Thursday, November 28, 2013

Waking Up to Love

(For the audio version, click "Waking Up to Love.")

While most folks are rushing about doing the holiday thing, I'm still smiling at the beautiful Fall we've had in Middle Tennessee.  Although yesterday I did find myself thinking of the wise men.

I had just returned from my morning walk, where at one point I stood mesmerized in a mass of golden ginkgo leaves.  They had blown from their nearby trees.

Drivers zipped past in cars as I stood in the leaves wondering if any other passersby had noticed these delicate, fan-shaped treasures. I asked permission to pick up a few for a miniature bouquet and walked home feeling like Earth's bride holding a cluster of six little leaves.

Their beauty prompted me to wonder if the Japanese maple in my yard still held its leaves. I've been mindful that of the six maples in our yard, they've each gradually let go of their leaves. I have visited with at least one of them daily to acknowledge and appreciate their beauty.

Gratitude welled within me as I returned home and stood before this tree. I realized Nature is largely responsible for waking me, for showing me the beauty of my heart and providing a key to accessing deep feeling and experience that has for so long been buried.

I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots as I heard myself softly singing, "Hallelujah. Hallelujah."  I touched the trunk of this dear tree and continued singing. What sacredness I felt, sacredness and reverence kneeling before this part of God's creation, my forehead in a pile of leaves.

I knelt there and felt like one of the wise men before the Christ child, whose presence and life were all about Love, the transformative power of Loving compassion.

Experiencing deep love whether through the vehicle of Christ, Buddha, the Goddess, a person or Nature is transformative. It wakes us up. The more of us who are awake to love, the greater the likelihood of a global shift to loving.

Hmmm, maybe this is connected to why things of beauty in the world so often seem under assault. So many have been hurt by those who were suppose to love them. So many people do not have self-love so they can't appreciate their own beauty, nor beauty in their loved one, a child or .... a tree.

In this the Season of Love, I envision a world in which every season, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, is a season of Love because we realize the beauty that resides inside, within the many cycles of Nature evident all around us and inside our insides, our bodies, hearts and minds.

May we all wake up to Love.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Story of Cranes and Control, My Papaw, Mystery and Me

(Here's a link to the audio version on Sound Cloud.  Click HERE.)

This story began in mid-October and has been endless until this weekend.  It began as I sat outside with my journal in hand.  Writing the date "13 October 2013" jogged my memory.  The date was my paternal grandfather's birthday.

I wrote:  "If I could sit with Papaw for a day what would I ask? What might I say?"

The first thing that came was: "What made you so afraid?"

Immediately I knew.  Papaw did not want to loose things especially my father his only child, his only son. 

Thus Papaw became controlling, controlling and intrusive.

In a flash I realized I think of myself as so unlike Papaw, and in overt ways I am, yet deep down inside we are alike.  I do not want to loose things.  I don't try to control others and pry into their lives as he did ours.  I control my own heart and mind with subtle messages just below the radar of my awareness.

"Don't want. Don't get too attached.  Don't get your hopes up." 

Intellectually I know these messages are not my truth.  They took up residence in me over lifetimes of despair and disappointment.

I came into this world a Feeler so I understand how many people do not want to feel.  At times living feels too much for me yet who I am is one who leads with her heart.

Initially I accidentally wrote "leads with her hurt."

This accident held my truth.  Leading with my heart means leading with joy, elation, wonder and yes, sorrow, pain and hurt.

What hurts me?

Sitting outside when this story first began I felt such sadness.  I had been aware of it since the prior day.  I was at a loss as to its source until I came inside.  Walking through the kitchen, I glanced up and suddenly knew the reason why.

A photo by Steven Llorca of the sandhill cranes took my breath.  There on the wall was the source of my present sorrow. 

I had forgotten that particular weekend licenses were distributed in Tennessee for hunting the sandhill cranes.  Consciously I had forgotten what my soul Self remembered and my heart was feeling. Nearly 300 licenses were distributed at Birchwood School near Dayton, TN on October 12 the day my sadness began.  

