Friday, August 23, 2013

Soul Stirring - The Sandhill Cranes and the Orchestra of Evolution

(First posted in January, I just reread this story in light of the vote by a select group of hunters/commissioners yesterday to hunt the sandhill cranes that winter over in Southeast TN.  I realized this story addresses in my opinion the greater problem in our society underlying violence of most if not all kinds. So many have outsourced their soul and don't even know what it's like to feel their soul stirred. I hope you'll take a moment to read and share. Sincerely, Dawn Kirk ) 

"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 

Please "LIKE" the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival on Facebook and keep up with crane news there.

And visit Vanderbilt to see the present exhibit (Aug. 2013) by Pacesetters "Sandhill Cranes, Owls and Elephants."   This link takes you to my friend Leisa Hammett's site regarding the present exhibit. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Don't Let Anything Stop You" - A Magical Moment Thx to a Magnatizing Mandolin

Tonight I walked into Fido (one of my weekly food groups in Hillsboro Village), placed my veggie burger order and turned to find a seat. Instead I spied a mandolin.  Yes, a mandolin.

I didn't notice to whom it was attached, whether they were male or female, but I found myself compelled to walk to it. I was drawn to it or it to me and as this magnetic dance occurred, I met the owner face-to-face. 

I smiled.  I knew this person in a sense.  Well I didn't really know her know her, but I had seen her.

Just about a year ago, I saw her debut at the Basement.

The owner of the instrument was Eva, one of four sisters in the vocal group "Shel" from Ft. Collins, CO.  She was in town to play at the Belcourt for a sold-out crowd!!  I learned of Shel through Peter Cooper's story in the local paper on last year's cd release day. Although I live in Nashville where music abounds, if I do anything spontaneously it's go to Cheekwood during LIGHTS or the Frist.  I don't spontaneously venture out to hear music on a whim. 

I told this young woman whose eyes met mine that I appreciated their sound, had their cd and found myself accidentally seated by her parents at the Basement that night. (The house was packed.)  Then I heard myself say for some reason something like, "When you find yourself discouraged for whatever reason as an artist, pull yourself over on Life's road, sit a bit, savor a flower or whatever inspires you and then Keep On. Don't let anything stop you."

I may have been sharing this for myself as much as I was her but for whatever reason this little magical moment instigated by a mandolin stayed with me.  I thought of how we are all instruments if we allow ourselves to be played. We never know who is listening. What's most important at least in my journey is that I'm listening.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse  22 August 2013

For the Animals - Especially the Sandhill Cranes

Although the below occurred nearly two months ago, it feels even more appropo for today given the news that the TN Fish and Wildlife Commission is caving to politics and the Wildlife Federation in regards to hunting the sandhil cranes that winter over near Chattanooga, TN.

Contrary to those who say the animals are beneath, they are far above us. They come here with hearts to teach and offer themselves to us day after day after day.

Here's what I was shown in that regards:    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

Monday, August 19, 2013

What Word Would You Choose Instead of Control? - In Honor of National Homeless Animal Day

How are you in relation to control? 

As I began my morning walk, a nondescript white truck caught my eye.  Unit 5 in black was written on its side. Unit 5? I thought this odd so I stopped as it turned the corner. That's when I saw in black lettering on the truck's rear:  Metro Animal Control.

I cringed wondering whose pet had gone missing and was about to be scooped up.  The driver may have just been biding time until he got a call, yet I cringed anyway and walked on. 

The truck caught my eye.  A word caught my mind.  I was struck by control in the phrase "animal control." 

I'm by animal control the way I am wildlife management.

The words control and management imply domination, being over rather than cooperation and being in relationship with

Historically Caucasians, white people, early Europeans (whatever you want to call many of us) and the resulting systems have placed man over domestic animals and wildlife unlike the indigenous, Native people who saw animals and Nature as an expression of the Creator.

The God of control dominated and judged from above and was accessible in the four walls of a sanctuary. To native people, the Creator God was all around, integral to their daily lives and decisions.  Earth was their sanctuary.

The prevailing paradigm has been around for a long time.  Wildlife, like natural resources such as timber, is considered a resource to be managed not a reflection of God and the sacred.  Unfortunately those really in power and thus charge of managing often have vested political, financial interests in which the good of the few and in power outweighs the good of the many and the earth community. 

An example of this is unfolding in Tennessee at present as many await to see whether the state will legalize the hunting of the Eastern band of Sandhill Cranes that winter over here despite overwhelming public opinion against hunting them. 

According to Ted Andrews in "Animal Speaks" sandhill cranes are 'sacred guardians' representing participating in the dance of life.

Will control win this present dance?  Will the decision-making process be managed in such a way that a minority with political pull over shadows the public's will?

This morning I walked along considering my personal relationship to control and management.  I think of myself as fairly trusting and good at going with the flow yet life has its way of mirroring to me the ways in which I still need to let go and stop subtly managing my experience.

I walked and considered the word I would chose to use instead of control or management for the organizations that serve (service I think is their intent though I may often disagree with how they do things).  What words would I choose?

