Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dates, Days and Doves - A Story of Waking Up & Love

At 7:00 am, five years ago, I took Templeton into my arms.  As I came down from upstairs into our living room, she looked at me and meowed for the first time in close to three weeks.  I had known the week prior that Tuesday January 29, 2008 would be the day.  Several previously scheduled appointments were suddenly cancelled through no doing of my own.

Templeton meowed and without a thought I scooped her into my arms. I cradled her that day for just over seven hours except for the thirty minutes I dashed up the street still in my pajamas for a chiropractic appointment.

Templeton had been dying for nearly three weeks. I would not have believed anyone who told me my cat of 18 years would die over a period of time in my home.  I would have quietly thought, 'I will emotionally die being part of that.'

Yet those three weeks instead became a a time of living.

Living?  Yes, living.

Just after the 2008 New Year I was told Templeton's insides appeared to be glued together.  This was unlike anything the doctor had seen.  I intuitively thought her sudden decline was related to drinking the Christmas tree water and clumping cat liter.  I then read on-line of the many chemicals in farmed trees that leach into the water reservoir after trees are brought into homes for the holidays as well as the dangers of liter that can clump internally in cats.

I called another vet who made home visits to schedule putting Templeton to 'sleep.'

It didn't take long to realize my cat was not in pain or suffering.  Although she wasn't eating or drinking, she followed me from room to room, she watched while I wrote and she sat faithfully in her window perch.  She was not an animal in pain. I was a person in pain. 

Templeton didn't need putting to 'sleep.'  I needed to 'wake up.' 

I called the vet to cancel the appointment. There was no answer.  An hour later she called me. I assumed she had caller id. Instead she had double booked and needed to cancel. We mutually agreed this was divine intervention.

In the nearly three weeks that passed Templeton revealed so much to me. At first I cried and cried. I made agreements with her like "I'll take better care of myself if you live"  and I heard my shadow. 

For example, during this time I was also visiting my mother a couple of miles away in physical therapy rehab. One day driving home, I was surprised to hear a thought that went, 'I am nearing the house of death.'

What? This was quickly followed by, 'Wait a minute. Your home is experiencing a sacred process.'

This surprising voice revealed the part of me still dreading her death.  Fortunately I was waking up and truly realized Templeton was offering me a gift that was holy and sacred.  If I chose to be present and engaged, I could be an active participant in her parting Earth.

My opening to this gift changed everything.  I reminisced, told her stories, witnessed and wrote of my experience.  I kept candles lit, bought flowers and usually played George Winston's piano cd "Plains."  Moments of quiet that seemed an eternity arrived as I sat on the sofa with Templeton across from me.  I talked of how she was freeing the butterfly in me and in the process she was becoming a butterfly herself.  I began to describe Rehab in the Universe to her and asked her to consider returning to me four months later the week of my birthday.

And for some reason, I told her the doves would come to be with her to assist her in going home to the stars.  (It is only today in writing this that I realize this is the primary reason I do not like hunting.  I experience the animals as partnering with me in a way that sustains me at a soul level far beyond the sustenance of their being physical food.)

Five years ago on a Tuesday January 29th 2008 I called Jerry into my office where I held Templeton.  She was 'my' cat, yet he shared from his heart then she held her head up and gave a meow that she had not given in weeks.

Short after 2:00 she died.  I've heard the spirit does not leave the body immediately.  It certainly felt this way with Templeton.  I continued to hold her for several hours before brushing her, putting oils on her then laying her on two quilted fabric squares I had forgotten about in the top of my closet.  Imagine my joy when I opened the box and found squares of quilted butterflies. Two, one for me and one for her, became her burial cloth. 

The next morning we placed her in a box filled with tokens related to our journey and painted with an image that came to me.  After coming inside, it was spitting snow that day, I sat on the sofa and looked out to see doves, doves circled around Templeton's grave with one lone sentinel sitting on the small rock wall overlooking our yard. 

As dates and days don't coincide every year when I realized the anniversary of Templeton's death fell on a Tuesday again for the first time since her death, I knew I had to set the day aside. George Winston has played "Plains" throughout the day as I have held "Chickie" the little stuffed chic Templeton brought to me while meowing loudly every morning and night. This tattered, worn chic stirs my only regret

I regret I was not awake to Templeton's beauty and presence for much of the time we lived together.  I was walking Earth, holding a job, looking alive, fulfilling a role yet deep down inside much of the time I was not listening to me. I was not present in my life.

