Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ordinary Angels & Everyday Allies

Summary:  I awoke recently filled with the knowing of being loved followed by a sense of profound spaciouness. Enveloped in this experience, I went outside to walk.  Steps into my postage stamp size yard, everyday allies offered me a do-over from the year prior.

The Full Story:  If the first two paragraphs sound familiar because you've read them previously, skip to ***.

It was President's Day and I was in that waking up place with so much on my mind.  My head was filled with pressured energy and generic thoughts of needing to get up and write, not getting to or wanting to but having to finish the backlog of stories in piles, bags, folders and flash drives.  Over the weekend I told a friend that at times I feel like a story machine turning out stories on an assembly line.  My words feel flat and lifeless when I'm really the one feeling flat and lifeless. 

Yet this particular morning something unexpected arrived.  My head was empty yet filled.  Suddenly I knew in that deep-down-hard-to-explain-inside way that I am loved.  I knew if I never put out another story, I will still be loved because this love is based in being.  There is nothing, nadda, zip, zilch I have to do to be loved.  

I walked downstairs in bliss and poured a cup of coffee.  Then as I sat down I took a breath or more accurately a breath took me.  This wasn't part of a prayer or meditation.  This breath came through me and suddenly I experienced an amazing sense of spaciousness internally and externally.  

*** For many this particular day was a holiday. Being self-employed, I hadn't intended to take the day off yet my clients cancelled except for one.  I called her to reschedule, something I'm unaccustomed to doing.  (This person later told me it was perfect I called. She had intended to reschedule.)

The day stretched before me.  The stories I wanted to work on did call my name in a want to not have to way, yet it felt best to begin by walking my neighborhood as I do most weekdays.

I headed out with my recorder in hand but detoured to check on the garlic.  Planted on winter's solstice just over two months ago, several cloves have already sent up green shoots.

I scanned the bed then picked up a fallen tree limb that would become fire wood along with several other twigs.  Then I gasped.  One of the twigs had was covered in fur.  I had picked up a rabbit's leg.  In the small tucked in area of the front yard, brown and white rabbit fur was scattered about the grass.  This sign of coyotes return to our street took my breath  

The day prior while in the country I was thinking how I hadn't seen a rabbit in our yard there all winter.  I quietly wondered where they were then a lucky rabbits foot from childhood crossed my mind.  The thought of the scores of rabbits killed for those supposed good luck charms now makes me cringe.  Later that night as we pulled onto the street to head back into Nashville a rabbit crossed in front of us.  I felt such joy.    

Meanwhile back in Nashville, I stood in the yard that morning thinking it was no accident I held the remains of a rabbit after one had crossed my mind's radar and my literal path the day prior. I held the fur and leg and acknowledged the rabbit's life here on my street.  I thanked it for coming to Earth.  Then I asked that its kin come and take its spirit home.  I burned sage in the area before laying the remains in a fern covered corner of our yard.

As I walked around the house, I noticed the stone rabbit by my door.  A thought flashed through my mind:  Is this why we fill our homes with animal statuary, lampshades and fabrics with animal motifs?  Is it easier to fill our homes than feel our insides?  Similarly is it easier to cheer on the Bears, Bengals, Cardinals, Gators, Wildcats, Timberwolves, Bulls and Lions than hold the inner experience of tension and grief regarding how animals are treated? 

I paused then noticed the squirrel sunning at the opening to its house.  The house was intended for the area screech owls yet the squirrels moved in as soon as we placed the house on the hack berry by the dogwood outside my office window.  It's not uncommon for a squirrel to peer from the little round door while another suns on the roof.  This one hung half-way from its home's opening.  I stopped and said, "Hello" then wondered if I had found squirrel parts instead of rabbit.  I looked at the squirrel and said, "You look sad.  Was that your mate that died?" 

An hour later a thought crossed my mind, 'What if the sunning squirrel is dead?'

I went back out and talked to it.  It didn't move.  Then I came in and banged on the window. Still no movement.  I ran a rake up the side of the tree.  Nothing happened.

I knew I was getting a do-over.

Last year on one particular bliss-filled morning after having found the spring's first lady bug, I walked around the corner of the house and found a little bundle of bright yellow feathers under the dogwood.  I sat briefly sat speechless under the tree certain a neighboring cat had dined on a beautiful, migrating songbird.  Tears welled up from my heavy heart, but I had things to do.  I busied myself and moved on through the day.

The next morning I rounded the same corner and found yet again a pile of feathers.  This time bright red cardinal feathers were scattered beneath the dogwood.  This time I allowed myself time to feel a bit more but not fully what I needed.  It was a work day.  I had things to do. 

Finding the dead squirrel and rabbit moments apart, I knew I was getting a do-over related to coming upon those feathers months prior when I stopped myself from being with my experience. 

It was no accident that I walked outside filled with the bliss of unconditional love and spaciousness, only to come upon two dead animals in my postage stamp size yard.  Could I, a lover of animals domestic and wild, be in my heart rather than resort to busyness?  I had no excuses.  On this day, the only appointment I had was with myself. 

