Thursday, November 19, 2009

Building a House of Love- Thanks to Bruce Springsteen, the Earthworm and Ants

I began regularly pressing snooze in my journey just about the time Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" became popular. Although I could sing in my head lyrics to "Dancing in the Dark" and "Hungry Heart" I still did not become a fan.

In recent months after seeing a couple of televised performances of Bruce followed by reading an inspiring piece about him in AARP magazine, I determined if he ever returned to Nashville I would see him.

I did just that recently alongside thousands of dancing and singing souls, AARP age and younger. My only regret was that having not been a fan all these years, I couldn't sing along during the three hour non-stop set except for the periodic la-la-la's and occasional phrases I remembered from the Eighties. Nor did I know that I should have gotten tickets on the chairless floor where Bruce at times walked among the crowd and early on body surfed his way back to the stage supported by fans upheld arms.

I went to the concert hoping to be inspired. Bruce did not disappoint. Early on he said, "Nashville, tonight we are building a house. We are building a house of music, hope, love and voice." I suspect Bruce says this or something similar in every city where he performs. What's important is he and we did just that. For three hours, he belted out and sweated out stories that covered the gamut of experience, allowing us to build with him an energetic house of love and hope through voice and music.

I walked away from the Sommet Center grateful that although my spirit for many years had been 'dancing in the dark' with only my intermittent conscious presence, my 'hungry heart' had somehow kept me alive.

I awoke the next morning tired from having gone to bed late thus out of sync with my usual morning rhythm. Bruce on the other hand I suspected was already up and working out.

Regardless of how funky I felt, I put on the rumpled clothes from the prior morning and headed out the door to walk under a chilly, gray sky. Not long ago this kind of November day would have only furthered my funk.

This particular morning I walked and was inspired by a very different thought zipping across my mind’s universe. I walked and thought: I carry a light. (This is where I usually unintentionally launch into getting preachy by saying you carry a light too, since you do. Instead I'll try to stick with me.) I walked and heard: You carry the light of feeling, deep feeling. This is why you cared for the earthworm. Deep feeling holds the key to the light that has been so lost in the world. It is a cornerstone in building a house of love.

As I walked I knew we are building a house of love. That's why we're all here (on the planet) at this time. My body/Your body was built to be a house of love. When I ignore or don't see my beauty or you don’t see yours, a part of the heart of the world dies. I knew I dismissed the earthworm's lesson when I didn't get this.

I walked down the street recording all I heard. I wanted to testify as church folk do for I knew we are building a house of love globally as individuals and this has a ripple effect in our relationships and communities. Okay, I was past testifying and on the verge of preaching.

Instead I slowed down and continued walking. My enthusiasm stems from a heart that for so long has yearned for a global house of love. This is why I’m deeply disturbed when I see beauty under attack be it the Appalachian Mountains or the earth worm in my garden.

I had more questions than answers and The Boss had left town. How on earth do we build a house of love with a gazillion different people on the planet? What does a house of love actually look like? What does a house of love really mean? How on earth do I build this global house with those who are so different from me with whom I disagree? Where on earth is the blue print for all this?

How quickly I forget. In my mind's eye, I see The Boss wink, not a flirtatious wink, but a knowing one with a slight grimace suggesting I know where the blue print is. I hesitantly point to my heart. He smiles and nods.

Regardless of whether Bruce Springsteen would actually do this or not, I know this imaginal man is right. The blueprint is literally right here on earth, in you, in me, in the worm, the ant…..but what does that actually mean?

What I know right now is that I must start with me. What I know right now is I am equipped to be a house of love, a home of deep feeling which I’ve neglected and ignored over the years. I've not fully, nor continually inhabited this ‘house’ for many decades. I was ‘at home’ periodically in childhood and randomly in my adult life. I see it in my eyes when I look at certain photos. At mid-life, I know many things that help me ‘build or tend my house’ – connecting with Spirit through nature, children, music; holding the world in love when I meditate or pray. I also know I have had great periods of resistance to these practices at times due to sleepwalking, stubbornness, fear and exhaustion. My personal challenge in feeling deeply is a propensity toward plunging into missions to help others build their house so to speak. I know the house plans that would work best for them forgetting that's not my job. My house burns down when I burn out. Exhausted, I slowly rebuild.

My challenge is living from a place of balance as well as reconciling deep feelings related to sex trafficking, environmental degradation, Wall Street greed and abuse of animals. In my better, more conscious moments I can feel love even toward people involved in the above, not toward their behaviors but toward them as individuals with family members who love them.

That’s the rub even with the ants and worm. I can love and appreciate each individually but it's what I saw the ants doing to the worm, that birthed tension. I can send love to an individual be they a sex trafficker or a corporate billionaire. But when I hear of a child’s body, an animal’s hide or the earth’s resources used for monetary gain, well that’s where the love turns into deep feeling kin to rage.

