Monday, December 20, 2010

Reclaiming Fire

Monday night I sat outside before a fire under the full but cloud-covered moon, the moon that in the middle of the night would be eclipsed on Winter Solstice. It occurred to me that throughout childhood and my youth, I feared fire. I feared the fires of hell and the God of whom I heard would send people there. Who I was got repressed and suppressed in large part due to the fear of fire.

I sat before a fire and thought of the women who died in 1534 and the surrounding times, the last time this particular combination of celestial events occurred between the Sun, the Moon and Earth. I sat before a fire thinking of the scores of women burned at the stake by the church, through the Catholic Inquisition and the Protestant Reformation, the powers of the time, killing women accused of being witches. I thought of how these fiery deaths not only killed but instilled such fear in those left behind, their fullest selves suppressed by the fear of fire.

I sat before a fire and watched blazes orange, blue and red turn to embers shining like gold and I reclaimed fire, the fire for me and all my earthly kin, woman and man, young and old, who have suppressed who they are out of fear of fire.

I reclaimed the fire of love for fear may dim the light but the embers still burn bright.

Fire makes Love stronger.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 20 Dec. 2010

Chords of Love - A Story of Guitars and Trees Inspired through Tim and Me

When I’m fully present and aware (not distracted by things I think I have to do or am suppose to do), I’ve a sense of being at home inside myself. It’s in those moments that I hear, sense and see at another level the richer reality by which we’re all surrounded and in which we’re all connected.

For example, recently I stood at the stove cooking when my friend Tim’s music crossed my mind. Thanks to Facebook, Tim and I have crossed paths again. Although we were in high school together we really didn’t know one other. (Can you really know another as teenagers when one hardly knows oneself?) Now over thirty years later, we’ve discovered we’re kindred spirits as we share a love of Nature.

About a month ago, Tim messaged me, requesting my phone number. He wanted me to hear a bit of music he had written. If I liked it, he’d in turn send me a cassette if of course I had a cassette player. I smiled. We’ve at least two or three along with cassettes we occasionally play.

Later that day, the light on my land line blinked alerting me to a new message. (Yes, we still have a land line too.) I pressed ‘play’ and heard these beautiful chords seeming to reach from Tim’s guitar out into the ethers, into the Universe.

A thought crossed my mind as I listened to the brief clip. I thought…

‘This would be soothing to the trees.’

I had no idea which or what trees, but I immediately emailed Tim and shared my impression. He enthusiastically wrote back “Yes, I’d love for you to play it to the trees!” and within days, the cassette arrived.

We had company so I set it aside but I didn’t forget. I sensed I needed to wait for the right time although I didn’t quite know what that meant.

The time arrived last week as I prepared lunch. I stood at the stove stirring when Tim’s cassette crossed my mind. 'Was this the time?' I wondered. 'And if so, why?'

Within seconds of my wondering, I knew. In a magical moment of profound beauty, I knew for I heard. I heard the chain saws.

Tree cutting crews had been roaming the neighborhood cutting the trees I connect and commune with on morning walks. As someone who deeply loves trees and also desires to hold the whole of our world including the tree cutters and loggers in a conscious, loving way, seeing and hearing trees being cut always evokes mixed and deep feeling.

That very morning as I drove Jerry to work, I had noticed two trees one block over stripped of all their branches. I was hurried and didn’t want to see. It was too early to be ‘stirred’ too early to be feeling deeply. I didn’t even walk that day due to the earlier snow. I came home and busied myself until that moment I stood in the kitchen cooking.

That's when Tim's music crossed my mind and suddenly I knew why. The two trees nearby were coming down as all the trees seemed to call to me, “It’s time. It is time.”

I put in the cassette, turned up the sound and imagined the trees as they were cut being comforted by the peaceful vibrations of Tim’s guitar. I felt the sounds reaching the trees all along Natchez Trace, trees now missing their limbs nearest the power lines as well as those that hadn’t been cut. I sensed them all finding comfort as members of their family left this physical plane.

I felt them being soothed by the chords of Tim’s guitar as musical vibrations reached the trees in a beautiful chain of connectedness.

I want to play Tim's music again while walking down my street. I want to play it in honor of the rolling country hillsides where trees are logged daily in our home county not faraway. I want them to feel the vibration of beautiful music as they give their lives to become floors, press board and beams in walls, as they, the trees, become our homes.

I envision ribbons of loving sound reaching around the Earth, wrapping in the vibration of love the great Sequoias and Redwoods of the West Coast as well as the tree covered Appalachians and Adirondacks. I envision all the trees and people on Earth feeling joy and gratitude for the dance that we share, human and nature, connected by the heart's vibration, connected in loving appreciation.

