Monday, January 31, 2011

"Morning Meds"

For some time now each morning, I've been fortunate to participate in a morning meditation call with friends who I came to know through Mystery School with Jean Houston. From Chicago to California we gather by phone, read a poem often written by one of the group members, then respond sometimes through silence and at other times with our own writings.

In order to return to and savor the rich images created by these women, I created a folder in my email that's titled "Morning Meds."

This morning I smiled realizing Morning Meds truly are my morning "meds." They are medication to my soul, jump starting my mood, fine tuning my senses, birthing a smile inside and out.

These 'meds' don't require a doctor's visit, co-payment and prescription. They not recorded in my health record as a preexisting condition. The side effects are pleasant, nothing like the ones heard in commercials. You know "the voice" that calmly states you may experience constipation, nausea and dizziness then just as calmly adds if you've organ failure, "Call your doctor."

Imagine how these 'meds' would radically shift the health care debate while not increasing the national debt.

Let's not wait for a lobby in Washington to take this on.

My morning ritual with friends, poetry, quiet and prayer is my medication. What soothes your soul and lifts your spirit making you smile inside or out?
-Dawn ! The Good News Muse, 31 January 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Impressionism, Potatoes and The Scent of Kids - On Being Fed

This morning as I pulled from my driveway I smelled children. Yes, the sweet, surprising scent of Ella and Lily permeated the car and until that moment I didn't realize my two favorite girls even had a specific scent.

We had the night prior finally made it to the movie "Tangled" (two thumbs up). I initially promised this adventure BF (before flu) to Lily the night of her piano recital. That evening my experience was auditorially enriched by Ella and Lily's performing their own compositions. I sat there sensing my heart and insides thanks to "The Happy Orange Inch Worm" and "The Stinky Cheese Man." Yes, speaking of scents......"The Stinky Cheese Man."

Something similar happened this week as I washed potatoes for lunch. I stood at the kitchen sink holding a potato when suddenly I "sensed" I was connected.

It wasn't news to me that I had been disconnected. For the past month, I had been episodically AWOL a result of lingering disappointment from having the flu over Christmas, an unusual white Christmas for us which I could only enjoy from the inside looking out.

It didn't take long pondering the potato in my hand to realize what had shifted. As with Ella and Lily, this potato and I have had a many-leveled, ongoing relationship. I had first seen these potatoes a year earlier in a gardening magazine. Our relationship ensued even as I anticipated their arrival by mail and heightened through summer as I planted them in mounds of earth and kept them moist thinking the green stems might never emerge and certainly not bloom. But they did. Everything happened as it was supposed to and in time, I turned over the bags in which they were planted and rummaged through the piles to find gems that had magically manifested. We've continued to be engaged for months as they're kept in a basket from which I occasionally choose 2-3 for a meal.

Just as magical is the fact that these earthen orbs become part of my body. Yes, concretely they are no more, but as they nourish me they only change form. They live on through my body as do the soil, rain and sunlight that nourished them.

This happened in early Winter BF with an apple. As I bit into it, I tasted summer and thought,
'How could that be?' until I realized this was the last apple from our tree, the tree which is home to many birds in winter as two feeders hang from it, then home to leaves of green and blossoms that become fruit. Thanks to my relationship over the seasons with the tree I tasted Summer in Winter. In the apple. I was fed.

I was fed repeatedly at the Frist Art Museum in the last several months thanks to the exhibit "The Birth of Impressionism" from Paris' Musee d'Orsay. Knowing the exhibit is in its final week, I went again wondering what experience I might have.

I arrived to find the parking lots full in addition to three empty school buses. I should have been happy, but instead I was sad, disappointed. I wanted to steal one last quiet moment with the paintings. In reality I knew the crowds don't really deter me, only my crowded insides can do that.

I thought of artists painting from experience so I had my experience -sadness- and soon it passed. (There is something beautiful I often find and forget about accepting 'what is' rather than resisting it that allows it to flow on like a stream within.)

In the place of sadness, I felt the paintings.

During my second visit months ago, I realized I was experiencing something I've only felt with Nature. I sensed energy in my body's core, energy that came to me from the paintings, energy that fed me.

Here I was on my sixth and probably last visit, feeling the cycle, a circle, complete as not only the energy came to me, but I felt my energy going to the paintings.

Knowing this time might be my last, I had such a hard time leaving each gallery. Sadness returned, for seeing France at the Frist over these months has resurrected me and I didn't even know I needed resurrecting. I've been reconnected with the experiences of my 50th birthday in France through the faces, the hands, the scenes and the countryside. I've been reconnected with something that feels old and dear, earthen and deep.

I really did not want to leave.

Then I heard: "Dawn, in your openness to experiencing these paintings they become part of you just like the potato or piano pieces played by kids and smells of soap and shampoo." How beautiful is that?