Ask many people today of their association to cranes and they'll likely think of the cranes visible in cities like my Nashville home where developers can't build fast enough as they cover remaining green space with assistance from towering cranes.

There is fossil evidence of sandhill cranes having been on Earth for millions of years.  I first learned of them through hearing them as they flew over my home outside Nashville.  I had only been in this house for 2-3 months when I heard the strangest of sounds.  I raced outside and stood in the driveway scanning the skies.  A neighbor who saw me walked over to explain what I had heard.

After that I traveled to the Hiwassee Refuge just north of Chattanooga where the Eastern band of cranes spend winter.  In 2011 the refuge was covered in snow and cranes.  At that time I was not one to enjoy winter, yet I stood bundled in the cold for over two hours mesmerized by the cranes as they flew in and out of the area and bobbed and danced for their mates.

Hiwassee Refuge at Sunset
The two years that followed thousands of people arrived during January's Sandhill Crane Festival at Birchwood School to board buses to the refuge and attend related talks, hear music and purchase art by area artists

Art & attendees - Crane Festival 2013
This is how the photo came to live on my wall and their sound came to live in me.  Aldo Leopold called the cranes the "trumpet in evolution's orchestra."  Hearing them I understood  this.

Contrary to the subtle message suggesting I not get attached, I got attached to the sandhill cranes. I allowed these birds that are millions of years old and sacred in many cultures to stir my soul and open me when I didn't even know my soul needed stirring or I needed opening. 

This is why I was sad the day this story began. 

In a few short days the refuge becomes a trap, a killing field.  This summer, fourteen men on the state wildlife and fish commission voted unanimously to hunt the cranes.  Not surprisingly they are all hunters.  (I am not anti-hunting when it is done with a sense of the sacred relationship between animal and man.)  Most troubling is these men blatantly ignored overwhelming public opinion opposed to hunting the cranes.  Beginning Thanksgiving Day, hunters will be able to shoot the sandhill cranes in the lands surrounding the refuge.

Cranes are revered in Mongolia, home to six species of cranes.  It is believed a person who kills a crane will soon die.  When I first learned this I hoped the Mongolian belief transferred to Tennessee.  Yet thinking this way is not really me.

I was devastated over the hunting decision and simultaneously intrigued as Mystery's hand was moving in my life. The day after the vote Jerry was driving to Iowa to visit his mother in rehab following hip surgery.  For some reason, it occurred to me her rehab center might be near the Aldo Leopold Foundation.  I had just seen the film "Green Fire" on Leopold's life and recalled his feelings regarding the sandhill cranes.  I sensed I was to go to Baraboo, Wisconsin only two hours away from Jerry's destination.  I called the Leopold Foundation  to ensure they were open and inquired as to what else might be in the area.  I knew I was to make this trip when the woman on the other end of the phone said, "The International Crane Foundation is six miles from us."

The next morning as we drove from Nashville I held a burning candle honoring the cranes. This specific candle had been poured by Ayesha Nur of "Angel Radiance" in the cranes honor.  The day of the vote when my friend asked if I would be the keeper of this candle, I explained that I couldn't as I was leaving town.  She didn't know my destination.  Then I realized the path we were traveling by land mirrored much of the migratory path of the cranes.

I burned the candle through much of the trip as a means of honoring all cranes but especially the sandhill cranes.  And I was open to leaving the candle with the 'right' person if we met along the way.  I knew immediately upon meeting her who the next keeper of the candle would be.  Her interest in working at the crane foundation happened as a result of synchronistically finding an injured whooping crane while hiking alone one day.

Had Jerry's mother not postponed her surgery months prior she would not have been in rehab at this time and I would not have been in Baraboo, Wisconsin just  after fourteen men in Tennessee made sandhill crane hunting legal.  The hand of Mystery weaves the tapestry of my life and I recognize the threads when I am paying attention and listening. 

On Papaw's birthday, October 13, I wondered what I would feel when the cranes flew over this winter.  What might my reaction be to hearing the cranes overhead during this winter's migration?  I imagined calling out, "Turn around. Go back" or "Land here. Land here."

This weekend I discovered my reaction. 