I came inside and sat on the futon where the dead squirrel high up on the tree was visible in the window.  I hugged myself and shouted, "Sometimes it hurts too much to live."  Tears rolled down my face and as I cried my sorrow eventually became joy.  This time I practiced what I teach.  When we stay in the flow of our emotions they pass through us and in their passing they shift.  My tears of sadness became tears of happiness.  It was perfect this dear squirrel die in its home in front of my window where I would be certain to see it.  This was beautiful.  I stood looking out the window demanding this dear animal's kin come take its spirit home. Tears flowed through me again and just like moments before sorrow became joy.  

I experienced something for which I didn't have a word.  is there a word for the mix of joy/sadness/pain/happiness/sorrow in moments like this?  I don't know it if it does but this is what burst from my being.  I could feel it nudging, stretching walls within me, internal boundaries I didn't even know existed.  Ah, if anything the word was grace

I gratefully got a ladder and taped a small box to the backside of a hoe.  At first I climbed the ladder alone but with the breeze and unsteady ground I asked a neighbor to help me.  Clare, who loves animals too, gets it.  She not only steadied the ladder but had empathy for the squirrel and me then said, "If the squirrel had to die, I can't think of a better place."

I dug a small hole in our garden.  Digging in the dirt reminded me of gravediggers, the men who do not receive the credit they deserve for the sacred work they do (nor the money I suspect).  I buried the squirrel under a little tree in fern-filled corner.  Fern fronds became its bed and a sprig of lavender marked its place.

As night approached I walked outside to the dogwood.  I've witnessed so much life and death around this one small tree.  It is a metaphor for Earth this place where if we are paying attention we experience the beautiful, many layered gifts of Life. 

I stood by the tree and there peering from the little round door looking back at me was a squirrel.  I talked to it and shared silence.  Then I went in and turned on my office light.  I lit a candle and sat there hoping my presence and the light inside would be a comfort to the squirrel spending its first night alone. Its presence reminded me of my human kin who have spent first nights alone.  I lit the candle for those who have known companionship only to have someone leave or die.  I prayed they would feel the warm presence of love in their life.

I sat in that room for quite awhile as the candle burned uncertain if I was keeping the squirrel company or the squirrel was keeping me company. 

The next day as I looked out the window squirrel peered back at me from its door then ran up the tree.  To my surprise, another peered out then scampered away behind it.  

Can you feel the joy this duo brought me? 


I share this story because I am a teller of stories.  More importantly I live stories.  I had no idea that the energy delivering Love and the breath giving me spaciousness early that morning would be part of delivering this gift.  Remember how I wrote if we could throw away our clocks and time keeping machines, the world as we know it would come to a stop revealing the world as it really is?

Thanks to the squirrel and rabbit as well as my clients cancelling, I was shown the world as it really is.  I experienced how we're built to live graced fully with a heart made to hold hurt and joy side by side.  

Ordinary animals, like squirrels and rabbits often taken for granted, are my everyday angels and allies.  Encounters with Nature over the recent years have turned the Light on inside me.  When I am awake and aware and my heart and mind open, these interactions provide the fuel that keeps the Light on.

They remind me even in their dying that I am Love for Love allowed me to lay them to rest, thanked them for joining us here and asked them to continuing coming to us again and again. 

We are here to live story.  We are built to be livers of story for there is a magic in the mundane and an extraordinariness in the ordinary.  What story is trying to be lived through YOU?  What characters arrive as allies and angels in disguise in what you think of as your common life?  What messages surround you through Nature, those you love, someone you call a stranger or someone you're yet to meet?

Imagine the Shift to finding and living the greater story in your life!  It may be just outside the door in your yard, up a tree or along the sidewalk of this journey called Life!

-Dawn, The Good News Muse  28  February 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sun, Trees, Soul

The shifting dance between sun and trees
creates patterns on the green grass
of Mother Earth's soil
reminding me of Life's dance
and the shifts I embrace
creating new patterns on my soul.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse
24 Feb. 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Honoring Tim, Trees, Facebook and Synchronicity

At times I hear folks comment that they just don't understand, care for or like facebook.  I share this story because it's an example of the beautiful connections that can be found on facebook and the ripples around our world that result from those connections.

This morning I found a guitar piece sent to my phone last night from my friend Tim.  Tim and I have reconnected through face book after having known each other in high school, although we really didn't know one another.  I hurriedly listened to the piece not taking in the title nor the accompanying photo.  My first thought was, 'Tim's sent me another piece that should be played for the trees.'

Then I rushed out the door to the dentist a short drive away down Woodlawn.  I rounded the corner to see traffic backed up only to discover one of the oldest trees in the neighborhood being trimmed to half its size.  I feared it's coming down. 

