Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waking Up

A friend from many years ago contacted me this past Spring after synchronisitically finding my radio show "Wake Up & Live" on-line at the Radio Free Nashville program schedule site. She shared that for months she would park in the same parking spot at a local grocery. She would open the car door and see "Wake Up" spray painted on the curb in two areas and wonder, 'Wake up to what?' Through a series of events, we rediscovered one another. Months later, I found the parking space and of course, had to photograph the mystery message or directive spray painted I suspect by some teen who unbeknownst to him or her also had a message for me.

In reflecting on the close of one year and the beginning of another, I've been pondering what it means to 'wake up' in my own life. Thus far I've determined, waking up is far more simple than complex and it's not found in the mall or stock market.

I know I'm awake when my insides smile and making blueberry jam this summer did just that. Early one morning, in July's hot summer sun I picked blueberries at my friend Bernie's farm, blueberries which I in turn cooked and canned. I had never canned anything in my life, but I had grandmother's who had. I stood in the kitchen feeling deep joy and a kinship with these women on my family tree who were long gone physically yet so present with me. As the steam rose and sweet smells filled the air, I danced around the kitchen to Ray Charles "One Drop of Love." I filled a dozen small jars with jam juice and berries then as I began to clean up my mess, I heard a pop. In canning popping is a good sign, a sign that I would be able to eat blueberry jam for months to come. I called my mother and a friend who celebrated with me. They knew exactly what I was feeling, well maybe not the dancing part. The little symphony of pops continued for quite some time as each jar in its own time sealed. Making jam brought me deep joy.
I'm awake when I feel joy as well as sorrow. I had no idea that I would loose Templeton, my dear cat of nearly 18 years,earlier in the year. Templeton's illness and passing was one of the most beautiful, gut wrenching experiences of my life, topped only by the experience I had with my father three years prior as he passed. During the lengthy period in which Templeton quit eating and declined, she taught me the importance of living each moment with love and in love while releasing fear, control and my agenda. Templeton and my father were similar in that both when it came to closeness would rather be alone than with, yet in their passing I was allowed to be with. My father allowed me to sit by his hospice bed and sing. As we held hands, I sang every song that came to me via the hymnal from the church of my childhood still etched in my memory. When I finished those, I sang songs from the women's drum circle of which I had been a part then I went through hymns again.
Templeton allowed me to hold her for seven hours the day she died. I held her fearlessly (which for me was a feat) feeling only love and gratitude while reminiscing about our journey together.When she died, I wrapping her in quilt squares with butterflies on them made by one of my grandmothers. She was buried the next morning in our backyard with sunflowers to cover her grave. Templeton and my father taught me that the heart is deep and rich and only stopped by us when we live on autopilot and prevent ourselves from feeling. Tears are part of the heart's language but how often we ignore them rather then embrace and let them flow.
I am awake when I listen to and follow my heart, my personal GPS system. After Templeton died, the last thing I wanted was another cat. Yet my neighbor called two weeks later just prior to Valentines to tell me that a kitten had showed up at their home. This kitten embodied love, or so she said. I agreed to look at her. That night I reluctantly ventured down the street. I looked through the window and saw a little calico kitten playing with my neighbor's daughters. My heart literally lept. Mystery entered my life that night and five months later was followed by Bogeysattva who took my breath away when I saw him curled in a little bundle at the Cat Shoppe.

These litttle bundles continuously remind me of staying awake to love and the opportunities of living rather than sleepwalking through life.
Waking up is vital especially in these times where superficially things seem to be going very wrong. We've the opportunity every moment to wake up and live life at a deeper level. What clues and cues surround you that suggest how you might wake up to some unlived aspect of your life? What brings you joy? What touches you and makes you cry? What makes you smile inside?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sharing Champagne