Why does it often take a crisis such as illness, divorce, job loss, flood, tornadoes, death to awaken us? And when another dies how often do we avoid and suppress grief due to the discomfort of our known and unknown regrets?   How is it that as time passes we return to our routines and ruts?

Life, this flesh and blood time we have on Mother Earht, is so very precious. To our knowledge this is the only planet on wihch our spirited souls get to find form and come home in this physical way. I don't know about you, but I take so much for granted and am still prone to sleepwalking, forgetting this Earth journey is a sacred process.  Then there are times when the brillance and beauty of it all seeps into me and I am breathless.  With tears of joying welling in my eyes, I can hardly take in the beauty of being alive.

Right now is one of those times when my breath is taken by both deep sorrow and great joy.

Five years ago today I cradled Templeton as she died.  Today I cradle her memory as I honor her and myself, our journey and our hearts.  I have taken this day to recall what I learned, reflect on the degree to which I've embodied these lessons, extend self-forgiveness for all I have lost through my ignoring and to listen to the new layers that emerge in this old yet new still unfolding story.

As I finish that last sentence a dove coos just outside my window. There are many "plains" in addition to George Winston playing through my life today.

At one point as I cried earlier a thought crossed my mind. 'If I had known how painful life on Earth could be would I have agreed to come here?'

The dove as well as the cat in my lap, that as a kitten made my heart leap as I asked the week of my birthday, both remind me. I came here to hear and honor the heart, this physical, energetic vessel that has expereienced so much. Closed and open. Asleep and awake.  I honor and intend to keep opening the Heart.

Imagine the Shift of opening your heart again and again and again.  I believe that's why we are here.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 29 January 2013 

Monday, January 14, 2013

We are Dream Catchers

Over the weekend, I awoke seeing a background of black covered in white dots. At first I slightly panicked.  Was something wrong with my eyes?  Then the white lines began connecting the dots.

Like a giant etch a-sketch, an intricate spider web was formed in the blackness.  I knew I was being shown that we are connected.


The web reminded me of a Native American dream catcher. 

I realized this was perfect.  We are Dream Catchers.  Our interconnectedness allows us to catch the dream, the Big Dream for this Time.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at "Imagine the Shift"
14 January 2013

The Divine Eye & I

"Slowly and surely this back and forth over time, polishes and refines the Divine Eye and I."

Last Sunday night as I lay in bed, I saw what I thought was a cherubic, Buddha-like face then I was suddenly in the Universe moving through the stars.  I moved faster than usual and as I did an eye I associate with the Divine revealed itself.  As I moved, we met and I went through its dark center to emerge on the other side still in the stars and quickly moving forward.

Then something happened as has never happened prior.  I suddenly slowed and began to move backwards as if I had been put into reverse.  I went through the back of the eye and came out on the front side still moving in reverse. After three or four seconds, I was stopped and began moving toward and through the eye again. After a few seconds, I moved in reverse and back through the eye. This slow and steady back and forth continued several times as I mindfully tried to discern what was occurring.

I thought, 'What is this like? What does it remind me of?'

Immediately I knew this back-and-forth rhythm was like the inhale and exhale of breathing. Then I wondered if I was being shown how the Divine breathes periods of time or epochs (a word I had never used) into creation.

Once I had this thought, the movement stopped and the stars disappeared. All was dark. I recorded what I saw so I could be with it later.

I later sat with my experience but nothing came. The sites I found on-line didn't feel intuitively right.   Then suddenly late in the day, I knew I was being shown that all Creation comes from the Divine Eye.  Slowly and surely this back and forth steadily over time and lives polishes and refines the Divine I in each of us.  

Yes, back and forth through time we are participants in the refining. I resist refining when I struggle, try to control things, judge and refuse to surrender.  Refining occurs in big ways and small. 