If I hadn't been in a hurry I would have stopped to play Tim's song to it.  Instead I drove on trying to send loving energy to the tree and the men disassembling it piece by piece. As I drove past under my breath I said, "F#@#$%" then I quickly took it back knowing that whatever I send out comes back around to me.  It is hard for me to see trees coming down especially in the name of safety when there are so many other 'unsafe' things like chemicals in the water and air and the junk folks are fed that don't get addressed.

I made it home from my appointment just in time to start work, but left again later in the day to run an errand.  I made myself drive by the tree rather than take my usual route.  The tree was still coming down and I could not stop. Yet I determined then and there to return.

Tim's photo
At 8:30 tonight I picked up my phone to play Tim's song. That's when I noticed the beautiful accompanying photo of trees and the title to the piece - "To the Top."  How perfect was this given the height of the tree and the fact that the top was coming down? It was no accident Tim sent me this song and I had thought of trees.

Jerry and I drove down Woodlawn.  I placed special oils on the trunk then stood at its massive base.  I asked its forgiveness for humankind's negligence and ignoring all the tree life especially my contribution to that negligence.  I told it how much it was loved and as I did I played Tim's piece for it again and again imagining its chords reaching all the way "To the Top."

As I looked up, the moon and the three stars of Orion's belt were perfectly situated in the middle of the two trunks.  This was the perfect reminder that not only are we connected to one another and the trees but also to the moon and stars.

The vibration of music connects us. Music is the language of the stars that speaks to the trees and our hearts. 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 20 Feb. 2013


Let's Wrap Ribbons of Love Around Earth

One recent morning as I awoke, I was seeing the stars.  I knew my spirit had been in the Universe overnight as my physical self slept.  I heard, "I have been wrapping ribbons of Love around Earth."  I invite you to join me.  Set your intention each night and let's meet in the stars to wrap ribbons of Love through the Universe and around this dear planet of ours.

- 20 February 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spaciousness - A Breathing Epiphany

This morning as I sat on the sofa, I took the deepest breath.  This wasn't an intentional deep breath, part of a meditation or centering prayer.  It actually seemed as if the breath took me.  Suddenly I felt such spaciousness. 

Who might we be, what might we find if for just a day we took off our watches, put away our clocks and turned of all our time keeping machines? 

The world as we know it would come to a stop.  What if the world as it really is were revealed and seen?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  18 Feb. 2013

A LOVE Epiphany

This morning I was in that waking up place aware of so much on my mind.  My head was filled with pressured energy and generic thoughts of needing to get up and write, not getting to write based in wanting to but having to finish the backlog of stories in piles, bags, folders and flash drives.  (Over the weekend I told a friend that at times I feel like a story machine turning out stories on an assembly line. Whenever I feel this way, my words feel flat and are missing energy.)

Drawing enhanced with Instagram.
Then this morning while still in bed in an unexpected moment, an epiphany arrived.  My head was empty yet filled and suddenly I knew in that deep-down-hard-to-explain-inside way that I am loved.  I knew if I never put out another story, I will still be loved because this love is based on being.  There is nothing, nadda, zip, zilch I have to do to be loved.  I am loved. I am Love and so are you.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  18 Feb. 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Mother, A Lion & The Divine Feminine - Vulnerability & Courage Reclaimed

A prior vision of two lions, a male and a female, reminded me of another months ago involving a lion.   

In that vision I saw a beautiful lion made of light with a huge mane.  It dissolved and in its place was my mother’s face, her smiling, joyous face also made of light. I thought, ‘My mother has the love and courage of the lion.’

Months later the remembrance of this vision still makes me smile.

I smile yet wonder how many women are like my seventy-something Mother?  She represents so many throughout time assuming the role society suggested, devoting her life to family and trying to get everything just right.  I think of the female souls born in her time as courageous.  Do they realize their courage coming to Earth as carriers of the heart?  Do they see their beauty?  Do we see their beauty?

The root of the word courage is Latin and French for heart Yet courage is more associated with going into battle against an external enemy rather than standing and speaking for the heart.

In the book “Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews I read: “Lion represents the power of the female sun and the assertion of the feminine.”  There was a time when the lion and sun were considered symbols of the feminine.  Yet both, like courage, were co-opted and assumed by the powers of prior times.
How is it the symbolism of the lion, the sun and ultimately the feminine were taken over by the patriarchy and courage redefined?

During the times of the Roman coliseums thousands of lions were killed at the hands of the gladiators.  I’ve often wondered how a group of people could consider slaughter entertaining.  Were there women then who wanted to step forward and demand an end to such stunning loss?  Did any of them suggest to their husbands that killing animals for sport was not an act of courage?  I’ve similarly wondered how early American women in particular kept quiet as Native Americans were removed from their homes or as slaves brought here were then beaten into subservience.  And how did the women in Hitler’s Germany maintain quiet as millions upon millions were sent to concentration camps?

When I think of history, I want to know the history of the human heart and how it is we can be so dark?  How is it the carriers of Love over time were as a whole so silent?  What happened to the masculine that allowed such heartless seeming acts to unfold?