Saturday, November 23 I was making hot tea for sunset when Jerry rushed in calling, "It's the cranes.  It's the sandhill cranes."  I grabbed the nearest pair of shoes and raced out to stand in the middle of our yard and SEE and HEAR around 80 cranes in huge V trek across the pink sky before us.

It never occurred to me to shout "Turn around" or "Land here."  Instead I called out blessings to these great birds and thanked them for being with us here on Earth.

Sunday hundreds upon hundreds passed over us.  At one time, four V's joined together in the sky high above the property nearby before continuing southward.  It was hard completing this story because I rushed outside numerous times to look and listen, feel and be stirred.

I still cannot fathom someone experiencing this soul stirring call shooting one of these sacred birds.  When I saw the last group fly over at sunset Sunday I blessed the cranes.  Then I asked that those gathering to hunt around the Hiwassee Refuge realize the sacredness of these birds as well as the sacredness of life on Earth.  

I am grateful to all animals and especially the cranes today for offering themselves. They teach us.   Their presence provides a mirror for us to see ourselves, our passions, our differences, our blind spots, our needs, our dark side and fears.  Their presence reveals my fear.

I am kin to Papaw in ways other than blood.  Papaw feared loosing his only child, his son.  I have feared the loss of my children, Earth's winged, walking and crawling Ones.  I have feared the loss of this beautiful world as it passes especially due to humankind's lacking awareness.

Both Papaw and I have feared hurting.  He tried to reign in my father.  I have reigned in myself. 

I reign myself in every time I ignore living from my heart, my hurting heart, my joyful heart, my open, attached, stirred Heart.  Ultimately what hurts me most is closing off my heart.  

The cranes soul-stirring call as they pass over remind me to soar, to express my own voice and find those who are part of my V, my tribe so we can proclaim the beauty of Earth as well as the beauty of feeling.

We are the ones here to lead with stirred, passionate and open hearts. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse,  24 November 2013 

P.S.  This winter's Sandhill Crane Festival is January 18 -19. 
Click  HERE for details.   
Paper cranes by school children lined the halls last year. Sadly I was told the school was closing. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Keep Dancing Like the Leaf

We are being watched in a never-ending story.

This story began with a lone leaf, a magical Messenger, dancing at the end of a spider's thread at the Parthenon recently. (This 1 min. video is of the leaf. I didn't do anything to enhance the dance digitally though it has certainly enhanced my dance these days.)

The dance between the leaf and me continued as I prepared to release it and lay to rest the female cardinal that hit my window just as I pressed 'post' on the initial story. (The prelude to this story is linked HERE and at the conclusion.)

The cardinal died cupped to my chest in a cloth.  In releasing her, I suddenly sensed I was to let the maple leaf go as well.  I stood in the backyard and told this dear bird to look for the light of her soul's kin and thanked her for coming to Earth.

After placing her among the ferns, I knew it was time to part with the leaf. 

To my surprise, tears came to the edge of my eyes.  Over the recent years, I've become accustomed to saying good-bye to animals.  Honoring them in their passing feels like a mutual gifting between them and me.  I was taken by surprise to feel attached to a leaf yet this magical messenger had been with me for five days.

I did what felt right.  We walked about the yard as I made introductions between the leaf and the trees.  I introduced it to tulip poplar, elm, oak, Grandfather Maple (as we call him), sycamore, sassafras, dogwood and red bud. I introduced it to the many evergreens, flowering bushes and shrubs and last but not least the lavender and rosemary.

My tears became joy as we walked. I thought of the phrase, "Let go and let God."  I doubt those five words have ever been used in this way, but in that moment the leaf was Divine for me as our ongoing interaction of the week was part of my life's mystery.

The me of the past might have tossed the leaf into the winds to avoid further feelings.  I had plans for which I was already running late.  Instead we sat on one particular rock surrounded by golden trees.

I knew exactly where to release the leaf but first I needed to listen, listen for when to let it go.

Previously my mind would have swirled like the winds trying to figure out the right time.  Instead I became very still inside and listened for what felt like the time. At that moment, I stepped into the area where the winds are strongest coming up from the valley below.  With arms and heart open wide, I raised the leaf. 