Then a light comes on. This is the part of the story where you may begin to think I’ve lost it, yet I loose a part of me if I edit out the following.

The earthworm, which I had days prior thought of as part of the heart of the world, was volunteering its home, its body, as nourishment for another. This level of reciprocity and sharing is relevant to how we build a house of love. Don’t ask how I made the following leap just leap with me. Isn’t this similar to what Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King did in his or her own way? They volunteered or lived their lives in such a way that they were living blueprints for building a house of love.

Here's another leap. In the prior story, I voiced a desire to see mystery at work in aspects of life that so trouble me. What if the situations prompting my sorrow and rage aren’t about beauty being under attack? What if the hungry heart of the world is offering itself to us through these seeming dark situations so we might awaken from our individual and collective darkness?

Scientists now know that over 90% of the universe, the inner universe of the brain as well as the outer universe of the stars, is made of dark matter. We truly are dancing in the dark. What if realizing and living from our Light illumines this dark universe within and without while returning the heart to the world?

All of the above came spilling out so quickly one morning that by lunch my 'lights' dimmed and I left the building site – me. Overwhelmed and excited about the beautiful possibilities and epiphanies, I felt pressure to not only make sense of it all but convey it in a neat, concise package. I neglected tending my personal house of love. I hardly ate all day and didn’t get up and away from the computer screen for hours. This self-created pressure and non-tending behavior led to a dryness and disconnection. I had left the site although the project manager my heart suspected I would return.

Four days later, I’m back. I still don’t know how to wrap this up. I now know I don’t have to. To wrap it up, stops the process. If I truly follow the example of the earthworm, I will allow these ideas to lie in the soil of my soul and hope they also find homes with other souls who come upon them. I will pay attention as they decompose into even richer form.

I've still more questions than answers. I will dance with these questions and pay attention to when the lights come on around possible answers or better questions. For now, I invite you as Bruce Springsteen voiced and the earthworm and ants demonstrated, to consciously build in reciprocity with this great big beautiful world and me a House of Love. Imagine that!
-Dawn! The Good News Muse

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Earthworm - Class Isn't Over

I wish I could say the earthworm story concluded where I last left it in the prior Musing. Instead I felt compelled to go check on the little creature assuming I'd find the place where I laid it empty, leaving my imagination anything but empty as I'd get to wonder about the earthworms wanderings in our garden.

As lunch simmered, I ran out to pay respects one last time. After writing the story of our encounter, I wanted to share my appreciation again with this creature. Instead I found beneath the fern and covered by the ginkgo leaf, ants sharing in the earthworm's literal energy, swarming its little body feeding their even smaller bodies.

I felt sick and wished I had left the little worm to find its way along the sidewalk blocks from my home. I heard: Dawn, you brought him home in love and he brought you home to love.

I was not consoled. I felt so sad. In the ants, I was being challenged to see the 'all in the small' in a way I did not desire. It's not that I hate ants. I've sat mesmerized watching a single ant cart a crumb ten times its size across the patio. Likewise I've found myself curious as to how they work together and the application of this to the human family.

What was it about their busyness that troubled me so, caused this visceral reaction in my heart, body and spirit? They were congregating, swarming over the ant as if it might be their last meal.

The little earthworm reminded me of our Earth and the ants, us, frantically and unconsciously devouring the planet and its resources. Our actions, like the ants, suggest we've been using this amazing planet without awareness that we're participants in a sacred process. I would feel some consolation knowing the ants were honoring of the worm as they raced around and over it. In my human way, I assumed they were not. It was hard to feel anything sacred in the process I witnessed.

I could step back and see how I was the ant in other ways. In the prior story, I became the human ambulance rushing down the sidewalk to get the little worm to my garden. I momentarily went unconscious. Letting fear run me, I temporarily quit listening. The ant's reminded me of the part of me that gets compulsive, that hurries and scurries fearing the Universe will run out of ideas. How can I expect the ants to rest into knowing and trust that my garden is filled with a cornucopia of composting material sustenance to last the winter when I forget the Universe is about abundance? It overflows with material to be composted creatively for soul filling sustenance.

Intellectually I summoned all kinds of parallels, but I still could not watch the ants feeding on the earthworm. I had formed an attachment to the little worm that had been my teacher in a short time earlier that morning.

"Well, that's the problem," a Buddhist might say. "This is why we practice non-attachment."

I do not like good-byes. I do not like endings yet the idea of non-attachment has never appealed to me. I've felt it could be used to create emotional distance, a wall of sorts, keeping one from being engaged with the world, in my present situation with the worm.

I determined that if I'm truly going to be at home in the Universe I needed to witness the process of life occurring under the fern with my senses and heart open, otherwise I was practicing my own version of non-attachment, distant and shut down.

I returned to the garden, not sadistically to cause myself pain but to see if I could be a curious and compassionate witness to this aspect of nature and thereby glean something deeper.

