Friday, August 27, 2010

Being & the Beacon

It's evening as I sit outside something I've not really done since surgery. The sun has moved through the sky, its light now perfectly angled spotlighting the small Japanese maple in our backyard.

Does this little tree realize for three consecutive evenings it was my beacon, my lighthouse of sorts as I recovered on the sofa. I was captured by the dance between the trees lacy leaves and the soft, clear light. The sunlight reminded me of the poster in the hospital hall as I was rolled into surgery. The poster titled "Natural Light" was of sunlight on great rock walls.

This was just three weeks ago. I had expected a drug induced haze, but instead found myself filled with a presence, an aliveness. I felt so alive those three nights I noticed the tree and light. All I did was Be, something I consider myself good at, yet now all these weeks later realize I'm better at being after I've earned it through a lot of doing.

Lying on the sofa for nearly a week revealed how I've bought into valuing society's message of doing over being.

Tonight I be and am grateful to the Japanese Maple for reminding me of the beauty of being. The beauty of being, that is my beacon. What's yours?
-Dawn! The Good News Muse
written 8/27/10 - posted 11/08/10

An Unexpected Gift - Experiencing the Nameless

Although I was pleased to discover pristine and pastoral in my mental files recently, I've noticed since surgery that I've lost many of my words. One might think the folks with the Oxford Jr. Dictionary had somehow infiltrated my brain and begun their editing practices. I feel a bit like Exhibit A for reasons to not have surgery while navigating early menopause.

Fortunately most days I can laugh at myself like recently when I took the wrong interstate exit and drove fifteen miles on the wrong road before realizing the little unincorporated bergs through which I traveled were not new to the area over the summer.

Yes, I drove along actually thinking not only were these new towns like mushrooms having sprouted over the prior three months, but that the county in which I found myself had the nerve to annex these towns by moving the county line. I know I'm a beat late in getting news but I wondered how I missed that, the uproar that surely ensued with the changing of a county line.

Finally it occurred to me that the exit at which I get gasoline is not the same exit I take to reach the town to which I was headed. I turned around, got quite a laugh and enjoyed the drive.

In the midst of getting back on track that day as well as in my morning ritual of writing I've been savoring the scenery thanks to my senses. This week I've sat wrapped in a blanket outside enjoying these soul satisfying unusually cool August mornings. This morning a shadow flitted past and I looked up to see a black butterfly with hints of blue seeking nectar from summer's last flowers, geraniums and impatience. I heard a cardinal tucked in a row of evergreens. Its constant chirp alerted me and its kin to its whereabouts. I looked more closely and saw two hummingbirds and a chickadee in the trees, the trees whose name I cannot recall.

What if, unlike finally realizing I'm on the wrong road, the name of these trees does not return to me? How shall I describe them?

Their slender, lithe (another word has returned!) trunks are filled with branches and leaves. Four of them stand in a row ready to play "Mother, May I?" the childhood game of steps, leaps and jumps. Their smooth leaves never loose their shine or deep green color nor do they fall, creating a perfect shelter for birds especially in winter. These four stand fifteen feet tall while the first one we planted, the one that inspired these, towers above them.

For now, they are the constants in our yard reminding me that recovery like living is a process to be experienced whether I'm driving along a country road or sitting in my backyard.

How often do I miss the depth of things because I rush to provide them with a 'correct' name or label? How often do we miss what's right before us, because we do not take time to really look, to really see?

I am grateful to these nameless trees. They are nectar for me and remind me I will not loose my way if I am open to the Nameless. Loosing words or my way opens me to the way.

Imagine the shift if we named less and experienced more.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 27 August 2010
* Click HERE for the piece on the Oxford Jr. Dictionaries removing 10,000 words, many nature related from their latest edition.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Then the Star Said....

I unfold a lawn chair for a sunset sit and am surprised by sadness. My mind files through its recent rolodex looking for answers to 'why?' Is it because for now I sit alone or because I just listened to a radio interview with John Mellencamp discussing the theme of mortality in his songs?

Then I open the August issue of Southeast Antiques, a magazine I've never seen prior, but I picked up earlier today at Lulu's in Watertown. The cover story, "The Art of Eskimo Carving," caught my eye but for tonight I open it at random and see "French Flea Market Finds." The line that finds me reads: The French know how to enjoy the moment, how to soak in the simplicity of day-to-day life."

