Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Goose Feather that Got Me to France

Just over a month ago, I was arriving home from the most spontaneous trip of my fifty-six years thus far. In a span of two weeks, I decided to board a plane to go to Chartres, France for a conference with Ubiquity University.

During the week, Jean Houston one of the presenters said to the group, "Tell your stories. Tell your stories over and over."

I don't recall the context of Jean's saying this but I felt as if her words were meant specifically for me. So here I sit reflecting on the events that led to this sudden trip, another round of my Hero's Journey and the unfolding story of my time on Earth.


In early February I came across an email sent to Jerry (who doesn't do much emailing) about a conference call with Andrew Harvey one of the speakers for a program in Chartres. I was already familiar with Andrew's work from prior workshops and books yet I was drawn to the February 12th call not to mention curious as to the emails coming to Jerry's seldom used address rather than mine.

So I listened and knew I was suppose to be doing so when one of the speakers was Jim Garrison, a man I interviewed in 2008 on a Nashville radio show I co-hosted for the newly formed WRFN-Radio Free Nashville.

Weeks passed after the February call. I missed the March and April calls yet in my journal I now find "Chartres" periodically noted in the margins as if I was contemplating something I wasn't consciously considering.

In April I had dinner with my friend Maryann. We've kept this ritual for years as she comes to Nashville to see clients. This particular dinner she asked if we had any trips planned. I said no. We travel fairly spontaneously (another reason I shouldn't have been surprised by France).

Maryann is an intuitive. Her forehead wrinkled a bit as she asked somewhat confused, "You're not going to Europe?"

With my own wrinkled forehead but no confusion I replied, "No" while placing her comment in the Maryann-really-got-that-one-wrong file. Although I've traveled and love travel, I had no desire to go to Europe and didn't give her question any more thought until I saw the billboard.

Three weeks later while hurrying down Nashville's busy West End, one of the rotating billboards read "Chartres" when I glanced at it. I did a double take only to find the advertisement had moved to another ad.

'Am I to go to Chartres?' zipped through my mind.

I knew in reality the ad was more than likely for Charter-something yet in that moment I knew I saw "Chartres." It was easy to discredit what I thought I saw. I was ambivalent about returning to France. I recalled the sadness from six years prior when I was there. I did not want to be surprised by sorrow like I was then while walking and weeping through French towns remembering what I felt there prior. (That trip convinced me of past lives.) I wept tears of profound sadness and joy as we traveled in the south of France for a week visiting sites of the Black Madonna, Mary Magdalene and Sarah, a saint to the Romani people. Upon arriving in Chartres during that visit, I longed for the greenery of the south of France. I didn't want to be surrounded by the concrete and asphalt around the cathedral. I wasn't even taken with the stained glass for which the cathedral is known.

Yet after the billboard I did wonder. I wondered yet reasons for not going stirred in my mind. Not only was I apprehensive about returning, I didn't have the money to go, and I didn't feel my best.

May arrived and I received an email about the upcoming call related to what would be occurring in the stars while the group was in Chartres. I could at least find out about the heavens without making the trip.

I listened to that call and sensed a inner hmmmm when I heard . 'Was I to go to France?'

I read my notes from the call to Jerry. He listened but asked no questions. I shelved the possibility.

In the meantime, I spent the rest of May recovering from a sudden bout of Epstein-Barr virus activated by a potent herb I took for something else.

The June 11th call came around a month later. This time Jim Garrison spoke of the Greek stories of which he would share daily during the conference. A deeper HMMMMM resounded in me. I read my notes from the call to Jerry and said, "I miss being a student."

A couple of days later he asked, "When is that conference in France?" (He thought it was in the Fall.)

The trip was now just under three weeks away and his passport as I feared had expired. We quietly wrote the trip off as renewing a passport required weeks.

The following day while outside working, I came upon a bug, a large black bug that appeared dead. Actually it was behind me and as I turned it got my attention. As I held it I knew I was being told to hold the things of the past, that are behind me, like my experience in France. I placed the bug under the azaleas nearby then turned around to again find behind me a large down feather.

I've many feathers yet had no idea what this one was other than down. I later wrote a friend who made suggestions then as I read her response I intuitively knew I had been given goose down. A quick on-line search confirmed what I thought. I looked up the symbolism of goose in "Animal Speaks" and read: "The call of the quest and travels to legendary places."

