Saturday, December 31, 2011

Message from the Universe - Pt. 2

In November I wrote of a vision I had in late October. (Click “Message from the Universe” to read.) The following is the rest of what I was shown that week.  I offer it with 2012’s arrival in hopes that you the reader will be open to what occurred to me and discern the message that resonates for you as we move into this long awaited time. 
Two days after the experience referenced above, I found myself in the Universe again.  Usually when these trips occur I float along in awe of all the stars.  This time I immediately realized something was different. The stars were minimal.  In the distance was a man’s face made of lines of light, a man appearing pained and frightened. 

As I moved toward the face, I realized this man had the saddest, most terrified expression I had ever seen. (Upon rereading this story just prior to posting it, I recall seeing something close to this expression on my father’s face in a dream and again as he sat in bed looking at me as he died of cancer.)  As I moved nearer, I began to gently float into the man’s face. As I did, it slowly fell apart and disintegrated.  I found myself in a Universe absolutely filled with stars.  

I knew I had seen the diminishing, pained and frightened patriarchy, the system that for centuries has been in control.  The man represented not just men, but the part of us all that is frightened of losing control, afraid to really sit still, be vulnerable and exposed.  I also knew I had seen the unspoken sadness and terror of the patriarchy that’s filled with grief and regret for what’s been done to Earth and others directly and indirectly in the name of competition, control and conquest. 

Two days later I found myself in the Universe again.  In the four years I’ve experienced traveling like this, never had three experiences been so close together. 

This time I traveled rapidly unlike anything prior.  I zoomed through space and as I did I saw the faces of many, many animals. Their eyes and faces made of energy often come to me as I float among the stars but never this many or this quickly.  I wondered if I was speeding to the edge of space or returning from the beginning of time. The last face I saw I recognized.  A fox came and stayed with me as the vision ended. 

I went straight to my copy of “Animal Speaks” and read about fox.   Immediately I knew why fox had stayed. Ted Andrews writes that there are 21 different kinds of foxes found throughout the world and that the “Card 21 in the tarot deck is The World, a card reflecting a new world opening up, that the process of creation is beginning. It reflects that the world is growing into new patterns that will be beneficial.” 

This fit perfectly with the first vision days earlier in which I saw the energy of creation being pulsed to us through the stars and the grid laid for the new consciousness of love.  This world of new patterns speaks to a model of relationship based in cooperation, community and compassion for all arriving as the patriarchy is dying.
The Dying Patriarchy
The face of the dying patriarchy had immediately reminded me of a presentation I heard at Belmont in the Fall. The title “Death Watches: Keeping Company with Men Waiting to Die” intrigued me. I sensed I was to hear this talk yet had a scheduling conflict. Just prior to the presentation, a client who had never cancelled called with an emergency.  This wasn’t an accident. 

I rushed to Belmont and found a seat just as Tucson writer Nancy Mairs accompanied by her husband George was invited to speak on their work with men on death row. 

What? I had come to hear a talk on how we keep company with the dying patriarchy. I thought the title was a metaphor since the talk was presented in the business school.  This wasn’t what I expected yet I knew I was to be there.  

The speaker shared of corresponding and spending time with Eric, one of several men she had come to know on death row. 

She and her husband are a powerful testimony to profound forgiveness and compassion. Despite having lost a foster son to murder, they do not support the death penalty. In Mrs. Mairs words, “Somebody’s dead. Why would I want anyone else dead?” 

She told of the heartlessness of the system and the disregard she experienced looking into the flat gaze of men on a clemency board as she spoke on behalf of a man sentenced to die. She referenced the childhood traumas of the men she had known including the absence of nourishing touch in their young lives. 

I found myself thinking about the patriarchy, the hierarchical system of separation and control that has contributed to the neglect, abuse and sense of powerlessness creating the pipeline funneling so many into our prisons and death row. I found myself thinking of those who profit financially through the stock market from these prisons. 

So many of our systems are broken because the patriarchy is broken and cannot admit vulnerability and shame. When vulnerability cannot be admitted or shown, it’s nearly impossible to touch and be touched.  Like so many on death rows and in our prisons, the patriarchy has been deprived of nourishing touch. 
There is grace and beauty in this time of such brokenness as we hold the fertile soil for new patterns represented by the fox and the flag of love in my visions. 

I found myself wondering if a new world of patterns of compassion and relatedness are being ushered in, what does a death watch or keeping company with the patriarchy as it dies look like? 

In one of his correspondences Eric wrote, “I need a hug.” 

I suggest as part of the new pattern the dying patriarchy needs a hug, not a hug affirming the wrong that has been done, but energy extended in compassion that says we see your fear, your isolation and sadness and we will not retaliate or shame you. 

Although I like to envision the greedy, controlling powers of today asking forgiveness, I realize the patriarchy does not have to ask forgiveness for me to extend forgiveness. Extending forgiveness as the Mairs do is part of the new pattern. 

Another aspect of the new pattern is honoring the gifts of the patriarchy. In the first vision I saw an American flag in the Universe. If not for the patriarchy, I would not have seen a flag nor be in America right now.  I am not condoning what happened to the Native Americans or slaves, nor any of the pain at the hands of the patriarchy, but the patriarchy got us here. Hosts of souls from times past have brought us to this amazing place in time.   

I am grateful to the Eric’s of the world who have given their lives as souls caught up in our broken systems. I feel gratitude for Eric’s ancestors taken from their home generations ago and brought to a new land. I thank them and ask for their forgiveness. 

And I feel gratitude for the patriarchy for participating in this great drama unfolding on Earth and in the Universe.  I am grateful to the systems that have gotten us to this place and I ask forgiveness for standing on the sidelines so often in judgment and criticism. 

The greatest challenge of this New Time may be forgiving and loving the patriarchy, hearing it through what’s not being said and providing nourishing touch rather than retaliating or withholding presence.  If this system of control and conquering is honored, it will be laid to rest in love and less likely re-emerge on a planetary scale in times to come. 
About the Animals
For two months I’ve puzzled over why the many animals showed themselves to me that night.  Previously if I saw a specific animal in a vision, I would often have an earthly encounter with that animal shortly afterward or hear of a related discovery in the news. 

I’ve remained puzzled as to why they showed up one after the other that night until preparing this post when I realized through the animals I’ve been shown my own pattern and been freed to experience a new pattern. 
I have heaped criticism upon the patriarchy for its mistreatment of nature and the animals.  I judge the patriarchy for being hard hearted yet the animals have shown me my own hardened heart.  

Over the last three years the animals have been showing me my pattern of closing my heart (with frightening ease) and turning away when pained causing me to disconnect in despair.   