Doing so did not alleviate my discomfort. I felt love for the little being that had in such a short time reminded me of the heart of the world and myself. Something that is repulsive, icky to most people had come to represent an aspect of beauty to me while reminding me of my own beauty.

Ah, my insides relaxed as I came upon the key to my discomfort. I had stumbled into what was so troubling, beauty was under attack. This explained my strong reaction not only to the ant and worm, but to the aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska, the practice of raiding bear dens in Russia while killing the mothers and leaving thousands of cubs orphaned as well as coal mining practices that have so far left hundreds of mountain tops barren in Appalachia. In all these situations beauty seems to be under attack.

I had kicked myself for having gotten involved in the worm's journey. My intentions may have been loving, but they had gotten it eaten. Now I was grateful for yet another lesson shown by the smaller of Creator's creatures.

But class was not over yet. My next assignment was to find a way to see the ants as part of the heart, creatures of beauty, to not just see the mystery in the mundane, but to see the mystery at work in aspects of life that trouble me, like animals being stalked and mountains tops destroyed. Where is the 'good news' in these situations? How is the sacred showing up in these things? As the worm shared its energy on many levels with the ants and me, I would be digesting all of this for time to come.

To be continued..... - Dawn! The Good News Muse

Crawling Home, Finding Grace - Lessons from the Earthworm

During yesterday's walk, I came across five little earth worms, all in close proximity to one another, lying dry and dead on the sidewalk. I immediately wondered what caused this exodus from the rich, dark earth they call home?  I suspected a chemical sprayed on the nearby lawn, the roof to their world, had prompted the evacuation or they had been lured, not by the neighbor's grass being greener, but by the warmth of the sidewalk after the sudden drop in temperature this week.

I held each one then placed it in the grass, actually down into the grass in the dirt then covered them with leaves. I thought of a phrase I had first heard Jean Houston reference "to see the all in the small" and walked on.

A couple of blocks further down the busy street, I came upon another worm. Was this an animalian holy day of which I'm unaware? Were the worms presenting themselves, a high protein offering of sorts, to the birds as a last supper prior to winter's leaner months?

Cupped in my hand, I held the worm which began to move. This presented a problem. What was the right thing to do? Should I place him back into the grass where the chances of living seemed slim at least in this area or leave him on the sidewalk to his own devices? What felt most like love was to relocate him to my yard where he could crawl among the chemically-free grown ferns and determine whether to live or die.

I, a grown and graying woman, walked down Natchez Trace with a worm cupped in my hand nestled alongside a golden ginkgo leaf I had picked up earlier. I walked and wondered: What if this little earth worm is the heart of the world? (I've quit asking where these questions come from and instead just go with them.)

If not the heart of the world, at least a part of the world. This is when I noticed a tiny bit of blood on my palm coming from the earth worm. Maybe it is the heart of the world or the heart of the earth. Both are bleeding, yet like the worm are still very much alive.

The heart needs us as tenders of the heart to hold it each in our own way.  It asks to be held and considered by people in places of prominence as they make decisions as well as held by people like myself walking the world's sidewalks loving an earthworm and all it represents.

Suddenly I panicked. If I'm holding the heart of the world or a piece of it, I do not want it to die. I picked up my pace, like a human ambulance, trying to get the little worm to my fern recovery room. I then realized in my rush that I was missing a significant part of what I was being offered.

I slowed down. The little worm was offering itself and its love to me. How often do I give love while missing the experience of receiving? The Earth Worm says: Don't rush. Hold me. Listen. As you share with me, let me share with you.

It has forgiven me for its many kin whose lives I took while fishing as a kid in country creeks. Furthermore as we walked, it taught me about me, who I am, that I am love, care and compassion. I have been offered this lesson by animals before but never by an earthworm.

Arriving home, I walk into my backyard with a spirit of reverence, a sense of the sacred. I knelt among the ferns and opened the door of my palm as a little brown line of life crawled home.

This is grace. I have arrived home changed knowing the Divine palm that has held me safely with familiarity and sameness is opening. Some days I fly.  Many days I crawl. What matters most is I, like the earthworm, am coming home.
-Dawn , The Good News Muse,  11 March 2014

Thursday, November 12, 2009

While Washing Windows ... Further Thoughts on Beauty and Love

One story often leads to another which is what happened immediately after posting the prior one inspired by Martha Stewart's "Living." This time rather than pressing "Post" followed by "Send," my editor came to work and effectively shut me down. No, I don't have an editor I've not told you about, I'm referring to the internal editor that arrived the day after posting the Martha-inspired piece. So here I sit better late than never, rereading the story from last week prior to pressing "Post" and "Send."

After revealing that I want to be sucked in by beauty and mesmerized by glitter, I decided to wash the windows. I wondered what I was avoiding creatively. Which piece called to me? There were several but I just wanted to wash the windows, only six of them on a rare, warm for November in Nashville day.

