Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Letter to Winter

Dear Winter,

Here you are nearer your end than your beginning and many are so very glad.

Surely you've heard.  You have been a most tweeted and talked about guest, not gossiped about since gossip occurs behind the talked-about-ones back.  You've gone viral multiple times. You've trended more than Miley.  You have been all over Facebook, the papers and media.  You and your offspring  have made headlines day after day.  The Weather Channel couldn't exist without you. You have stimulated the economies of bread, milk and plumbing companies.

Many have moaned about you as water pipes have burst.  I am grateful to have shut the water off each night and drained the pipes.  Except for the night we forgot and our bathroom became a temporary lake, I have not moaned in the typical way.  I do wonder as to the salt scattered about our roads and its effect on our watersheds in ways we are unaware and seem to not care.  I have wondered who owns Metro's salt contract and if the authorities are so afraid of lawsuits that they over salt the roads more than my grandparents did their food.

In the mid-west, my mother-in-law hasn't seen the grass in her front yard since before Christmas. About that, I would definitely moan.

Winter, I so dreaded you. I was dreading you a year ago when I told Jerry that I would be living elsewhere when you arrived.  I really meant it. I just didn't know where.

Months passed.  Your sibling Spring arrived and stayed and stayed.  Summer came late and didn't stay as long as usual.  Fall was similar to Spring. Then you came and I had not moved.  Well, I actually I did move.

In looking back, I became a morning one instead of a moaning one thanks to moves I made.

Inside I placed clear lights around the windows of the room in which I write, meditate and work. I still turn them on because I like their gentle glow.

Outside I placed a chair near the neighbor's fence by the ferns and Japanese maple.

We moved to this spot of Nashville Earth with its fence and house the year of the Nashville Ice Storm.  We enjoyed five days at least without power. We bundled up in bed, ate out some and walked a lot.  Then they began cutting the trees after the ice storm of 1994.  This stimulated the economies of cutting companies contracted from out of state as well as the anger of those of us who love trees.  And of course there hasn't been an ice storm of that magnitude since.

I have lived in this house for twenty years and thanks to you, Winter, I finally found this place where every morning I went to my office as it was dubbed.  I and two blankets, a scarf, hat, gloves, two pair of long underwear with pen, paper, coffee, camera and often a burning candle settled into a chair.  On a handful of rainy mornings, an umbrella became my roof.
My office on one those supposed to be icy days that never manifested.

Surrounded by colleagues, I watched, listened and wrote.

I could have easily missed you after the after-Christmas fight between Jerry and me. It wasn't a fight in the traditional sense. I awoke one morning to find he had raked and mulched all my leaves. He didn't know I was attached to the Japanese maple leaves all around my office floor. He was helping, picking up.  I was stunned.  It took me two days to recover. I got down on my knees as did he and  gathered leaves, Nature's carpeting, to scatter at my feet.  Carpeting was laid, we made up and I returned to work.

Ferns, fairies and a Great Northern Flicker are just some of the few that have spent time with me. The juncos left just this week.  I miss them yet it was time. They are the winter visitors that ate the millet I scattered each morning.  I still feel the joy I felt the December day I found they had arrived.

Chipmunk has reappeared and I finally saw a vole, kin I'm sure to the frozen one I laid to rest our first single digit day.

Winter, you have reminded me of Ice Ages past. Early cave man didn't have groceries to which to run and stock up.  I have pondered what it was like for people then.  I have imagined the Ice Age of the heart melting in our world today.

I have felt kin to Audubon, Aldo and Ansel while noting and photographing the visiting birds, the plants holding their own in various shades of brown and green as well as the trees anchoring my office walls and towering over me.

Oh and I can't forget the other towering Beings.

Bundled like a human burrito, Sun has towered over me many days and I have felt its energy inside me as I've never before experienced it.  While at night, Jupiter, Sirius, the Pleaides and Orion's belt have faithfully proceeded over my office gifting my colleagues and me with energy.

Winter, do you feel my joy and my deep gratitude?  You have given me parts of me that I didn't even know were missing. And though I will enjoy not wearing long underwear daily and I've already been outside barefoot this week, I will, like the juncos, so miss you.

Some people probably look at gray-haired, fifty-four year old me and think I am nearer my end than my beginning.  What they don't know is thanks to you, I am in my beginning, for you have allowed me to find this outer place that has revealed to me the inner places.

I SO love you,
Dawn

I wrote this in my office this morning then happened to look left while packing up to head inside. I started not to pick up the scrap nearby but was curious. What was this? I turned over this piece of plastic from ferns planted years ago and read: Pictum (the fern name).  Of course I thought, 'Yes, I picked em' these beautiful colleagues with which to hang out with this Winter. And for that I am so glad.

Lessons in a Lenten Rose

Today I rejoice in the new yet also see the beauty of brown.

These leaves easily discarded as ugly have offered shelter this past cold month for young lenten rose blossoms waiting to rise and experience life.



In this plant labeled unattractive by some, I see rising exuberance and sheltering wisdom.  I am reminded of old souls who have protected things until this time, for the young souls coming in.


This morning's lesson grows in the lenten rose, the perfect offering of balance and timing in the ongoing dance between old and new, death and birth, age and youth, Souls and Earth.