I recall the first dead birds that I came upon and the rigidity of my hands and arms as I tried to hold them. I knew I was to hold and honor them but I could not feel anything.   The animals kept arriving until finally tears came.   My heart finally broke and then I felt anger that was more kin to rage as hostile thoughts tiptoed around the edges of my mind. I would read news stories and wish I could inflict pain on those who abuse and misuse animals of all kinds.  

The animals kept coming and I finally realized the honor I was being given. Whether standing on the roadside or in my yard, I am being given the privilege of bearing witness to an animal’s living and dying. I’m gifted with a time to share gratitude for that animals presence here on Earth and ask that they and their soul group feel healing as an animal returns to the universe.  

The animals have shown me my pattern of closing my heart due to sorrow, pain, despair and hate.  Yet through their death they have shown me a richer pattern, the experience of feeling gratitude, joy and love.
The animals willingly come to Earth to participate in our lives, yet they are quiet participants, not hoarding, killing or arming themselves.  They do not seek revenge but offer themselves to us so we might come to more fully be all we are created to be.  

In this new time may we realize our partners in the heavens and here on earth and bring forth the highest and best of who we are through the love in our hearts. 
The Good News Muse, 31 December 2011 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Transplanting Light - Solstice Contest Winner

A BIG "Thank you" to those who took a  moment to reflect and share on a dark time in your personal journey. 

Folks wrote of how they experienced light through an 'unwanted' cat that became a companion, learning how to grieve, calling up courage to proceed with a divorce, a heron and hiking, a cave in Crete, an unexpected encounter with a mesmerizing nurse and the gift of life through a sibling.

The day after Solstice as the light gradually began to return, "Judge Judy" (my dear non-judging seventy-something neighbor)  read the entries. I received an unexpected gift just listening to Judy's sounds and comments as she read. (Things like: "Now, Dawn, I've got goosebumps all over. This just gives me chills.")

As for the winning entry, Judy chose Ricki Baer's story of finding light and powerful truths through kidney failure.  I hope you'll take a moment to read below of Ricki's experience.  And again thank you each for reflecting on light and Being A Light !!

"Days were darkest during my late twenties, when my health was failing.  My kidneys were shutting down, no longer able to filter through my body's unwanted materials. Not only did kidneys slow, but not being properly cleaned, other organs did as well. That included my brain as my thoughts came more slowy. But amazingly, as this slowing process took place, my perception of life was growing. No longer distracted by endless activities and inner and outer chatter, and losing any conscious sense of control, communion with not only the world, but the moments grew. The awareness that it was not "I' who was breathing; rather, my body was being breathed by something larger than my personality. It was awsome to recognize this, and it delivered a great sense of security. It actually felt like a larger of myself was handling things.

I had months to exist in this reality. The world grew dark and far away. Then one day my sister came to me and said that not only did she want to give me her kidney, but that hers was a perfect match! I really couldn't believe it! My sweet sister, who was married and had two boys, told me that she did not want any more children, but she DID want to give ME life and that I must never worry or feel indebted. This was something she wanted with all her heart. Though incredibly excited about the prospect of returning vitality, I now wondered what this larger aspect of myself would do. I tried to trust that what was supposed to happen, would...there wasn't energy for much else.

On the day of our transplant, our family gathered round. Mom had dressed us in matching gowns, it was very special. I don't remember much except the blast off! Being rolled down the hall together, holding hands ... not knowing if I'd wake up afterward or not! Well, the doctors said that our match was truly miraculous, for the minute our tissues touched, blood flowed powerfully ... and that wasn't all!

Afterward, I awakened, gradually realizing that my bed was beside a window. When I looked out, though a tree was in front of my eyes. It was hard to recognize its form because of all the colors running up and down the bark ... amazing colors everywhere. In fact, it was hard to discern the physical form of anything, but beautiful colors were pulsating, flowing in and through all things and creatures. Gradually this perception faded, but it left an awareness that our world is alive, every inch of it ... and it's all one fabric. Not only did my sister grant me the opportunity for a renewed life, but also the opportunity to recognize the fact that we are all one, living, breathing, pulsating together. This recognition has left me only momentarily ... and actually, too often. But my commitment is to embrace and share this gift."

So be it! 

-Ricki & Dawn, The Good News Muses 26 December 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome the Night

"Welcome the Night" - I thought this message was meant for me as I heard it and the sun set. 
I had settled in, made an early fire and was ready for Solstice.  Then I remembered the garlic! I bought three heads of garlic from Burgess Falls Nursery that I intended to plant on Solstice. I had prepared the spot a month ago.  
I awaited this day and I forgot.   
So after dark fell and before the second fire was built, eighteen cloves of garlic went into dark Mother Earth and I realized they do 'welcome the night.' Seeds and bulbs welcome the night with ease. 
Over 6-7 months magic will be worked and come July these single souls will have multiplied.   This is the magic I want to manifest in life....multiplying love and delicious goodness regardless of day or night. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 21 December 2011


Water in the gutter drips.
1-2, 1-2
Keeping time
Marking time
In the background crickets hum, unusual for this time of year. 
In time before time, Creation began with vibration, sound.
I wonder what is being born on the vibration of cricket sound tonight.
This is the perfect way to near Solstice time.  I didn't know it until this moment sitting outside near midnight under a dome of cloud sky, serenaded by the insect world with my gutters keeping time.
The next morning.....
I awoke early to sit in the dark and watch the sun rise. It was hidden by clouds.  I went to work out and there the sun was shining in the faces of those with whom I share this ritual. 
I imagine the shift of seeing the Sun in all things. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 21 December 2011

The Cardinal Connection

Yesterday would have have been my father's 75th birthday. He loved birds and for whatever reason I think of him when I see cardinals. How perfect that on his birthday my dear neighbor (who didn't know my dad) invited me over to exchange gifts. Mine from her was topped with a beautiful handmade cardinal. I shared the significance of this day with her. Then as I walked out her door what did I hear in our city yards? A cardinal calling.
This morning I open my journal to write and find a note about the first cardinal of the day, one I had forgotten. I had noted being awakened yesterday morning by the call of a cardinal before daybreak. 
Memories and synchronicities like this cannot be bought with money.  
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 21 December 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Mystery of Love Unfolding All Around Us

Today I had a plan for everything I wanted to accomplish yet for the first time in three months boot camp was not part of my Monday plan.  Surprisingly when 8:15 rolled around something possessed me and I found myself throwing on workout clothes and heading a few streets over to meet Bill.  I was the sole 'camper' today.

Bill regularly reminds us to focus on form and repeatedly says boot camp is not a competition.  Today I forgot this and found myself competing with the clock.  Just as Bill said, "Ten seconds" I tried to squeeze in one more round of a running drill.  I put my mind in high gear hoping to run forward and backward once more before time was called.

My feet didn't get the message to shift gears.  While running backward, they ran over themselves.  Bill was immediately concerned and I was embarrassed. I felt the fall coming and tried to gracefully brace myself. The problem wasn't with the fall, but what happened after boot camp.