I excitedly, hesitantly told Jerry, "I think we're going to France."

He didn't jump for joy but he was open.

Later that day I read further in "Animal Speaks" and learned goose can also be related to having assistance in one's writings. Was that why the goose feather found me? Maybe I was being given help in my writing (which surely I need) and we weren't to travel.

Yet I kept thinking 'What if? What if the conference comes and goes and we've not even tried to get a passport?' We agreed that getting a timely passport appointment would be a sign.

I found a number on-line for getting an urgent appointment in Atlanta. One would think I would have called that number immediately. Did I? No. I waited until the next day, a Tuesday, and made the call. There was availability at 10:00 am the following Monday. Jerry and I never take Mondays off together unless we've a vacation. Yet that specific Monday we were taking off from work to hike. We were actually free the day of the available appointment.

Was this another sign?

I pressed the key pad to hear if an 11:00 or Noon time was available that Monday. The next available time was four days out and too close to the trip to accept. When I returned to the prior 10:00 time it had already been taken.

My heart sank. I had rejected our opportunity because I didn't want to get up early enough to be in Atlanta at 10:00am. I felt devastated. I put out feelers to everyone I could think of including a friend who suggested I call my congressman. I did and learned the staff member who might be able to help was away until Thursday.

I left a message and received a call from her Thursday morning. Within thirty minutes we had an appointment Monday at 8:30 in Atlanta.

All the reasons I shouldn't go suddenly to France circled my mind in bed that night: We don't have time to prepare. I wasn't fully recovered. I had forgotten my French. I hadn't read any of the books on the suggested reading list. I usually give the cat and house sitter sufficient notice. I would have to cash in retirement money. No wise investor would do that. And I reminded myself that just because we had an appointment didn't mean we would get the passport.

Yet to give in to these fear-based rationalizations meant ignoring Maryann, the billboard, the hmmm, having Monday off and Nature's messenger, the goose feather.

The passport appointment lasted all of 30 minutes and we were home by the afternoon.

The wait began and I began to reread my journal from 2009. In it I saw notations where Chartres, this city of concrete and asphalt where I did not want to initially be, was one I did not want to leave two days later when my group left. As I read notes from my prior trip, I knew we were going to France.

Four days later Jerry's passport arrived. Seven days later we boarded a plane.

We crossed the threshold from our Ordinary World as Joseph Campbell calls it in the Hero's Journey and embarked on the Road of Trials and Adventures. This trip our trials were few and our adventures many. (Actually my trials are usually more of my own making due to mistrust aka fear.)

Synchronocities, always a sign I'm on my soul's path, continued during our trip.

And I walked around Chartres thinking and saying aloud to Jerry, "We're suddenly in France, aren't we?" It all unfolded so quickly I didn't fully believe at times we were there.

Now we're home and I reread my notes and look at photos to get a felt sense of my having suddenly returned to this land that broke me open in a beautifully, unexpected way.

I reflect on my experience to return to that felt sense of following the "bread crumbs" placed before me, to ponder why I resisted and feared? I retell this story to you and to me because Jean's words resonated with me.

In today's busy world it is far too easy to forget the signs and synchronicities weaving themselves through my life and possibly through your own. It is easy to get caught up in the news of the day, what's next to be done or loose time reading the passing comments on social media that I don't listen to the stuff of my life...the many layers and planes, the planes of Then woven through the Now.

Through reflecting and remembering my trip, I see the patterns within me and in the bigger picture of my life.

As I continue to listen I am reminded the Hero's Journey begins with what Joseph Campbell refers to as The Call which the hero usually resists. I smile since my "call" was literally "three calls - three conference calls."

Reflecting on the past, I'm reminded of Nature's engagement as the goose offered its feather and animals arrived with messages throughout my trip. 

How do you receive messages? What is your relationship with the world of Nature? 

As I wrote this I searched the meaning of goose on other sites and read: When goose totem appears you may be embarking soon on a journey (physical or symbolic) with others for a collective purpose. 

This was another reason goose appeared for 100 of the most amazing people from around the world convened at Chartres that week, creative, innovative, inspiring people open to listening and being more alive in the world. 

I've not known how or where to conclude this story or at least this part of it. I realize it has no end yet I've knowings that I experience as Truths thanks to the goose feather and France.

