Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Messengers - Spider & Tree

One recent morning as I sat on the deck a tiny spider on a single thread came dangling down from above in front of my face then softly landed in my lap. At first I sat there thinking, 'Did that really just happen?' It was as if God or someone above in slow motion reeled this tiniest of creatures down right in front of me.

The spider didn't move. I gently picked it up to discover it was dead making this occurrence even more curious.

I immediately remembered a dead spider I recently found inside. As I picked that one up and placed it in my hand, its legs broke away from its body. In my palm, these little stick-like legs were lines, lines that I immediately recognized as symbols and letters. I recorded this impression and later read that to many the spider was considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing.

I was reminded of an experience while hiking last month in the mountains. I glanced down and and saw letters on the trail, sticks that looked like hieroglyphs

This recent morning sitting on my deck the tiny spider in my hand I thought, 'What if spider really did invent writing? Maybe she had help from tree.'

The world speaks and has since the beginning of time. Nature, the animals and plants are constantly communicating. We are surrounded by messengers.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 28 September 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Butter - Shared Fruit & Energy

What do you get when ten lbs of Mr. Bohannon's apples meet up with
the neighbors recent purchase?

Making apple butter was not on my agenda this weekend, yet being prone to spontaneity and finally stopping at a neighbor's apple stand led to doing just that.

We've passed the sign reading: "Apples for Sale" numerous times but only this weekend did I hear myself saying, "Stop."

Jerry's accustomed to this whether I'm wanting to take an impromptu photo or remove a dead animal from the road.

We pulled over and I asked the gentleman, I came to learn was Mr. Bohannon, if his apples were good for making apple butter. With a quiet authority he said, "Come here" and led me to a long makeshift plywood table. He took a laminated sheet of paper and with a finger traced down the page to the three types of apples he grew. Then he read aloud whether his apples were suitable to be baked, buttered or sauced.

I asked for a half bucket to which Mr. Bohannon promptly commanded, "If you're making apple butter, don't waste your time on a half bucket. You need a whole."

For only five extra dollars, we drove away with at least fifty apples and I drove away remembering my love of rural folk, people often judged for their simple ways.

We got home and the apples went to another room as I thought, 'What have I done?' The last and only time I made apple butter, I stood in the kitchen for a half day peeling apples only to end up with four jars of butter, the last of which just got opened, and numb hands from the repetitive motion. I debated giving the apples away, freezing a few or parceling them out to the deer and raccoons on weekends I'm in the country.

My desire was further dampened when I went on-line to look at recipes. This was more than overwhelming and even more disconcerting since I didn't have the peeler, crock pot or food mill recommended.

Somewhere in trying to decide what to do I called the neighbors across the street for the name of the local market and shared my kitchen venture. That's when Jonna shared she had just bought a peeler. What synchronicity!

I rail about aspects of the industrial revolution and how machinery despite its benefiting me has contributed to our cultural disconnect from nature which at times seems to be a chasm more than a disconnect.

In contrast I was amazed and grateful for this machine that allowed me to peel, core and slice 32 apples in under thirty minutes. For fun I even timed myself and processed three apples in one minute. This may sound strange or just more evidence of my simpleness but I truly held wonder for every nut, bolt, spring, blade, cog and piece of metal that went into this machines creation and I was grateful for the minds that created these simple parts that became part of a greater whole.

Thirty-two apples reminiscent of Japanese lanterns went into the pot. Combined with spices, sugar and apple juice, they cooked for half the day before being poured into jars and canned.

Creating in the kitchen, feeds my soul when the handmade is heart made. I wondered if my grandmothers ever felt similarly or did they toil in the kitchen solely to survive. I wondered if the men (or women) who invented and made the apple peeler put their heart, not just their minds, into the making of this great little device.

Mr. Bohannon's apples and my neighbor's peeler led to much more than apple butter for me. I shared in the fruits of ideas creating inventions, fruits of the seed of shared energy between Earth, sun, rain and tree, neighbors and me and now thanks to the internet with you.

And I glimpsed how just as the apple peeler is made of parts creating a greater whole, we too, rural and urban, east and west, north and south, red and yellow, black and white, we all are part of a greater whole which is enriched and strengthened when the parts are appreciated.

-Dawn,The Good News Muse 27 Sept. 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Girl As God - The Truth (pt. 2)

Monday’s Musing “The Little Girl as God” didn’t feel complete, yet I didn’t know why. Rereading it I realize I was less than honest.