I continued in high gear, doing unplanned odds and ends rather than returning home to post the story to which I had committed. 

The beauty of our bodies or at least mine is when I'm not listening, it has a way of getting my attention. Within two hours of distracting myself, my body offered up a little flasher, a precursor to migraines something I have maybe once a year when I'm moving at a pace that's not mine in response to trying to get too many things done.

Despite the many things I thought I had to do, I resentfully lay down.  I imposed a nap on myself. 

Within moments of lying on the sofa, Bogeysattvah lay down on my legs.  Mystery usually joins in by positioning herself at my feet. I closed my eyes and immediately began to see a portal, a vortex of energy turning clockwise.

Then Mystery interrupted by curling up on my chest something she's never done.  I closed my eyes again somewhat frustrated fearing the portal wouldn't return.  What happened next is why I share this story.

As I lay on the sofa with my eyes closed, Mystery placed a paw on my heart.  I opened my eyes momentarily to make sure this was really her paw I felt.  This dear cat who had never laid this close to my heart except for the first night she came to live with us lay curled on my chest with her paw on my heart.

I closed my eyes again.  Not only did the portal reappear, but in its center was the cat's eye that I first saw the night before Templeton died in January of 2008. I've seen this eye repeatedly over the years but never in a portal to another dimension.  Today in the middle of the eye a star sparkled.  

I opened my eyes and exclaimed, "Mystery, you're related to the eye I've see."  I began to talk into my recorder sharing what I had seen as Mystery began to loudly purr.  (I have those purrs recorded now.) 

Since Templeton's death, a cat's eye made of energy in the universe has regularly shown itself to me.  Today the message of the eye was about trusting and loving the Mystery of life and the Mystery of my heart.  Or as Bill and I touched on in boot camp, everything in life's journey fits together.  As time passes even the most painful things that we don't understand as they're occurring, fit somehow into our life's bigger picture.   

As Mystery purred atop me, I knew and I know that the eye I've often seen is the Mystery unfolding inside me as well as watching over me, the Great Mystery of Love unfolding on Earth, watching over us all.  You may call the Mystery God, Spirit, Life Force, Higher Power, Goddess or your Mystery may be Science.

What I know is Mystery is present in the world, wanting to engage with us, wanting to show us how to love and live deeply in these times.  And like my cat today, the Mystery is usually right in front of us.  All we have to do is slow down, pay attention, listen and see.
-Dawn! The Good News Mews  19 December 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Light Returns - Solstice Contest

In this Season of Light, next Wednesday, December 21st, marks Winter Solstice the longest night of our year. Solstice also begins the gradual return of light culminating in summer's longest day in June. 

This dance in the Universe of Sun and Earth is a beautiful metaphor for light gradually returning to us after dark times or dark nights of the soul to which the mystics referred.

Light also returns through shared story. So here's the contest.....

In the comment section below share something about a time in your life that was dark and 
how you experienced light beginning to return. The winner will be chosen with the help of my favorite "judge Judy" my seven-something neighbor who hasn't a judgmental bone in her body and coined the phrase "Life is good" long before it was made commercially popular.  Judy inspires me and she delights in being inspired.

PRIZE: Since locally owned businesses are lights in our cities and communities, the winner will receive a $30 gift certificate from his/her favorite locally owned business/artist. (Ex. Parnassus books, Le Quire Gallery, Grimey's records,Urban Oasis, the Turnip Truck, Tin Angel not Walmart, Whole Foods.) If you live outside Nashville, I'll contact the business you select and get the gift certificate to you.

Lastly to up your chances of winning in case Judy has a hard time deciding, share how the local gift certificate is connected to the light's return for you.

Here's an example that occurred to me as I thought of lights return in a personal dark time.

Last year prior to major surgery I created a game plan for taking care of myself pre and post surgery. I covered all the bases regarding my physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological health. Even still I was depleted and powerless for some time. Most days all I could do was lie on the sofa.  The insurance statement that soon arrived in the mail confirmed what I suspected. I was given two dozen drugs during the procedure's span.  Daily I lay on my sofa looking at the little Japanese maple lit by sun's light each day. Now I realized, it held light for me when I couldn't find my own light.  Eventually I called a friend and asked if she and her two daughters would drive me to Las Paletas for a popsicle. In pouring rain, she loaded me up along with her children. A creamy rose petal popsicle with this family was also light for me. I'd like to win (though I can't) a gift certificate to a local nursery or Las Paleta's.

If for some reason, you can't post a comment below email me your story and I'll post it on the site. Include "Solstice Contest" in your subject line and here's to the Light.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at Imagine the Shift

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Global Heart in the "Coming Back" Place

This morning I was awakened by a scream. I was in the "coming back" place, a place of not exactly being asleep but also not fully being awake.

I lay in bed trying to discern if the scream came from within me or if I had heard someone outside. I lay there listening to see if I heard it again or if the sound of an ambulance followed. 

This was a woman's scream.  It was the cry of a woman having experienced something unthinkable and unbearable like the brutality of rape, the death of a child or loved one or the deaths of the many as has happened during mass executions here of Native Americans, during the Holocaust and in the ethnic cleansings in Yugoslavia's break up or the Rawandan genocide of nearly a million people in the Nineties. It was the cry of mothers whose children are killed in Sudan or whose children are taken and seduced into sex trafficking here and abroad. 

It was a scream of great pain released upon seeing the horrors that humankind has visited upon human kin.
It was a cry for comfort, heartache comfort. This was a cry that needed arms in which to be held.

I didn't want to write of what I heard this morning. I wanted to ignore it, get busy and push the scream away.  Yet to ignore it regardless of its origins made me feel like kin to those who have turned away throughout time as people were killed and even now as people die in ongoing wars and conflicts or suffer from hunger and disease where people are without access to clean water or simple mosquito nets.

So I write as tears roll down my face, imagining my Middle Tennessee tears are my heart's arms holding and soothing cries somewhere right now. 

I imagine my hearing and tearing helps heal the global heart, the Divine Feminine in the "coming back" place, coming back from being numbed and walled off after eons of neglect and pain.