What lessons await you outside?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 19 February 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grammy Lessons, Granny's Lesson

On Grammy Sunday reporter (and singer/songwriter) Peter Cooper wrote of Nashville songwriter Jessi Alexander's journey of "giving up" after a string of disappointments and losses including a lost record deal, the death of her mother and a Grammy nomination that was taken away through no fault of her own.

Sitting outside at a San Francisco restaurant, Ms. Alexander says she "gave up."  In Peter's words, "She decided to writer songs every day, to focus on present moments rather than future fictions."  Giving up ultimately brought about a deeper satisfaction than living with the pressure of the music industry machine. And giving up ultimately led to two Grammy nominations this past January for co-writing "I Drive Your Truck" and "Mine Would Be You."

I have at times resisted giving up and at others have given up repeatedly.  In our masculine, doing-oriented, warrior culture, giving up is often seen as weak and being a failure.

This singer/songwriter's "Grammy Lessons" reminded me of my Granny's Lesson. 

My grandmother as I remember her was more quiet then talkative.  Yet for some reason, Granny told me she quit singing late in life and as a result she lost her singing voice.  I don't know the specifics of why she told me this and I don't even recall my age.  What I do distinctly remember is jointly holding the hymnal with her in church as I was the only one singing and I remember Granny's lesson to me as she said,

"If you don't use it, you loose it." 

She said this in relation to her singing voice and it stuck with me.

My grandmother quit singing.  She gave up in a different way. 

Me and Granny around 1980
 Granny's lesson is true for our singing voice as well as the body's muscle mass and our brains ability to remember and think. Gyms are popping up everywhere for the former while the internet is filled with brain-related studies, videos and self-help games all for the purpose of stimulating parts of the brain that help us with memory especially as we age. 

There is a greater truth of which Granny wasn't aware.  She didn't know and I didn't know to tell her that just because she lost it didn't mean she couldn't recover it, her singing voice again.  It may not have been Grammy-worthy but that's not the point.  The point is to sing.
 
Which is what I did one day a couple of weeks ago.  From out of the blue, I heard myself belting out, "Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong. It doesn't' matter if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear just sing, sing a song." 

I've no idea where this came from but I smiled. I suspect my grandmother was smiling too because this song came from my heart and that's what matters most.

Jessi Alexander found profound beauty upon giving up and and I would add going in.  I suspect this young woman went inside herself in order to ask the hard questions, then listen, really listen to the answers that came on that San Francisco street.

Giving up and going in - both require the ability to be with the tension of asking what it is that I am on the verge of loosing if I don't use it - whatever "it" is.  It may be as simple and profound as loosing the spirit of empathy and kindness by gradually and over time not extending oneself to others.

Whatever 'it' is for you (and it may be more than one thing), the world needs what you are loosing and more importantly you, I suspect need 'it.' 

Personally I am regularly on the verge of loosing my voice, my spirit and imagination and I find it again and again through encounters usually unexpectedly with people, those I know and strangers, and through Nature.

What are you on the verge of loosing through forgetting, not practicing or lack of awareness?

Imagine the Shift of using It again!  
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 19 February 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Truth - A Valentine to the World (Abbreviated Version)

"...say things to the world that are true."
                                   - Pablo Casals 

I went to bed at 2am this morning after having stayed up unexpectedly going through journals.  The most recent one, a Christmas gift from Jerry, had just been filled with scribblings from my yard, random wanderings and my unending lists of things to do.

In an unusual reluctance to choose a fresh journal, I began to read from the stack labeled 2012.

Surprisingly I sat with regret and confusion as I read page after page of notes as to visions I've been given and things I've heard.  Most of these things are still quietly still tucked in the pages I scanned.

Finally I placed them aside and  went outside to lie under the nearly full moon.

I awoke this morning not wanting write in any journal. Why clutter yet another book with notations with which I don't do anything?

Then a journal I had forgotten from an impromptu post-Christmas trip to downtown Dickson caught my eye. I had forgotten I even had it.   The cover read "...say things to the world that are true."


In that moment, I knew my truth as I heard so clearly within me, "World, I love you." 

World, I love you.  That sounds so simple, doesn't it?  Thousands if not millions of other souls today have Instagrammed, Tumbled, Flickred and Snapchatted, "World, I love you" logos, poems and pieces as I write this.

Yet, World, here's my truth.  I have not always loved you.  It is because of you that I have felt such pain, pain from times I don't even cognitively recall, yet I have felt so deeply I am sure of my truth.  Like when I cried my way off and on through France knowing in my body that I had walked there so many times and had seen what man inflicted upon man and woman during the burning times as the church tried to wipe out those perceived as threatening.

I can easily write, "Earth, I love you."

Earth has saved me repeatedly.  I felt it in France and I feel it even now when I lay face down outside at night with my heart to Mother Earth's heart.  (I keep a sheet and quilt near my back door for this very thing.) I feel her presence and know she feels mine.  She has taken my weariness so many times and I have also taken hers.  It is easy for me to love Earth, her birds, bugs, animals wild and tame, her trees, plants, rocks, oceans and rain.

Many times I have felt and known my love for Earth.  It is my home.

But World, I love you?  I have honestly wanted to destroy you at times. I have wanted Mother Earth to rid herself of the masses and the messes that humans have made.

