Friday, July 12, 2013

Fear and the Flow

This week while in the car, I happened to hear an interview on public radio with someone from Netflix.  The topic involved rapidly turning out 13 hour-long episodes of shows to keep viewers enticed and the myriad of media options now available for creating, producing and viewing these shows.  This is something of which I know little since I've only recently turned on my tv to watch the Tour de France

While some people text in traffic, I take notes.  As I listened, I dug around in my purse for paper grateful a light turned red so I could scribble what I had just heard.  

The first phrase to which I first reacted was tv ecosystem.  

I was outraged to hear this term related to Earth and Nature co-opted by the media since the tv watching is really anti-Nature, isn't it? (How many sitcoms, dramas or anything tv-related inspire people to go outside?  The whole point of tv is to prompt the opposite, right?)  Then while writing this I searched the phrase and found the diagram above along with several others showing the family tree of sorts to the tv ecosystem.

The interviewer suggested that surely his guest tires of watching tv at times up to 19 hours a day.  On the contrary, the guest spoke of finding pleasure in this as it's a continuation of childhood in which he grew up watching tv.  

I watched tv in childhood too.  There was "Laugh In" on Tuesday nights, "Patridge Family" on Fridays and "Soul Train" and "American Bandstand" on Saturdays but I also rode my bike, explored in the woods, played softball, loved books, swam, sewed, made Creepy Crawlers and anything else I found to create and ran before running was 'in.'  

Then the guest added, "Addictive tv keeps you hooked."

I'm presently watching men competitively bike around France because I savor seeing the French countryside, not because I'm hooked.  Then I realized I'm different I suspect because most of the time Life keeps me hooked.  

One of the few quotes I remember is from Depak Chopra's novel "The Return of Merlin." Merlin says, "Life is a mystery. Hopefully we are not too busy and miss the vital clues." 

The unfolding mystery of my life keeps me hooked even when it comes to going medical appointments as I've done this week. 

I've actually put this week off for two years, this being having my thyroid rescanned, getting blood work etc. With my childhood history of thinking I was dying for a significant portion of my elementary school years, I procrastinate when it comes to medical concerns.  (In my line of work, I consider this compartmentalization for survival and fear-based denial.)  And this is part of my life's mystery.

I experienced a renewed sense of that mystery even upon arriving at my doctor's office Monday afternoon.  Unlike stories I hear, I was seen on time and walked out of her office and into and out of a mammogram on another floor within the hour.  I got an appointment for an ultrasound within three days and blood work in two. Enroute home, I stopped at another office and signed to have my prior records released and ensured they were received the next day.

I share these things because they're part of my being 'hooked' on Life.  I don't watch tv to find and feel wonder, mystery and magic unfolding much of the time in my journey.  It's all around me.  I only miss it when I'm unconsciously afraid or living on autopilot and non-local, thus not tuned in and present. 

It happened again this week when I went to the scheduled ultrasound.  I showed up ten minutes early, was called in for the scan and was out in fifteen. Then I signed to get a dvd of the images and the woman making the dvd said it would be ready in five minutes.  I went upstairs to sign for a written copy of my results and while on the elevator returning to get the dvd was aware of feeling as if I had entered a flow by listening, taking action and stopping my procrastination. 

To feel like I'm in a flow around medical things is a sweet miracle and part of life's greater mystery for me. To be in the flow is feeling a space of peace, trust and calm in my body even now as I await all these results. (This isn't to say I don't feel apprehension or fear awaiting phone calls and faxes, yet on the inside in a deeper place there's a knowingness that this is all part of my soul's journey and life's mystery.)
The Clinic at Vandy, Author unknown

I was pondering all this while returning to the Vanderbilt parking garage for some reason I looked left before turning right.  Three feet from me was this amazing sculpture. 

I saw it and thought, 'It's the flow!'  

Their open arms and bodies in flight suggested flowing through life yet I wondered how many people notice this powerful piece which for me was a 'vital clue' to which Merlin referred in the novel?  

How many people instead notice the sanitation station next to the sculpture and miss the flowing figures?  How many passers-by trying to stay germ free to keep from disease (ie. potential death) use the soap dispenser not realizing fear creates the foundation for dis-ease or not being at ease and in the flow. 

I'm not yet prone to germ, weather or bug fears as perpetuated in much of society but I get it. I have lived quietly and unconsciously run by fear much of my life.  My intermittent and at times pervasive unconsciousness has kept me from my personal flow. 

Only an hour prior I was personally guilty of missing the sculpture as I was singularly focused rushing to get to my appointment.  

It was only while exiting that I saw it. 