One of those Truths is the Universe is always speaking to me through the nature made and manmade and through unexpected interactions and encounters. My challenge, opportunity, and fortune is to stay wake, open and be willing to follow.

To what are you called? What do you feel tugged to do? How do you feel tugged to be? 
Do you jump in, vacillate or at times resist? How do you receive messages? 
What is your relationship with the world of Nature? 
How does the Universe/God/Spirit/Higher Power try to engage with and speak to you? 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 25 August 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Golden Home

At first I thought the shell lying at my feet was a peanut shell. (I broke my rule last week and fed the squirrels some peanuts in the shell.) Curiosity got the best of me and I picked it up to find this gilded casing had been the home to something, something that may eat my plants or tree leaves in the months to come or something that may have already been food for a bird.

What I do know is this shell once held life and my first thought was 'I hope this is symbolic of me!'

For this golden home I now hold in my palm reminds me of my home, this physical body of mine and the life within that I take for granted and forget.

Just last night as I lay in bed with my hand on my chest, I realized I was feeling the beat of my heart - the steady beat of the organ rhythmically thumping inside me. It has been with me all along, yet in fifty-six years I have not stopped to really take this in. Really take it in.

How have I neglected this golden home of my body that has held me, heart, spirit, body, mind and soul?

This golden home in my palm reminds me as well of my earthly home - Mother Earth as I think of her. I am connected to her. How is it I take my body more for granted than the Earth?

Some people spend more time focused on Earth issues while others spend more time tuned into their body's issues. I live more tuned in to dirt, water and trees than to the dirt and water of me.

These are wonderings I will ponder in the days ahead. For now, what I know is I want to imprint within me this golden home with the dirt heart on its shell. I want to be reminded that my body and this Earth are golden homes in which and on which I live.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse  24 Aug. 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Of Soles and Souls (After the Morning's Near-Accident)

The first thing I do each morning is ensure the bird feeders are filled and this time of year the hummingbird feeders as well. This morning I took fresh sugar water outside and promptly stepped on a feeder part that I had left on the ground the day prior. A metal point punctured my flip flop and made contact with my bare sole just as I stepped down. Fortunately somehow I avoided puncturing skin and as is not uncommon for me kept right on with my outside tasks without checking my foot.

As I walked about the yard, I began to feel the subtle physical repercussions throughout my body. The angle in which I stepped in order to avoid a major injury could be felt in my hip, back, and neck. And interestingly the discomfort in my right foot was mirrored in my right hand which now had a similar discomfort.

I marveled at the interconnectedness of my body and how an event with my foot could be felt in so many places. 

I came inside to ice my sole and take a remedy to prevent bruising. I hoped a temporarily cold sole would prevent a bruised and hurting one come tomorrow. 

The connections in my body reminded me of the connections related to Mother Earth's body. What we do to the Earth or don't do through negligence or ignoring comes back to haunt us whether through present disasters with the Animas River that's now running orange with metals and toxins that were stored from mining decades prior or the cancers sourced in environmental toxins.

I sat and pondered my foot and sole and root and soul. 

To harm or affect the root of something affects all else. 

And to "get to the root" of something takes time and space for considering. Whatever one finds at the root, often creates tension, discomfort and initially at least more questions than answers. 

In trying to prevent a bruised or hurting sole, my temporarily cold sole also reminded me of bruised, hurt, cold souls in today's world as well as those of the past who still impact the present because of what they did to the root of something or because the root of their distress was never addressed. (I think of the impact of the Great Depression still on generations today evidenced through addictions born out of family histories in which one's ancestors never dealt with the consequences of the Depression and its trauma.)

I have more questions than answers in today's world, yet I know bruised, cold, hurting souls need to be heard, deeply heard, even if they don't care about hearing themselves. They need those of us who can to bear witness and hold what they are doing to Mother Earth's waters, soil, air, plants, animals, and people. They need those of us who are willing to hold great compassion for them and for ALL and to hold the better questions as to what is driving them to treat Nature and others with such disdain, violence, and hate. 

Not paying attention caused my accident this morning yet listening allowed me to make connections and hear the deeper story in this simple event. 

Not paying attention has gotten us to where we are in this time yet listening (without reacting) can just possibly allow us to hear at a deeper level what's trying to emerge through souls that have been bruised over time.