I got out the requisite tools then realized if Martha was doing this she'd be wearing a bright color, not to mention holding a drink while music played. My sweatshirt was new and a sky blue color that actually worked well with my hair. I had worn it ever so briefly one day prior. I had on my good walking tights, not the holey ones. Martha would approve. Where were the photographers when I needed them? I thought piano was appropriate and uplifting, but when I put in the cd, I found Robert Cray already in the player. How could I not enjoy some funky blues played by none other than one of Bob's namesakes? (If you don't know who Bob is, read the Oct. 10 Musing.)

As for the drink, window washing on a sunny afternoon called for red wine in my mind. It could only be called for in my mind, since my liquor cabinet, contrary to Martha's, only held a bit of white. Although atop the counter (our liquor cabinet) there did sit one lonely bottle, a red that was a gift to Jerry. But I couldn't. So I opted for hot tea in a bright red cup that popped.

I found myself moving right along all the while thinking this is how Martha does it and if she doesn't this is how it's suppose to be done. I was actually enjoying a task that I now relegate to once a year when it use to be twice. Dirty windows were the one reason I liked cloudy days. The coating of dirt and rain streaks don't show on cloudy days.

Washing the windows, with hot tea nearby and music playing felt very French even without the red wine. I was engaged in more than just cleaning the window, I was having an experience which was beautiful. Ah, this was what made it feel French. Although I've no concrete evidence to back this up when it comes to window washing, I was reminded of how this summer in France I had the sense that the French bring beauty to whatever they do. I saw it in the brightly colored shutters on the windows of old buildings, in the neat array of food at the open air market, in the presentation of food and even in the dear bar of lavender soap given to us by a friend's mother as we parted - which I'm still using. (Yes those are French, not Nashville windows, above.)

I guess I do have some concrete evidence, yet the beauty to which I'm referring was actually on a deeper level, than even the way food was presented or shutters painted. Beauty was a thing of the heart and not just the stomach. It was and is ineffable. I felt it as I cried through much of the trip moved by what I sensed. And although I still can't pronounce it, I felt what was meant by joie de vivre, the joy in living.

I was cleaning right along when my engagement with joy was temporarily halted. I ran out of window cleaner. This would never happen at Martha's. I searched every cabinet where I might have tucked an extra can to find none. I resorted to environmentally correct vinegar and water, but had a temperamental spray bottle. I cleaned on with the moody sprayer and realized how moody I become when things don't go my way, the simplest of things just like what I was experiencing. How embarrassing to admit.

I imagined if in France, I would continue on happily cleaning, without a care as to whether the sprayer worked or not. (If truly in France, I would have of course gone out to buy red wine then sat with wine and enjoyed looking at the windows maybe while enjoying the sunshine.)

Remembering France returned to me my joy and also allowed me to realize I had felt the same level of joy to which I'm referring, no offense to the French, while in Russia and a South African homeland in my twenties. Without any of the material trappings to which we're accustomed, the people exuded joy. They were people of such beauty because their spirits were beauty-filled.

I washed windows and wondered if this depth of joy is birthed partially because of what the souls in these lands have lived through. I thought of all that the soil and soul had born witness to in these places leaving the people with their spirits and hearts often broken, yet able to share life, the bare bones of life with one another and some way through this find sustenance and joy.

What I've been through does not compare with what so many others have traversed, but I do know that when I've been in the dark nights of my own journey, when I thought some mornings I could not put my feet on the floor and get out of bed, that there came a moment when I saw the sky or heard a bird sing as if for the first time. The last time this happened I was walking down the street and looked up just as the sun set shifting colors behind the clouds. I distinctly remember smiling inside and thinking, 'I just felt happy to be alive.'

I washed windows and pondered all the soil has felt and absorbed in these lands afar and inside, the literal land and the land of the heart, all that has been healed and transformed thanks to the beauty of nature and of love.

Now days later, I realize although I will post this story sending its vibes out into the ethers, its essence will continue to turn within me. Thanks to a simple task like washing windows, I'm cleaning a window into my soul and the soil of those to whose spirits I feel so kin. This is a shift I run to and yes, want to be sucked into, the shift of seeing the magic in the mundane. For nothing is mundane when we've eyes to see and ears to hear the interconnected levels available all the time. Imagine that shift!
-Dawn!, The Good News Muse

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sucked in by Beauty Thanks to Martha Stewart & Venus

Somehow a copy of Martha Stewart's "Living" addressed to me ended up in my mailbox recently. Upon making it past the "cover turkey" surrounded by gigantic sage larger than any grown in my garden, I ended up feeling more like dying than living. Surely this wasn't the effect the sender intended.