Symbolically how often do we get out of the flow (busy in Merlin's words) upon entering this physical plane only to find the the flow later in life, near-er our exit then entry? 
Inside I smiled even more as I drove home mindful when I'm personally in the flow, the ecosystem around me, through nature, people and art, provides clues as referenced by Merlin as to my journey's unfolding mystery.  

I don't begrudge people for watching tv.  I just hope as Merlin relates that they're being inspired to find  pieces to their life's mystery and not missing the vital clues.

Where and when do you feel your life's flow?  How do you experience clues that you're on to your life's greater mystery? 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 12 July 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Blueberries Heroic Journey

I learned to jam in 2009 thanks to Bernie Ellis' amazing blue berries.  This story of the blue berries heroic journey soon followed.  I reread it each year when berry time rolls around and some times in-between as life's journey leaves us black and blue, bruised yet sweeter when we throw ourselves into the fire of living. Enjoy! - Dawn

In the beginning were the voids, twelve to be exact, little universes unto themselves, content yet alone. They sat atop the counter yearning occasionally for something more.

Nearby sat berries, a large tribe of blueberries successfully having made their heroic journey from seed to bush to bowl. Most of them, prepared to meet allies and adversaries on the Road of Trials and Adventures, excitedly anticipated the crossing of another threshold in the journey.

Thanks to the hand that stirs, one summer Saturday, the berries found allies in sugar and pectin. They formed a community. This holy trinity did not forget as on all heroic journeys there were trials to be faced. The first was the trial by fire. Many of the berries balked. They feared loosing their individuality. They recalled the courage and tenacity on which they relied to survive prior adversaries, the birds, bugs and rain that tested them in their earlier life.

In their blueberry souls, they knew to become something greater they had to yield to their circumstances, be changed by the fire. In this bubbling cauldron that was for now their life, they joined with one another as well as their two new allies. In sixty seconds, magic was made. On the fiery altar in the kitchen, the berries gave themselves to the sweetness of the sugar while allowing the pectin to change their substance. From thin to thick, they were altered.

The heroic adventure continued as the Hand-That-Stirs-All poured this newly married mixture into the voids. Just as they relaxed thinking the journey was over, they found themselves immersed in an unexpected baptism of sorts. They found themselves in hot water. Some cried it was unfair to go to a watery grave after such a short life. Little did they know this final hurdle would ensure their longevity.

After fifteen minutes, that seemed like forever, the Hand-That-Stirs-All gently lifted each jar from the fire. In gratitude, as the jars cooled each gave a grateful little pop, twelve tiny steel drum sounds signaled completion.

Twelve tribes, all the same, yet used in different ways over the coming months, some to be spread on breads, others to sweeten meat and some to be given as gifts. Each berry, a boon from the soil, blessing the soul, a lone orb of sweetness, now part of the greater whole. Each jar an alchemical testament to the magic of yielding to the fire.

Each void an opportunity to.....

.....begin again

- Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse posted again 9 July  2013

(Thanks to Joseph Campbell who so beautifully outlined the heroic journey in story and myth also applicable to people, communities, the planet, and yes, blueberries.)

Star Gazers, Earth Lovers

The stargazer lilies are blooming.
Like astronomers of old, their faces tilt skyward. 

Who of us hasn't searched the heavens for the Dippers or Orion's Belt?

May we in these times
turn our gaze toward Mother Earth,
to the lilies roots where they as we return.

Star Gazers, Earth Lovers,
May we tune our hearts toward her.

-Imagine that Shift!
Dawn, the Good News Muse 
9 July 2013 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Golden Hearts and Golden Hands Usher in a Golden Age - Honoring Walden's Puddle

 (Last Sunday's "Tennessean" reported that local wildlife rehab sanctuary "Walden's Puddle" is receiving many more animals in need this summer compared to years prior. One day recently they took in 110 animals compared to 50-70 last year. With this come rising costs. Their story (link HERE) made me think of my personal story with Walden only last summer a year ago.  I share this to honor those at Walden who volunteer and all who work with these dear creatures of beauty and wonder.  Your golden hearts and hands are ushering a New Golden Age and I thank you!) 

On the afternoon of June 11, 2012, exhaustion suddenly overcame me.  I have learned to listen when this occurs for I’m often given a message. 

As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw an eye, an eye that I know is feminine because of its long lashes.   She had not appeared to me for some time.  This time though the eye was closed.  Within seconds it vanished then returned and was open.  This eye which I consider the feminine aspect of the Divine was quickly followed by a raccoon’s masked face.  A second soon joined it.  The faces of two young raccoons remained in my field of vision then vanished. They were replaced by a golden hand its palm facing upward extending from me as if I were offering my hand to someone or something.