This is why I was at first surprised by what I heard when I saw,  'say things to the world that are true.' It came out of nowhere but I felt its Truth.  Tears of joy streamed down my face because World,  I do love you.

You are how I have come to find, feel and experience Me. 

You have broken my heart repeatedly.  And in this lifetime of feeling a heart of stone inside of me, you have broken my heart again and again but this time I have found healing among my human kin. I have found healing through painters, musicians, sculptors, conservationists, writers, actors, advocates and even what I consider narrow-minded legislators.  I have found healing and love for the world through creators (even the promoters of fear-based legislation) because you/they have helped me find and feel my heart.

And Valentine's I realized another reason I can say, feel and write, "World, I love you."

As I perused journals from Spring 2012 around the time of April's Full Pink Moon, I read simple sentences I had written but didn't grasp when I wrote them - sentences like "The rose is opening.  The heart of the Universe is opening." 

I didn't have a clue really what this meant so I wrote it down each time it crossed my mind.  I think I even had a vision of a rose unfolding in the stars but I've been unable to find where I wrote of it.

Then one day while running down Natchez Trace in the rain the Universe offered up assurance.  In the street wet from the drizzle that fell, lay this rose painted on black canvas.   

I didn't question even for a second what to do.  I immediately picked it up, tucked it as best I could beneath my raincoat and ran home. 

There were no identifying marks.  I looked for "Lost Rose" messages on the neighborhood list serve  in case someone was looking for it.  I brought it home and kept it above my computer for months before placing it on my altar. 

For the longest I looked at it and wondered what it meant. 

It wasn't until last night that I more fully got it.  

Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love is opening in the Universe.   

Scientists may try to measure it but I know as sure as I'm sitting here The Shift to Love is occurring OUT THERE and it is occurring IN HERE.

On this Valentine's I share with the World and you what is true for me.  World, I love you and I know it's because The Rose of Love has opened in the stars and I feel it has opened in me.  I hope you can feel its opening in YOU!

Boundless Love on this day and always!
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 14 February 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine to the World

"...say things to the world that are true."
                                   - Pablo Casals 

I went to bed at 2am this morning after having stayed up unexpectedly going through journals.  The most recent one, a Christmas gift from Jerry, had just been filled with scribblings from my yard, random wanderings and my unending lists of things to do.

In an unusual reluctance to choose a fresh journal, I began to read from the stack labeled 2012.

Surprisingly I sat with regret and confusion as I read page after page of notes as to visions I've been given and things I've heard.  Most of these things are still quietly still tucked in the pages I scanned.

Finally I placed them aside and  went outside to lie under the nearly full moon.

I awoke this morning not wanting write in any journal. Why clutter yet another book with notations with which I don't do anything?

Then a journal I had forgotten from an impromptu post-Christmas trip to downtown Dickson caught my eye. I had forgotten I even had it.   The cover read "...say things to the world that are true."


In that moment, I knew my truth as I heard so clearly within me, "World, I love you." 

World, I love you.  That sounds so simple, doesn't it?  Thousands if not millions of other souls today have Instagrammed, Tumbled, Flickred and Snapchatted, "World, I love you" logos, poems and pieces as I write this.

Yet, World, here's my truth.  I have not always loved you.  It is because of you that I have felt such pain, pain from times I don't even cognitively recall, yet I have felt so deeply I am sure of my truth.  Like when I cried my way off and on through France knowing in my body that I had walked there so many times and had seen what man inflicted upon man and woman during the burning times as the church tried to wipe out those perceived as threatening.

I can easily write, "Earth, I love you."

Earth has saved me repeatedly.  I felt it in France and I feel it even now when I lay face down outside at night with my heart to Mother Earth's heart.  (I keep a sheet and quilt near my back door for this very thing.) I feel her presence and know she feels mine.  She has taken my weariness so many times and I have also taken hers.  It is easy for me to love Earth, her birds, bugs, animals wild and tame, her trees, plants, rocks, oceans and rain.

Many times I have felt and known my love for Earth.  It is my home.

But World, I love you?  I have honestly wanted to destroy you at times. I have wanted Mother Earth to rid herself of the masses and the messes that humans have made.

This is why I was at first surprised by what I heard when I saw,  'say things to the world that are true.' It came out of nowhere but I felt its Truth.  Tears of joy streamed down my face because World,  I do love you.

You are how I have come to find, feel and experience Me. 

You have broken my heart repeatedly.  And in this lifetime of feeling a heart of stone inside of me, you have broken my heart again and again but this time I have found healing among my human kin.

I have found healing through Richard Geer  whose masterful weaving of community stories heal and rebirth small towns.  I still feel joy from remembering what you mid-wifed in Colquitt, GA and Jonesborough, TN !!

I found healing through Charlie Johnston murals.  Charlie's Spirit Wolf looks at me as I write.  Despite all the attacks and vile slaughter this precious being goes through artists like Charlie keep wolf's spirit alive. 

I have felt healing through Giancarlo Guerrero the vibrant, funny, history-teaching, symphony leading conductor for the Nashville Symphony. I wish I could turn all of Nashville on to our symphony!!!

I have felt healing though Alan LeQuire's work. Alan is the sculptor most known for Athena and Musica but I remember the time he took to share his Dream Forest trees with friends and me as we made an impromptu visit to his studio gallery.