I imagine practicing the shift of crying without resistance, diversions or shame. This sounds too passive yet I wonder what might take root with this simple allowing of the heart's language. What actions might ultimately unfold from this?  What ripples would spread from the falling of compassion's tears into the energy field around Earth?  Imagine what might take place. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 15 December 2011

(An hour after writing this, a story on the back of the Tennessean got my attention. The headline read:  
1 in 4 women say they have been assaulted. A CDC survey reports 36 million women have experienced physical violence, slapping or shoving by an intimate other. Half of those reporting rape were 17 or younger when the rape occurred. I read and wondered if I heard the cry of the feminine associated with this story.  Then I considered how someone's 'out there' right now preparing stats citing faults in this study.  A country, a world in which the ratio is even 1 in 100 or 1 in a million is unacceptable.  A world in which violence and intimidation is used is a world that needs to be held, a world for which we need to weep then discern what wise action can help usher in a paradigm change.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inside Out - Thoughts on Change Amidst Winter Gray

Not that long ago, gray days like today were depressing, nearly incapacitating. Then something shifted. I, the non-exerciser who sits listening and writing for most of the day, intentionally began a New Year's resolution two months early. I began to work out or walk most days even when it rained.  I strung clear lights from the evergreen at my back door as days grew shorter. If stores could start decorating before Halloween, why not light my little tree?  Every day around dusk through February those lights came on.  Last but not least, I began really noticing trees. Barren limbs I realized looked like pathways in the sky or arms of praise reaching outward and high.

I'm still not quite sure what possessed me that year. But what I do know is things didn't begin to change. I began to change.   Thanks to this accidental recipe of inspiration, action and imagination, I began to experience the outside differently because the inside had changed. 

This change didn't make me immune to loss and sorrow.  Within a seven year span there were five holidays surrounded by death, four human relatives and my cat of many years all who died just before or after Christmas. Decorating the tree mow means letting the sadness associated with these losses surface rather than ignore it or push it away. 

This year the lights are on the evergreen where they'll stay all winter. I work out and walk and still watch the trees. I've also taken to bundling up in the cold and sitting outside.  On clear nights even in the city, I savor the star sprinkled Universe holding Earth and watch the nightly shift in the moon's path over my home.  When it's overcast, I study the interplay of the clouds colored by soft street light.

The tree's decorated and the sadness felt. I suspect that won't change and that's really more than okay. Rather than block the flow of feeling, I want to let sweet sadness flow through me.  Stopping the flow and not being me is a big part of how the gray came to be.

So here at the start of another gray day, instead of checking the forecast to see how long gray's here to stay, I'll take a run/walk, feed the birds and greet the green peppers and lavender still growing in the portable greenhouse, all things that keep the light shining in me.

How do you keep your inner light shining?

Imagine the Shift.....
Dawn, The Good News Muse 13 December 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Freedom Lights the Way

"Freedom Lights the Way" or so the matchbook read. Typically I would have
cringed. I tire of the flag being used by many as the symbol of freedom, a freedom with narrowly prescribed parameters often based in fear and exclusivity, not the America the founding fathers had in mind. 

This particular morning though I smiled for the patriotic matchbook was part of an ongoing theme.

We had just arrived in the North Carolina mountains the night prior when I felt compelled to take photos of light, the setting sun light reflected on the Tuckaseegee River, lights at Bryson City's "Cork & Bean" and little Holy Spirit lights reflecting outside waiting to descend on unsuspecting passers-by.

I went to sleep that night contemplating light.

I awoke the next morning puzzled by a patriotic outburst in a dream. I had been on stage at the symphony belting out, "land of the free and home of the brave." 

I got up, walked to the patio and there lay the matchbook with its message: "Freedom lights the way."

'Yes, it does,' I thought. Freedom does light the way. Every moment, I am gifted with the opportunity to choose my actions and attitude. Every moment I've the freedom to choose whether I will open or close my mind and heart to the people, experiences and possibilities along my path.  When I choose the path of loving openness, there is a shift inside, a lightness lights my way.

Yet staying open and not closing my mind is challenging at times these days.  Freedom is a hot word thrown about as guns, the economy, immigration, gay marriage and abortion are debated. Many focus on freedom as if there has to be an external enemy to whom we're continually reacting.  At times we're our greatest enemy internally living in fear of this 'other' while reacting with suspicion and judgment.  We  become so focused on freedom in the U.S. we overlook the source of true freedom within US.

I suspect a few of the the founding fathers actually had this inner freedom in mind, something much more subtle and potent than fighting an external enemy in this experiment they named America. 

I glimpsed an aspect of this level of freedom upon returning home from North Carolina and learning a friend was soon going home, to the big home, the Unknown.   

It may sound strange but when I went to visit Mark I found myself seeing "Freedom light the way" as his face shined light. He was truly not afraid to die.  

At the visitation I stood looking at photos taken in his last weeks and days. I could hardly pull myself away from the collage of snapshots as one shifted to another each reflecting a light in Mark's eyes and his smile. I thought, 'This is true freedom. The freedom to leap into the great Unknown with anticipation not fear.'

Except for the sadness of leaving his loved One behind, Mark joyfully made the big leap.

A terminal diagnosis sharpens the focus making one aware the earthly visit in this skin suit is time limited.  Ironically we're all terminal as is each moment. One moment arrives then passes to make way for the next in the here and now we have. To live and love openly without fear is truly a great personal freedom.

Maybe this is partially why living on Earth, the land of such possible inner freedom and the home of the brave souls who come here, is so challenging and so dear. Our earth brains have grown accustomed to being wired for fear while our spirits are made for leaping and our hearts for loving.

I want to live in such a way that I joyfully leap into the Unknown every moment, every day.  Freedom in this state regardless of where I live will surely light the way.

Mark, did you know you were teaching me this?

I suspect so.

Thank you.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse - 12 December 2011

A Morning Musing on Weaving from Bill Murray & Me

I awoke early this morning thinking of Bill Murray and the concept of "listening from within."  It's been nearly fifteen years since he saw me in Chicago's United Center quietly crying because surprise tickets for my young nephews to a game weren't there as promised.

I lay in bed pondering how Mr. Murray was paying attention, watching and listening from within, as hundreds of people filled the Will Call area headed to the Noon game.  I then drifted back to sleep.

An hour later, I awoke again thinking of Bill Murray and the phrase "these are the threads we hold in our hands."

Presence, empathy and compassion - these are the threads Mr. Murray held that day. 

May we listen from within and become conscious weavers of these threads year round and not just during the holidays.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 12 December 2011 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Of Patterns, Papaw & Patriarchy

This week at dinner I heard myself tell the cliff notes version of a story related to my father’s parents. I had
not spoken details of this story aloud since summer when my 2nd cousin shared it. 

This cousin with whom I had never really talked at length and I had a random encounter in March at a high school basketball game. Now I know our meeting wasn’t so random.  I asked if he knew who the Native American man was in our family.  He told me a bit, but it wasn’t until August as I prepared to go to Cherokee that I called to talk further. 

Thirty years ago this year, I had seen a Native man in an old family photo.  My cousin was unable to fill in specific details about this mysterious man but I did learn Albert Crow was my grandmother’s grandfather, the unwed father of her father.  To those on prior branches of my family tree, to have a Native in the family and in an unmarried couple at that was something of deep shame.  Details are few because people refused to speak.

Our speaking of the un-spoken loosed the bonds on other family un-spokens. My cousin asked if my father ever spoke of how my grandfather treated my grandmother.  This was the man we called Papaw, my father’s father who was so very controlling. 