This magical moment while stirring at my stove reminds me there are no ordinary moments. We are surrounded by a much richer reality in which we're invited to engage as we’re present and allow ourselves to be stirred.

Tim’s allowing his heart to be stirred is what originally birthed the piece he shared with me. I learned as we continued to exchange messages that Tim's longing to connect with his deceased wife prompted him to play the guitar chords that resonated with his heart’s chords. These sounds in turn resonated with my heart and my love for the trees. (Is it a coincidence that cords of wood heat many homes?)

What beauty! Tim's yearning to connect, reaching for his beloved, allowed me to connect with my beloveds, the trees.

We humans get entangled debating global warming, the whys and why-nots and the right use of resources. I’m not saying that’s not important but it’s just as vital that we stop our side-taking and remember we are instruments of loving vibration walking Earth.

Nature, the trees, plants and animals, benefit most from our gratitude, from an awake heart, the source of Tim’s music and the source of all beauty.

On this Solstice Eve, the time of darkness, the world is made lighter by the chords of love connecting us all.

I'm grateful to all artists especially men who listen to and express their hearts yearning. And I thank you, Tim, for entrusting me with your music and allowing me permission to share this story.

-Dawn! The Good News Muse 20 December 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Sacred Geometry of Bread Pudding

I didn’t intend to make bread pudding this year. Last year was my first attempt and although it was good, I’ve just not been in the mood that is until I pulled into Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Yes, as soon as I opened my car door, bread pudding crossed my mind’s radar, Butterscotch Habanero Bread Pudding to be exact. Then within steps of walking into the store, I spied Alex my favorite employee whose presence after the parking lot inspiration were the only signs I needed.

A bit of backstory: Alex and I met last winter as I debated which hot sauce would be best for this sweet/hot treat. Alex’s helpfulness merited bread pudding so I delivered some the next day. Alex wasn’t there. He wasn’t there for some time. Had I accidentally poisoned him? Was he hiding in the employee hang out room, if Trader Joe’s offers such, as a means to avoid me, the woman who thought he liked bread pudding. Alex was not from the South so I hoped he had not fallen prey to pretending to like things as Southerners seem prone even when they despise whatever's being offered. We finally happened upon each other. I was glad to see Alex alive and he enthusiastically thanked me.

Back to the present: When I saw Alex recently, just as the kitchen muse had struck, I told him bread pudding was in the works.

Yesterday I cubed three baguettes and over the course of the day, the bread soaked in rich concoction of eggs, heavy cream, milk, butterscotch chips, sugar and yes, hot sauce.

As I stirred, cubed and cooked, I realized the many circles and cycles of sharing involved in this gift of bread pudding.

Here’s what I mean. The first cycle of sharing started with a circle in the shape of a nut. This nut through many seasonal cycles grew into a tree. That tree gave its life so I could receive a newspaper. (Yes, I love trees but I still enjoy holding a newspaper in my hands each morning.) The delivery man shares his energy as he delivers the paper making him part of my daily cycle as I am his. In the local paper last winter, a recipe was shared, a recipe for the above bread pudding served at Nashville’s Sunset Grill.

The hot sauce/butterscotch combo got my attention. So I in turn shared money (shared with me by clients) with the grocery. Cows at Hatcher Dairy and hens from McDonald’s Farms both local were part of the cycle and circle of sharing.

These gifts from Nature combined in a circular bowl soaked for hours before going into an oven made from metals shared by Mother Earth and baked by circulating heat.

Later thanks to the many circles and cycles in my car (wheels, steering wheel and belts for starters) I will deliver bread pudding to Alex and others at Trader Joes and I’ll share this through the internet.

Most importantly I realized while engaged in this process, that the cycles and circles of nature -sunlight, rain and soil- provided the jump start for my baguettes. Thanks to Nature the grain became the wheat that became the flour that became the bread.

Bread, the Flour of Life, nourishes our bodies.

And even more beautifully, these many connected circles create what Sacred Geometry calls the Flower of Life, the basis or recipe of all Creation.

I think of the folks who first made bread pudding 800 years ago, people salvaging stale bread for sustenance, were onto something of great value to us today. Regardless of our state of affairs, economically or otherwise, you can’t feel poor in spirit when you’re sharing good food or sharing in the circles that are part of the economy of the heart, Love.

Recipes are used in feeding our physical bodies, but a greater recipe feeds the spirit in life’s kitchen, the circles and cycles of sharing presence in the connections we make.