I have felt healing through Aldo Leopold, the conservationist, forester, educator, prolific writer who was forever changed when he saw the Green Fire in the mother wolf's eyes that he had just killed. 

I have found healing through the Frist MuseumI have been to museums in other countries and the U.S. but it has only been later in my life that I have felt art and most of that has been at the Frist.  I thank the Frist family for this.

I have felt healing through the songs of Steve Conn, Kenny Mullins and Ross Falzone, men whose songs marry compassion and social justice.

I found healing through Bill Murray who arrived in my life at one of my lowest times and continued to show up in ways he was unaware.   You only quit showing up when I quit showing up for myself.

I LOVE THE WORLD and the fact that women and men showed up, stood up and spoke up this the day of One Billion Rising.  I want to shout from Earth's roof top that I love Derri Smith and Yvonne Williams and those with whom they team while saving women and girls from sex trafficking.

I love that as I started this piece a dove cooed as a Angel Radiance candle burned. That candle made with responsibly harvested palm oil still burns to honor One Billion Rising. 

In the past I have railed about corporations making money off holidays.  Today I love the fact that millions of people sent roses, candy, cards, notes, offered a smile, extended a hand.  Your gifts came from big box stores as well as local shops springing up everywhere! LOCAL shops have healed me.

I love that mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, nurses, doctors, mid-wives will hold cooing, crying, fussy, messy, delightful, adorable precious babies today.

I love the fact that a new generation of souls have arrived on Mother Earth and they keep agreeing to be born, a generation whose vocabulary doesn't contain struggle !

I love the fact that thanks to quantum physics lonely elder souls sitting in nursing homes will feel my gratitude as I send them love for their having come decades ago into a time in which struggle was the norm.  Bless these courageous, beautiful souls.

I love the fact that women I know like Sara Sharpe and Amanda Cantrell Roche invest their time and skills creatively to wake up Nashville to the challenges faced by immigrants in our community, those imprisoned who have no voice and women here and abroad.

And I can even say I love that men in our state government proposed a bill allowing business owners to turn away gay customers.  Though they're unaware of it, this is their way of saying they are afraid.  And I can love these frightened men trying to maintain control and not feel vulnerable.

And I love the man in my life of infinite compassion and patience who only wants joy for me and has lived with how heart living can be for me.


*******

Which takes me back to last night.  He was long asleep as I perused pages from Spring 2012 around the time of April's Full Pink Moon.  I read simple sentences I had written but didn't grasp at the time.  Sentences like "The rose is opening.  The heart of the Universe is opening." 

I didn't have a clue really what this meant so I wrote it down each time it crossed my mind.  I think I even had a vision of a rose unfolding in the stars but I've been unable to find where I wrote of it.

Then one day while running down Natchez Trace in the rain the Universe offered up assurance.  In the street wet from the drizzle that fell, lay this rose painted on black canvas.   

I didn't question even for a second what to do.  I immediately picked it up, tucked it as best I could beneath my raincoat and ran home. 

There were no identifying marks.  I looked for "Lost Rose" messages on the neighborhood list serve  in case someone was looking for it.  I brought it home and kept it above my computer for months before placing it on my altar. 

For the longest I looked at it and wondered what it meant. 

It wasn't until last night that I more fully got it.  

Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love is opening in the Universe.   

Scientists may try to measure it but I know as sure as I'm sitting here The Shift to Love is occurring OUT THERE and it is occurring IN HERE.

On this Valentine's I share with the World and you what is true for me.  World, I love you and I know it's because The Rose of Love has opened in the stars and I feel it has opened in me.  I hope you can feel its opening in YOU!

Boundless Love on this day and always!
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 14 February 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Kiss - A Valentine's Story of Self-Love as the Full Moon Is In Leo

Rodin sculpted The Kiss. Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote "This Kiss" (sung by Faith Hill) and Jesus was betrayed by Judas' kiss. 

This is my kiss. 

Although the photo doesn't do justice to the actual pucker on the lips, this kiss hangs on a tree in my front yard facing the street. 

As I walked up my driveway from a recent morning walk, The Kiss caught my eye. I often notice it but this day I really saw it. It caught my heart's eye for I had been thinking of love or the lack of love in the world.  I had been somewhat haunted by how I concluded a prior Musing in which I wrote: 

"At any moment, with presence and mindfulness we can return to our hearts and open to who and what we find there. In doing so, we return heart to the world."  

Those two sentences were easy to write as at the time I felt the truth in them.  And as often happens the Universe tests me or reminds me of the severe lack of heart in the world. I read of another sex trafficking raid, the slaughter of dolphins in Japan's notorious Taji cove and the recent shooting of area dogs one by a neighbor and another by an owner. 

I read or hear stories and think: "What has happened to the hearts of those who do these things?"  This isn't a judgment but a yearning question.  
When I become numb and disconnected from what I read, it's common to awaken with an emotional hangover the next morning.  Luke warm tea or coffee, dry skin and the bulk of two pair of long underwear along with cats chasing each other over furniture and me, doesn't aide my reconnecting. In these moments I do not want to ‘practice presence’ as I had earlier written or open to who and what's found in my heart. (This seems so shallow in light of sex trafficking.)

Paper and pen in hand, I struggle because I take what I write seriously. The seeming absence of integrity in today’s world troubles me, yet if I’m not practicing what I write then I’m lacking integrity. I feel like a fraud.