I smile, then take a sip of red wine, hear a distant bird sing above the hum of summer cicadas, notice three bats flitting about and one lone star watching over us all.

I'm grateful to be able to feel even sadness, especially if my open heart can hold the space for a closed heart, a heart closed by hurt, longing to find its way home.

Moments pass. The star remains. How can I feel so far away while the star literally so far away feels so near, nearer in this moment than I am to myself?'

Then the Star says, "Distance is a story humans tell themselves, a story generating longing, loneliness and sadness.

Hold my light while your light's dim and feel the distance diminish."

I do and it does. This is a beautiful shift.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 20 August 2010

Rose Petal Popsicles - Signs of Recovery

It began with a rose petal popsicle. Yes, you read that correctly, a creamy, pinkish Las Paletas popsicle filled with little flecks of red rose petals.

I read of rose popsicles during my drug induced phase of recovery, the phase for which I had not prepared. I was so awake and intentional prior to surgery and even immediately afterward, but the fog from anesthesia and meds that descended on Days 3-6 after surgery affecting me more psychologically than physically took me by surprise. Despite having lined up acupuncture as well as an assortment of drinks from the juicer to begin the healing, I wasn't prepared for the level of lethargy I felt. I pushed myself to walk a half mile each day to sweat out toxins, but once that goal was met I laid on the sofa staring wondering if my brain or oomph would ever return.

Sometime during this phase, I glimpsed a reference to rose petal popsicles and recall sensing they were necessary for recovery. Thus on Day 6 when my two favorite girls visited to regal me with their summer vacation stories, I asked if they thought we might take a field trip the following day.

They loved the idea so the three of us made our way to Las Paletas midst pouring rain thanks to my dear friend, their mom and the driver for our field trip. My partners in adventure had peanut butter, raspberry/peach and chocolate/chocolate as I savored what tasted like a cool, creamy rose birthing an inner ah, a sign of hoped for recovery.

The next day my camera insisted on being part of my walk. A sunflower two streets over had caught my eye on one of the earlier forced walks. This new day I walked past it and knew why it had spoken the day prior.

It reminded me of a great breast providing nourishment for a huddle of tiny bugs gathered in its center feeding on the last remaining seeds. I want to live each day feeling beautifully spent like this amazing plant providing sustenance, beauty and shade.

As the morning's walk continued, my sensory self gifted me with an awareness that she was still alive and well within as I noticed peppers, ginkgo leaves, grasses and zinnias, signs of Nature's continued capacity to recover midst summer's heat, providing me with an inner sense of recovery.

Color, pattern and texture - Nature's holy trinity feeds my senses and soul offering messages to turn and hold. I in turn feed Nature through ooohs and ahhs of gratitude and appreciation.

This is part of the beautiful cycle of heartful, artful living, this dance of the inner and outer, the same creative process that inspired a woman to create rose petal popsicles nourishing me as I envision my imaginings and Nature's images nourishing another.

By what are you fed? What do you in turn feed? Imagine the shift as we all become more conscious of this beautiful dance.
-Dawn! the Good News Muse, 20 August 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vultures, Worms, Stone and Trees-Gifts before Surgery

(I did not intentionally write this story after one about lilies and June bugs. That's just how it happened and for me this is grace. Savor, Dawn)

In light of upcoming surgery, I've been paying particular attention to my body. (Yes, the little lump I wrote of in December is going away.  As time draws near I'm ambivalent about its departure, yet it's departure at this time feels so right.) I've given this much thought as well as paid attention to my intentions during surgery.  (To friends reading this, this is why I've not spoken of my journey. To put into audible words, what I'm turning over inside stops the turning.)

Last week I began to envision myself as light, like the Light of rocks and roots. I shared this with my daily meditation group Saturday and how I want to take that Light on my journey to the Underworld as I'm anesthetized.

Initially I thought "under" anesthesia may be the most vulnerable a person gets, not having a clue what's going on or being able to control what's happening to one's body.  Realizing this, I felt connected to the vulnerable in the world, from infants and children, to the elderly, the plants and so many animals. I imagined carrying their vulnerability with me on this journey into the unknown. In journeying through surgery with awareness, I sensed I could empower not only myself but the vulnerable in the world. 