At first as I scanned the photos, I was completely taken with a pie. It wasn't just any pie. The recipe read: Apple-Blackberry Pie with "Fall Leaves" Pate Brisee. I wanted to add a visit to Davis Cookware in Hillsboro Village to my 'to do' list in hopes of finding tiny leaf shaped cookie cutters. Yes, the top of the crust was made of beautiful fall leaves cut with a leaf cutter then the leaf veins were etched with a knife. Reading further, I discovered something called an egg wash is involved. I suspect this is not a facial moisturizer for the cook while the pie bakes. Upon reading the fine print, "a pate brisee is the pinnacle of pie-making" I realize I might truly metaphorically end up with egg on my face if I try this. The pumpkin pie with a shortbread crust ranked as 'easy' is probably where I should start.

Thanks to "Living" I want to move to one of Vermont's farms, where I can be part of the process of making cheese alongside little goats and Jersey cows. Martha's mag offers me a way to visit rather than actually have goats in the country of which I've been dreaming.

Page after page, I was sucked in by the beauty of what I saw. Rachel Lang, my astrologer friend, says I've a chart loaded with Venus meaning I love beautiful things. Martha obviously knows Venus too.

Earlier that very day while perusing a stack of childhood related odds and ends, I found some glittery pieces reminding me of how mesmerizing glitter was. I wondered if glitter still existed. Wonder no more. Glitter does more than exist. Glitter rocks. In the middle of "Living," I not only learn about a technique called "Glitter painting" but see Vivaldi and Sharkey, glitter painted portraits of Martha's cat and dog. (The photo conversion tool's available at I know what I'm getting Mystery and Bogeysattva for Christmas.

As Venus-filled person prone to excitability, I knew I was in trouble. To calm myself, I went to the front of the magazine where I probably should have started. Tucked between an internet and an insurance ad was a page titled 'Martha's Calendar' which included a list of things Martha does around her house. Written upon each day were two to four things I should be doing in November, things like clean out the gutters and winterize the beehives, organize the potting shed, apply bone meal to the bulbs. Just writing about it, I feel the fringes of panic. I'm not including yoga, working out and stocking the liqueur cabinet for entertaining. Yes, reading Martha's list made me want to find the liqueur cabinet, but wait I don't have one. Does this mean I have to build one?

If I'm doing all these tasks how do I have time for glittering, goats and egg washes?

A week from Friday I'm to bathe the cats! or so reads the calendar. Been there and done that on first cat. I still feel bad about the traumatizing her with the noisy hair dryer and that was twenty years ago. 'How does Vivaldi react to the dryer?' I wonder.

The only thing I had done in the prescribed first ten days of the month was dig up a few gladiola bulbs, but I hadn't even done that right. According to the calendar, the bulbs were to winter in the basement. I relocated them to a sunnier location in the soil.

The basement though was another matter. Periodically, usually when avoiding a writing project, I think of painting my basement floor. "Living" this month devotes an entire article to making one's basement livable. My armpits begin to sweat as my heart beats faster. Creating a "Haven Below" would be the ultimate of creative U-turns, possibly the final one since "Living" was making me feel more like dying.

I read on, on to feeding the birds in winter. There's Martha smiling, filling at least twenty tube feeders hanging from what appears to be the eve of a barn. I've a hard enough time ensuring the birds have food at our two bird feeders. She stands smiling, not a hair out of place, wearing snow white gloves while holding a long pole by which she removes each feeder. Around my bird feeders, the birds see me without a hair in place, often in a housecoat or holey pants and a sweatshirt sans gloves. As for the pole, the one I'm fussing with holds the feeder or is suppose to. The feeder keeps falling because clay soil is virtually impossible to sink the pole into not to mention the squirrels that try to climb the pole and the chipmunks that jump from the carport to the feeder to eat then jump down when they see me coming.

If this is a gift, the giver's intent I suspect was to make me feel good. Instead I'm reminded of the Halloween years ago when I had the impromptu idea of creating the "House of Martha Steward." I vaguely recall changing the last name to avoid a law suit and the house was really just a table with a screen and me behind it. The table held an assortment of holiday items. The mother's got roses because I thought it was Mother's Day. There were Easter eggs, a fake cake with firecrackers for the 4th of July and of course a Titan's pompom and banner (there's that cheer leader theme again). The parents loved it and the kids thought I was just plain weird. Finally I retrieved their candy from of course, a Christmas bag. The whole idea being that Martha, like so many many of us, fall prey to the commercialism of the holidays that one event bleeds into the next. My character was on the verge of a nervous breakdown or that's how the sign read.

I realize after finding the photo that I appeared to be having lots of fun. I was living like the magazine title suggests. Maybe this is part of Martha's intent, to increase beauty, joy and fun in the world.