If we’re all interconnected as quantum physics states and indigenous people have always taught, then my disconnect and self-hate contributes to the same in the world.

My need to control as well as not trusting the Universe/God/the Divine Mystery that walks with me is in my face. Then I am reminded of my friend Steve Conn who sings, “You’ve got to love everybody, that’s all you’ve got to do.” 

Loving everybody is the easy part for me. Loving myself is the hard part especially in times when my unlovable aspects are front and center. I considered calling Steve to suggest that he include a line that goes “You’ve got to love everybody, especially the ugly, unacceptable, controlling parts inside of you” or me in this case. 

What does this have to do with The Kiss?  

I've always thought The Kiss quietly sent love to passers-by.  Now I realize it sends kisses to me, kisses I desperately need.  The parts of me that are known and unknown need to be kissed and blessed and yes, opened to as I had initially written.

If I concern myself with the lack of love in the world, yet love is lacking in my own inner world, I contribute to the greater disconnect and global misplaced heart. If I do not love myself, especially the parts deemed ugly, I’m contributing to self-loathing in the world, even the hidden self-loathing of those who profit monetarily from trafficking as well as those who spend their money in this manner. If these people knew true self-love surely they wouldn’t treat another in this manner or put themselves in this position.

Is it possible that it’s not lack of heart or love as much as the lack of awareness that fuels so much of the suffering and strife in the world?  Remember my cats bounding about.  They didn't need my attention as much as my insides did. What if human trafficking is attention seeking behavior on a deeper level calling us to heal our sexual selves individually as well as the remnants of repression culturally which are used to sell goods as well as people. What if the path to understanding the heart of the trafficker begins with opening to what my own heart holds? What if change in the heart of the trafficker/Conservative/Liberal/Taliban member/Person of your choosing starts in your own heart?

Imagine the shift as we open truly to whom and what we find in our hearts, giving a kiss to all but especially the frightened, controlling parts. Future Musings I’m certain will come back to this. For now I authentically smile knowing that loving all the parts of me does hold a key to returning me to my heart and the heart to the world. 

Learn about End Slavery Tennessee HERE

-Dawn, the Good News Muse, 13 February 2014

Birds Count and The Bird Count -

If it weren't for birds, the world as we know it would not exist.

Birds are woven through our lives from sports and social media to gaming, the military and our homes. Without the birds, our economy would crash. 

Think about it.

St. Louis would be without their Cardinals, Baltimore without their Ravens and Orioles.  Who would have won the Super Bowl since Seattle wouldn't have the Seahawks?  Toronto would be without Blue Jays, Philly without the Eagles..the list goes on.

Gaming and social media would have the void of Flickr without the Flicker.  The economical hit alone would be significant if  "Angry Birds" didn't exist as greeting cards, stuffed birds, t-shirts, party decor and more have resulted from this game.

And speaking of the economy, what about the bird images with which we fill our homes?  Images of birds abound in malls and local stores. What logos would businesses use?  Just last night, I noticed the duck logo for Hilton's Homewood Suites.

What would artists paint? What might Dolly, Ferlin and Marty have sung in place of  "On the Wings of a Snow White Dove" My favorite childhood movie "The Birds" wouldn't exist. I'm unsure about The Byrds since they've the y not i.

People are described hawkish and dovish.  Carrier pigeons were integral in saving lives as they carried messages in war not that long ago and even used to carry urgently needed medications and lab specimens.  And although I'm not quite sure how I feel about it I can support a local business by sending a pigeon gram today!

Indigenous or Native eople have known the birds and everything in the natural world carries energy and messages that when we are receptive we can receive.  I was reminded of this when I read about the series of children's books created about Louis the Duck in the Homewood logo.

Children listen.  We were once all children and still are somewhere within. 

Birds count in a multitude of ways, ways easily ignored but are unfathomably important.

To me they count for the beauty and joy they bring.  This weekend, I will join others around the globe and literally count birds Feb. 14-17 as part of the 17th annual and global Great Backyard Bird Count.

Minimally take 15 minutes one day and count the birds in your yard or a specific area. Register at the GBBC site and submit your numbers.

For all the birds have done for us and continue to do, this is the least we can do for them!

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 13 February 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Roger and Me - Random Acts of Kindness Week


This week, according to my calendar, is “Random Acts of Kindness” week.   I agree with a facebook friend who said we shouldn’t need a week designated to be kind.  It’s similar to Earth Day. We shouldn’t need  a day devoted to celebrating our home and looking at what we can do to live on it more sustainably.  Yet just as we’re not kind every day, we don’t for the most part appreciate living on Mother Earth.

I had forgotten the Acts of Kindness notation on my calendar as I ate dinner in Fido Monday evening.  From a window seat, I ate and watched  a man walk back and forth across 21st approaching customers as he sold The Contributor.   Eventually I ordered a to go burger and walked over to him.  I had waited for some time quietly weighing whether to do this.  I wanted to ensure I was giving this man a meal out of joy and not pity or sorrow.  This courageous soul on Nashville’s streets didn’t need my pity.  