I shared how as a child I stood between him and my grandmother as he yelled at her.  I had also heard stories filtered through others after my grandmother’s death as to the abuse she had endured, abuse my father never spoke of but I suspect haunted him through life.

At dinner this week while telling my friend of our family’s native kin and a bit of the above, I suddenly remembered this is the anniversary of Papaw’s death. 

Ten years ago he lay dying just down Natchez Trace in a nearby hospital.  My parents made the trip to sit in the ICU waiting room all day as I sat for periods of time with them.

Each night after they returned home, I would check on him.  One night just prior to his death, he kept repeating two words.  “Lord’s prayer” over and over was all he said.  In my grandfather’s dying I glimpsed his terror.  I asked if he wanted me to say the “Lord’s prayer” with him or for him. He bluntly said, “No.”  I said it aloud anyway. 

My cousin shared how his own father did not speak to Papaw for decades because he could not bear how meanly his sister was treated.  He quit speaking to him until her death in 1981.

At the time of her death my grandfather, I learned, began to call his brother-in-law and ask forgiveness.  My cousin shared how his father listened at times quite regularly to my grandfather cry and share his sorrow.   

This morning I realize my grandfather, the frightened man who lay dying just down the street ten years ago represents the dying patriarchy and the frightened, vulnerable part of us all that tries to control situations out of discomfort or fear of loosing control.

Although I don't think of myself as controlling as Papaw, I too am part of the patriarchy.  That night at his bedside my intentions may have been good, but I exerted control, assumed I knew what was best as I said the Lord's prayer rather than honor his request. I said the Lord's prayer as a means to allay my discomfort as much as his.  I took control rather than risk vulnerability and share my heart's words, "I'm sad you're scared."
This holiday ten years after his December 23rddeath, I’m grateful to know Papaw found his confessor in my cousin’s father.  Ten years later in my own journey, I'm grateful to remember that speaking from my heart may make me feel vulnerable, yet it is in vulnerability that power lies.

In this time of changing patterns, as competition and control give way to compassion and community, I find myself wondering, "If greedy CEO's and lobbyists suddenly made themselves vulnerable and said 'We're sorry. Forgive us' could I hear them as my cousin’s father heard my grandfather?  Can I hear the fears of those who in their anger don’t even know they’re afraid or vulnerable, the many politicians and white men especially rallying behind cries for fewer restrictions on guns and the EPA?  Can I hold their fear as they unconsciously sense their numbers are diminishing as America becomes more diverse?  Can I offer the dying patriarchy compassion? 

As 2011 comes to a close, loose threads from over the decades seem to find their place in life’s tapestry.  Broken connections are healed between the generations and in the greater connected web as we offer compassion through openness, vulnerability and a desire to understand.  
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 10 December 2011

The Woman Who Loved Trees & The Tree That Loved Her

I love when an unfinished story finds me at just the right time it seems. After reposting a story from a year ago about connections with the trees I found the one below. Hours later, I discovered why this story found me a year and one day after originally being written.  

December 7, 2010 

After writing about waking up to love thanks to a ginkgo and Japanese maple tree, I bundled up to take my walk.  Only a few blocks from home, I noticed a power line truck, its bucket extended high in the air with a man inside, I assumed a man working on the lines. As I neared, I panicked for I realized the truck and the man were near my tree, the beautiful tree with the heart in its trunk.

Just yesterday, I stopped at a distance to take in the entire tree, to fully notice the branches high above as my tendency is to focus on the heart.

Today I looked at the tree and found half of its side missing. The limbs nearest the power lines had all been cut. I still don't have the words to fully express what I felt. I was relieved to find the tree still standing, yet pained to see half of it gone. I wondered how it felt.

Some people would say trees and plants don't feel yet studies of plant growth reveal plants respond to different musical vibrations. Likewise the community of Findhorn, Scotland grew out of what was considered barren rock and sand. As the people who felt called to live there began to relate to the spirits of nature, plants began to grow.  This once barren area is now home to an international teaching and learning community.

I personally know trees feel. The month before while walking in the woods, I had placed my face to a tree and heard a scream. I knew in an instant that trees throughout time have held so much for humankind. 
This tree on Natchez Trace felt something.  This tree felt me.

I climbed the little hillside and placed my hands on the trunk as icy tears filled my eyes. Then I sat down and put my arm around the tree as I would for a friend for that is what trees are to me. They were in many ways my first friends. I played among them in the small wooded area behind my childhood home as well as in the woods at my grandmothers 'on the creek.' I loved climbing the silver maple, magnolia and mimosa trees at my other grandmothers. I was held by tree arms whether I was climbing trees or pretending a small cluster on the rock ledge behind our home was my "house" in the woods.

Throughout time trees have provided arms for me yet here I sat this morning by one of my favorite trees suddenly missing its arms with my arm around it. I sent gratitude and blessing to the tree yet I also held a jumble of shock, sadness and anger. I tried to hold respect for the men doing their work, hoping they appreciated the trees in whose arms they worked.

My insides were further complicated by the fact that I was sitting six feet from a busy street, cars rushing past this moment of intimacy. The critical voice of my father stirred in the deeps wanting to know what I thought I was doing. He also loved trees and often said he wished he could have been a hermit living in the woods. We had much in common yet he would take a condescending tone with me. Suffice it to say this intimacy thing has been personally challenging whether with loved ones or trees in public places.

Yet I was getting better at it because I sat there for quiet some time, recording my experience. I remembered how Peter denied knowing Jesus just prior to the crucifixion out of fear of the consequences. To some this will seem blasphemous, but I thought, 'Am I not betraying the tree and me and denying who I am and it is if I walk past ignoring it out of fear of what others will think?'  I pondered how my ignoring the deeper levels of what this tree means to me is really no different from the men who cut the limbs if they ignore their relationship with trees.

I sat until I began to get bone cold. I dreaded the continued walk, knowing I would see sawdust and twigs from other trees. I walked on surprised to find other trees had not been trimmed.

I made the turn, took a deep breath and headed home knowing I might possibly encounter the tree cutter. I've often said to clients that reading self-help books is the easy part compared to living what the book suggests. Now I realize writing a story is easy compared to living what I espouse.

I espouse holding the all of life non-judgmentally yet when I came upon the truck with the workman in the bucket cutting a tree I was put to the test.  Witnessing the assault of something I experience as beautiful is hard to see.  My insides are stretched holding gratitude and sorrow simultaneously.  It was hard to suspend judgment of this man just doing his job.

Hours later I continued to digest my experience.  My deep desire is to realize the sacred teachings of the trees.

December 8, 2011

This morning I came upon the story above unposted at my website.  Its title "The Woman Who Loved Trees and the Tree Who Loved Her" caught my attention. I read it and sensed I never shared it because my pain and rage were so deep.