Animal Services? Wildlife Relatedness Systems

I walked and wondered.  

Upon arriving home, I randomly glanced at my calendar.  I found tomorrow is National Homeless Animal Day. The comment for the day reads:  Pay attention to what your pet can teach you

Think of what our pets and Earth's animals model.  Cooperation, loyalty, companionship, abiding love, forgiveness, service, teamwork, killing for sustenance and not for greed.

Will we be open to learning?  Or will we become the homeless ones?  Is our personal homelessness of sorts already part of the problem?

The concepts of control and management puts us at risk of being detached in relation to our insides, separated from internal experience whether that be joy, vulnerability or thoughtfully connecting the dots.  Increasing the distance from our own insides, we become the real homeless ones. 

What words would you choose to shift the paradigm? 

I don't have the answer but I do believe a change is vital.  In my world it starts at 'home' inside of me.    

Do I want to live from a place that's invested in controlling and managing my experience or am I willing to trust, embrace discomfort and the unknown be it inside or outside of me?  What does it look like to live from a place of awareness in which not only Earth is a sanctuary but my insides are as well. 

Whether with the cranes or my domestic partners, cats, I am called to be a sacred guardian of this my earthly experience and participate with increasing awareness as to my role, not control, in life's dance.

Let go of control and imagine the shift to a new paradigm in your life.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 19 August 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Becoming a Butterfly - The Parsley, Caterpillar and Me

Last week I walked across my deck one morning and gasped.  Overnight something had eaten the large bouquet of parsley that once filled a pot.  I had clipped from this particular parsley for a year and at times daily as I cooked.

It survived the winter but not the big beautiful caterpillar I spied lounging in the remains. This particular caterpillar is the precursor to the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly.  I smiled.  I could easily buy more parsley. Butterflies this summer have not been that easy to come by with the shifting climate and unconscious use of pesticides.
I returned often that morning happy to see the caterpillar still there then sad when he or she disappeared while I worked.

A week passed.

(This is where I'm suppose to write of seeing the black swallowtail flying about my yard. Instead.....) 

I walked by and noticed the parsley's return! I know biological processes underlie this resurgence of green but this visual testament to growth after decimation provided valuable inspiration and resuscitation.

I know what it feels like to be decimated, plowed down so to speak especially over the last few weeks.  And in the past lives of this life, I've known what it is like to grow again.  Yet my soul needed this visual reminder.

I am the parsley devoured in time resurrected and green.  And I am the caterpillar feeding on the experiences of my life on my way to becoming the butterfly.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 18 August 2013

Nature Nurtures - Hack Berries and Me

Recently someone referred to hack berry trees as 'throw away' trees.  I thought, 'You have never lain on Mother Earth under the canopy provided by my amazing hack berry trees.'

Regardless of the season, I find and feel comfort and peace under their sheltering limbs.  In spring and summer shades of green inspire hope while winter's barren bones remind me of the web connecting us all.

Then as the sun set yesterday, I realized I was being watched.  A hymn sang through my mind.

"His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me." 

This tree's eye is on the sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, wrens, nuthatches, chickadees and titmice in my yard. And his eye is on me.  I am anchored and held by this dearest and strongest of hack berry trees.  I honor him and he honors me. 

What is your relationship to trees? 
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 18 August 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dragon Fly - Imagine the Shift

Isn't it beautiful the slayed and the swatted, dragon and fly, have their names combined to create dragonfly?

How are you in relation to Nature?

How are you in relation to words in our world?

I imagine a world in which we take back words and images used to sell and promote material things we so often don't need.

I imagine a world in which we birth a Shift of wonder, compassion and harmony. 

Reality Shows. Reality Shines. Are You Paying Attention?

Reality shows. Reality shines all around us.

I felt like Jack, famed for meeting up with the giant after climbing the magical beanstalk, when I came across these blue beans while shelling a handful from my little raised bed recently. I had never seen blue beans and upon closer look found these fascinating.

Reminiscent of an Impressionistic painting, Monet appeared to have had a hand in the tones and shading of these worlds of blue. Little oblong whorls mirrored the lines etched in my palms becoming more visible it seems as I personally whirl through time. I couldn't bring myself to eating all three beans. I saved one yet the two eaten became part of me as I became part of their universe and sun and soil that had birthed them.

I love patterns, colors and interconnectedness so visible in the small things of nature like the beans and the yellow flowers newly discovered this year on our yard's edge. Their centers look like honeycomb and in turn provide the sweetness on which area bees feed and make honeycomb.

The spider's web on my balcony this morning and the moth on the wall outside my door yesterday fascinate and peek my curiosity.

How is it many people today are more likely fascinated by reality shows than by the shows reality displays? How is it we've gotten to this place where so many have come to rely on tv, entertainment and the news to define what they consider reality?

We each have the opportunity to access our inner Jack; our magical beanstalk is the path through life where reality shows. Reality shines all around us.

-Dawn! The Good News Muse 31 July 2011 reprint 8/9/13