I had seen raccoon eyes and the eye before but never a golden hand.   I noted this series of images and then returned to work.
Just over two weeks later as I concluded my morning walk, I heard Judy my neighbor calling my name.  She stood in her yard diagonally across the street animatedly shouting that she had an emergency.

Inside I smiled as I heard the phrase, “two baby raccoons.”  This was related to the vision. Curled in a plastic crate by another neighbor’s house were two young raccoons fast asleep.


Three of us stood over these sleeping youngsters and agreed it was wisest to leave them in hopes their mother returned.  I was relieved yet curious and torn because of the vision. Why had I seen the golden hand?  Was I to lend a hand?  This was the time of day usually reserved for my writing, yet it was all I could do to stay focused and not intervene.  Yet not intervening felt right.

The next morning we discovered the raccoons were gone.  Judy and I stood in the street and cheered. Then I went about my day wondering how this was connected to what I had been shown.

That afternoon Judy called again.  The prior day’s events were a prelude to an unfolding story.  The young raccoons had been found in the yard of our newest neighbor who had swiftly hired an animal trapping service.  A trapper had already arrived and for several hundred dollars caught one of the babies and left baited traps for the remaining one which had climbed a tree.  A third neighbor had asked the trapper what would be done with the baby.  The business owner said he would abide by federal guidelines. When asked if this meant he would kill the raccoon, the trapper reiterated he would “follow guidelines.”  This neighbor quickly searched for the guidelines and couldn’t clearly discern what the man really meant.  I then learned another local business used trapped raccoons for training hunting dogs.  This made me sick.

Heartbroken I weighed whether I was to intervene and call my neighbor.  What if he was upset and told me this was none of my business?  I did not want to create hard feelings yet I had hard feelings related to what had already occurred.  Judy persisted and contacted with someone in the neighborhood who traps feral cats for neutering and spaying.  I was in my raised beds trying to dig my sorrow for the raccoons away when Judy and Cici arrived with a trap.  I feared it was too small but agreed to set it overnight in my yard in hopes of beating the business man to the remaining young raccoon.

The next morning, my trap was empty and I felt panic.  To ignore calling my new neighbor felt like I was ignoring the vision and the raccoon.  I had to reach out, extend a hand.

I suspect some people in small towns, like the one in which I grew up, think urban folk don’t know their neighbors.  This may be true for some neighborhoods but not Westwood.  Seven homes in my little ‘neck of the world,’ a dead end street in Nashville’s busy West End/Vanderbilt area, have been occupied by the same residents for going on twenty years.  We have an unofficial neighborhood watch when it comes to one another.  Our watch includes animals.

In talking with our newest neighbor, I explained that we’re accustomed to raccoons and opossums navigating our yards at night.   The new neighbors weren’t. They were frightened; concerned the raccoons would try to nest under their house.

I offered to reimburse my neighbor half of the fee he had already paid the trapping company if he would give me the young raccoon.  He confirmed it was in the cage and the business had been alerted.  Yet upon hearing of “Walden’s Puddle” he quickly agreed, not to taking my monetary offer, but to giving me the young raccoon if I could get it in time.

Imagine my joy when I found these dear eyes looking at me.
I called a fourth neighbor who helped me get the raccoon into small carrier she offered to the endeavor.

With the raccoon in the front seat, I made the thirty minute drive to “Walden’s Puddle” singing most of the way.  I sang and this dear, dear animal in return made a chirping, purring sound like my cat when she’s extremely content.  The raccoon, it seemed, sang back to me the entire way.

I had heard of “Walden’s Puddle” for years but had never taken an animal there.  As I handed over the young raccoon, a woman walked in with a fawn in her arms.  A Walden staff member checked its skin and confirmed her suspicion – dehydration.  The summer’s drought was impacting animals significantly.  The lack of water meant mothers couldn’t easily produce milk for their young.  The fawn had been in the middle of the road.  It did not move even when the woman parked and walked up to it.  It allowed her to take it into her arms and place it into her car.  A technician immediately took the fawn and I walked to my car realizing I was in heaven on Earth.

I’m one of those persons that knows a line to a song but never the entire song.  I drove back to Nashville with a line “We’ve got to get back to the garden” singing through my mind knowing Walden’s Puddle is a special part of Earth’s garden.

As I neared home, I called the neighborhood network to share our success and thank them for their help.  Unfortunately I learned the trapper was now trying to catch the mother raccoon.  Our neighbor had signed a 7 day contract and for whatever reason couldn’t or wouldn’t tell the man to not return even though the man had received payment in advance.