Even today I wonder how people consider dog fighting and sex trafficking entertaining. (Bear with me here.)  The past winter, I’ve learned how ignorant and in the dark I’ve been of events in my own Tennessee backyard.

In late November, Animal Rescue Corp rescued sixty dogs in “Operation Broken Chain” on Nashville’s outskirts in a large dog fighting operation.  Dog fighting in itself is cruel and abusive, yet I did not know until this rescue that owners kill the dog that looses unless it is killed in the fight.

The same week while on-line seeking another website, I came across a sex trafficking website for  End Slavery TN helping young women on the road to healing who have escaped traffickers.  I clicked on an interview in which a young woman named Hope told her story.  She courageously explained how she and others were made to crawl unclothed across a stage with dog collars around their necks before an audience.  Then they were graded on their performances sexually.  What?!!!

How, how, how can a person find entertainment in watching fights between dogs, man’s best friend, or seeing man’s helpmate, woman, treated with such horror and disdain?

What has happened to the human heart, soul and brain?  Has the collective heart over time experienced so much pain that we’ve become anesthetized on some level? Have those of us who are sensitive found it easier to turn away?  I thought of the phrase: “Out of sight.  Out of mind.”  Given this, it’s not a stretch to ‘out of heart’ is it?

More specifically what has happened to my heart?  How have I neglected this story for two months?  Is it as simple as fearing people will cringe or be uncomfortable upon reading this?  Where is my courage?

Months ago after noting the vision of the lion and my mother, I also wrote of a scene from childhood that at the time entered my mind, a scene to which I was witness as a preteen.  My mother wanted to sing in the church choir and somehow my father, who only went to church episodically, learned of this.  He condescendingly told her, "You just want to be seen."

I now think, 'Excuse me.  My mother just wanted to sing, yet is there something so wrong with wanting to be seen?'

In our house there was.  My father was one of the most kind, caring and generous men in our community.  The receiving line to express condolences when he died was outside the door of the funeral home until past closing time.  As is not uncommon, my father was not fully the person in public that he was at home.  He cared for us materially yet he could be condescending and controlling especially of my mother.  Sharing through song would have been a means of expressing her joy, finding her voice and being in her heart.  Yet that moment of giving in to my father was one of many I suspect in which she disconnected from her beauty and her voice.

My father wasn’t born a controller. He was first controlled by his parents as they feared their only child might die.  Penned in the lines of his baby book I have read of my grandparents’ fear that he would die of whooping cough.

Vulnerable and afraid, they never loosened their grip on my father nor did he stand up to them.  Even late in life my grandfather followed my father an adult about town keeping tabs on his whereabouts.  Today this is called stalking.  I suspect feeling out of control and ashamed in relation to his father prompted my father to be more controlling at home rather than encounter my grandfather’s rage.

My father was controlled and became a controller.  It wasn’t until he could no longer control a cancer diagnosis that he became vulnerable.

Four decades later, the past mingles with the present as I experience the effects of the father of my childhood residing in me.  On the next page in my journal, the day after I noted the vision, I wrote of coming across a You Tube video of a singer who had won "The Voice."  Not watching much tv, I didn't know what "The Voice" actually was.  The telling thought I confided in these private paper pages was, 'If my father hadn't been so controlling or my mother hadn't listened to him, I might have been a singer or certainly have had an easier time having my voice.'

Expressing myself through stories may appear easy, yet with stories such as this I spend weeks, months, discerning what to write, trying to get my message perfectly clear so as to ensure I won’t be judged.  In trying to protect myself from judgment, I distance from my heart and voice.

Just as my father didn’t want my mother stepping outside his comfort zone the controller now in me likewise doesn’t want me stepping beyond my box. My enemy is internal. My battle isn’t with swords or guns but with subtle embedded beliefs.  The frightened masculine in me tries to exert control as it fears my being seen, being vulnerable.

Yet aren’t we at our most vulnerable when revealing our insides?  Doesn’t fully inhabiting our hearts mean being vulnerable and open to everything including pain?  Aren’t we at our most powerful when we live and speak from our insides?   

Individuals like Hope and groups like End Slavery TN and Animal Rescue Corp embody the original definition of courage.  They stand and speak for the heart.  They embody the early symbolism of the Lion.  These groups and individuals aren’t just rescuing young women and animals; they are excavating and reviving the heart on a quantum level. They are integral to the rising Divine Feminine as is my Mother who continues to express joy and love in spite of numerous losses and changes over the last seven years.

What if the Divine has been awaiting this time, a time when all of us, women and men alike, have the opportunity to remember and own the feminine energies we hold, not to control, compete with or suppress the masculine, but to engage with compassion and  find our Voice as we stand and speak for the heart.  It is time to be seen, to demand an end to sex trafficking, dog fighting and animal abuse.  It is time to reclaim the original meaning of courage and not speak in hate but with firm compassion from our hearts.