My external world may be very different from Martha's but some part of our internal worlds aren't that far apart. Whether I'm glittering over the weekend or reminiscing about glittering days gone by, I want to be present in living rather than just existing and dying. I want to be mesmerized by glitter and fall shaped leaves atop a pie and curious as to the origins of pate brisee and how Vivaldi really feels after his cat bath next week. I want to feel the stretch as I reach to clean out my gutters and wash my windows. I want to enjoy goat cheese whether I make it to Vermont or not as well as relish talking to the birds watching as I fill the feeders housecoat and all.

I want to embrace the shift of being sucked in by beauty. Thank you, Venus. Thank you, Martha.

-Dawn!, The Good News Muse

Monday, November 9, 2009

Embracing the Inner Puppy and Squirrel

This morning I headed out for my walk and saw coming toward me a tiny puppy. This happy, bounding bundle of energy thought nothing of the traffic at the busy intersection nearby. Fortunately the traffic stopped, I gasped and the puppy kept coming only pausing ever so briefly to check me out. I scooped it into my arms and returned it to the appreciative neighbor from whom the puppy had escaped.

Within moments, a squirrel scampered down a tree up ahead and came running down the sidewalk toward me also. I've been on a rant lately as to how we don't honor the animals, but has word gotten out? Do they know?

Upon seeing me, the squirrel unlike the dog, put on its brakes and spun around racing as fast as it's little legs would carry it back up the tree from which it came.

I smiled thinking of how we all start out as young children, like the puppy, full of enthusiasm, seldom meeting a stranger then all too often we become more like the retreating, safety seeking squirrel.

I was reminded of how I've often had two modes through life, one being when I live unrestrained with a sense of "Whoo-hoo, life is a playground filled with new and interesting ventures." Then just as life gets really exciting and I'm feeling too alive, I turn into the squirrel with a sense of "Oh, shit, life might be actually be on my side. Good things could happen and happen too fast." I like the squirrel retreat to my 'tree' as life passes by.

I want more running toward the new and exciting while also allowing for a tree to lean against not for safety but for rest and assimilation. I think that makes me the puppy and the squirrel. I honor these moments of grace offering lessons through the animals as well as the animals that live within.

What animals speak to you? What are they calling you to?
-Dawn! The Good News Muse
(Bob's working on his next story)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back to the Garden - A Thought from Bob and the Buds, I Mean Bulbs

(Bob and I wrote this four months ago. My harsh editor, the one within, didn't allow me to post it. I just found and reread it. I must fire my editor. Soon an update from the "Buds" now six inches tall! -Dawn)
"You've trouble with endings, huh?" Bob said noticing I was turning earth in a new part of the garden before putting 'to bed' the raised bed over which Bob had presided since his August arrival.

"What's up with that? he continued.

"You tell me," I shot back. "You're the one who talks with butterflies and caterpillars."

"It was one butterfly and caterpillar and as I told you they only came to me when they couldn't get your attention.....unlike now when you're eager to discuss what I'm noticing," Bob retorted and continued, "Rewind, rewind, I'm sorry. I should only speak for myself and not about you. I'm noticing a slight attachment to fixing you without honoring where you actually are."

Where we, Bob and I, were was in the garden preparing a new bed for the garlic. After amending and amen-ing the soil, I dug twenty little holes, little cocoons for the Chesnok Red, Bogatyr, Music Pink and Susanville garlic purchased from Jay at Burgess Falls Nursery. As I placed the bulbs each one in a dark little hole, I hummed a lullaby and explained that they were about to be covered in dirt. Although it might seem to be the end of their journey, in reality this was the beginning. Some of them might wonder if they would ever see the light again.

"Remember the light is in each of you. Pay attention. Trust your senses. You'll begin to feel the urge to emerge. You'll sense when it's time to grow toward the warmth," I shared.

Bob smiled. This was the human he had grown to love. She might have several projects going at once, but she ultimately remembered the truth.

Bob though was discovering his voice so he had to chime in. "Give my Buds here a few months and I guarantee you if we were out here 24/7 we'd begin to hear mumblings and rumblings that went something like this:

Chesnok Red: I'm heading up and outta here. Tired of waiting. Who's going with me?

Music Pink: I, I, I don't think it's time. Remember the Voice said timing's important.

Bogatyr: I missed that day in class. Did we have a lesson in timing?

Chesnok: There are no instructions, kid. There was no class. The Voice said to trust our senses and my sense says it's time. You grow it alone or you don't grow.

Music Pink: I think your ego's what's growing, Ches. What I heard was we would begin to feel the urge to emerge.

Suasanville: Chesnok, I'm feeling the urge to merge with you, but I'll wait for your return.

Bogatyr: It was emerge, not merge, Sue. The light is within each of us. Chesnok doesn't hold your light.

Susanville: You're just jealous, because if you do actually have a light, it can't be as pretty as mine. Not with a name like Boga-whatever

Music Pink: I just don't want to look like a fool. In my world of music, it's all about timing.

Bogatyr: No one will want me even if I do grow right.

Susanville (batting her bulb lashes): Show us the way, Chesnok.