‘Isn’t that called dishonest?’ an inside voice asks.

I was dishonest for two reasons.

Several months ago an acquaintance sent me an email containing a piece she had written. The further I read the more I realized her piece was about me. She suggested my stories were all about me and that instead of trying to “save the world” I should get some friends and learn to listen.

Since I listen for a living, write on the side and take after my father who contrary to his outgoing appearance often said he wished to live deep in the woods, I seriously considered the potential for truth in her comments. I recounted my week and realized I had been listening that week, to three different friends in distress.

Still I was stunned and panicked. Were my stories about me? I read a few and was mortified. She was right. They were. I scanned stories by other writers, strangers and friends, and realized their stories were all about them.

Once my heart stopped racing and shame stepped slightly away, I realized that’s what stories are. I’m not well read but I do suspect even fictional characters in varying degrees represent parts of their author’s insides. So of course it’s about me. That’s who I am.

Then there was the part about being accused of wanting to save the world. It might be hard for this person to believe, but everything I write has more to do with saving me. I don’t intentionally set out to weave the world into my stories. It just happens as I’m waking up after having episodically been asleep, ignorant and ignoring nearly four decades out of my 52 years.

So what does this have to do with the little girl at the church?

I cut that story short and was dishonest because I thought, ‘Here I go again. It’s all about me’ and I was embarrassed to write the truth.

I wrote “The girl walked away with her family” then went on to write that the girl was like the Creator or the energy behind the Big Bang saying, “Look what I made.” I still believe that’s part of the story, a significant part. I’ve walked away from my resonance with Nature and am just finding my way back.

But the full truth is I was the one that walked away. I turned and walked away from her outside the church of my childhood last Sunday morning.

I exuberantly heard myself telling her that her handmade, paper and plastic creation representing Nature was a work of art; that she’s a work of art and Earth’s a work of art.

I heard these deep truths coming out of me to this child I didn’t know. Then I promptly stood up, looked at one of the women with her, said “I like your necklace” and then I walked away.

Excuse me. I like your necklace?

What was up with that??

I did like her metal necklace made of flowers. Yet what was up was my discomfort. I was uncomfortable with the exuberance I heard bubbling out of me as I knelt eye level to this child who excitedly said, “See what I made!”

I was uncomfortable because I didn’t want to be judged as that woman who gets excited and acts like a child.

You may know “what’s up” with that. I don’t think I’m the only one who absorbed the messages permeating society’s ethers: “Grow up.” “Stop acting childish” “Act your age.”

I walked away last Sunday from that child as I had walked away from the real me, the me that girl represented from my own childhood. And I walked away from the exuberance of being seen and sharing.

That little girl represented the me from decades ago. My detaching and walking away from her is what prompted my move to the anesthetized state I’ve episodically been a resident in much of my adult life.

Please bear with me here. This is where at least for me writing gets tricky. I want to offer what I awoke this morning thinking. It’s about you (or it may not be) and yes, here’s where saving the world comes in too…..

I awoke this morning with one thought in my mind. My walking away last Sunday mirrors what we as a whole have collectively done over eons in relation to children and the Earth.

Whereas the male Aborigines went on Walk Abouts, it seems modern man is prone to Walk Aways. I suspect we unknowingly participate in that walk away when we censor rather than question, resist tears of compassion rather than open to sadness, ignore the embers of passion rather than risk rejection, react in anger rather than hold a wide angle and maintain silence and control when our insides exude excitement.

I could go on, but I don’t want to preach. I just want to share the gift the girl shared with me.

And I believe it's not too late.

May we all start turning toward and embracing the parts of ourselves we’ve ignored. May we fully see all children with their offerings of “Look what I’ve made” and share these precious moments in the beautiful world with them.

At least for now, that’s how I’m saved.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 23 September 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Electrifying Times

(This Musing was inspired today by a postcard I came across from attending an exhibit in May at Nashville's downtown library.)

“Electrifying Times: How Power Transformed Our City” the postcard read. The library was hosting an exhibit of materials highlighting the bringing of electricity to Nashville decades ago. I went.

Photos and documents lined the walls. Prior ads read:

“Order your electric range now. Get $20 for your old stove.”

“Our electric appliances are labor and time savers. Let them serve your home.”

People were suddenly served from cable cars to vacuum cleaners, and oh, the lights, lights, lights. The power of electricity transformed lives.