We are sensory beings, yet how often do we hear or say, "That makes no sense" or "He doesn't have any sense" as if sensing was a heady, brainy, mental process?

With scents, sounds, sights and the body, life is rich. In this richness, we are fed. We are fed by our senses, the arts, the Earth and others if only we are aware. And in this being fed we are given the opportunity to come home to ourselves, to be in relationship with our bodies and in turn with all that is around us.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 20 January 2011
To chew on:
How do you experience being fed?
How do you experience your senses?
When you find yourself disconnected, how do you reconnect?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sandhill Cranes & the Trail of Tears - The Return of the Relational

This week the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will decide whether to adopt a proposal to hunt Sandhill Cranes. This disconcerting news reported by writer Anne Paine in last week's Tennessean prompted us to take a weekend road trip to visit the Hiwassee Refuge just north of Chattanooga near Birchwood, TN.

Eighty years ago there were only 25 breeding crane pairs recorded in Wisconsin due to hunting, agricultural expansion and drainage of wetlands in the 1700 and 1800's. Thanks to protections and habitat restoration these amazing birds with wing spans of 6-7 feet have gradually rebounded so that thousands winter over at the refuge before returning north.

I was quickly captured by the graceful landings of these tall gray birds whose periodic movements made the fields in which they congregate seem to come alive and dance. I was auditorily mesmerized by their trilling vocalizations remarking that it was a bit like listening to thousands of delighted Julia Childs. (No offense, Julia fans...that's a compliment.)

After two hours of savoring the sights and sounds, we drove down the road to another sight no more than a half mile away. Previously turning into the refuge, we noticed a sign for something called the "Cherokee Removal Memorial" and commented on the harsh connotation of the wording.

Arriving at the memorial, we realized the appropriateness of the word "removal" for we were at one of the starting points of the "Trail of Tears" where 9,000 Cherokee and Creek Native Americans held in stockades were made to sleep on the ground naked in the cold and rain for weeks in the fall of 1838.

Stunned and disconnected, I read the historical plaques summarizing the events that occurred. (It's one thing to read of the Trail of Tears in a book and another to actually be on the land where it began.) I found myself wondering, "How could these men force people to leave their homes and land?" As if on cue, repeated distant gun fire punctuated the quiet providing an auditory reminder of part of the 'how,' the part related to instilling fear. The Natives were forced by bayonet and gun to submit. I wondered what the wives of these men were thinking? Did any wife question her husband's actions? What role did fear and denial play in female silence during these times? I pondered today's parallel as fear is still used to separate and control us and how nearly impossible it is to have reasonable conversations about guns due to the high level of reactivity.

Now days later, I still hear and hold the beauty of the Sandhill Cranes, their graceful flight, their dance and sounds as well as their instinctually knowing when to take flight and return home. How have we become so separated over the centuries from our deeper instinct, from our inner knowing, from responses that are loving, thoughtful and relational? How might the events of the day be different if we made our way back to a deeper resonance found in our bodies from which we've been so disconnected?

Days later, I hold the beauty of nature juxtaposed to the unspeakable acts of human nature.

There is a deep and profound lesson offered just outside Birchwood, TN. Within yards of one another two very different stories reside, one of the beauty of Nature evidenced through the cranes who instinctively listen and know when to begin their migration and one of human nature at its worst as a people who lived instinctively honoring the land were forced to migrate by a people who did not honor the relational.

All things Native, the Indigenous Ones who lived here long before our ancestors, as well as the animals and trees, all of Nature, is offered to us, to reveal to us our capacities, the possibility for greater awareness or higher consciousness and awareness of our relatedness to all creation.

I do not say the following to diminish the tragedy of the Trail of Tears, but doesn't the Trail of Tears quietly continue as we live our busy lives, externally focused and separate from our body, instinct, intuition and heart?

Maybe the losses of the thousands of Native Americans will not have been in vain if we can during this time return to the relational, if we can see, feel and hear the trail of tears from our individual and collective unheard hearts, if we can migrate home to our insides, to remembering the instinct of love and in turn join with one another in a greater sense of awareness and relatedness.

May this migration within begin.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 18 Jan. 2011

1. Say 'No' to hunting the Sandhill Cranes by emailing
Public opinion is being collected through Wed. the 19th. Be sure to include in the Subject line: Sandhill Crane Comments.
2. Enjoy a 40 second video of the cranes HERE.
3. Watch the movie "Fly Away Home" to see the story inspiring "Operation Migration" in which people flying ultra-light planes have begun to teach juvenile Whooping Cranes to migrate.
4. Learn about Operation Migration at this LINK.
5. Go see the Sandhill Cranes this January/February in Birchwood, TN just off I-75 on State Highway 60 ... site HERE.
6. AND experience the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, open daily. Site HERE.
7 Here's the link to Anne Paine's story in the Tennessean. Click HERE.