Can you imagine it?  What if we are in this time writing a new chapter in the history of the Heart?What if the Divine has been awaiting this time, a time when all of us, women and men alike, have the opportunity to remember and own the feminine energies we hold, not to control, compete with or suppress the masculine, but to engage with compassion and  find our Voice as we stand and speak for the heart.  It is time to be seen, to demand an end to sex trafficking, dog fighting and animal abuse.  It is time to reclaim the original meaning of courage and not speak in hate but with firm compassion from our hearts.

Print from original by Harold Rigsby.

I believe it is written in the stars and this is the time to fulfill our part.


Can you sense courage stirring, stirring in your heart? 

Dawn, The Good News Muse, 15 Feb. 2013

Deep appreciation to Sparta artist Harold Rigsby who gave permission for me to alter the lion to portray the lion in my vision.  His artist statement below expresses his deep compassion for the animal world and what he conveys in his work.

Here's one link to Harold's art: H. Rigsby's Gallery  and his artist statement below.
"If occasionally one passerby, who kills our wildlife thoughtlessly and without feeling, one person who would kill the last of an endangered species without a second thought, can look into the eyes of one of my animals and see something he hasn't seen before, if he can see the power, the beauty and the innocence which is embodied in every one of God's creatures, and if this can cause him to give some thought to why he kills and possibly give him reason not to kill again, then everything I have hoped for has been accomplished."

The Year of the Snake - The Healing Power of Venom

Upon learning the Chinese New Year is the  Year of the Snake I immediately thought of a vision I had last August. 

I was shown the fuchsia face of a man in the stars.  Something about him immediately reminded me of former vice-president Cheney yet I knew it wasn't' him.  His face vanished and an elephant's trunk appeared.  It then vanished and was replaced by a huge snake reminiscent of the one in the Harry Potter series.  It crawled into my field of vision in the stars then opened its mouth just like in the movie.

Everything went black.  Then a fuchsia heart shape appeared.  I could feel it pulsing energy to me, feeding and invigorating me, as I recorded the vision and wondered what it meant.

I sensed the snake represented the Divine Feminine enveloping the man as the word transmutation came to mind.  Yet I wondered, 'Who was the man?' 

Twenty-days later I came home from being out of town for a week.  I was sorting the mail and newspapers saved for us by a neighbor.  The story and photos on the front page of the Tennessean from two days prior literally took my breath.

There on the cover of our local paper was the man in my vision sitting atop an elephant he had killed.  The stories heading read: "He takes hunting to an extreme."  The reporter told of a local sixty-year old who after a health scare in 1999 decided to hunt "dangerous" animals.  The story referred to animals of course as 'game' but this was no game to me.  This man hunts my children, an elephant and leopard in Zimbabwe, a brown bear in Russia, a hippopotamus, zebra, fox, every deer imaginable and thousands of fowl.

I did not want to read the story.  Even now to write of it brings tears to my eyes.  Yet to avoid it was to neglect the vision and resist listening for its message.

So I read.  And I have  read the story again and again this week listening, still listening wanting to discern why this was delivered to me by the Universe and the newspaper man. 

The local hunter invoked God in defending his pastime quoting scripture from Genesis where God told Noah that every moving thing that lived was food for him and his family.  I thought, 'I bet God wants to take that back.  Surely he had no idea Earth would become so overrun with people, people who would crowd out and kill off creation with a hunting arsenal like this mans.'

The writer relates how local school children in one village were dismissed from school when the hunter killed the hippopotamus, so they could gather meat for their families from the bed of his truck.  Similarly the elephant fed 100 people in a village for over a month.  I read this yet thought, "Why not use your passion and money to teach these villagers something that would last a lifetime that they could pass on to their children, something that didn't involve killing the endangered animals of God's earth?"

The writer quoted him as saying, "Everything I do, I do to an extreme."

And this is where the story comes around to me - to me, to you, to the snake and the fuchsia heart here in the year of the Snake.  We are here to love to the extreme. 

I knew the August afternoon of the vision that I was to follow the example of the snake, to ingest the traits of this person I find most disturbing in order to transmute the negative in him as well as myself.  The Snake as a Divine symbol says, "Hold the all of who this man is as well as yourself in Love."

Then earlier this week I came across the latest National Geographic buried beneath a pile of papers.  I had not yet looked at it. I glanced at the cover and saw what I knew was a message for me.  A story headline in the bottom corner read: The Healing Power of Venom.  

My breath was taken.  Immediately I knew what I consider poisonous in this man is here to activate the power of my heart creating a healing venom for him and for me.

If I had to rely on myself alone I could not respond to the Call of this vision.  Yet I nor we do this alone.  The Heart of the Universe that pulsed energy to me, whether you call it God, Great Spirit or Goddess feeds us if we are open to holding the abuses and violations of this world that stem from shame, ignorance, arrogance and self-hate.  

Is there anything more beautiful in this Year of the Snake than transforming the poisons in our world into venom that heals?  Is there anything more beautiful than loving in extreme in this profound way?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 15 Feb. 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Errand of the Soul - Inspired by the Degenerate Art in Nashville

As soon as I walked into the building, I felt it.  I didn't even know I was missing it.  What I did know is that despite errands to be run, loads of laundry to be washed and calls to be made, I stopped.