Our endeavor was not complete.  I stopped at the neighborhood hardware store to look into the cost of a large humane trap.  I learned the men at Hillsboro Hardware are part of my tribe as they shared of rescuing bunnies in their yards so their dogs couldn’t kill them.

As I paid for a trap, I heard playing on the store radio, “We’ve got to get back to the garden.”   The Universal ipod confirmed my journey.  Before leaving the store parking lot, I found the lyrics on-line.  I sat in my car smiling outside and inside as I came upon the line that reads:  We are golden.  And I thought of the golden hand in my vision.

My neighbors and those involved with Walden’s Puddle are golden.  My new neighbor is as well.  I called him again.  He agreed that if I used the new trap, I could render his traps harmless each night in hopes of my catching the mother.

Three mornings later I awoke to find her peering from the covered trap.

Unlike her baby, her initial response was upset.  She growled fiercely as I consoled her.  I squatted by the cage and said:  “I know it’s scary. Life on Earth can be hard.  When humans don’t understand the heart, it gets hard. Life gets hard and the heart gets hard.”  

I made the chirping sound the way its baby had talked to me hoping she would understand and said, “That’s the language your baby made.   It’s your first language.  I love you and am so sorry for what people have done because we have forgotten our first language.” 

At first as I spoke, the raccoon’s ears trembled.  Then I realized I had my journal in front of me, like a shield over my heart. I lay my journal aside and something shifted.  You may think I was imagining things but I saw the shift in the raccoon’s eyes.

I drove again from Nashville this time with a raccoon in a large trap in my back seat. Although she never chirped to me, she never growled after that first time.

What I ‘got’ or learned during that drive is something I am repeatedly taught by the animals I encounter.  I was so happy loving this animal yet there was a deeper love than mine in the car.  This animal loved me more than I could fathom more than I loved her.  We shared a bond that went beyond the moment.  I knew she appreciated my caring for her but most of all for caring about her children.

She seemed to say, “Thank you for extending the golden hand of your heart to my children and me.” 

The animals come here because they love us so.  They continue coming to Earth because they have a hope in us that many of us don’t even have in ourselves.  They are here partnering with us in this time of great unfolding Mystery as the feminine, feeling aspect of the Divine awakens.  They offer themselves to us in hopes that we might fully realize who we are.

Who are we?  We are golden.  We carry a golden heart from which we can at any moment extend a golden hand.   This is our first language when young, yet often like the mother raccoon, we learn to exhibit hostility and defensiveness rather than trust and love.  We learn to mask vulnerability like her initial grown hid her trembling ears.

What I know about myself, which may or may not be true for you, is when I forget my first language, Love, and don’t extend myself, to people or to the animals my heart begins to disconnect then gradually tune out and harden.

Our golden hearts have opportunities daily to extend ourselves, offering a hand to one another, to those we don’t know or think we know, to the animals and to Nature.  To do otherwise means we risk missing our reason for being alive.  To do otherwise, means we potentially miss our role in the greater awakening of Divine Love and getting “back to the garden” that is Earth.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse at 8 July 2013, first posted 17 July 2012

Sandhill Cranes - May the Migration Begin

Discussion is being held once again regarding hunting the Sandhill Cranes. Today's Tennessean carries the news on the front page. Between now and August 10th public comments are being taken at Please put Sandhill Cranes in the subject line.

Personally I can't imagine hunting these amazing birds.  Their call to me is the soul's call yet I didn't even know of the cranes wintering in Southeast TN until  three years ago when the hunting issue came up the first time.  Reading of them in the newspaper, prompted us to make the two hours drive to the Hiwassee Refuge where we spent the day in the snow listening and watching.

That was three years ago and we've returned each winter since. This piece was written after that first visit and yet it is still relevant.  During the day we also discovered a memorial of which we had not heard.  I found myself pondering the connection between the two and the migration that humankind faces.  Whether we make it is up to each of us.

Thanks for reading and for sharing your views at the TWRA link above and at the stories end.  - Dawn

January 2011

This week the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will decide whether to adopt a proposal to hunt Sandhill Cranes. This disconcerting news reported by writer Anne Paine in last week's Tennessean prompted us to take a weekend road trip to visit the Hiwassee Refuge just north of Chattanooga near Birchwood, TN.

Eighty years ago there were only 25 breeding crane pairs recorded in Wisconsin due to hunting, agricultural expansion and drainage of wetlands in the 1700 and 1800's. Thanks to protections and habitat restoration these amazing birds with wing spans of 6-7 feet have gradually rebounded so that thousands winter over at the refuge before returning north.