As we shook hands, he enthusiastically said, "Someone's watching over me." I found myself touched and said, "I needed to hear that. You're reminding me someone watches over me too." Roger then placed the container by his unsold papers and said, "I want to sing for you." There he stood singing Amazing Grace. His voice was rich and by the third verse I was singing too. This is amazing grace to me. This man and I were both giver and receiver standing on a Hillsboro Village street.

It wasn’t until arriving home that I remembered “Random Acts of Kindness” week.  I shared the above on facebook then went to bed.

Many of my facebook friends became part of the ‘act’ by morning. Over eighty of them had ‘liked’ what I shared and several had commented.  In keeping with Random Acts of Kindness week, they had no idea they gave me a beautiful gift. Their messages added another grace-filled layer to the story. 

It may be surprising but I often have the experience of feeling invisible.   I write regularly yet very seldom have people read my stories.  I don’t write to be read.  I listen, watch and write to stay alive.  When I stop writing a part of my starts dying. 
 
Yet seeing the stream of unexpected comments beneath the story of Roger‘s and my encounter made me suddenly feel seen. 

Then I thought of Roger and the multitudes of homeless and the other 'invisible' ones in our world - those who are trafficked for sex and cheap labor, the elderly, the  disAbled, those in Appalachia without healthcare. 

I thought of artists likeU2 just releasing "Invisible" to call attention to AIDS as well those who paint, write, tell stories, create symphonies, write songs and sing. They are vital to calling attention to these invisible ones yet they are also vital to our awakening to seeing ourSelves more fully as well as our Earthly kin. 

I now wonder if this random act of kindness between Roger and me was really so random?  

Quantum physics suggests what the indigenous people of all lands have always known.  We are each part of an unseen web of connectedness.  

In this regards you are now part of the encounter between Roger and me.  You are part of the web. Mindfully carry this energy - the energy of Love, Joy and Song or however you show up when you fully see yourself. For when you see the beauty in who you really are, you can't help but see who others are. Kindness naturally flows from this.  See the beauty you carry and pass it on. In this way, we raise consciousness not just for ourselves but to all in the quantum web. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 12 Feb. 2014


iCloud - I Cloud -The Clouds

In navigating a new mac, I've discovered iCloud.  iCloud may be necessary to some with its mobility and storage, yet iCloud reminds me of the clouds.  

I came across these clouds from a year ago this week while downloading photos to the mac yesterday. 


What are your associations to clouds?  When was the last time you stopped to notice a cloud and really see it?

In the big picture, at times it seems the weather people whether intentional or not are entraining us to fear clouds.  The media regularly refers to the next winter storm on the way.  Yesterday's paper referenced Atlanta being 'crippled' potentially again this week.  I cringed seeing their use of that word.  Why not write 'immobilized.'  A local tv station on my Facebook feed reported Sunday on our never-ending winter.  I thought, 'It's only February. We're suppose to still be experiencing winter.'

It is a gift that the weather people can predict fairly acurately what the weather is going to be. Lives are likely saved as people seek shelter during tornadoes or floods.  I get that.  I just don't get that it seems the weather is the primary thing discussed in gatherings, social media, in the grocery line, wherever I find myself.

What is going on here?

Is Mother Earth and the Divine trying to get our attention by allowing weather to trend? 

Here at home inside Dawn, I know what's going on for me.  The clouds and iCloud, remind me of how I cloud my own perception as periodically fear and ignoring surface in me.  Our absorption in the weather forecast stirs my fear that not only will many fear the clouds but will likewise increasingly disconnect from nature and forget we need clouds.

iCloud may feel necessary for some souls survival yet the mobility of the clouds and their stored snows and rains are necessary for Earth's survival.  Their beauty is necessary for my soul's survival.

We need the beauty accessible in clouds and nature to relieve Soul drought.  One only has to look at the use of anti-depressants, pain killers and meth (that's the short list) to realize there's an epidemic Soul drought going on these days.  Isn't it interesting that lives would be saved thanks to better weather forecasting yet saved for further anesthetizing ourselves?

Clouds, bird's song, barren limbed trees these are at least part of the prescription for personal and collective Soul drought.  

I challenge you to consider how you allow the weather forecast to cloud your perception and your day.  

Don't miss the beauty around you, inside, below and above you.  Wherever you are, love a cloud.  
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 12 February 2014
dawn@imaginetheshift.com

video

15 seconds of bird song from February 2013 or those who need it although I did chuckle. This is primarily robins singing. Some Nashvillians may remember the hoards of robins that came through last Spring.  During that brief two weeks, robin poop was trending and I was going outside every chance I got just to hear them sing. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Meaningful Monday/Moon Day

Given its being the first day of the traditional work week, Monday may be the day of the week with the most dread dumped upon it.

To me this is telling and sad since Monday has its roots in Moon's Day.

So I decided to find a photo from a Monday moment a year ago to visually reclaim Monday as I bundle up, feed the birds and sit in my yard on this February morning.  I will immerse myself in Nature as I begin Monday morning meditatively.


Imagine the Shift if we heard, thought and said,  "Make your Monday meaningful" and felt anticipation instead of dread. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse  10 February 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Held By Trees and Nature's Kind I Receive Earth's Valentine

Robin bobbing 'bout my yard
Spring can't be too very far
Yet on the calendar page I find
It's February. Love's on our minds.

 As for me, I'll sit outside
and love what is in Wintertime.

