.

This robin’s presence along my path rekindled faith, hope and love in my recovering heart and body and reminds me that my task isn't to get entangled in the energy of fighting what I perceive as wrong in today’s world, but to to consciously stay connected to me, the 'land' in which I reside and lovingly speak essence, the truth that arises for me.

My truth is that the animals, trees and plants are here to teach us how to live, providing mirrors into ourselves as well as bridges if we cross them to one another. This is my truth for now. I cannot make another listen. I can only ensure I am listening and looking in the mirror or crossing the bridge as it arrives. Frankly since surgery I’ve not had much brain or heart power to get that job done as I would aspire.
My encounter with the robin reminds me that I am recovering my heart’s vibration, my portion of the heart of the world as I open to the beautiful sorrow and joy that arises from bearing witness whether along my morning walk or along the path of these Times. We are each caretakers of our own little personal corner of the world starting with how we care for ourselves.
Imagine the Shift as more of us walk Earth with gratitude and appreciation with hearts unfolding and minds opening as we bear witness to and engage with the opportunities of these Times. I can't imagine a more beautiful reason for being alive which for me includes tending the animals that cross my path whether on my street or in the media like the cranes. Bless them all. We are fortunate they are here with us in the times.
-Dawn! the Still here, not quite as coherent Good News Muse, 13 Sept. 2010
Click HERE for the link to the news story on the sandhill cranes and the proposed hunting season.