I wasn’t alive then and I know the Great Depression was dark and maybe it’s just me, but it seems like electricity arrived, people got lights and the times got darker at least in some ways.

Did sex trafficking, hunger and homelessness exist sixty years ago to the extent they do today?

Can it be the lighter our loads, the lighter our lives, the darker the times?

I want to receive a postcard that reads: How Power Transforms Lives” – not the power running through electric wires, but the power of the heart, the current of love.

That’s the exhibit I want to attend the one with ads that read: “Expand your heart’s range now. Give $20” and “Let love serve your home.”

Then I realize I am that exhibit and these times are grace. The power of electricity brings the needs of the world to my home, to my heart's door. The power of love allows these needs a place inside. What once would have been a heavy load is light. What once was dark is bright.

At least for today, gratitude runs through my power lines, gratitude for dark times, revealing quiet currents of love.

Dark times reveal love's currents. Dark times help turn on the light.

We are each exhibits to the power of love walking in the world. I'll be pondering the possibilities in this power for some time.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 22 September 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harp Strings, Heart Strings

In times past, I would be one to see a spider web collecting leaves outside the window and determine to grab the broom and dismantle the spider's construction. I now consider that odd and rude. Who do I think I am to destroy spider's home and grocery, especially when it's not even in my home?

This morning my desire is to appreciate its intricacy and beauty. My desire is to listen.

I'm reminded of the web through which we're connected, the internet web through which we're sharing this moment now, but more importantly the energetic, invisible threads shared by all living things.

I go outside to get a closer look at the leaf ballet suspended mid-air. We are leaves manifest from the Tree.

I stay outside to continue to look. The barely visible threads remind me of Spirit and harp strings woven between heaven and earth.

I see our bodies, earthen energy, held by Spirit's heart strings
suspended in the between, alive in the unseen field of energy.

I hear what I chose to not destroy, instructs me. Nature reveals how things work.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 22 Sept. 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Little Girl As God - A Homecoming Story

Yesterday as I left the homecoming service at the church of my childhood, a little girl came up to me and enthusiastically said, "Look what I made." This wee one, not much over knee high, held up something that I knelt to her level to see.

Covered in a loose plastic sleeve on a sheet of lilac paper were a small plastic frog and tiny fish, a star, a shell and several fall colored leaves. I read aloud the Bible verse at the top: "God saw all that he made and it was good" then I named every item on the paper with such pleasure.

The former teacher in me realized later I should have invited her to name the things in her collage. Yet as one who loves Nature, I was just about as excited as she with her creation. This was the kind of thing I loved as a child. I still feel excitement recalling the tiny planter I made at Easter from an egg shell in which chic weed was planted.. as well as my hand print pressed into plaster in an aluminum pie plate my mother kept hanging above her ironing board for decades.

As I knelt in front of this child I heard myself exclaim, "This is a work of art. Earth is a work of art. You're a work of art." With each statement I grew more excited.

The girl walked away with her family as I felt the gift I had been given. This child allowing or commanding that I see her art reminded me of the child I was and still am. She allowed both of us to experience the heart and art of appreciation.

I wonder how many folks realize what a beautiful work of art Earth and our bodies really are? The beauty to which I'm referring isn't the outer kind but the work of great beauty of cells, blood, breath, lymph and organs working in unison, imbued with consciousness. And likewise all around we've trees, bees and birds, rain and rivers, soil and sun, from bacteria to buzzards all working together on this beautiful planet Earth.

I wonder if God's a child like this happy little girl or at least has her attitude wanting to show and share creation with us. What might shift if we pressed pause for a moment on all our images and deeply held beliefs about creation from the Caucasian, gray bearded elder man God to the Big Bang? What might happen if we could for a moment in that pause, ask ourselves, "What have I done and what am I doing to this home that is body and Earth?"

My intent isn't judge, blame or shame, but to curiously consider how it is that we treat our bodies and Earth.

I wonder at times if whomever or whatever is behind Creation doesn't think: "I should have stopped after that fifth day" or "I knew I forgot something" as he or she holds the switch intended to stop evolution just before humans arrived on the scene.

Personally I could do much better. My pattern of self-care is black and white. I'm either eating healthily, walking daily and living gratefully or I'm on auto-pilot just getting things checked off the list, moving through my day like I'm a machine.