We’re surrounded by circles, seen and unseen, circles and cycles of continual sharing, giving and receiving. May we all awaken to the beauty of being fed by the Flower of Life and Creation and in so doing share the flour of life so all people can be fed.

-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 16 December 2010

Thank you also to Leslie Blackburn at for introducing me to Sacred Geometry and to Noa for just beginning to tutor me last summer. The compass just wouldn't work on that poster board :) .....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holding Baguettes, Sensing Babies

This morning I sensed babies as I stood in Provence Bakery with five baguettes cradled in my arms.

These locally made loaves of bread were headed to my kitchen to be cubed and soaked all day in a rich concoction that would eventually be baked to become bread pudding to be shared with others.

Yet in that moment, bread in my arms, I felt kin to the world's mothers, all women and men who hold and have held babies in the bend of their arms.

How is it that we get so far away from our first story of Love? How do we get separated from that first sense memory of being held in loving arms?

Our bodies remember what our minds forget. And this morning standing in the bakery, my body remembered the sense of shared love!

Awakened by my senses, I knew and felt love that in turn was energetically transmitted to those loaves of bread the way parents share love with held babies. That vibration of my love will go out into the world through bread pudding, my gift of food.

I imagine bread pudding, as well as this story, awakening a loving sense memory in all who partake of them.

Bread and story filled (field) of love feed us, allowing our bodies to remember what our hearts and the child once felt.

-Dawn! The Good News Muse 15 December 2010
Coming later, a video inspired by Butterscotch Habanero Bread Pudding.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Capped Angels and The Ocean of Love

Some places on Earth have snow capped mountains. This morning I've snow capped angels.

The younger one sits at the back door its arms now filled with crystalline love while the elder, her hands folded in prayer, quietly stands watch over our yard as she has done for many years.

I look at them often and am gifted with love and peace. This morning I'm reminded of how the energy of that love and peace finds its way into my heart's rocky terrain feeding me the way snow on the mountains melts and feeds Mother Earth.

As snow becomes water flowing into rivulets and streams that reach the rivers and join the world's oceans, my love flows with your love into the greater ocean of love holding Earth and all her people in these Times.

Yesterday as the snow fell, I walked about humming "Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow." This morning thanks to snow-capped angels, I sing, "Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow."
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 13 December 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Greetings from the Dolly Bob & Dawn

(Find the link to Bob's birth at the end of this one.)

Bob and I started this piece over a year ago when it became obvious I was having trouble closing shop aka bringing closure to my tiny raised beds for Winter. Bob suggested I might want to look at the issues I have with endings. I'm stubborn so I didn't admit it at the time, but I knew he was on to something. I had (and still have) a bathroom ceiling half-way painted, not to mention a file drawer of unfinished stories and a bag of recipes that I clipped in 2008 with the intentions of organizing them.

Eventually the tomato, bean and squash vines were uprooted, but the ceiling's not yet painted nor the recipes filed.

I then took Bob out a couple of times. Literally he joined us at Bosco's in the Village for a friend's birthday then around New Year's he spent some time in the kitchen at Cookeville's Maddux Station. (He's the tiny speck on the stove's corner.)

In Spring he briefly helped with this year's garden though what I do isn't what my grandparents or most folks would call gardening.

Being outside in Spring jump started a story again between us. The energy of Spring is known for that, starting new things not just seeds. Actually Bob wanted his own facebook page a companion to my "Imagine the Shift". Bob insisted his page "Imagine the Shi_" include vignettes as to how the shi_ in life helps us grow and evolve. I was having enough trouble with my own page, embarrassed with accidentally becoming a follower of myself, wondering if friends would 'like' me.

I resisted Bob's request but he continued, to talk to me that is. I began to call him the Dolly (as in Dali) Bob since we began a piece on the importance of happiness, the simple happiness that arrives when we're present and engaged with the journey.

As our story unfolded we read where the Dali Lama was in the states personally speaking on happiness. I became alarmed upon hearing the Dali Lama say things that Bob had been telling me. Not wanting to be accused of plagiarizing the Dali Lama, the story got stuck and so did Bob. He spent too much of the summer on the kitchen window sill and I spent too much of mine allowing stories to pile up. (Bob would say there are no mistakes and that he was exactly where he was suppose to be....keeping an eye on me.)

Last month, Bob helped me as I closed shop and later as I sat among the mums, the mums he had seen me plant last Fall. We began to reflect on the things that make us happy or bring deep satisfaction.