Listen. Be curious for what's going on at the root...of your sole, your soul and all souls.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse  12 August 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Loving in the Extreme - A Tribute to Cecil

With the killing of Cecil the Lion, this vision from August 2012 related to big game hunters has been on my mind. At times it seems to big to practice yet I as reread it, I know it holds the way. 

From August 2012: 

This particular summer afternoon, I became tired so I lay down. I was immediately shown the fuchsia face of a man in the stars. Something about him immediately reminded me of former vice-president Cheney yet I knew it wasn't him. The face vanished and an elephant's trunk appeared.  It then vanished and was replaced by a huge snake reminiscent of the one in the Harry Potter series.  It crawled into my field of vision in the stars then opened its mouth just like in the movie.

Everything went black.  Then a fuchsia heart shape appeared.  I could feel the star pulsing energy to me, feeding and invigorating me, as I recorded the vision and wondered what it meant.

I sensed the snake represented the Divine Feminine enveloping the man as the word transmutation came to mind.  Yet I wondered, 'Who was the man?'

Twenty-days later I came home from being out of town for a week.  I was sorting the mail and newspapers collected by the house sitter.  The story and photos on the front page of the Tennessean from two days prior literally took my breath.

There on the cover of our local paper was the man in my vision sitting atop an elephant he had killed.  The story's heading read: "He takes hunting to an extreme."  The reporter told of a local sixty-year old who after a health scare in 1999 decided to hunt "dangerous" animals.  The story referred to animals of course as 'game' but this was no game to me.  This man hunts my children, an elephant and leopard in Zimbabwe, a brown bear in Russia, a hippopotamus, zebra, fox, every deer imaginable and thousands of fowl.

I did not want to read the story.  Even now to write of it brings tears to my eyes.  Yet to avoid it was to neglect the vision and resist listening for its message.

So I read. And I have read the story again and again while listening, still listening wanting to discern why this was delivered to me by the Universe and the newspaper man.

The local hunter invoked God in defending his pastime quoting scripture from Genesis where God told Noah that every moving thing that lived was food for him and his family. I thought, 'I bet God wants to take that back.' Surely he had no idea Earth would become so overrun with people, people who would crowd out and kill off creation with a hunting arsenal like this mans.

The reporter wrote of how local school children in one village were dismissed from school when the hunter killed the hippopotamus, so they could gather meat for their families from the bed of his truck.  Similarly the elephant fed 100 people in a village for over a month.  I read this yet thought, "Why not use your passion and money to teach these villagers something that would last a lifetime that they could pass on to their children, something that didn't involve killing the endangered animals of God's earth?"

The writer quoted him as saying, "Everything I do, I do to an extreme."

And this is where the story comes around to me - to me, to possibly you, to the snake and the fuchsia heart.

We are here to love to an extreme.  

I knew the August afternoon of the vision that I was to follow the example of the snake, to take within the traits of this person I find most disturbing and love him in the extreme in order to transmute the negative in him as well as myself.  The Snake as a Divine symbol says, "Hold the all of who this man is as well as yourself in Love."

Hold it all in Love for this is how transformation occurs.

Months later, I came across a National Geographic buried beneath a pile of papers. I had not yet looked at it. I glanced at the cover and saw what I knew was a message for me.  A story headline in the bottom corner read: The Healing Power of Venom.  

My breath was taken. Immediately I knew what I consider poisonous in the hunter is here to activate the power of my heart creating a healing venom for him and for me.

If I had to rely on myself alone I could not respond to the Call of this vision. Yet I nor we do this alone. The Heart of the Universe that pulsed energy to me, whether you call it God, Great Spirit, Higher Power, the Stars, or Goddess feeds us energetically if we are open to holding the abuses and violations of this world that stem from shame, ignorance, arrogance, greed and self-hate.

Is there anything more beautiful than transforming the poisons in our world into venom that heals? Is there anything more beautiful than loving in the extreme in this profound way?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 5 August 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Do-Over for Dawn

Sunday I reconnected with a friend by phone and came up with a plan for meeting this week before she returned to her teaching job out-of-state. Somehow our conversation turned to spiders and how neighbors suggested she kill the grandaddy long legs that call her garage home. She didn't see the need to harm them and added she grew up with a father who transported bugs from his home, alive rather than dead. I was on the other end of the phone smiling hugely and thinking 'This is another reason I like this person.' I told her of the bug jars I keep around the house for escorting spiders and bugs outside alive and I mentioned the story I had just read on the benefits of spiders.