Although I had not intended to walk in the morning's cold, I determined I had to visit this tree.  The heart tree is on my daily walking route.  I most always stop to acknowledge it. Often I feel a circle of loving energy flowing between me and the tree.

On today's walk I kissed the tree and felt the energy.  Yet today was different. If you had been driving past, you would have seen my face beaming for I looked up and saw dozens of little arms reaching out from where the limbs were cut. In the twelve months that have passed, the tree has birthed multiple branches from the side that was shaved. 

I stood on Natchez Trace smiling ear to ear realizing the tree in its wounded places didn’t stop growing. It actually flourished and grew even more.  I had quite possibly been part of this growth through sharing the energy of love and joy over the past year.

What a beautiful, sacred teaching the tree shows me, a lesson in reaching, loving and growing when cut, wounded and pained, of staying open rather than shutting down.

Hurt people and places within and without need the healing energy of love sent their way.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse 9 Dec. 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chords of Love Honoring Trees - The International Year of Forests

Having just learned that 2011 is the International Year of Forests I immediately thought of this piece inspired by my high school friend Tim's music. Upon hearing Tim's music, I felt compelled to play it for the trees.  I hope you'll take a moment or three to share this story of reaching for love and honoring trees....

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?)
In Supai - in Havasu Canyon

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
and again 8 December 2011
P.S. Since initially posting this story a year ago, I've walked Natchez Trace several times with my cassette recorder in hand playing Tim's music for the trees.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happiness is....

Happiness is...

- the owner of "Dimples" a small store in Linden, TN trusting me to send her a check by mail for the Christmas gifts (American made) I purchased. (Yes, she knows my mother but the fact that she trusts having only met me once makes me smile.)

-buying organic, heirloom seeds for next Spring from the same woman.

-handmade heart-shaped baskets and soaps from the Buffalo River Artists Cooperative.

-finding a pink Christmas tree that wasn't locally made but sure makes me smile.

What stimulates your heart's economy?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  7 December 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Dream of the Businessman

(You're welcome to print this out and read later as it's a long one. I just hope you read it and join me.) 
For over a week I've avoided writing what I felt as we drove from Tennessee to Iowa for Thanksgiving.  The feelings came easily but they and the words that followed did not feel 'good.' Actually a phrase came to mind immediately, a phrase to which I'm unaccustomed.

I looked out the car window and repeatedly thought 'We are so f****d' starting in northwestern KY and continuing for miles into Indiana and Illinois.

I can with sincerity usually find 'good news' in just about everything but not in the smoke filling the air for miles during our trip.  Something about seeing and not just hearing about pollution stunned me.  The phrase 'Seeing is believing' came to mind.  I stopped counting at six although the plants kept coming some near the highway and others on the distant horizon.

I thought of how people are manipulated with negative talk of the EPA and how fear is stirred when politicians and Fox newscasters talk of regulations killing jobs. (Job issues are more complex than this one thing and if CEO's did the right thing rather than pad their pockets regulations wouldn't be needed.)  From the looks of what I saw the only things being killed are people in the long run as smoke and chemicals fill the air before making their way to the soil and streams.  These 'people' aren't the CEO's or Wall Street employees involved in chemical company  investments but ordinary, not so wealthy middle America whose homes surround the plants.  I wanted to make those who dismiss pollution stand for several days in the yards of the homes around these factories or along the interstate.   

Over the holiday visit in this no stoplight town, my mother-in-law shared that three of the five women in her dominoes group had cancer.  Someone in another conversation mentioned that the Mayo Clinic refers to a swath of land beginning on the cusp of where we were and stretching west as cancer alley because of the number of patients from the area.  I thought of all the people in my own rural hometown who in the past ten years have died from cancer or are faced with cancer now. I've often wondered what mix of area toxins have contributed to this.

Arriving home on Sunday evening, the first headline that caught my eye was tucked away on page 7 of the day's paper and read:  "Environmental programs fall victim to budget cuts."  Days later this was followed by an Opinion page devoted to the Clean Air act with writers weighing in on the pros and cons of regulations, the EPA etc. 

I've read these stories and continued to think we are f ****d and we deserve to be. We've trashed Creation through our ignorance, arrogance and greed.  We don't deserve this beautiful planet.  What will it take for us to wake up?  Will a massive awakening even help?  

Then last evening while going through a stack of papers I had hidden months ago before company arrived I came across a dream I had last Spring, a dream of a businessman with a gift for me.  I reread the dream and knew again it holds an important and different message.  Most days now I believe it's too late for normal action or legislation to alter what we in our unawareness have set in motion.  I believe a way of being not based in science and statistics is called for, a way of being requested in the dream.  I'm far from fully embodying the businessman's request but I'm certain he gave me a necessary and vital key.

The Dream

One recent morning, I awoke sobbing. I had dreamed of the creek at my grandparents’ in the country, the creek that flowed past their home and through the field in which their cows grazed. In the dream, my nephews and I made our way through a tunnel of spider webs and wooden boards to emerge on top of a small platform by the creek. I loved this creek. It was the place in my childhood, where tadpoles turned into frogs and crayfish hid among the pebbles. This was where I first saw stones imprinted with tiny fossilized swimming, crawling creatures from eons past. Buttercups grew along the bank in spring, the same bank where in summer my grandmother would spread a pallet, country speak for quilt, where we’d eat sugar and butter sandwiches on white bread, to us a real treat.
These fond memories relate to nature along the creek yet I awoke from my dream crying. I awoke crying because we emerged from below to find the creek was now a swiftly flowing river.
With the contamination and disappearance of streams for a variety of reasons, to see a stream that was now a river should have been a good thing. But it wasn’t. The river had a wood chip mill built alongside it. Water from the river was used to supply power to the chipper as all things wooden – old chairs, tables and planks - were shredded. At one point the shell of a black truck from the 1930’s floated past as I watched horrified.