I turned my car toward downtown Nashville Friday to run an errand of the soul.

I had known for three months that I needed to make this trip. Thursday evening solidified this knowing.  As I read the program for "Harmonic Convergence" this weekend's symphony, I saw the word -degenerate.

Degenerate was used in a program reference to the German composer Arnold Schoenberg whose "Survivor from Warsaw" was performed with George Takei as the narrator.

Last October I first saw degenerate, a term I don't think I had ever considered, in the opening for the German Expressionism exhibit at the Frist Museum.  
Kirchner's "Winter Landscape in Moonlight" one of the 'degenerate' works on the Frist cover. Exhibit ends 2/10/13.

That evening I knew why Hitler declared thousands of works degenerate.  In his effort to eliminate art that didn't promote "healthy Arian values" more than 1,000 expressionist paintings and 4,000 drawings, prints and watercolors were burned in 1939. In addition, 700 paintings were shown in the  Degenerate Art Exhibit  viewed by 2 million people in Munich and another million as it was taken about the country. Artists who taught lost their jobs and galleries were forced to surrender their work.

That first evening and again this past week I experienced the real reason I believe Hitler wanted to destroy these works.  These works hold profound light and beauty.  Animals to many of the German expressionists were idealized as spiritual creatures.

I spent the afternoon walking among these works, experiencing them.  The artists whose works are in this exhibit were the 'degenerates.'  Yet I walked and considered how generate is the root of this word.  How did a word related to growth get corrupted in this way?  And what are we to generate and grow from Hitlers abominable actions?  

Of what was Hitler so threatened, really?  Likewise what are so many corporations, lobbyists and politicians threatened by in relation to the masses today?  

When I walked into the Frist yesterday I felt the same inner 'ah' that I felt the night prior when I sat down to listen to music.  What if this is the greatest threat, the threat of our being fully present in our bodies, not worn out and exhausted, not sucked dry like zombies by tv and the computer, not slowly poisoned by fast food but to feel Life and Light stirring within?

I have been longing to go the ocean to sit in the sun for several weeks now.  Yet it occurred to me as I walked into the Frist that maybe just maybe this art would activate the Sun within, warm my bones, my heart, my soul and that's just what it did. 

We are here in this time of Harmonic Convergence on an errand of the Soul, to feel our bodies inner 'ah,' to see and sense our Light.  Music, art, nature, animals, our bodies - these are the avenues through which Heart and Soul arrive.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 9 February 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Falling Trees

I am a notice-er yet I have walked this road many times before and these trees have gone unnoticed until a recent snow.  These fallen beautiful ones their once vertical bodies stretching earth to sky now lay parallel to the ground.

What happened here?

On this day, I was reminded of other fallen ones, those who have lived and died in these woods long before white man's arrival and those who died as a result of his arrival, moved from their wooded home.

They remind me of other fallen ones.  Weekdays I walk my Nashville neighborhood once a battlefield between North and South.  I walk the area streets aware many of the hills and dips about me were once trenches in which men lay first with guns then with death, defending their way of life.

I look at these trees and wonder what these souls gone before would speak.  If they could for a day rise from the trenches and battlefields, what would they say?

In the quite I hear: "We are all falling trees. Live and love more mindfully. Stop your frightened, warring ways."
-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  8 Feb. 2013

Thoughts on Robins, Night Crawlers, Ecology, Mystery and Soul

Robin symbolizes the spread of new growth.  
(from Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews)

Day 1:  At first they are one great big happy family having made it from afar. Finding and feeling homecoming in the hack berry trees, robins eat and expel berries onto my home, yard and car. They entertain my cats and mesmerize me. Everyone gets along.

Day 2: Relief sets in from having survived the trip.  Exhaustion and fear abate. A back and forth begins.  At times the robins chest bump, staking out certain spots in my small Nashville terrain. They claim territory, ascertaining which square foot will yield the highest quotient of worms.

Day 3:  Human complaints begin to be heard.  Hack berry deposits dot cars everywhere.  I expect to hear an announcement by the CDC warning of robin-spread disease.  I imagine entrepreneurs brain-storming how a quick buck might be made off this sudden boost in birds as was tried with the cicada 'invasion' two years ago.

Meanwhile I sit outside every morning taking in robin's presence and song.  I imagine their sharing energy with me. And for some odd reason, at one random moment I take Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" from my shelf and open it.  I have never read it through.  I open it to a page referencing robins. Hmmm.