As recently as last week I resisted refining as I again got sick when I had taken time off from work to write.  Rather than immediately surrender and listen, I pushed on refusing to relinquish my plans until I realized this was an opportunity to listen and be rather than do. Once I set aside my agenda and started really listening, a string of simple yet profound occurrences happened. As I paid attention, I began to realize these things were providing me the opportunity to connect, hear and begin to be with the past in the present. When I get impatient and attached to my agenda and my side, I forget in the Divine's Eye there are no sides, just the steady backward and forward over time through which the Divine Eye and I are polished and refined.

We each hold the Divine I and are given the capacity to see through the Divine's Eye.  Those willing to develop this sight are needed so the greater truths can come through and be held in this Time.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at "Imagine the Shift"
14 January 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Soul Stirring - The Sandhill Cranes and The Orchestra of Evolution

"When we hear his call, we hear no mere bird. 
We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution." 
- Aldo Leopold on the Sandhill Crane 

I sat listening to Nashville's symphony last evening and felt my soul stirred. I didn't grow up on Mozart and Strauss. My love of the symphony developed late in life, if one's fifties is late.  Yet last evening was the first time in my three years of being a symphony patron that I actually listened and wondered what it was like to craft the first instrument. I wondered if hearing bird song inspired the first attempts at the making of music.  I listened and felt my insides literally stirred. 

It has only been in recent years that I've discovered the capacity of my soul to be stirred.  This stirring is far from the hell-based soul shaking I felt in church as a child when the preacher went on about hell's fire and brimstone and I awaited the end of the world.

Lately I've felt my soul stirred as the sandhill cranes' southward migration has resulted in many flying over my  home in the country.  The first time we heard this migration was Winter Solstice December 21st.  It was around 9:00 at night.  We had just finished drumming inside due to the cold, when I heard this odd noise. I looked at Jerry and asked, "Is that your stomach?"

Smiling he replied, "It's the cranes."

We only heard them briefly that night but their timing was perfect. Since then we've heard them numerous times and have often seen them.  Ted Andrews in "Animal Speaks" says sandhill cranes are sacred guardians. Anyone who takes time to really listen to them would likely agree.

In the past month my soul has been stirred in relation to the cranes in other ways thanks to the arts and humankind.  In December at Nashville's Radnor Lake the Pacesetter artists of Cookeville and Sparta had their best sale day in their twelve year history as they showed and sold their paintings and prints of the cranes following a talk presented by Melinda Welton, co-chair of the upcoming TN Sandhill Crane Festival  Jan. 19/20. 

My soul was stirred as I experienced the deep joy of these adults with disAbilities having their art acknowledged and sold.  This event worked because it was a collaborative effort between Radnor Lake staff, Pacesetters and those who love birds in our area especially the sandhill cranes. 

Whether it's the symphony, the cranes and art or the upcoming festival, these events stir my soul and are joy makers for me.  They awaken an inner aliveness that's far from the adrenaline that propelled me through much of my earlier life. 
Soul stirring happens in other ways too, ways that aren't as comfortable as occurred recently.  The Tennessee Wildlife Resources committee will take up the idea of hunting the sandhill cranes again this summer.  The proposal was tabled in 2011 for two years. If things unfold as expected, public comments will be taken around August.  The fact that Kentucky legalized hunting the cranes recently increases the likelihood the committee will do what is necessary to make it legal here. 

Normally things like this are heartbreakers to me.  This week though I felt something kin to anger as I thought, 'Do these men know what it is like to feel their soul really stirred?  Have they sold out or are they souled out from just going through the motions of politics and their daily lives?' 

These birds are just beginning to recover from near extinction in the early Nineties due to hunting and development resulting in fewer waterways where they congregate. More importantly sandhill crane couples have only one chic. That chic stays with the parent learning from them and modeling them for the first nine months of their life.  These families migrate together.  Would hunters really want to hunt them if they took the time to hear and really think about these dynamics of crane family life? 

Then I recall Aldo Leopold, whose birthday is today, and what he said about the crane's call being the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.

Maybe the cranes are part of the evolution of something of great magnitude here on Planet Earth.  

We arrive on Earth in response to our soul's initial call.  And even though we may in ways be vastly different we are here to stir the Soul, the collective Soul.  In this collaborative effort lies the evolution of awareness and the heart.

This political committee and a handful of hunters are part of the orchestration of soul at least for me for they are part of my waking up, my learning to ask questions and most importantly to pay attention to the evolution of my awareness and heart, to speak out and stand up for the things to which I am called.  