Thanks to the encounter with the little God girl, I pause to imagine a Creator running up to me exclaiming, "Look what I made!"

I want to live from the place I was in yesterday. I want to enthusiastically respond: "Wow! I love it. This is a work of art."

A day later and miles away, I now think, 'There's homecoming every day on Earth whether I'm aware of it or not as creation shares, ripples flow from the appreciative heart and I've the opportunity to come home to who I really am.

What brings you home to you?
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 19 September 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Woman on the Run Finds a Divine Light

Last week I grabbed my keys at the last minute and dashed to the Frist Center for the opening talk on two new exhibits, "A Divine Light" and "Woman on the Run" I felt like a woman on the run as I hurriedly left home wearing a t-shirt and pair of tights with a significant hole front and center in one leg.

I later read that Tracey Snelling's installation, Woman on the Run, suggests "a keen sensitivity to the tensions hidden in narratives of ordinary life." Within minutes of walking into the Frist auditorium, I definitely felt a keen sensitivity to a very present tension created by the fact that I had worn my ordinary yard work and walking clothes to the opening talk specifically for museum members. Now I'm a Frist member but if I had realized this was a member event I would have delayed the tension related to the fear of attracting critiquing glances. I would have not shown up.

After the talk, I ventured upstairs in the short time I had, not expecting to linger over Northern Renaissance paintings from Bob Jones University but curious as to the title "A Divine Light." Truth be told, this woman on the run must confess, I've never been drawn to religious art and thought a sampling of the works might suffice.

Surprisingly I found myself drawn to a glass case at the exhibits entrance. The sensation of feeling pulled toward art wasn't new, but it was surprising since the objects of my attraction were binders, brushes and colorants.

Yes, I found myself unable to take my eyes off an egg, flax seed, feathers, walnuts, minerals, bones, roots and a glass vessel of oil. These gifts of nature were samples of ingredients crushed, stirred and alchemically turned into paints hundreds of years ago.

These objects of earth found in my kitchen and yard cast a spell on me. There I stood intending to rush through the exhibit and I couldn't walk away from an egg. To ease the awkwardness of feeling unable to move, I asked nearby patron's questions and kept standing, paying attention internally to this unexpected experience and sensation.

I felt such awe in relation to nature and the process of teamwork involved hundreds of years ago as each artist had multiple assistants to help make paint and produce a work. These simple supplies were the source for these master paintings that I later discovered do exude light.

Nature as source. How beautiful that gifts of nature feed our bodies and our souls.

Then my mind made a strange but perfect turn. Standing before these simple objects, I came upon what I consider two missing aspects in the environmental debate. I've often thought it curious that people get locked into polarized positions debating whether global warming is or isn't occurring and what role if any we humans play.

Standing in the Frist, I viscerally felt one facet of the role we're built to play, a vital activity in which we're here to engage the experience of reverence and awe as to the divine light in everything and our relatedness with Nature. Imagine the shift in our world if like the artist's teams of old, we momentarily stopped our debating and agreed about one thing as participants for Team Earth. Imagine if regardless of zip codes, status and dress, we all started feeling appreciation for Earth.

I had a musical commitment to keep, but I parted the Frist thinking we're here to be grateful, to realize the energetic binder tucked in our bodies, hearts and minds, the vibration of appreciation for living on this abundant Earth.

How often I forget to hold in awe Earth's capacity to freely give with no demand for return. Nature divinely mothers us in the masterful painting that is life on Earth.

An hour later the "narrative of my ordinary life" found me listening to Tim Grimm & The Hay Wagon Gypsies at East Nashville's Family Wash. The hook in the final song I heard that evening was the perfect book end to how my evening began. A young woman playing mandolin sang: "We are holy."

I sat there in holey tights knowing we are holy. We are master paintings brought to life by light, by the energy in the very foods of which the holy works at the Frist were made. We are holy works in the masterful painting that is life on Earth.

Awe, yes. I can imagine that!
-Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse, 16 September 2011

* The Frist Center is open 7 days a week. Hours vary. Click Frist Center for info and hours. Both exhibits above are on display until early February. Opening also Oct. 7th is "To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum" and Maria Magdelena Campos-Pons: Journeys. In the entrance gallery presently, Connecting Cultures: Children's Stories from Across the World, 200 participants from ten of Nashville's cultural organizations created artwork telling their cultural stories.