The idea of  going under made me really think about where I wanted to go while under. I began to imagine journeying not just into the depths but to the heights as well, as the surgeon lifts the little lump from my saliva gland. I began to trust that I would be taken wherever my soul needed to go. Suddenly I realized I didn't fell vulnerable at all as I don't feel sick or ill. Surgery is part of my journey.

After Saturday's call with my friends, I was tired but also had the urge to go to Burgess Falls for a walk. I wondered if I would regret this. Was I pushing myself in fear of missing nature while recovering?

We pulled out of the drive and left home a different way. Down the street and around the corner, my breath was taken as I saw nine vultures perched in a huge dead tree., three of them with wings outspread, worshiping the Sun it seemed.

(Although I later read vultures do this to dry their wings, I prefer Sun worshiping as legend says the vulture was the one animal capable of successfully pushing the Sun away from Earth when it was getting too near. It saved Earth while loosing the feathers on its head.)

I had seen this once prior earlier in Spring as several worshiped the Sun their wings open wide on a rock near our house. Saturday as we watched, these majestic birds took flight, trustfully stepping into air and gliding gracefully.  I thought I had received my gift for the day. Their flight was reminder as to how I want to navigate surgery and my life.

At Burgess Falls, I stood on the riverbank and owned my weariness in prayer while also speaking aloud that I was joining France and the Grand Canyon here in the Middle of rural Tennessee. I had not consciously intended this, but prior to leaving home I grabbed a stone found on the dirt floor of a French church and a piece of wood from Havasu Canyon and placed them in my pocket.

I owned aloud that I was here prior to my surgery to give and receive from the rocks and trees as they swaddle and support me in this time.

We hiked along Falling River arriving at Small and Middle falls before reaching the Big falls. Not wanting to risk poison ivy prior to surgery I only hiked down partially and lay at the top of the Falls on a rock.

Rock and wood in hand, I lay on the rock shaded by trees next to the Falling River feeling myself in the flow of life. I held and was held by the two things whose light I wanted to hold in surgery, the Light of the stone and the light of the roots. 

I lay there listening and "taking in" (a phrase I recalled my stoic father once using with me as he lay dying of cancer). I recalled the Hopi teachings that refer to these times, telling us to let go of the shore and go into the middle of the river.

I did this for so long that I became concerned about Jerry. Where was my traveling companion, the one who having grown up in the farming Midwest loves water falls but does not swim?  I found him sitting in the water amidst the beautiful falls above me. How could I resist? The water was part of why I needed to make this weekend pilgrimage to the falls. The last time I had sat in healing waters were in Havasu Falls a year prior with my friend Karen.

At some point during Saturday's sit, I lifted my hand from the water to find an animal on my hand. Yes, an animal in this rushing water was on my hand and I was not surprised. I was delighted. It was a tiny worm of sorts. Now before you say, "Yuck" or "Gross" it was less than a half-inch and when you've had your hand in rushing water and an animal is clinging to you, well....I took this seriously.

I said, "Hello" as it crawled on my arm. Why on earth was a worm on my arm? I talked to it and honored it but as I did I watched it. I began to feel uneasy. Two tiny little claws of sorts at its rear side served as anchors I suspected on the mossy, muddy rock. These little claws were ever so slightly anchored in my arm as the worm explored which way to crawl. Like a good Southerner I tried to stay hospitable, while internally feeling otherwise. It would anchor, explore then crawl, re-anchor, explore then crawl.

I placed my hand in the water, quietly hoping the worm would move on. It didn't. I tried to relocate it a couple of times when suddenly in a flash, fear overcame me. Without even a good-bye, I swiped my hand into a rough area and it, the worm not my hand, was gone.

I felt relief and regret with its absence for in a flash I knew I had contributed to the larger level of fear in the world in my sudden and surprising reaction. Like a relationship that suddenly ends and one person is given the chop without explanation, I didn't even think to say, "You scare me so I'm gonna have to say good-by."

I felt so sad. I take seriously living from a place of love and I'm also reminded of Jesus words "what you have done to the least of these you have done to me." I don't think it a stretch that we are to include the animal kingdom in the 'least of these.'