"For each of us, as for the robin in Michigan or the salmon in the Miramichi, this is a problem 
of ecology, of interrelationships, of interdependence.  We spray our elms and the following 
springs are silent of robin song, not because we sprayed the robins directly but because 
the poison traveled step by step, through the now familiar elm leaf-earthworm-robin cycle.
They reflect the web of life - or death- that scientists know as ecology." p.189

I look in the index and find a chapter about the spraying of DDT in the 50's to kill the bark beetle attacking elm trees.  Twenty three pounds of DDT was sprayed per acre where elms were numerous. This killed the 'bad' beetle and other beneficial organisms, insects, spiders and bugs on the trees.  DDT covered the leaves. Rains did not wash it away. Instead when leaves fell to the ground, the poison became one with the soil, toxic leaves were eaten by earthworms, which were eaten by the robins who then ended up dead or sterile. 

I read this and feel joy and relief.  Surely Rachel Carson would be happy because of the hundreds of robins gathered in my trees.  Then I went about my day quietly aware I had not been outside as much. I had not savored the robins.  I told myself I would go out the next day.  

Day 4:  I knew the masses were AWOL even before daybreak. The enormous chorus in the trees was replaced by a lone wren singing around the boundary of my house. Something sent the robins away.  Possibly the overnight rain and cooler temperatures prompted their travels onward.  Five remain hopping about my back yard while the wren sang for over an hour, announcing I imagined to the bird world that our feeders were again available and free.

Although robins do not eat bird seed, their presence had caused the relocation of chickadees, finches, nuthatches, titmice, cardinals and sparrows. Even the squirrels and one lone blue jay had evacuated our yard to where I've wondered all week. I have felt such joy in robin's presence while simultaneously longing for the other birds.

I never dreamed the robins would leave overnight. Or maybe I did.  Was this why I was quietly mindful yesterday that I had not been outside as much though I had the time?

I knew they would eventually leave but not last night.  How often does someone or something leave our life or an experience pass and we wish for one moment more to savor or say something unsaid.

An hour into Day 4: As I lay down my pen, five brown and rust robin bodies bob about the yard. Their up and down reminds me of  rigs seeking oil from Mother Earth except the robins are seeking earthworms.

Worms! That's it! How did I forget the night crawlers?

Watching the robins this morning bob about my yard, I suddenly remember last summers long, hot drought causing our yard to be so hard. Watching the robins come up empty beaked day after day prompted me to invest in night crawlers. I repeatedly bought three containers at a time that I would keep refrigerated. 

Each day I would offer up 2-3 of the largest worms to the family that had been born in the shrub by my back door now growing up all around my house.  Not wanting to make the feeding easy (or in tea party terms be seen as giving hand-outs ... and I'm not a tea party-er), I would cover the worms in dirt.

Whereas some people check their phones repeatedly, I checked my yard. I walked to the windows and I walked to the door most often finding an adult robin with a worm half her size hanging from her beak, being chased by youngsters that would gradually be fed the night crawler.

Eventually the young ones would stand by the bobbing adult modeling the way to find food.  This went on for a month. Meanwhile I the watcher would be filled with joy and relief hoping my simple efforts kept the robins alive.

Today I wonder if I unintentionally impacted the robins migratory pattern offering fat juicy night crawlers.  Did some unknown hormone fatten these words the robins fed on and draw them here again. As much as I don't like fast food, did I build a robin fast food McDawn's for the robins?  Would Rachel Carson judge me?

Two hours into Day 4:  A handful of robins bob about yet they are joined by squirrels, doves and all the usual birds. The robin chorus has been replaced by the wren who's notes are accompanied by sounds of dove and blue jay.

As I reflect upon this robin-filled week, the Soul's migration to Earth comes to mind.  I suspect we arrive at first, like the robins, having made it from afar with the idea of being one great big happy family.  There's much singing, a homecoming of sorts to be had on beautiful Earth.  Young child souls like the robins initially in my yard certainly get along much better than before they begin to grow.

As time passes as happened this week, we begin jostling and pushing seeking our equivalent of worms and nesting overcrowding certain areas, rooting out those here before us.

Over eons, this great migratory dance of Souls has unfolded as the Soul of the Universe seeks its fullest expression, a hoped-for feathered balance with Time's passing.  

Three hours into Day 4: In the brief time it's taken me to to wake up, putz, write, clean up, tinker with and post this story, the birds and squirrels at my feeder have for the most part been replaced by a handful of starlings frantically moving about the ground pecking at millet and such.

Their blackness reminds me of Mystery.

Normally I would tap on the window and send them flying.  This morning, I watch.  I am reminded of ecology, the invisible web through which we're connected, the Mystery of which we are all a part.

I watch in awe and honor these winged messengers, black, brown, red, tan, singers to my Soul informing me of the interconnected web being weaved on this spot of land I call home.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 8 February 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mother Moon

Mother Moon
barely there
disappearing from the sky

Still you impact
our dear Earth
from your place on high.

You prompt the tides to come and go
Your phases birth seeds new growth.

Mother Moon
barely there
a sliver of pure white

May we be mindful
of your care
all the day and night.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 6 Feb. 2013


This week while sitting outside early one morning listening to the robins, the word sanctuary crossed my mind. Just the day prior, a young woman I know was telling me about her lifelong love of creating sanctuary. 