For Bob and me, like the holidays, the seasons and gardening are magical. Where else can this - nine potatoes, tubers, as they're called.....

become blossoms....

that become a basket of potatoes - red, white and blue - despite my negligence this summer of them too.

And the blue potatoes held potato snowflakes inside. This is the magic available in our everyday life! For Bob and me it brings joy and delight as well as a feeling of deep peace. Can you feel it, the inner satisfaction of being present with the simple things in life?

In this the time of Winter, the outer gardening is over and we turn our attention to gardening our internal lives. May you find and feel the magic that awaits you and over winter when you're missing the magic stop back by to be mesmerized by the journey of the potatoes and read more from The Good News Muse and the Dolly Bob.
-Dawn! the Good News Muse, 11 Dec. 2010

*Read the story of Bob's birth - "I'm Gonna Have to Face It I'm Addicted to Mums."
Or click "What about Bob?" (Nov. 5, 2009) and "Back to the Garden" (Nov. 7, 2009) for two other Dolly Bob inspired stories.

We've All Divine Inside - The Source of Real Security

Sometime ago I was a contestant in the Princess Game. No, I’ve not kept secret my competing in a reality show. Ella one of our favorite kids had invited us to play her new board game.

I, Snow White, lost repeatedly to Ella and Cinderella, aka Uncle Jerry.

As we prepared to leave, Ella asked me to come upstairs. At the top of the steps she whispered, “I want you to have my b.” Never had a runner up in a contest received such a special gift. Ella had many soft, silky blankets she called b’s but this was one of her first.

I lost the Princess Game but I floated home feeling like a queen, my prize the little worn blanket.

Regardless of the distressing events in the world that day, that night I slept peacefully with the b, symbolic of profound love and trust, at my side.

The next morning, with coffee in one hand and the b in the other, I realized it was covered with drawings of children, children of many cultures. Each tan, brown, white and black baby floated on its own little cloud. Despite their racial differences, each cloud was the same and each child was content. None were looking around comparing and competing to see who had the bigger or better cloud. Then I looked more closely and realized each child on Ella’s b had wings. Each child was an angel.

I wondered, ‘When do we change? When do we start comparing clouds and accumulating them, thinking one won’t suffice? When do we decide we need bigger and better wings? More importantly, when do we forget our wings altogether?’

It seems we slowly trade our wings for things. We buy the illusion that security can be purchased through the right schools, cars and zip codes while wearing the latest haircuts, clothing and styles. We’ve social security for our later years, security systems for our homes and Homeland Security for our country. Somehow we forget that real security is an inside job.

If we remembered regardless of class or color that everyone is created in God’s image, hunger would be inexcusable and poverty unacceptable. Corporate, political and personal misuse of power would cease. People would be seen from the bottom of our hearts not for their impact on the bottom line. Differences would be embraced rather than used as the basis for wars.

All too often instead of thinking for ourselves and considering the complexities of life, we listen to sound bites, mental fast food, and follow leaders, who seem at times to want us to forget our wings. Labeled and separated into liberal/conservative, rich/poor, educated/ uneducated, black/white, we become vulnerable, more easily controlled and pitted against one another. Left unchecked our attitudes and stereotypes further separate us.

True security isn’t found in possessions or positions, looking like Cinderalla or being born a Rockafella. It doesn’t reside in winning board games or war games, contests or conquests. Nor is it found in turning over our minds to politicians and the media.

Real security comes from remembering that like the winged children on Ella’s blanket, we’re all divine inside.

-Dawn! the Good News Muse, 10 December 2010

* Enjoy a short, free audio story inspired by Ella where my cd's available at my site Imagine the Shift.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Walking Nashville ! Camaraderie and Adventure Save the World

Until a few years ago, I associated winter with short days, long nights and gray skies. Then for some reason my tip-toeing-around-the-edges-of menopause mind can't recall, one November I decided to begin my New Years resolutions two months early. That year I began walking most every morning and working out. I discovered what "they" say is true and what I knew but had forgotten. Exercise shifts ones mood.

The winter after that I determined although I wasn't particularly in the Christmas mood I would hear holiday music for the month. In one week alone, I heard the Holiday Belles at the downtown library, the Fisk Jubilee Singers in Jubilee Hall and Nashville in Harmony at Dickson's Renaissance Center. (NIH performs "Twisted Tinsel" this year Nov. 16th at TPAC.) I immersed myself in music and created a memorable December.

This year with the recent cold, I've wanted to crawl under the covers and stay until April or at least March. But I've continued my morning walks until tonight.