My father stood on the platform. It was his parents who had owned this land. I looked at him and with urgency said, “We've got to stop this. I'll buy the land.”
With a profoundly sad look on his face, he told me regulations prevented this because once a mill was built on a stream the contract could not be reversed. I compassionately replied, “I know. I know. You did what you thought you had to do. You thought you had to sell the land to take care of the kids.”
I then entered a nearby board room where a businessman was releasing people, salt-of-the-earth people from this dear rural town, from their debts. This is at least how it initially appeared as the man outlined for each person the amount he could financially save them if they agreed to his terms. People were quite pleased he was there to help. I watched as they seemed asleep. In their trust they were blind as to how he was the one profiting from their predicament.
Then the man gave me a document, a piece of paper that held two things in writing granting me debt relief. I didn’t even know I had a debt but I immediately knew I could do the things required of me.
One line read: Sing: “We Rejoice in Earth a song I did not know but certainly knew I could sing. The line at the bottom of the form read: Owed: Forgiveness. All that was required of me was to sing and forgive.
Weeping, I turned to the businessman and said, “Oh, but I do, I do forgive you. I do.” He looked at me in disbelief as I could hardly get out the words. Between intermittent sobs and gasps for breath, I told him I practiced a meditative prayer honoring the fact that we are all connected and in our unity I am part of him as he is part of me. I could find it in my heart to forgive him of everything.*
I awoke from the dream.
In childhood, I was witness to nature along the creek. In the dream, I witnessed the acts of human nature, acts resulting in inventions like the truck that floated past as well as the acts of using others and their allowing themselves to be used for another's gain. I’ve benefited from these acts and have also been pained. So many of these acts and decisions, like the contract with the mill on the river, cannot be reversed.
Humankind, like my nephews and me, has made its way through the labyrinth of life to this place where the creek of time is now a swiftly moving river of all creation. How many businessmen or men like my father have impacted the river of creation with decisions based on short-term gains for themselves or to care for their children, without thought as to the long-term impact on their children’s lives and health or to the interconnected web that supports us here at home on Earth? How many of these businessmen are now politicians or CEO’s connected to lobbying groups, men unconsciously fueled by fear, trying to gut the EPA while playing on people’s fear, salt-of-the-earth people who trust without thinking? How many businessmen line their pockets exploiting Earths’ resources, precious metals, trees, coal and petroleum or even now consider how they might exploit potential metals on the moon? (Yes, a Silicon Valley group aspires to mine the moon in the coming years.)
I’ve harbored such anger at what mankind has done to Earth and how Nature is treated and mistreated, neglected and used for human benefit without appreciation. I’ve held such anger and despair that at times I didn’t think I could continue living on Earth.
So often I’ve wished for all the money in the world, all the money in the world to buy back the land like I desired in the dream. How many lotteries have I wanted to win so I could buy the remaining fields and forests as well as clear the land of homes of man so Earth could be restored? I cannot buy back the land.
How beautiful then that the businessman provided the answer to my grief as well as his own plight and redemption. The businessman gave me the key to healing and resonance with Mother Earth in these times. The slip of paper offered me held the two acts needed for our redemption, actions coming from the spirit of the human heart.

Singing and forgiving we buy back the land, first the land that is our heart, for how we treat the outer land parallels how we have treated or ignored our inner land. Through reclaiming the heart’s land, we reconnect with the outer land, the land that is Mother Earth.
Singing and forgiving we buy back the land. We awake from the dream of separation to our unity. Singing and forgiving we energetically reverse the contracts that have negatively impacted the web of life.
I need You. The businessman needs you. Earth needs You. Whether you’re a singer, dancer, drummer, laugher, lover, wherever your joy and creativity lives, you are needed at this time. Don't wait until Earth Day!

Let's rejoice in Earth. Let's forgive the businessman for his lack of awareness as to his relationship with Earth, the impact of his actions on the land, air, water and animals and the future health of his children I ask you, your neighbor, your family to join me uniting humankind, to redeem us, to pay off our debt by singing, by rejoicing in Earth and by forgiving ourselves for our ignoring and not appreciating the myriad of ways in which Mother Earth supports us.
We bear witness and yes, those of us of heart may still grieve. It is time to forgive and sing. From this place Mother Earth feels our compassion, our partnership and we re-knit the torn threads in the web of life while just maybe healing and waking the businessman, waking the businessman who gave me this beautiful dream.
Please join him and me
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 11 April 2011
and again 5 December 2011
* To learn more about the meditation or prayer form that I described to the man in my dream, click here - Ho'oponopono. I do not have this perfected, but I do know when I practice this simple prayer of "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I thank you" I and my part of the greater web is healed and at peace.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Goosebumps & Tears - What Informs Your Life?

"When I allow goosebumps and tears rather than thinking and fear 
to inform my journey, I am fully alive."

I recently heard an announcer on NPR reference services they provide as helping listeners live 'informed lives.'  I immediately thought, 'What is an informed life?  What informs my life?'

Here in the constant information age we are informed continually and often unaware. Commercials and ads tell us what we need. The news and weather tell us what to think and fear. Externally we're bombarded by signs, symbols and slogans in sound and sight bites. Information comes so fast it's challenging to stop and ask who's behind the information or whether there's hidden intent in the things that inform and thus form our lives.

We're born embodied but at a very young age begin to be formed by what we take in primarily through our brains, brains wired since cave days to seek safety and fear fear and discomfort. Seems the media increasingly these days plays on this.

Even the way in which we're informed of the weather has shifted in the recent years.  Turn on tv which now includes "Storm Stories" (sorry, Jim Cantori) and adjectives unformed and unused a few years prior abound.  Adjectives describing wind, snow and rain stirring fear if one allows.  Mother Earth and nature have become the terrorist du jour.

I totally get fear. Fear as my filter in varying shades has informed much of my life. As a child the fear of displeasing those in authority (and feeling rejected or abandoned) informed by life.  As an adolescent, the fear of being different and eternal abandonment by a God to be feared informed me.

Briefly in my 20's intuition informed me, resulting in adventures in South Africa, Europe and Russia. The experience of meeting receptive people in other countries expanded my lens informing me of a vast world I had only heard of in bits.  Regardless of language and cultural differences, apartheid and cold war, the people I met were inviting and warm. Actually the only 'unwarm' folks I recall were two upon my return who called me a "Communist" and told me to leave Nashville.

Trusting the dance between inner knowing and following up on this sensing in the outer world allowed me a rich experience that informed me about life, love and an unfolding mystery.

Then fear cycled 'round again as I allowed the silent but loud cultural norms of the time to structure my life, get married, work and 'settle down.'

It's only been in recent years that I've awakened to experience my body's visceral, kinesthetic sense and inner, knowing, hearing and feeling again. This may make me different and at times ridiculed but today that's okay. Now 'settling down' connotes digging in the dirt and getting close to Mother Earth.

My life is rich and deep when I allow my bodily experience to inform me. When I'm listening deeply and mindfully, nature, children, neighbors, my cats and partner, patterns and even simple tasks like washing the dishes inform me of what's of value and meaning in my journey.

My body informs me when it's covered in goosebumps. My heart informs me when I'm moved unexpectedly to tears and at times an inner gut knowing informs me.

My body holds my GPS. It's always been there, this equipment I forgot I had. But like many Americans I've lived much of my life in my head.  Unlike a vehicle's navigation system where the driver inputs the destination, my GPS informs me of where I'm to go usually one step at a time.  The tricky part involves trust and suspending a need to control for I've no idea of the ultimate destination.  Come to think of it this is more truly how life works. We make our plans and have things all laid out, providing an illusion of control, then Bam!