It all started July 4th sitting near Nashville's riverfront awaiting the yearly fireworks display. From my folding chair on the sidewalk, I looked around at the masses many of them drinking beer, socializing before the evening’s colorful climax. I looked around and was embarrassed to admit what crossed my mind for I found myself thinking, ‘I really don’t like people.’ I eventually confided my judgments in the person with me who confessed he was thinking likewise.
Upon further shared wonderings, we determined it wasn’t necessarily people we disliked as much as people’s unawareness as well as our materialistic culture where consuming and competing trump consciousness and connecting the dots. We wondered what it might be like to celebrate an event such as the fourth somewhere in Europe. Certainly in France for example there would be drinking, but surely it would be more refined as in wine? I didn’t mention that I had earlier in the week intended to buy a bottle of champagne, not necessarily for this particular evening but for a celebratory moment.
As I sat wishing for that intended drink, I heard a voice ask, “Who wants champagne?” The voice belonged to a woman in a nearby group. Her friends were all drinking beer. To her surprise, I called out, “Now I know why I sat by you guys. I’d love a glass of champagne.”
Mary Beth could have easily thought me strange and ignored me, but she didn’t. We toasted in lovely glasses then talked. I sipped shared champagne acutely aware that this woman’s generosity altered my attitude as well as reminding me of synchronistic times when the very thing I was thinking arrived as if the Universe or God was saying, “You asked and here it is.”
Of course some people could say: If God or a spiritual being provides champagne on demand why can’t this being end strife and suffering in the world? I don’t have that answer. But I do know shared champagne suddenly created a shift in the lens through which I experience life.
The next day heading out for my morning walk, I heard a neighbor call, “Dawn, I’ve some clothes for you.” Some people pay personal shoppers to assist in their wardrobe selection. I have Judy a neighbor who periodically shares clothing finds with me from her excursions to area yard sales. The week prior I had worn two shirts and a skirt courtesy of Judy that received several compliments.
That afternoon I remembered owing a bit of money to the young woman who designed my website. I hurriedly sent her an email promising I’d place a check in the next day’s mail. She suggested instead that I give the money to a cause I support. The local Humane Association received a check from me on behalf of Leslie sharing her time. I then asked someone consulting with me if she would do likewise. My client happily in turn donated the fee for my service to an area family shelter continuing the cycle of sharing time and money initiated by Leslie.
Suddenly everything I saw or heard was related to sharing. My friend Yvette told of sharing eleven inches of her newly cut hair with a children’s cancer hospital for wigs. Another friend related her story of connecting through different websites with two young people in Kenya who she now shares a minimal monthly donation with, allowing one a college education and the other food and clothing. These two young people, born into opposing factions, have now met thanks to shared connections with my friend half the world away. Another friend navigating a major health crisis asked if she could share in the healing presence of my kittens. I gladly agreed although my kittens seemed more interested in tumbling and entertaining my friend than sitting in her lap as I envisioned. Shortly after this, I returned from a walk to find my neighbor and his friend on our roof cutting tree limbs that I had said thirty minutes prior needed cutting. They shared their time and energy and in turn I shared gratitude and pay.
I even discovered the unobtrusive way in which nature quietly and persistently shares with us. One morning as I sat with my eyes closed in the gliding chair on my deck, the birds sang and insects hummed. Nature shared its song as well as its vibration as I not only heard but felt the palpable presence of everything alive in my backyard.
Opening my eyes the first thing I noticed were the flowers nearby, impatience to be exact. Several blossoms seemed to look at me as I looked at them. It was in this mutually shared moment that I realized sharing is inevitable. We cannot not share. We are constant participants in a cycle of sharing the tangibles and intangibles, be it our money, time or energy or our quiet judgments and critiques.
The only thing within our control is the quality of our awareness. We choose to be open or closed, live on autopilot or practice presence. My autopilot was definitely working the night of the Fourth as I sat in judgment of those around me thinking they weren’t connecting the dots forgetting my only task is to connect my dots, the ones within me impacting my experiences.
This realization prompted me to connect other dots, the ones related to God’s seeming non-interventionist attitude toward the world. What if our inattention is a primary cause of discord not only in our personal lives but in the world? What if the fabric of community and culture unravels as we neglect presence? What if God or a creative power is waiting, waiting for us to wake up to the many ways in which we can share with one another and increase understanding, empathy and compassion? What if we are agents and angels meant to diminish strife and suffering on earth? What if we don’t have to go it alone, but we’ve partners in one another as well as in the spiritual realms to assist in manifesting our desires and needs?
I contributed to the unraveling of my internal fabric as well as the greater whole while sitting in judgment the Fourth of July and hopefully began to mend my portion of the tear through having the presence and courage to acknowledge my judgments and realize our shared journey on this shared planet.
How beautiful that a stranger’s graciously offering a synchronistic glass of champagne initiated a shift prompting me to hear and see the many threads we weave in life’s fabric, threads that whether we’re aware of them or not, we are continuously sharing. For we journey as individuals separate yet together connected through shared threads of conversation, smiles, glances, money, pets, children, hair, energy, thoughts, stories, ideas and inspirations, and yes, champagne.
Imagine a world in which we're aware and grateful for the many opportunities and ways in which we share the tangibles and the intangibles. Let's toast to that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Imagine the Shift to Sherpas

For over a year, I’ve pondered the concept of playing with pain, how to honor and feel the sorrows that flow through my life in a way that’s light while not diminishing what I’m feeling.
As one who encourages clients to create community with whom to share, my ponderings haven’t taken me past the pages of my journal where my inner community has been stumped regarding the possibility of playing with pain until recently.
During an impromptu road trip, I heard myself confiding the idea with a friend. Although this was a trusted friend, my sudden sharing wasn’t planned. I’m uncertain now what even caused me to blurt out my closely held thoughts other than we both have been navigating layers of loss, past and present. My friend affirmed the topic merited further thought as we pulled into Hohenwald, TN to partake of the Sonnenschein Festival, a yearly event promoting environmental consciousness and other local causes like the nearby Elephant Sanctuary. 