Seeming barren and dull to some
I find magic thanks to Sun. 
For even on a cloudy day
Sun's evidence comes my way.
As plants poke their heads above
from dark below green shoots come.


Lenten rose tucked near the ground
easy to miss in leaves of brown.
Round and tender are the buds
Yet resilient just like Love.

 By taking notice, sitting still 
Listening, opening I am filled.
Held by trees and Nature's kind
I receive Earth's Valentine.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 6 February 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why I Stay

As I walked outside into my yard this morning, I heard

"I come here to coax life."  

I tucked myself between ferns and azaleas in the blue chair, the chair that has been my morning home these last weeks of single degrees.  I do come here to coax life to encourage it to stay amidst cold and chemicals, despite negligence and attitudes still of control and conquest. 

And instead I am coaxed for Nature and the Spirits around me, Sun and Sky above me not only help me to stay but cause me to embrace this journey we share, this journey that is mine. 




I am one who came here to coax life and to be coaxed by life, to live Love.

This is why I joyfully stay.

What brought you here?
Why do you stay?
Really?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 3 Feb. 2014


Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Keystone

I was standing in a checkout line yesterday when someone called to tell me the State Department had approved the Keystone pipeline, the controversial gas line running from Canada's tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.

I've signed petitions opposing the pipeline, known people have protested and have been willingly arrested opposing it, yet what crossed my mind upon hearing the news was a question, 'Isn't the keystone related to the masons?'

The line I stood in wasn't moving which at the moment worked for me as I perused several on-line sites regarding the keystone.

I learned it is the center stone in an arch, the stone that is essential in keeping the other stones in place ultimately ensuring thehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline arches stability.

Aside from the pipeline's risk of contaminating the major underground water aquifer and increased air pollution, I wondered as to the significance geographically and energetically in regards to the placement of this pipeline on Mother Earth.  Has the company naming this the keystone pipeline unknowingly offered up a clue as to the keystone of Earth's energy field?  

Then I considered the president's decision as he ultimately decides this project's fate. 

Will he cave to corporate interests - those in the oil companies to whom he's indebted in ways we know and don't know? Have they literally saved his or a family member's life in these past years or have they threatened his life or the life of someone he knows? (Rachel Carson and JFK are described by Douglas Brinkley in Audubon magazine as an environmental tag team.  Rachel Carson first sounded the unpopular and necessary alarm as to the dangers of DDT and promoted nuclear non-proliferation. The military-industrial-agribusiness complex couldn't have liked her a whole lot.  I've often wondered if the president was murdered because of his pro-environment stance and passion in supporting this woman warrior for the Earth.)

Now President Obama, if he votes "No" to the pipeline, will upset industries and people of perceived outer power.  And if he votes "No" he will be the keystone in relation to renewing the political process in the country rather than continuing to sell us out to corporations and fear.  Equally important he will be providing a new stability for deeper change in how we use energy while honoring the environment and realizing we live in relationship to ALL living things including those who support the pipeline.

In drawings I looked at earlier I noted the keystone in arches over doorways reminding me of the threshold we have crossed as a planet and people.  We have crossed a threshold and are in an arc of a story greater than any found in the movies!

I arrived home yesterday and busied myself in other things only to awaken this morning and find the first email I read stated: 

A keystone in spiritual growth is this: You cannot grow one iota if you do not love yourself.

I never run across the word keystone. So I paid attention.  I sat down and listened.

This message reminded me of how earlier in the week I had been comparing childhood notes with someone. We both grew up hearing the acronym for JOY is loving Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last.  Both of us on down Life's road realized the Bible also refers to loving your neighbor as yourself. 

Deep, enduring, big love starts with loving oneself, reveling in who you are!!!  Healthy self-love has gotten a very bad rap.  This lack of self-love combined with self-loathing and self-hate affects not just one's relationship with self, but with others and the Earth.  I can't love another or Mother Earth in my fullest if on any level I quietly hold disdain for myself.

We are in midst of great story yet the most important story and threshold is the one within.  Every day, every moment, I stand at my Heart's threshold choosing whether I will hold a spirit and vibration of Love.  This is the keystone that is most important.

I suspect this great being on which we live, Mother Earth, would say she wants us more than anything to develop the keystone of self-love. She knows with healthy self-love we will honor and find joy living in relationship with her whatever our politics or positions.   

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 1 February 2014

Touchdowns and Touching Down - The Power at Our Fingertips

The thought of touchdowns in the soon to be seen Super Bowl reminds me of touching down, not the landing of an airplane but the landing of my hand in down not long ago.  I stood on the road side holding an owl surprised to feel the softness in the downy feathers nearest its still warm body.  I didn't know it in the moment, but something about the owl's down awoke my sense of touch.   

Later that day when I reached to stroke Bogey my cat's fur I knew this in my fingertips and then again when I drove along gently pulling my hair.  My sensory self was awake as I had not been prior to the owl.

The feel of flannel sheets this morning awoke that sense again. 

Of the millions of tiny nerve endings just below the skins surface, we've 2500 nerve receptors per square centimeter in the hand or @ 1,000 per square inch if I'm doing correct math.  The point is this is a LOT of nerve endings gifting us with touch, our tactile sense.

How is it the word tactile refers to touch yet it's kin to tactic and tactician connected to the military, war and strategy?  How is it our instrument of touch, the hand, is also connected to killing and war?