Just as hearing bird song I suspect inspired many to make the first instruments, hearing the sandhill crane's call prompts me to pay attention to and use my personal instrument, my heart, mind and voice to stretch, feel, think and speak.

What if the heart has been guarded as sacred over time, awaiting this time when we are to awaken on every level of our heart, soul and mind? 

How do you experience your soul being stirred?

How do you experience the call to live your greatest life?

Imagine the Shift to feeling your soul stirred and finding your life's greater call.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 11 January 2013

To keep up with future proposals to hunt the cranes, email me at dawn@imaginetheshift.com and I will forward your email to the appropriate person.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let Love into Your Heart - An Epiphany Epiphany

The sign read: "Let God Into Your Heart."

I had driven into town in hopes of buying red thread at the locally owned sewing store on the square and to avoid Walmart.  Upon leaving I took a different route home and ended up by the sign.

Oftentimes these signs make me laugh but this one made me smile.

I could let God into my heart becuase "God is Love" or so the Bible says and in that moment it felt so right to let Love into my heart.  Now I don't know if this is what they had in mind but for me it was prefect.

I recalled the first time I had a "God is Love" epiphany.  My mother always writes "God is Love" across the back of the envelope when she sends me cards.  But this one particular time about three years ago, I saw "God is Love" in her handwriting and I got it.

It is so simple.  How many wars have been fought and how many millions killed over time because of people fighting over whose God is the God   All the while it's so simple.  God is Love. 

Today that sign was just what I needed.  I had spent much of the morning taking an inventory of sorts, sitting with how I felt or was not feeling. I had this strange sense of numbness.

I hadn't turned on the tv in nearly a week so I couldn't blame my anesthetized state on the news.  I had been sick for the third time since summer and the second time in three holidays so I was bummed about that.  As someone whose primary channel is feeling, this non-feeling state was disturbing.

So I wrote. I watched the birds. I lit a candle.  I was mindful that when I'm not feeling well I feel a vulnerability to which I'm unaccustomed.  I keep love at bay  

Yet lighting that candle initiated the shift. It was subtle and quiet, but I sensed it inside.  I went about doing the things planned for the day and I did them because I wanted to not because I had to.  Yet  still something was slightly off until I saw the sign.

I saw that sign and realized it is so simple.  I make it complex.  All I needed to do was let love into my heart.  Receive. Receive. Receive.

Which brings me around to tonight.  The most challenging thing about being unexpectedly sick was having read that between Christmas Eve and Epiphany, Sunday the 6th, Light streams to Earth.  I had personal rituals planned (lots of doing) involved in receiving this Light.  I don't know about you but when I'm doing I'm least likely to be receiving.

In a profoundly beautiful way, I got just what I needed. I was forced to slow down, listen, turn inward and just be so I could "Let Love into my heart."

For me this is the perfect Epiphany.  The wise light of Love flowing in unexpectedly through a rural church sign.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 5 January 2013

Imagine the Shift to Joy

I've not given birth to children of the two-legged kind, but I feel like it at times.  Today for example as I awaited Jerry's arrival, I moved chairs into the yard so we could watch sunset.  As I did, I saw the first nubs of crocus green emerging through the nearby pebbles.

I exclaimed, "Hi" then got down on my knees to get a closer look and also tell them to not rush.  "It's cold out here" I added.

Yesterday it was hyacinth crowns I found pushing through Mother Earth's brown body. 

Green and growing things open up deep joy in me.  It may sound strange but as Jerry neared I thought, 'I can't wait to tell him the kids are here.'  My children are heart children, they touch my heart, they have opened my heart which is why so often life here on Earth breaks my heart. 

If I could change something in our world, it would be for everyone to find and feel joy in seeing green shoots breaking through brown, hearing the red-belly woodpecker call from high in the tree or smelling the earthy scent of grass even in winter.

I want to believe that if the masses remembered joy, the pure joy of being alive in Nature, we would have so much less violence in our world.

This may be one of the deeper issues overlooked in the gun debate.  With all due respect to those who have lost loved ones especially recently in Connecticut,but doesn't joylessness kill so many and they don't even know they're dying?

I imagine the Shift to Joy.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse  4 January 2013