Sanctuary connotes structures of worship from the Baptist church of my childhood to cathedrals scattered throughout France. I'm reminded of animal sanctuaries like the Elephant Sanctuary not that far away and sanctuary for people, those seeking assylum, peace and rest from abuse in dictatorial, war torn lands.

This morning though sanctuary comes to mind and tears fill my eyes. At times I need a human sanctuary. No, I need a non-human sanctuary as much that causes me distress relates to humans roaming Earth. 

As someone who's senstive, I suspect I long for sanctuary more so than many. This is why I sit on my deck at midnight's quiet under the star-filled sky or this morning sat for over two hours listening to and watching the robins. I long for sanctuary of the heart. This may be my greatest lesson, my challenge in a world in which people kill, bully, torture and harm things of beauty to me. 

Earth was created as a sanctuary. It takes a strong heart to live here without walling off and turning to stone.  It takes a strong heart to live here and not take one's life literally or slowly through alcohol, drugs and an array of anesthetizers. 

You cannot buy sanctuary. Ads and commericals will tell you, you can. They will sell you things of beauty with which you may surround yourself, yet santuary starts wihin and at least for me involves a dance with the without. 

This morning before sanctuary came to mind, tears had already welled in my eyes as I recalled last Spring watching the robin couple daily build its nest by my back door. For two months I quietly sat on my deck and often avoided the back door out of respect and love for this one couple and their eventual three children.  

All three of these young ones eventually flew yet only a month later a robin died overnight.  A neighbor found it sitting alive in her driveway.  The nest or parent couldn't be found.  I knew it had an injury.  Still I made a nest in a box, fed it mushed up worm and tucked it in for the night.  Walden's Puddle agreed to give it sanctuary until I awoke the next morning to find it had died.  

I wept uncontrollably for awhile, then took it outside where I asked its kin to come receive its feathered body back into their starry flock. Before placing it in the empty nest, I asked all the birds to continue to come be with us on Earth.

I have not always been this way with birds. 

The morning after the May Day Flood in 2010 as I emptied my basement of its wet contents, I nearly stepped on a dead baby robin.  It caught my eye just in time as I filled the bed of the truck backed into my drive. I stepped over it then stopped.  My nonchalance caught my breathWho was this me? I picked up the mangled little body blown from its nest and apologized.  Then I laid it lovingly under a nearby shrub. 

In that moment I knew this is how it happens.  It is so easy to get caught up in doing what's next, then next, then next that what's before our very eyes goes unseen and gets passed.

This morning tears rose as I thought, "They're here. They did come again." 

I thought of all the many birds I've held and laid to rest.  I always ask their feathered tribe to come get them and keep coming to us as well. 

Yes, sanctuary for me at least starts within, yet it involves a dance with the without and experiencing the willingness to open my heart and engage again and again.

Sanctuary starts within and realizing the beauty that you are, the beauty of your heart. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 6 February 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Robins Celebrate Ravens Win

At times my soul feels like a bottomless well or a hungry belly, a starving heart.  That is why I sat outside this morning in 20 degrees of cold rejoicing in robins.  How many of my neighbors or passersby enroute to work noticed and heard the hundreds of robins throughout my neighborhood?  I listened and wondered if they were waking the bird world to the Raven's win?  Or did the recent 70 degree weather prompt their migratory journey my way weeks early?  Normally I would grab a trowel and begin breaking ground, not for a new building, but to aide their search for earthen food.  

Nature's song provides me a balance for the harshness in the world.  This morning I could care less if the Ravens or 49's won. For possibly the first time ever I only tuned into football last night to see who had been chosen for the halftime spectacle.  I wished Beyonce had sung "Break the Chain" the anthem for the One Billion Rising movement. What an opportunity she had.

My mind and heart were preoccupied with the fact that Super Bowl weekend is a heavy period for sex trafficking in the country and even more so with New Orleans being a port city.  Young girls can be easily cycled into the city for tourists and revelers looking to spend money in secrecy. 

This morning thanks to the robins I am Thoreau in my Walden, this world around me  Yet I suspect Thoreau never wrestled with time and need at least as I do, the need to come inside, clean up, but first take my morning walk and run, bills to pay, the cable company and computer guy to call or the moisturizer, cleanser and scrub that's a month overdue to order. What was his equivalent of tumblr, facebook and twitter, calls to return and work to do? And how would Thoreau have wrapped his mind around sex trafficking?

Some part of me thinks I should take Thoreau off the shelf to read tonight.  For now, a moment more, I sit at my inner pond and drink of this outer world.  Natures feels and robins fill this well, belly, heart place.  Whether celebrating the Super Bowl or heralding Spring, they come to my aide on this cold February day.

Maybe I am not the only one they're here to aide. 

Would 1 in 3 women experience violence, would we be arguing about guns, would girls be trafficked any day not just Super Bowl day if more people realized their beauty within and this beautiful world without?

What sings outside your window right now?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  4 Feb. 2013