Yes, tonight I hiked seven miles in the downtown area thanks to a newspaper announcement regarding the Nashville hiking club. I met up at a meetup with nine other friendly, bundled up folks at Five Points in East Nashville and proceeded over the Cumberland River with the crescent moon as our guide. The river shimmered quietly flowing beneath as we walked above.

We passed the Municipal Auditorium, home to my first concert, David Cassidy (slight embarrassment) as well as the upcoming O'Jays concert. Think I may have to pay the Municipal a visit. I'm hearing "Love Train" even as I write. I confessed the D. Cassidy thing to the group only to hear one woman say she had an even more embarrassing concert confession. She had seen the Osmonds there. (I had too.) We laughed and walked on trying to recall what psychic had predicted the fall of the Municipal Auditorium roof. (Jeane Dixson, Shelby. I think it was Jeane Dixson.)

We then walked the Bicentennial Mall where under the stars the carillon stood Stonehenge-like. Gotta do that again. We climbed the stairs at the capital (need to that again and again), made our way past legislative plaza, the Ryman Auditorium and down Broadway where I had Arctic Mint Hot chocolate at Mike Ice Cream shop.

Our tribe of ten sometimes banded together and at other times were strung out a block apart. We walked organically at times in pairs yet sometimes alone, sometimes silent, sometimes sharing. I told one person of arnica montana for sore muscles and another about the microwavable disks my cats love to lie on in winter. From downtown we crossed Shelby Bridge and passed the Titans stadium enroute to Five Points.

What's my point? Stepping outside the box, trying new things, immersing oneself in new experience or as Ella and Lily, my favorite 10 and 6 year olds would say, having "adventures" is vital to a rich life. Our little group of ten didn't solve any major world problems but we shared a camaraderie reminiscent of when I've hiked the Grand Canyon.

Camaraderie, Adventure, Immersion...

Maybe our world leaders should put on their tennis shoes and start taking walks rather than sitting around those big tables and wearing their stuffy suits. Better yet, why wait for them? I suddenly hear words from the first 45 I ever played, owned by my parents not me...."These boots are made for walking...."

Imagine if we all started walking the streets of our neighborhoods and cities, getting to know our neighbors and those who aren't our neighbors like I did tonight. Imagine your daily life if you began immersing yourself in your experience...and I don't mean watching more tv.

Immersion in the new would grow a new you which in turn with camaraderie and adventure could save the world. Imagine that !
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 8 Dec. 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Waking Up to Love

Here it is December. While most folks are rushing about doing the holiday thing, I'm still smiling at Autumn and the thought of my young adult nephews donning turkey hats for a Thanksgiving photo. Although yesterday I did find myself thinking of the wise men.

I had just returned from my morning walk, where at one point I stood mesmerized in a mass of golden ginkgo leaves that had blown from under 'their' tree to the sidewalk on which I travel.

Drivers zipped past in cars as I stood in the leaves wondering if any other walkers-by had noticed these delicate, fan-shaped treasures some still holding a hint of green. I asked permission to pick up a few for a miniature bouquet. I felt like Earth's bride holding those six little leaves in a cluster.

Their beauty prompted me to wonder if the Japanese maple in my own yard still held its leaves. I had been mindful that of the six little maples in our yard, only one as of last week was covered in red. I visited it just about every day to acknowledge and appreciate its beauty.

I was deeply happy to return home and see many leaves still on the tree. Gratitude welled within me as I realized Nature is largely responsible for waking me, for showing me the beauty of my heart and providing a key to accessing deep feeling and experience that has for so long been buried.

I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots as I heard myself softly singing, "Hallelujah." I touched the trunk of this dear tree and continued singing. What sacredness I felt, kneeling before this part of God's creation, my forehead in a pile of leaves.

I felt like one of the wise men before the Christ child, whose presence and life were all about Love, the transformative power of Loving compassion.

Experiencing deep love whether through the vehicle of Christ, Buddha, the Goddess, a person or Nature is transformative. It wakes us up. The more of us who are awake to love, the greater the likelihood of a global shift to loving. Maybe this is connected to why things of beauty in the world so often seem under assault. So many have been hurt by love or those who were suppose to love them. So many do not have self-love so they can't appreciate their own beauty, nor beauty in their loved one, a child or .... a tree.

In this the Season of Love, I envision a world in which every season, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, is a season of Love because we realize the beauty that resides inside, inside the many cycles of Nature evident all around us and inside our insides, our bodies, hearts and minds.

May we all wake up to Love.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 7 Dec. 2010