Moon & Bloom

Hidden among the heart-shaped leaves on the trellis, I've found unopened moon flower blossoms, blossoms that carry the same energy as the recent full moon overhead. Whether open or closed, waxing or waning both fed by the sun reflect and carry the light.

From above and below, moon and bloom in their continually shifting phases remind me: Savor all phases of life.

Moon flowers open at night and like the moon remind me: Light often shines brightest in the phases seeming darkest.

Imagine. Be fed. Shine. .
-Dawn,The Good News Muse, 16 September 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Nest of We

(This piece follows the prior piece titled "The Nest" from Saturday, September 10th.)

The nest today reminds me of a container, a bowl from which I’m fed as well as the container that is the body, this flesh nest into which soul drops for a day in time's span.

The angel still stands her hands together in prayer. Her hands are such a contrast juxtaposed to the bowl's openness. Closed hands beseech. Open hands receive. Who invented palms closed in prayer? Isn’t it more fitting they be open to receive?

Open is certainly more vulnerable. What happens when into my bowl nothing comes, when my bowl isn't filled? People all around the world know this. Empty bowls, empty bellies. Death.

What happens when into my bowl lands sorrow and grief? People around the world experience this. Pained bowls in our world often become drugged souls leading too to death.

I use to want to shove my bowl away until I realized this bowl within is fed not just by food but by feel. My soul’s bowl is filled by feeling all that comes its way.

Yet still there are days, I walk around absent, not unlike the drugged, disconnected within.

What is trying to be born in this nest of Me?

Beneath the angel’s praying hands, still sits the nest on Earth, the precious global nest we've been given, this gem of bounty onto which souls tumble to be tumbled.

Empty and open I want to accept the tumbling, yet when my bowl’s pain becomes too much, my own hands beseech. I cling to the rough edges I know, as polishing I resist, forgetting in coming here we make a pact with loss and bliss.

How the tumbling intensified ten years ago as our collective bowl was filled. Into the nest of our innocence arrived sorrow, anger and fear. I question how it is that I write innocence when from our country’s collective nest we have visited war on other countries and on one another in the civil war which was anything but civil? How is it we felt so innocent when our kin killed Natives by the thousands not that long ago here on this same land? Yet the events that day shattered part of the collective perspective that harm of this magnitude could not come to our nest.

Hands clasped in prayer while others turned to fists. Grasping for power and to make our point, soon we went to war for getting revenge, forgetting the power in vulnerability, forgetting the power of opened hands.

Ten years have passed and our nest has been stretched in more ways than we would have previously conceived. Maybe the angels clasp their hands in prayer hoping we’ll still get it and open to receive.

What is trying to be born in this nest of We?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse at Imagine the Shift, 12 September 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Nest - What's Being Born on Earth?

The stone angel stands, her hands in prayer, over the bird nest I found on a recent morning walk. Empty the nest now sits at her feet in my earth garden.

Empty, the nest reminds me every moment something's born into this world, a soul, a thought, a touch, breath, forgiveness.

Empty, the nest reminds me every moment something parts as well, a soul, a thought, a touch, breath, forgiveness.

Forgiveness? Oh, I hope not, yet it is possible even now in some corner of the world or not that far away forgiveness is being withdrawn prompted by fear and uncertainty.

Emptiness, a product of parting, prerequisite for birth.

What is waiting to be born in this nest that is Earth?
-Dawn, the Good News Muse 10 Sept. 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Freedom Lights the Way

"Freedom Lights the Way" or so the matchbook read. Typically I would have
cringed. I tire of the flag being used by many as the symbol of freedom, a freedom with narrowly prescribed parameters often based in fear and exclusivity, not the America the founding fathers had in mind. 

This particular morning though I smiled for the patriotic matchbook was part of an ongoing theme.

We had just arrived in the North Carolina mountains the night prior when I felt compelled to take photos of light, the setting sun light reflected on the Tuckaseegee River, lights at Bryson City's "Cork & Bean" and little Holy Spirit lights reflecting outside waiting to descend on unsuspecting passers-by.

I went to sleep that night contemplating light.

I awoke the next morning puzzled by a patriotic outburst in a dream. I had been on stage at the symphony belting out, "land of the free and home of the brave." 

I got up, walked to the patio and there lay the matchbook with its message: "Freedom lights the way."