Music Pink: Your Chesnok's already gone. He's gotta be first.

Bogatyr: Stop it, you two. Haven't you heard what they do to you once you arrive up there, up wherever? They cut you up, chop you up then saute or bake you. I'm staying put right where I am. It may be dark down here but at least it's familiar. It's safe.

Back in the garden....Bob adds, "My Buds will have forgotten the wisdom you shared with them. They'll get caught up in the backstory, their roles and story lines and forget the Under Story, their raison d'etre.

"Whoa, their raisin what?" I asked.

"Their reason for being, for being here on Earth or in their case down under in the earth. My Buds will forget they're not here to compete to see who can grow fastest, biggest or best. They're not here to be carrots or potatoes. They're here to be fully themselves. Yet these strongly held stories and ways of thinking about themselves passed on through the family line or dreamed up in the quiet of their own minds will ultimately separate them from who they really are and in turn separate them from one another. This in turn will contribute at a quantum level to the collective energy of separation on the planet. Forgetting one's reason for being impacts the individual and the collective...."

"Wait, wait, wait." I needed Bob to stop for a bit, to slow down but he was on a roll.

"Don't try to remember it all. Start with your reason for being, allow it to come to you. Don't go mentally chasing after it. It's all about the light like you told my buds, the bulbs. Allow the warmth of love to draw you out, don't resist the fertilizers of tears and fears, they call you into your fullness. Invite your purpose to grow from the rich darkness in your own soul fed by the varied experiences of your journey. That's when you'll begin to find your raisin, as you called it."

Bob, knowing I learn best when taught visually, was busy demonstrating one of the truths I need to amend into my personal soil. His little yellow hat poking through the earth reminds me that I, like you, am a carrier of the Light. I've lost this truth in dark times forgetting darkness provides ingredients for the journey. That when the external lights are low, we develop resilience as well as discover the brightness of our inner light and find community.

My insides would continue to be amended, but my soul was Amen-ing Bob's wisdom. I smiled grateful to have a wise StoryWeaver like Bob to help in this process as well as the newly planted garlic bulbs reminding me of the journey through the Garden of life.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse and Bob, her Gardening Guru

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What About Bob? What About You?

If you read my Oct. 10 story ,you know who Bob is or....was. Yes, a closer look at the lonely little tractor in the raised bed reveals Bob's absence. Yesterday prior to hiking I ran out to water the last of the green beans and a handful of beets. I threw a bucket of water on the beans and gasped, "Bob?" Assuming Bob's absence was a prank, I ran inside shouting, "911 - Bob's missing in action. Help. Help." I quickly sensed this wasn't a joke played by someone I knew at least.

I couldn't go hiking. What about Bob? Jerry of course says Bob will still be wherever he is upon our return. We drove to the trail while recounting our last remembrance of Bob and wondered whether he was 'missing in action' held hostage by a squirrel or raccoon desiring food for his release or being tortured as a means to gain access to his gardening wisdom. Worse yet what if he was AWOL, rebeling against my authority. I thought we had a pretty egalitarian relationship. Did Bob feel otherwise ?

The last time Bob and I really had a heart to heart was a couple of weeks ago. The garden was dying. The tomatoes vines were brown, the watermelons I planted late were the size of oranges and obviously not going to see maturity. We had just gone through our my mum-phase. I was bringing Bob in for winter when he said, "Leave me outside. I'll put the plants to bed. Grief's hard on you." This was Bob's way of saying let me take care of this outside stuff and you take care of the 'inside' stuff. Write about what shows up inside you as your first garden enters a new phase. Bob was faithful to his part of the agreement. I would see his tiny self under the green and brown remains of strawberries, okra, peppers and beans and smile although inside I felt melancholy. I was helpless to stop the cycle of death as the magical plants that had brought me such joy while teaching me life lessons were diminishing, gone.

With Bob's sudden disappearance I was jolted into remembering that I did none of the writing to which I had agreed. Had Bob struck a deal with a critter, asking it to cart him away to teach me a lesson? Loosing Bob reminded me of how quickly I loose myself , my insides and what makes me tick, my heart. I don't even know I'm lost.
By the time, I returned from the day's hike, dark had descended. So this morning early while still in my pajamas, I went out in search of Bob. Within minutes of digging in the leaves, I spotted his bright yellow hat and smiling face beneath the leaves.

"What an adventure," Bob said. "I wanted to see how nature acrtually does it, what it's like to be dynamically involved in the onoing process of one's self being altered into new form that would not be recognized by one's old form.
"You mean composting?" I asked.
He continued, "This is what one of the Shakespearen Henry's meant when he said, 'Presume not that I am the thing that I was.' Reminds me a bit of what the cocoon and butterfly explained earlier this summer."