"Come, Wind, come, " I heard myself speak.  "I release....."

"What?!!" I exclaimed and began laughing.

As sure as I'm sitting here I knew the leaf didn't want to leave me.  It only wanted me to be willing to let it go.  I don't mean this sacrilegiously but I felt like Abraham offering up his son Isaac. Nor do I intend to diminish parenthood by comparing a child to a leaf.  You would have to know me.  My children are in Nature.  My children are the trees, animals, bees, bugs and birds. My children are the plants that come and go seasonally. My child was this leaf.  This child wanted to stay with me but first I had to pass a test.  Was I willing to release what felt dear to me?  Was I willing to listen to my intuitive self, open my heart and and let go?

Parents place their children in daycare, put them down for a nap or send them to grandparents for the day.  I placed the leaf in the leaves of my journal.  I considered quickly posting what had transpired but instead showered and drove into the neighboring town to see the art I missed the prior night.  The unexpected events of the morning took time I had not planned.

I promised the leaf I would return.

A day passed.

Finally a full twenty-four hours later, I opened my journal.

'Where had I been?  Did I consciously avoid my journal and the leaf for a day?'

As soon as I saw the leaf, I felt the answer.

The leaf wanted to stay with me, to see how I live this Earth life, to see how I dance.  Just as children reveal truths to adults around them, they in turn watch to see if the adults 'get it.'  

The leaf wanted to watch.  Being watched created pressure unknowingly.

Do I really live the way it showed me that day at the Parthenon?
Do I really believe Love's thread holds me?  Do my actions reflect that knowing?
Do I trust Spirit to carry me?
Do I dance freely or allow fear even subtly to control me?

The truthful answer to these questions is in some moments yes and other in moments no.  I can be crystal clear, as the leaf witnessed, then in the very next moment lapse into ignoring. As soon as this happens, I start sleepwalking through my day.

As soon as I realize I'm on Auto-Dawn, I return to presence and the present.  I return to Me.

The dance between the leaf and me continues.  At present it lies on burlap alongside bugs, feathers, rocks and bark, sacred objects to me and representatives of my children.  These objects as well as my cats, angels, guides, the Divine, my partner and possibly those I don't even realize are watching to see if I my walk mirrors my words.  Do I live with integrity?

 Someone is always watching. 

I wrote this last sentence as time for a meeting neared.  How does one conclude a never-ending story?  Was "someone is always watching" contrived and forced? 

I set the story aside, pulled out of my driveway for the meeting and turned on the radio. Thanks to NPR, I heard:  "Did you know you're always being watched?" 

I smiled. This is how I know I am dancing like the leaf.  When I'm paying attention and present, what's considered mundane by many magically engages with me.  NPR was airing a story about bosses watching their employees while on the job. I turned on the radio just as the story was introduced. 

We are being watched.

Like the fallen leaves beneath the maple, the ancestors watch. Will we dance through our days with greater awareness than many of them did?  And like the leaves yet to fall from the tree, those to come, star souls anticipating their earthly arrival, watch witnessing our actions wondering what kind of Earth we will leave them.

We are being watched in this never-ending story. 

How we participate is our choice. 

The Leaf's orange arms remind me to stay open, open and fully me for that's the only way I'm truly free.

* Here's the link to the prior story. "The Secret to Dancing Through Life

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 18 November 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Golden Trio Related to Trees

"I stand before the glowing tree and know its light is found in me."

"Golden Beings of Light and Love rise from Earth to the Above.
Teachers of lessons for learning and growth.
Be You. Be colorful and always let go."


I was rushing along a neighborhood sidewalk feeling a bit like Alice's rabbit in Wonderland.  "I'm late. I'm late." He was late for a very important date. Right? I was late getting ready for work, but I came upon this bed of golden ginkgo leaves.  Aren't they stunning?  Their golden flow spread from a neighbor's yard  over the sidewalk into the street.  I raced home just around the block, grabbed my camera, took photos, then sat in their golden goodness.  Just as I wondered whether anyone else had noticed them, a young man walked from a neighboring house with his two dogs. He shared my enthusiasm and his fiance had taken photos. Yes, I had to get to work, but in that moment I was right on time for my 'date' with Mother Nature thanks to these leaves. 