The first thing that caught my attention wasn’t an elephant or the environment, but a local tv station’s mascot. Snowbird, looking a bit alien in the near 100 degree weather, roamed the crowd. We quickly took advantage of this photo op.
This was one of many laughs that day, yet the one I remember most occurred at a table where three men sat, promoting learning opportunities with Gaia University. One of the men began to explain the process he uses to help people unload emotions. My friend and I jokingly said we thought there was a potential business in what he described. We created an imaginal business card that read: “Got Baggage? We’ll Carry It. Emotional Sherpas for hire.”
Sometime later I realized the profundity of what we spontaneously created. Pain is lessened as we’re emotional sherpas for one another, not co-dependently thinking we must fix the other, but through showing up and listening, practicing presence as we trek through life together.
Why had it taken me a year to share my private ponderings? Why is it so hard to call someone and say, “You want to come over and play or hang out? I’m in pain.” I'm an adventurer in travel but this involved traversing the space between me and another human being. I was afraid. 
Thanks to my friend who sincerely held my idea and feelings as I took a risk, a bridge was created between the two of us as well as my internal counterparts as we trekked between pain and play all afternoon. 

Imagine the shift if we became aware of the opportunities that surround us to be sherpas for one another. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 28 June 2009

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Imagination - An Unlimited Resource (or How My Funk Flew to Madagascar)

Recently after a long day in which a slight funk had settled over me, I spontaneously called a friend to see if her daughters might join me for dinner. (Hanging out with kids gaurantees the funk will flee.) They were about to sit down to their evening meal so my friend instead suggested I join them. I walked to their home mindful of the importance of community and the fact that I've many dear neighbors.

Soon after eating, Ella announced that she was making an airplane. One of the adults commented with a tone of disbelief, "How will you do that?" Ella quickly replied, "All it takes is imagination." With that she was off with younger Lily at her side.

The three adults sat talking while also aware Lily was soon standing in the recycling bin, her blonde hair barely visible, handing cardboard, also known as airplane parts, over the side to Ella.

With the necessary parts in hand, the two returned to the grown ups to recruit an engineer. I volunteered. I had just that morning been quietly reminiscing about the joys of making things during my childhood summers. I could be lost for hours creating from paper mache, paints and plaster.

In less than an hour, we had created a plane with wings, headlights and styrofoam seats. Ella, Lily and my funk were headed to Madagascar and the Artic while I headed home mindful once again that children offer such vital lessons for us, if we're paying attention.

My two young friends modeled imagination and resourcefulness, something so often missing in our daily lives. Also when initially questioned, rather than thinking, 'It can't be done,' they set out certain they could do what was intended, build an airplane. They didn't settle for traveling to just fifty states. They were world travelers. I had an hour prior walked down the street mindful of my neighborhood community yet they were curious about their world community.

I also pondered how today's children will grow up to respond to the world we're leaving them, a world with great advances thanks to imagination yet a world of critical challenges many due in part to our short-sightededness and the non-relational paradigm in which we've been operating. I wondered how utilizing my imagination as well as acting upon my imaginings might alter the world these two girls and the world's children will inherit.

There's much necessary talk today about the earth's limited resources, but imagination is an unlimited resource, limited only by our lack of consciousness and courage. May we be inspired to rediscover the unlimited resource of an awakened imagination so we can travel to the many undiscovered lands within us, around us and between us. If we did this, imagine the world we might co-create. Imagine that shift!
Dawn, The Good News Muse, June 2, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Mewsing from Mystery about the Great Mystery

Mystery, our cat, has recently been taken with the air vents in the floor, in particular the one in our kitchen floor. She can spend a significant portion of the morning, staring into the vent, not just casually sitting by it, but literally her eyes on the vent as close as she can get peering into the dark tunnel from which she’s only separated by the metal cover.

I can only imagine what she’s thinking as she does this but I am aware that the quality of her attention is focused and alert. Any other time if I mention her name, she looks at me. When she’s studying the dark, I can be talking to her and her concentration never breaks. Her attention does not wander. Like a skilled meditator or Tiger Woods on the golf course, she has fierce focus.