"Whoa! You've been reading Shakespeare and taking anthropology classes without my knowing it?" I asked half angry and half happy. "You talked with a butterfly and caterpillar....without me?! You've no idea how upset I've been thinking you were MIA."
"Whoa, Sweetheart, if we want to talk 'missing in action' look no further than someone whose mastered being MIA in much of her own life. You know, I'm not into judgment. I'm just mindfully calling it like I see it."
I know Bob's right as he continues.

"You think I've been working out here all summer? Presence is best practiced with a balance of being and doing from a space of non-judging mindfulness. Remember I am Bob, your Buddhist gardening go-to guy. As for the butterfly and catterpillar, they only came to me because they couldn't get your attention." Now that I have your attention, take me inside. It's chilly out here.

I smile, the kind of smile one feels inside and out. Yes, Bob, I will take you and your lessons inside and from that place consider 'What about Me.......?" "What about YOU?
=from Dawn!, the Good News Muse & Bob 11/09

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Costumes - The Betrayal or Portrayal of Essence

For Halloween, Jerry and I freed our Inner Cheerleaders while also lifting the quantum energetic level of the local NFL team. Within 24 hours of our 'appearance' the Titans finally had their first 'W' in the win column. (Note: Jerry with surprising ease mastered the slight, but necessary back kick required of all aspiring cheerleaders. This is in no relation to the creative, ongoing kick backs of sorts performed by investment/banking institutions ultimately assisting in the recent economic meltdown. But I digress.)

As the handful of trick or treaters made their way down our street, we cheered: "We've got candy, yes, we do. We've got candy, how about you?" or "We give you candy and we take it away." (Clap 2 times) (Hmmm, am I the only one noticing in the first cheer the word 'money' could be substuted for 'candy' by major players in the investment industry and that our government could be in turn saying: "We gave you money, now we're taking it away," I think Pres. Obama needs a Chief of Cheers to assist in these matters.)

As for Halloween, we toned it down for the wee ones out for their first venture, as they were reluctant to approach, let alone take our candy. I was happily reminded of childhood when my mother drove my siblings and me over town trick or treating. We got homemade popcorn balls from one woman and cider poured by a witch from another.
Our den floor became a mini stock exchange as we traded our loot with one another. I was as mesmerized by the colorful wrappers as the candy inside, not unlike the Wall streeters seduced by the adrenaline of quickly making vast sums of money gradually negating the ethics behind aquistions.

I recalled one Halloween in college when I drove down the interstate dressed as a clown to surprise my grandmother and help her pass out candy to kids still flocking to her street ten years after I had. And although I didn't mention it, I remembered my father's propensity for costumes, his last being a clown which I saw only in a photo at his funeral. Friends I've unintentionally traumatized prior Halloweens would say I inherited his genes in this regards.

During the evening, I found myself most curious regarding were how free the costumed me felt and how restrained those driving past on our dead-end street appeared. My long pink locks unlocked the part of me that unknowingly had bought into being invisible or seen but not heard (see prior Musing).

As for those driving-by, some stared ahead driving in haste toward their destination at dead end while others stared at us without a trace of humor, not even a nod or slight smile. One lone girl with Auburn tags, as in the college, not hair color, happily shouted, "What's going on here?" This rare drive-by support was so unexpected we hardly shook our pom poms. Were the serious, driven drivers-by unknowingly portraying who they think they must be in our society to get ahead or were their expressions conveying shock over grown ups having fun.?

Our favorite treaters were Lily! the cheerleader who inspired this trilogy of sorts and Candy Man, whose pants were striped in twizzlers, her shirt and hat in gum drops, while sporting a Hershey's kiss umbrella and a twizzler mustache....all her creation.

Although we associate Halloween with shadow, the dark, mysterious and scarey side of life, Ella and Lily's costumes conveyed their very essence, not shadow. Candy Man, aka Ella, has the sweetest, most caring heart I know and Lily! the boldest of spirits. I suspect with the parents and friends they have, their essence will not end up in their shadow to be remembered in therapy or self-help circles later in life.

So many of our individual problems (which in turn become societal) comes from gradually and unconsciously putting on the "costumes" we wear the other 364 days of the year. These are the costumes we come to believe we need for protection and status, to please others or to portray we don't need others, out of the need to be invisible or visible. These layers and labels first separate us from who we are then in turn separate us from one another.

Isn't it ironic the 'costume' I put on at a young age that I thought would keep me from feeling alone, resulted in a greater aloneness, one that led to my betraying myself and sending into my shadow a vibrant me? So often what we decide to portray often betrays who we really are in spirit and essence.
Thanks to Lily, I happened upon my essence, my cheer leader, who realizes she is not only to be seen, but heard, heard first and foremost by Me!

I wish for each of us, including those profitting from questionable practices on Wall Street, a remembering of who we fully are in our essence and a gentle laying aside of our 'costumes.' Imagine the shift that is bringing !
-Dawn! The Good News Muse  October 31, 2009