We began our hike out in wet clothes, me grateful but disappointed in my action. Climbing to the top of the trail, I looked down once again wanting to avoid poison ivy. Suddenly my mood shifted as I spotted crawling on my leg, yes, one of the little worms. I was getting a DO-OVER !!!!!

Can you feel how happy that made me? I walked along in such joy as this tiny creature explored my leg. It was only when it began to go inside my boot potential impending death for it not me, that I began to consider what I was going to do with it. We came upon a stream that fed into the river where I found such joy air lifting this little creature in love, gratitude and peace from my leg to some muddy moss in the stream.

Our hike ended but the companions in my story were not forgotten.  What gifts I was given by the vultures and the worm. I had no idea when we left home that I would be found by one of the largest of the flying animals and the smallest of the crawling creatures both misunderstood and both I would have earlier considered "vulnerable."  Instead they are my wise teachers empowering me in this journey. I do not have to fear missing Nature while I go under or am away for they go with me.

The vulture of the air symbol of spirit, and the worm of the water symbol of emotion and fluidity, both ride  currents, one water, one air.

In two mornings, contrary to what I thought, I will not carry the Vulnerable with me. The Vulnerable aren't really vulnerable. They are courageous.  I will carry with me all the Courageous, Loving and Wise of the world as I go under with the worm from Falling River and flying to great heights with the vulture.

In the sacred ritual together of surgery, we will carry the Light of the stone and the roots while riding the current that is my life. 

Stone and tree, vulture and worm
Have come to me so I may learn.

What speaks to you in these times? Imagine the Shift of riding the current that flows through your life?

-Dawn, the Good News Muse, 5 August 2010
P.S. At the end of my morning walk, I met this dog and her owner at the corner of my street. I saw a wolf in this dear dog's face. Jen, who I learned is a new neighbor across the street, allowed me to take the photo. I explained that I knew the wolf, an animal that is dear to me, would be accompanying me during upcoming surgery.  I was gifted with a beautiful confirmation. This young woman on my street for only three weeks shared that a friend of hers, an anesthesiologist, had written a paper on a French doctor's studies as to how we go into a dream state in surgery.

My wish for each of us is that we continue to awaken to the deeper and higher levels of Mystery that surrounds us in these times.  Many blessings of love until my return. Dawn

Monday, August 2, 2010

Earth's Texting from the Stars and Between Our Toes- A Story Primarily in Photos

Just as I was about to press 'post,' the line from ET the movie crossed my mind. Remember? "ET, Phone home." Only briefly did I wonder why this crossed my mind for I quickly realized, Our home, Earth, is continually phoning us or texting as would likely happen today.

Then I realized we are the ET's. Terrestrial means of earth or land. We are of earth but we've these extra sensory selves that when utilized we can see and hear the messages, text messages, of Earth and Sky. For example, I sliced a tomato for lunch recently and saw a reflection, like trees reflected in a pond and thought:
As Above, So Below.

Yesterday as I sliced squash to layer with goat cheese and dandelion greens,
I lay the squash in the dish and saw:

Yin and Yang

I recalled a squash blossom from last year's garden and knew, seeds hold the energy of the stars. Carl Sagan said we are star stuff. I imagine we increasingly become star stuff by eating the foods that hold the energy that starts as seed and turns to star shapes before becoming our food or in this case squash.
Stars from Seed

Last but not least, this morning I walked a bit in the yard then sat on the deck to journal. I glanced down and saw a sprig of grass coming up from my shoe as if the grass was saying, "If you don't take off your shoes to walk in me, I'm gonna grow through your toes and make you notice me." (I promise I did not stage this photo.)

I was struck by this but obviously not enough because I didn't go immediately to the grass. I went inside (took off my shoes) did a few things and came back out to continue to write. For some reason, I looked down (this time without my shoes on) and sure enough the grass sprig was still there. It had walked with me through the kitchen several times and still remained between my toes. I immediately took a photo and now sit, pondering what this means realizing if I do not go walk in the grass during lunch right now, I will have ignored the deeper message provided.
So before walking, I leave you this:
As above, so below
It's in the stars, between your toes.
As above, so below
It's in the seed and grass that grows.
-Dawn!The Walking, Waking Good News Muse, 3 August 2010