I was quickly captured by the graceful landings of these tall gray birds whose periodic movements made the fields in which they congregate seem to come alive and dance. I was auditorily mesmerized by their trilling vocalizations remarking that it was a bit like listening to thousands of delighted Julia Childs. (No offense, Julia fans...that's a compliment.)

After two hours of savoring the sights and sounds, we drove down the road to another sight no more than a half mile away. Previously turning into the refuge, we noticed a sign for something called the "Cherokee Removal Memorial" and commented on the harsh connotation of the wording.

Arriving at the memorial, we realized the appropriateness of the word "removal" for we were at one of the starting points of the "Trail of Tears" where 9,000 Cherokee and Creek Native Americans held in stockades were made to sleep on the ground naked in the cold and rain for weeks in the fall of 1838.

Stunned and disconnected, I read the historical plaques summarizing the events that occurred. (It's one thing to read of the Trail of Tears in a book and another to actually be on the land where it began.) I found myself wondering, "How could these men force people to leave their homes and land?" As if on cue, repeated distant gun fire punctuated the quiet providing an auditory reminder of part of the 'how,' the part related to instilling fear. The Natives were forced by bayonet and gun to submit. I wondered what the wives of these men were thinking? Did any wife question her husband's actions? What role did fear and denial play in female silence during these times? I pondered today's parallel as fear is still used to separate and control us and how nearly impossible it is to have reasonable conversations about guns due to the high level of reactivity.

Now days later, I still hear and hold the beauty of the Sandhill Cranes, their graceful flight, their dance and sounds as well as their instinctually knowing when to take flight and return home. How have we become so separated over the centuries from our deeper instinct, from our inner knowing, from responses that are loving, thoughtful and relational? How might the events of the day be different if we made our way back to a deeper resonance found in our bodies from which we've been so disconnected?

Days later, I hold the beauty of nature juxtaposed to the unspeakable acts of human nature.

There is a deep and profound lesson offered just outside Birchwood, TN. Within yards of one another two very different stories reside, one of the beauty of Nature evidenced through the cranes who instinctively listen and know when to begin their migration and one of human nature at its worst as a people who lived instinctively honoring the land were forced to migrate by a people who did not honor the relational.

All things Native, the Indigenous Ones who lived here long before our ancestors, as well as the animals and trees, all of Nature, is offered to us, to reveal to us our capacities, the possibility for greater awareness or higher consciousness and awareness of our relatedness to all creation.

I do not say the following to diminish the tragedy of the Trail of Tears, but doesn't the Trail of Tears quietly continue as we live our busy lives, externally focused and separate from our body, instinct, intuition and heart?

Maybe the losses of the thousands of Native Americans will not have been in vain if we can during this time return to the relational, if we can see, feel and hear the trail of tears from our individual and collective unheard hearts, if we can migrate home to our insides, to remembering the instinct of love and in turn join with one another in a greater sense of awareness and relatedness.

May this migration within begin.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 8 July 2013, first posted 18 Jan. 2011

1. Say 'No' to hunting the Sandhill Cranes by emailing
Public opinion is being collected through August 10th. Be sure to include in the Subject line: Sandhill Crane Comments.

2. Click here for a listing of all TN Fish & Wildlife Committee members. Contact them but esp your own committee member!  This informative site is provided by KY Coalition for the sandhill cranes.

3. Enjoy a 40 second video of the cranes HERE.
4. Watch the movie "Fly Away Home" to see the story inspiring "Operation Migration" in which people flying ultra-light planes have begun to teach juvenile Whooping Cranes to migrate.

5. Learn about Operation Migration at this LINK. 

6. Go see the Sandhill Cranes this January/February in Birchwood, TN just off I-75 on State Highway 60 ... site HERE.
7. AND experience the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, open daily. Site HERE.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Heart of the Universe and the Feminine Form

Sunday while meditating many animal eyes came to me, all eyes of the young, followed by an opening that contracted and expanded.  Here's what I saw and what I've sensed thus far.  I hope you'll take time to read and share:   The Heart of the Universe and the Feminine Form

An altar I made this morning honoring the animals and Earth as Sanctuary.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 3 July 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sunflower's Grid - A Vision of the Masculine and Feminine

The phrase "Imagine the Shift" came to me in 2004 as I pondered what to title a cd of stories 
I had written and recorded.  
I realized moments ago in posting a piece about the drawing below that the vision related in the story is about the Universal and the personal. I thought some of you might want to read it at:

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 2 July 2013