'Yes, it does,' I thought. Freedom does light the way. Every moment, I am gifted with the opportunity to choose my actions and attitude. Every moment I've the freedom to choose whether I will open or close my mind and heart to the people, experiences and possibilities along my path.  When I choose the path of loving openness, there is a shift inside, a lightness lights my way.

Yet staying open and not closing my mind is challenging at times these days.  Freedom is a hot word thrown about as guns, the economy, immigration, gay marriage and abortion are debated. Many focus on freedom as if there has to be an external enemy to whom we're continually reacting.  At times we're our greatest enemy internally living in fear of this 'other' while reacting with suspicion and judgment.  We  become so focused on freedom in the U.S. we overlook the source of true freedom within US.

I suspect a few of the the founding fathers actually had this inner freedom in mind, something much more subtle and potent than fighting an external enemy in this experiment they named America. 

I glimpsed an aspect of this level of freedom upon returning home from North Carolina and learning a friend was soon going home, to the big home, the Unknown.   

It may sound strange but when I went to visit Mark I found myself seeing "Freedom light the way" as his face shined light. He was truly not afraid to die.  

At the visitation I stood looking at photos taken in his last weeks and days. I could hardly pull myself away from the collage of snapshots as one shifted to another each reflecting a light in Mark's eyes and his smile. I thought, 'This is true freedom. The freedom to leap into the great Unknown with anticipation not fear.'

Except for the sadness of leaving his loved One behind, Mark joyfully made the big leap.

A terminal diagnosis sharpens the focus making one aware the earthly visit in this skin suit is time limited.  Ironically we're all terminal as is each moment. One moment arrives then passes to make way for the next in the here and now we have. To live and love openly without fear is truly a great personal freedom.

Maybe this is partially why living on Earth, the land of such possible inner freedom and the home of the brave souls who come here, is so challenging and so dear. Our earth brains have grown accustomed to being wired for fear while our spirits are made for leaping and our hearts for loving.

I want to live in such a way that I joyfully leap into the Unknown every moment, every day.  Freedom in this state regardless of where I live will surely light the way.

Mark, did you know you were teaching me this?

I suspect so.

Thank you.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse - 12 December 2011

Gauze this Morning

Gauze this morning holds my heart.
Wrapped in a delicate cocoon.
Wrapped by the hands of the Mother
Bringing solace, comfort and rest.

In the quiet, drum beats of the ancestors
like Morse code message me.

We are not alone.
Those gone before walk among us.
Those yet to come surround their soon to be home.

Watching, waiting, listening, sharing.

Gauze this morning holds the Earth
Wrapped in a delicate cocoon.
Wrapped by the hands of Spirit
Swaddling clothes and shroud
Held in the arms of Love.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 9 September 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Stream

Last weekend prior to the rains arrival, I was reflecting on the July and August drought here in Middle Tennessee. The external often prompts me to consider the internal.

Soil drought. Soul drought.
As within. So without.

I pondered parallels between the hard, dry earth and my own insides. Here's what came.....

Listening for who I really am inside is like seeking an underground stream. Quietly it flows beneath layers of rock. It can't quite be found though I sense it's there deep down inside.

Then when tears suddenly come, I know I've found it or it has found me. The stream within reveals itself in tears without, bubbling up when I ask a loved one to place their hand on my heart before I venture out to meet a significant task. The stream lets itself be seen at times when hearing music or the telling of a story. Then there's the time, the stream flowed in France when I knew I had previously walked French lands. The stream became a river, Memory's water shed.

Support, soil, song, story touch the stream of me.
Support, soil, song, story, stream of love setting me free.

How do you experience the stream that is you? How do you experience free?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 8 September 2011

Simple Thoughts on Economy Inspired by Dog & Dawn

This week I've started morning walks again, a ritual I neglected with the heat. Within a block I'm aware of the value of this sacred thirty minute span as I greet and am greeted by crepe myrtles declining or reclining as I think of their coming winter's rest.

At one neighbor's home I savored half-dollar size pink morning glories overtaking a flower bed and beginning to climb a tree. A neighbor came out, nodded to me and I continued to converse with the neighboring flowers. At one corner, I stopped and let the sun warm me as I closed my eyes and looked skyward sensing I was being fed.

Yet the encounter close to home made me smile brightest and still does to think of him. Standing at the corner before mine I spied Cuff the black lab who's been in the neighborhood nearly as long as I. Both of us are sprinkled with gray, well me more than him these days.