I begin to wonder what it would be like to have such focus peering into the unknown, steadfastly gazing into the dark, unattached to what I might see, sitting, peering, sitting, peering, my own concentration unbroken. Might I see my own interior, the inner workings of my heart unheard and unheeded? Might I venture into my shadow, the parts of myself as well as aspects of our culture that are unexamined?

Mystery’s new fascination reminds me to journey into the underworld, the dark, to learn to see in the dark not the glitz and glamour, flash and flesh of our commercialized world but the world of the unformed, uncreated, Unknown. Whether you believe in the God-did-it-in-seven-days approach or the big-bang-got-the-ball-rolling-and-we-evolved-from-there theory, the world emerged from this Unknown. There’s more unknown than known about the Unknown. Scientists think we only know about 4% of the brain paralleling the same percent we know of the Universe. Is it possible as visionary and author Jean Houston suggests, that we’re local outcroppings of something much more vast?

Every story written, every painting painted, every melody sung, every initiative to benefit humankind, every seed sprouted began in the dark, with formlessness, the Unknown. I wonder what creations are yet to be discovered because we’ve not honed our capacity to peer into the dark. I wonder what epiphanies are waiting on the cusp of consciousness, waiting for us to coax them into revealing themselves.

Now whenever I see Mystery peering into the dark tunnel of the vent, I think ‘Dawn, seek the dark. Go into it. Think of it as a friend, someone desirous of your getting to know it for in doing so you will be granted a great boon, a gift. Coax the dark to make itself manifest in your life, in your world.’ Imagine the shift if we developed a curiosity in relation to darkness, if we became skilled astronauts of the inner world, desirous of exploring the Unknown.

For further musing: What does the Dark mean to you? What myths or stories do you hold about the dark? How have these or other beliefs kept you from exploring the dark? Did you befriend the monster under your bed as a child? What if our monsters are just our antagonists bearing gifts if only we stand before them and invite their presence? What one small shift might you commit to that would allow you to become an explorer of the Dark, an unfolder or vehicle of the Great Mystery?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Technology as Teacher

I've tried to come up with a creative comment that summarizes this photo but my words, at least tonight, seem small and insignificant compared to the majesty of the trees and the fern and clover-lined forest floor. So imagine yourself walking along this path in Northern California while I bask in the satisfaction of being able to download it to my site. (I divorced Technology earlier today. Fortunately Technology's patient and I'm fickle thus I came back around and accomplished this. I think this means we've reconciled for now. Once again technology is my teacher holding up a mirror revealing my impatience and my need for things to be easy and quick. Although I pride myself on having not fallen prey to our quick fix culture, Technology shows me otherwise. Everything is teacher when we're willing to be student.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Just because I write about the shift, doesn't meant I live it. I spent an entire day and many moments of others obsessing over what I'd write on my home page. My brain went AWOL. A mood descended upon me. I was having a hard time living in my own skin, let alone with someone. Then sitting under the moon last night, Technology taught me another valuable life lesson.

I've a program called Dreamweaver with which to edit my site thus I can write and rewrite whenever I choose. Suddenly the pressure lifted. I didn't have to get it right the first time or the second or third or fourth. I could rewrite daily if I desired. Just like with life. We get rewrites or do-overs whenever we desire if we only realize it. We can clean our 'slates' at any moment and start over. Imagining that shift brought me a sigh and smile. What matters is that I'm rewriting out of freedom, not fear. What matters is I'm living out of freedom, not fear.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In the past year,I've discovered a fascination with words and the levels to which they refer. In the past two weeks, I've also found that even the language of my new partner, Technology, offers me a way of considering my predicament that might just be helpful. (My predicament? I'm scared. It's not obvious but I'm willing to take risks when I can be certain the resulting changes don't push me out of my comfort zone. And lately technology for various reasons has been extending that zone.) How does this relate to the language of technology?

Yesterday it occured to me that I've been asking for quite some time that my Divine Template be downloaded into my body and being so that I could be the highest version of who I'm meant to be during this time on Planet Earth. Suddenly I knew that desired download was having a much harder time coming through since my main system was clogged with old programming of the past 48 years. Yikes, no wonder I'm scared. I'm asking to be cleared out, to have deleted all my files related to control, protection and safety.

I'm reminded that when I was younger, my life truly did flow when I lived based on discerning and heeding what I think of as the still small voice within, call it Spirit, Higher Power. To me, it's still God, God within me, saying, "Dawn, delete, delete, delete, allow, allow, allow. It's truly that easy."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Be Forewarned

Before reading further, be forewarned: Imagining the shift may lead to changes that disrupt your personal patterns, yes, those habitual ways of doing and thinking onto which we cling oftentimes unknowingly. This disruption may lead to shifts within your inner committee leading to shifts in your relationships, community and our world.