Touch wipes tears away.
Touch pulls the trigger of the gun as well as the bomb dropped by a remote plane.
The touch of a held hand conveys "You're not alone. I'm here."
The touch of an angry hand conveys control instilling isolation and fear.

How is it a multitude of modern hands today may be more aware of the touch of metal and plastic on keyboards and touch screens than skin? What are the potential long term consequences of typing and texing unaware of touch?

Touch holds the capacity for healing and harm.

Likewise the word down has so many associations other than football and feathers.  This week the stock market was down.  The suggestion of the economy taking a down stirs fear allowing for the manipulation of the masses.  There's down as in unhappy, a normal condition of living, yet commercials tell us to go to our doctor and ask for the latest medication.  There's down as in the opposite of heaven, the hell I grew up fearing as a child, and last but not least 'down there' code for penis and vagina, one of the reasons the child I was feared hell.

And as we in the Northern hemisphere experience winter, Nature hangs out down in the mystery of dark Earth, for rest, rejuvenation and imminent rebirth.

I am grateful for this Mystery coded in nature, words and the birds, especially the owl, waking me to the power of words and the sense of touch in my fingertips. It's down brings me home to who I am and back around to the Super Bowl.

I invite you to join me whenever you think of it today and epecially in the coming hours.  I invite you to put your hands together in prayer, meditation, ho'oponopono (whatever you do) and touch through spirit and love all the souls affected by sex trafficking and violence this weekend. 

Super Bowl weekend is one of the heaviest weekends, if not the heaviest, for sex trafficking.  Men and women in organized crime and trafficking rings ship women, girls and boys to the cities around the Super Bowl for sexual services.

Join me. Let's put our hands and hearts together and ask for loving healing for all involved in trafficking.  Ask that it come to light increasingly in our country and our world and that ALL involved be healed of shame, the shame of being abused, used and violated as well as the shame of being the person who uses a stranger sexually.

We can touch so that humankind is collectively touched and lifted so that ultimately down there, the womb and vagina, are honored and experienced as the sacred vessel, the container of life, and the places of pleasure http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/superbowlthat they are.  

Imagine the Shift of waking up to how you use your hands and the sense of touch, of living life aware of the power in and at your fingertips.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 1 February 2014

The Flicker and Flickr - How Do You Feed on Your Feeds?

This winter I saw my first Great Northern Flicker in my small city yard not far from Nashville's center.  During one single digit day, I glanced outside and ten feet from me noticed something smaller than a hawk but larger than a red belly woodpecker hanging from one of our feeders.

The word flicker popped into my mind as I joyfully watched.  I searched flicker on the Audubon site and sure enough I was watching a flicker feed.

Later I looked up the symbolic meaning of Flicker in "Animal Speaks."

Flicker represents new starts.  
New beginnings are near. 
There is an opportunity for new growth.  
Trust in your ability to manifest healing love.

That flicker has continued to visit our yard daily for a month this week. Timing wise I feel graced to be walking past a window at just the right time most days to have seen it.     

The Great Northern Flicker!
This morning I decided I wanted to share the photo with facebook friends.  How many of them had even seen a flicker?  Due to earlier computer challenges, I got out an old laptop, an elder in computer circles, so I could post the photo.  

What first got my attention was a word at the top of my home screen. 

Flickr 

Flickr?  Why was that there? 

I clicked and found a photo sharing site of which I had been a member since 2011.  I don't even recall signing on to Flickr.  My photo file was empty yet I scrolled through the site looking at the most amazing photos made by those on my feed.  These beautiful photos were of Earth, her children, two legged, four legged, winged, wild and and wonderful, as well as her glorious body made of mountains and oceans covered in the colors of the rainbow.

Yet I wondered how many of those taking these photos realize they are photographing our dear Mother, Divine Matter around, beneath and above them?  Do I really stop and take in this beauty as I see it?  Do I really feed on the photo feed before me, mindfully savoring this stream of Love?  Or do I feed on most social media as if it's fast food not really stopping to take in what's before me?

This is why I prefer the flicker to flickr.  I feel myself bodily and spiritually open to Love's stream when I am outside, whether wandering and walking my neighborhood streets, paths in parks and the woods or sitting in my yard. Being outside, I experience Love in a way that I don't in front of a screen where I can feel bombarded by information's steady stream.   

These times are coded with clues embedded to help us awaken to the New Beginning symbolized by Flicker.   When I pull back and think in wide angle, big picture terms I know just as I signed on to my computer, I signed on to come to Earth.  Flickr and the Flicker are on to something.

This is the New Start for which we were born. My soul signed on but over time I unknowingly signed off. Experiencing Nature has awakened me to fully signing on again.

The keys for me are balance, openness and paying attention to where I place my attention so I am present and experiencing Love whether I'm watching the flicker feed or my flickr feed.  

With mindful awareness, Flickr, facebook, twitter, tumblr and on and on and on can be a beautiful vehicles for new growth and healing love so we are connected relationally with ourselves, Mother Earth and one another. 

Have you fully logged on to your life? 
Are you deeply fed by your feeds or just anesthetized?
How much  do you pay attention to words and symbols today? 

For a related short video on the Blackberry and blackberries....


-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 1 February 2014