The enthusiast and lover in me wanted to run up the block and cross the street to Cuff in excitement but paused. What would his owner think?

I significantly picked up my pace and called Cuff's name. His look conveyed a bit of confusion at first. 'Hmmm, she remembers my name?' It's more common in these peri-menopausal days for me to first ask: Now what is your dog's name?

I cheerfully greeted Cuff, who after his initial perplexed pause walked over somewhat stiffly to me, the walk with which I'm familiar some days. We locked eyes; I rubbed his black coat and salt and pepper face and talked tomatoes with his owner. Then we parted ways.

I had been the giver or so I thought. Yet I walked away more full than when I had crossed the street. Before I could ponder how that could be, I quickly realized Cuff had given to me.

How often do I think I'm the giver forgetting I receive.

The cycling of energy, good vibes and love, is a beautiful thing. Givers receiving. Receivers giving. No owing or debting, no interest rates. No foreclosures. I take that back, if there's a foreclosure, it's on my side of the equation because animals are always giving to me. There is no taking back. If there's a sense of owing, it's because a small part of me has been quietly accounting rather than freely giving. It's so simple.

Then just when I think this story's at an end (and maybe it should be), I remember tonight the president, whose hair is now sprinkled like Cuffs, gives his jobs address. Post speech if all goes as usual the air waves will be even more filled with how he's failing.

I know people need jobs to pay the bills, feed their children, pursue their dreams. My intent isn't to diminish the seriousness of joblessness or the longing for security. I get frustrated with the talking heads simplifying complex issues, spinning their version of the facts to suit their side of the debate, influenced by who's paying their salary or in the case of politicians, the lobbyists getting them elected.

They of course would say I'm the simple one not understanding this world in which we live and that's okay. Regardless of what is said post speech and in a thousand tomorrows, I desire my airwaves be more about what's beautiful in my neighborhood and world. I want my airwaves filled with the spinning of shared energy and experience, inspired by crepe myrtles, morning glories, the sun and Cuff the black lab down the street. This is the economy in which I want to invest. The Bank of Loving Energy.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 8 September 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grrrrrr - Imagine Earth if Sisters (and Brothers) Refused to Be Contained

I chose to spend my Labor Day going through files, pitching and tossing the many things onto which I've held. Somewhere midst the piles, I found a folder labeled "My Poetry." In it was a piece related to women growling. Was it an accident that an hour earlier I had been part of a meditation and poetry call, a call I've missed for months now, a call in which growling was referenced?

Yes, as I entered this morning's call, I thought I heard someone refer to growling. I asked just to be sure. I later emailed these faraway but close friends that growling contained the word grow and that maybe we are called as women to "empowered growling."

I then got back to cleaning out files and found the following written at least six years ago, certainly not polished or professional, but I think you'll get the point.

My Mood

(Note to reader: Grrr and Growl are to be read as guttural, really growling sounds)

Grrrrrrr, Guuuuurrrrrr, GGGGGGrrrrooooowwwwllllllll

Some would say I've a bad mood
But I wonder why - why does it have to be labeled 'bad'
When grrrrr is stirring inside?

So I decided one recent morning, not so long ago
To embrace this inner mood
Call it what you may
My morning meditation's food
had seemed to come, to stay.

Candles lit, legs crossed on the sofa
covered in roses, floral and pink
I invited the mood to show herself
to hear what she feels and thinks.

First came the "Umph, you're not ready. Not ready to listen to me."
I sat determined, scowling, "Just you wait and see."

I growled and grumbled,
uttering sounds that didn't make sense.
Then it came tumbling out
Church fathers might say "Repent."

It wasn't that exciting or filled with great suspense
But between the grrr's and the growls, out came a sentence that made sense.

I'm not ready to be nice.
I'm quite tired of nice, in fact.
For just a few moments in my life,
I'd rather not have tact.

Tell me to smile or cheer up
I may throw up instead.
Sometimes a woman just needs
to let go of all in her head.

Now wait! Don't forget the throat and the guts
She needs to stomp, to howl.
Embrace her inner Kali
Lick her chops
Re-member power.

I'm not ready to be nice.
I won't be intentionally rude.
But I can promise one thing.
I'm gonna listen to my moods.

Our moods - they're labeled bad
When they're really not bad at all.
A signal something's off or amiss
A sign I'm not listening in some sense.

We're taught to be true to others and often put self last
But just imagine the world if we turned it, girls, upside down on it's ass.