We made a date for the week ahead and I got on with my chores only to discover I needed to go to the store. I avoid as much as possible big box, corporately owned stores but on a rural Sunday afternoon, a big box store was my only option.

This particular store was obviously where I was suppose to be because as I stood in the check-out line the checker a young man of twenty at the most scratched at the back of his shirt then around the neckline. I noticed from my position in line and wondered what he was doing. I feared I knew when he looked down, stepped left then twisted his leg several times. I internally cringed when he looked at the woman he was checking out and said, "I hate spiders."

He was one of the many of whom I had just told my friend I have a hard time.

My turn came and I was still shocked, sad and judging. I didn't know what to say or whether to say anything. I was mindful of not wanting to say something to cause this gentle soul of a country kid to feel embarrassment or shame and even more so with other customers in line.

I walked from the store curious as to the synchronicity and mindful that anything I might have said would have been backed by my agenda of changing him rather than being open to him.

This interaction hung out with me into the next day when I was to have a new washer and dryer delivered. Of course, one of them, and secretly possibly both, was afraid of spiders.

I didn't know this until I was in my basement, the hole as they called it, and one commented on a grandaddy long legs to the other then turned to me and said, "He's afraid of spiders." (Knowing how projection works the speaker may have been the one most frightened.)

I wasted no time and jumped in non-judgmentally and said, "Please don't kill my spiders. I'll move the cobwebs and them if they're in your way. Most spiders are actually beneficial and people just don't realize it."

I bombarded these two with information that was personal and factual and I did so without judging or shaming them. Actually I was laughingly, loving, kindly pleading with them. I received a beautiful do-over in exactly 24 hours.

These young men left and I considered my challenge in speaking with someone with whom I disagree without even the essence of judgment, control, shame or fear coming from me. Talking with these two young men was easy and would have probably been easier if it had only been one of them and not a situation in which one was making fun of the other.

After we parted I looked into the symbolism of grandaddy long legs. My interactions around this particular spider was even more perfect as grandaddy long legs represents "weaving deeper relationships." Navigating relationships in light of differences allows for a deepening especially when we do so lite-ly, loving lyand when appropriate with laughter, not at the other, but at oneself. We've the opportunity for more deeply knowing ourself as well as another.

This series of synchronicities reminds me grace-filled do-overs arrive daily through those we know and don't know, through our responses to news, nature, and the things that annoy. Are you open to them? Are you paying attention? Imagine leaning into that Shift.

Here's another story inspired by Spider and a Vision: Willing Weavers 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 1 August 2015

For those open to spider's benefits this comes from Bayer (one maker of pest control products). Even they are thinking of spiders positively...and of course still selling pesticides.

3 Ways Spiders Help Indoors

1. Spiders eat pests. Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as roaches, earwigs, mosquitoes, flies and clothes moths. If left alone, spiders will consume most of the insects in your home, providing effective home pest control.
2. Spiders kill other spiders. When spiders come into contact with one another, a gladiator-like competition frequently unfolds – and the winner eats the loser. If your basement hosts common long-legged cellar spiders, this is why the population occasionally shifts from numerous smaller spiders to fewer, larger spiders. That long-legged cellar spider, by the way, is known to kill black widow spiders, making it a powerful ally.
3. Spiders help curtail disease spread. Spiders feast on many household pests that can transmit disease to humans –mosquitoes, fleas, flies, cockroaches and a host of other disease-carrying critters.

And from www.spiders.us:
Spiders help to keep your home, yard, garden, farm, school, and workplace free from pest insects. Spiders help the whole planet in a similar way, preventing insects from becoming overly dominant and destructive. Spiders are in turn food for other organisms, from other spiders to birds, reptiles, and small mammals like shrews. Spider venoms show promise in the field of medicine. Spider silk is among the strongest, most elastic of natural fibers. Synthesized spider silk has proven useful in creating the next generation of parachutes and bullet-proof vests. Native peoples in Papua New Guinea even use the webs of Nephila orb-weaving spiders as fishing nets. The spider is coaxed into spinning within an oval frame that is then used as a net. Spiders are also used as research subjects in such diverse disciplines as animal physiology and psychology.