I don't have hearing and heeding my GPS perfected, but what I know for now is when I allow goosebumps and tears rather than thinking and fear to inform my journey, I am fully alive. Even when sad and weary I'm grateful to be alive. 

What informs you in your journey?
How do you experience being alive in your body?
Do you practice listening to your gut? 
When was the last time you knew something inside that didn't make rational sense but you listened anyway?

Imagine the Shift of developing your body's GPS.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse 2 December 2011

Why Act My Age When I Can Be Me? What About You?

"Who on earth came up with act your age?"

Last night I ventured into Hillsboro village with Lily for the last art walk of 2011.  Knowing Santa was arriving for photos, I dug out the head decor usually saved for Christmas eve.

Two years ago I bought assorted hats and antlers for the extended family Christmas. Everyone humored me singing carols rewritten to suit our family and played a game creating captions for family photos from decades prior. My nephew who's addicted to "A Christmas Story" appropriately won 1st prize, a leg lamp night light.

This year my halls aren't decked but it just felt like fun to deck our heads and drive to the village.

Except for Santa and the six month old in line behind us, we were the only two revelers I saw in Christmas head gear. This was fine until I found myself in Posh in line with very young children and their 20 and 30-something parents waiting to see the guy in red.

After twenty minutes of watching my self-consciousness ebb and flow and feeling like Will Ferrell in "Elf," our turn came.  The photo was taken and Santa followed his lines, asking Lily what she wanted and if she had been good. His script didn't call for inquiring of me.  Before he could dismiss us, I told him I want World Peace.  Actually I told him that Lily's mom couldn't be with us, but she asked for World Peace too. She did.

After free hot chocolate at Fido, more chips from Village Automotive and petting the Humane Association kittens again, I took Lily home but remained an elf for the rest of the evening out.

This morning I've wondered why is it that growing up causes folks to get all serious and leave behind spontaneity and fun except for Halloween or when drinking too much? Who on earth came up with 'act your age'?  Did anyone really come up with this or is acting one's age a norm born of a time when it was important to keep us in-line?

I prefer "Be You" or B U in texting terms, not who you're told or taught to be, but the unique U that only U can B!  I suspect that would provide a head and heart start to ensuing World Peace.

What does it look and feel like for U to just B U ?

Imagine that Shift .....  
-Dawn! The Good News Muse 2 December 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

To What Are You Drawn? We're Writing the Book of The Times

I realized this morning both the antique books I purchased in Iowa over Thanksgiving weekend were given as Christmas gifts nearly 100 years ago. One's actually inscribed with 'xmas 1914.' (I wonder if back then folks argued about the whole Xmas vs.Christmas thing?)

I now wonder if I was drawn to these two books partially because of their former owners' energy? Although I've a multitude of books, I've never bought antique books until this day.

Was I drawn to their titles, "Rose Leaves" and "The Daily Altar" or an unspoken recipe of care that went into the making of these books, the writing and production.

We are writing a book today, a book of The Times made of books from our individual lives.

Although I want to go about the putting together of my life through listening and quiet care, I can be easily caught up in excitement and compulsion leading to exhaustion. Even this week I've glimpsed this pattern as stories, experiences and little epiphanies while in the Midwest tried to find form simultaneously through my pen in hand. In the past when this happens I feel more like a story machine, turning out stories without true presence.  I sense the energetic, driven-ness prone to imbalance and unawareness that's fueled the machine now driving corporate greed and the many disconnects between inner and outer, head and heart, self and other, self and Nature. 

These two books remind me to listen and go slow.  Important keys to my soul seem hidden in things the world labels as old. 

We are all contributing to the Book of Life. If for a moment you listen, to what are you really drawn?  How might you title the chapter you're writing today?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 1 December 2011

Every Day is Small Business Day - Inspiration from 1907

"When I begin the day at my inner altar, my day is altered and my vision changed 
so the sacred is more likely seen in everything."

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was designated Small Business Saturday yet every day is Small Business Day for me. I love supporting individuals in this way. Stimulating their economy usually stimulates my heart's economy and its currencies of love and joy.

While visiting local businesses in Eastern Iowa's small towns over the weekend, I was taken by this miniature book at LeClaire Antiques in LeClaire (home I also learned to "Archeology" owned by Mike of Mike & Frank seen on The History Channel's "American Pickers.")

"The Daily Altar" lay on a lower shelf of a glass case.  I randomly opened it and was further captured upon reading:

"Make the very corners of my life centres of spiritual loveliness." 

Hundreds of miles and days later, I revisited that paragraph today and another line gets my attention: 
"help me fill up the vacant places in my life" 

In the morning's quiet of my daily altar time, this passage stirs me again yet differently.  We're well into the season when we're encouraged to fill even more the vacant places of our homes with stuff and our bodies with food, while many have no homes nor food and I think, 'No more filling up!' 

This book dated 1907 was written in a time when vacant places were abundant. Homes weren't filled nor were bellies, yet I suspect many experienced 'enough.' The countryside wasn't filled with sprawl and people weren't unconsciously fed fear through mainstream media. 

I ponder the mystery in this.  No space is really vacant.  Things aren't as they appear.  Winter tree branches outwardly empty and barren of leaves hold life stirring in their veins preparing them for spring. 

No space is really vacant.  Quantum science now tells us the unseen energy of dark matter comprises what we think of as vacant space all around us. Possibility lies in vacancy.

Then I read: 
"Make me a wise gardener"

Ah, this is what I most desire to be a wise gardener of my time, my heart and mind, my body and its energy. 
And as the seed grows in the dark matter of Earth, I desire to see wisely and compassionately into the dark matters on Earth, to see into the shadows of greed, consumption and environmental disconnect and any roots of such that lie in me.  I desire to consciously relate to the places and spaces appearing vacant, to feel and be filled with the energy of conscious creation. 

When I begin the day at my inner altar, my day is altered and my vision changed so the sacred is more likely seen in everything.

This small book over a hundred years old found in a small Iowan business reminds me we are each in our own way small businesses, uniquely created, here to go about the business of being ourselves. Come to think of it, that's no small thing. 
-Dawn! 1 December 2011

* And check out Nashville's Small Businesses at Hillsboro Villages monthly art walk today from 5-8. Bring a non-violent toy to donate and get your photo taken with Santa.  Check out the new Kay-Bob restaurant's grand opening at 6 just down 21st. Music, art and free samples. Bring 2 cans of food for 2nd Harvest and get $2 off you meal.  See Friday night's opening of  "23 years of Peace in the last 1,000 years" at Scarritt-Bennett and Saturday's Porter Flea, the Handmade Holiday Market (East Park community Center Noon to 8p),  the Local Table Holiday Market at downtown Farmer's Market Sat. night just down capital hill from the monthly ART WALK

It may be winter but shoots of creativity, art and love are sprouting all over dear Earth.