Ooooppps there I go
It slipped out, a word un-nice

But imagine the Earth if Sisters joined in sweet refrain
And purged our moods, our tears, our fears, bellowing our pain.

Imagine Earth if Sisters refused to be contained.

At times I sit and ponder if some of the un-nice in the world
is sourced in our shadows, tucked away there when just girls.

How many times have we been told, "Smile. Be good. Say please."
When what we need most right now is to get up off our knees.

To take our place
Step into our power and not become like men.
Maybe this is how we all ultimately can win.

The planet desperately needs us, awake, aware, alive
Not sleepwalking, numb and listless, to our power anesthetized.

Of course, I am not saying
We don't need to be more nice
The world needs genuine, loving-kindness
But our un-nice, we must not hide.

I lick my chops
No grrr comes out
Now that wasn't so, so bad.
I thank my Mood, she's part of me
Without her I'd go mad.


Now that I've found this piece, I suspect I will ponder it further. For now, may we as women and men everywhere become conscious of our inner Grrrr and not take it out on our partners, spouses, children, friends, pets or the stranger in the car who doesn't use his/her turn signal, but instead invite it (the Grrr) to sit and stay, to speak its truth so our shadows may be owned and not projected on to those who are different from us politically, economically, racially, religiously and sexually.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 5 September 2011

....who also just learned thanks to Cayelin Castell's Celestial Timings that today's a good day for cleaning out one's files and organizing. So back to the files.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Children at Cheekwood and The Nature of the Relationship - Medicine We Need

(This is a piece written this summer yet never posted that I came across today. It was medicine for my own spirit as I've allowed myself to become scattered and busy. May we return to our bodies as well as Mother Earths. In joy, Dawn)

I visited Cheekwood one evening this summer for a quiet evening, only to discover it was family night. Children gathered around the train exhibit while others watched a nearby puppet show.

I settled in by a stream above a beautiful wooden sculpture* floating in two small ponds below. The falling water drowned out the voices atop the hill until a few bites into my meal the puppet show and my quiet ended.

Dozens of squealing children descended onto the area. Many took off their shoes and waded into the stream beside me. I was surrounded and stunned. My quiet evening was disrupted by children acting as if they had never seen water.

I eventually walked along the hillside where there were more children exuberantly playing in the fern-lined stream.

It seemed many of these children had never experienced water in nature, water flowing like the country streams to which I was accustomed at their age, streams filled with crawfish, tadpoles and pebbles etched with fossils.

I reveled in watching these children, yet wondered how many of them will become businesspeople and bankers whose livelihoods will revolve around using Earth? Will they recall their joy in the stream? Will they remain aware of their relatedness to Earth or will they exploit Earth for financial gain thus forgetting nature is the source of material goods? How soon will these children replace the joy of play with the adrenaline and pressure of competition?

Early on we unconsciously trade our connection with Nature and the spirit of embodied play for an attitude of controlling nature, our bodies and spirits while ignoring their interrelatedness.

How does this disconnection occur?

When young, we’re embodied living life through experience. Our educational and social systems based on competition, hierarchy and control, birth the disconnect. Separation is furthered in our families and in business models, through technology and entertainment.

We have lost the way of embodied experience and relationship with ourselves, one another and Earth. Addiction, depression, anxiety, debt and violence are symptoms of this disconnect.

The children in the stream hold the medicine we need. The joy in connecting with Nature is part of the remedy to remembering we are each players in life’s stream. As adults our capacities may be diminished by training or trauma, but we are still spirit in body walking Earth’s body.

If we remembered the joy of being in our bodies and appreciated the precious gift of life, family disputes, political posturing and wars would cease. Doctors, therapists, lawyers, hospitals and prisons would see a drastic decline in clientele.

Our capacity to experience life deeply and begin reconnecting within and without awaits discovery like the children did that evening discovering the stream. It’s as near as allowing your experience to be stirred right now by the fireflies light, the wren’s song, making music with blades of grass or imagining the cool water of the stream.

This is the world we’re here to build, a world in which we live in relationship with ourselves, one another and the Earth.

Imagine the Shift!

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 2 Sept. 2011

* The beautiful floating wooden sculpture is one piece in a double installation called "Double Heliotrope" on display at Cheekwood until October 31st and created by British artist and Vanderbilt art and philosophy professor, David Wood. For more info click here: Cheekwood and thank you, David Wood !