Her suitors surround us through sight, sound, color, texture and taste. Experience Her. Experience yourSelf.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at "Imagine the Shift"
15 November 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Memory of Men - In Honor of Veteran's Day

I awoke this morning, Veteran's Day, with a song on my mind. These lines came to me after hearing blackbirds sing in France and remembering a plaque dedicated to the over 60,000 men whose bodies were never found after dying in wars on French soil.  The lines to the song became part of the story below which I had not read in three years.  This morning I read it, recorded the song and began to consider more deeply deaths in war.  We go through rituals ascribed to holidays in this case parades and visits to graves.  Yet what if there is a greater gift greater than freedom through the loss of these lives, a gift that we miss when we are not connected to our hearts?  Their bodies may never be found but I sense their hearts our found as we find our own hearts.  I don't know. I seem to live my journey one step at a time but I am now wondering.  Will you join me?

I've been perusing journals to honor and reflect on my trip to France last year. Besides a thousand photos, I've journals of varying sizes in which I made notes.

One line recently caught my attention, a question I had jotted in a tiny notebook the morning of my birthday which started in LePuy in what is called the Deep Heart of France.

The question read: How can we get blackbirds to sing in America?

Yes, I learned during my trip that blackbirds sing in France. I heard them repeatedly. (My friend Vera says they sing in Germany too and I believe her.) On this particular morning, I sat on a curb outside our hotel at 5:00 am in a tiny triangle of a park filled with fairy roses. I cozied up against a pink cluster as the rising sun cast a similar pink in the sky. A blackbird was in its nest to my side. I could have spent all day there perfectly content on asphalt surrounded by roses and blackbirds.

Instead I left tokens of gratitude, dried rose petals from my father's grave and a crystal bead, at the base of the rose bush then boarded our little travel van driven by dear Pedro for further ventures into France's Deep Heart.

It has been a year and I have not forgotten the singing blackbirds of France. Periodically I take out my little recorder and listen to the files I recorded of their song. My mind calls up the lyrical sounds even as I write.

Meanwhile home in Tennessee, I could not write with similar fondness of our blackbirds as this past Spring, blackbirds, starlings and grackles descended upon our bird feeders like never before. I initially wrote of this in "Loving Black and Blue."

After that Musing, words came to me which I quickly noted. I first titled them "Song for an American Starling ." I recalled them upon seeing the question: How can we get blackbirds to sing? These are the words that came to me.

I am so far away from home
Came here a stranger as families roamed
I feel so lost without a land.
Somebody help me, if you can.

The heart is deep and it is wide.
It carries pain I try to hide.
I'm looking for someone
to redeem these lonely sons.

Soldiers died in foreign soil.
War is hard and it is toil.
Yet the heart goes beating on

finding wings on many a song.

Blackbirds and sparrows were brought to this land by our ancestors as reminders of home. I sometimes wonder if our blackbirds don't sing because they are homesick, strangers here in this land.

Homesick strangers reminds me of a plaque I saw in Orleans Cathedral southwest of Paris. The plaque honored the half million Americans who gave their lives in two world wars and the 67,581 of them who died on French soil, their bodies never found, never returned to American soil. Yes in time they returned to Mother Earth, but I find myself still thinking about those men and wondering if their spirits aren't homesick like the blackbirds just on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

I also found myself wondering if the collective American soul fully grieved these losses. Let's be honest. We American's don't really grieve. The funeral is held and we're suppose to be over" it" when in truth the dark days, the days of missing, of loneliness have just begun.

I found myself wondering how this chapter of our history is connected to the lost or misplaced heart in our country as well as its continued impact on our world. Since WW II we have gone to war repeatedly not for the same overt reasons, yet war is war, lives are lost and grief still buried.

Hearts abound commercially in ads during certain holidays.  Likewise we open our hearts relationally when we're "suppose" to feel loving during these times.  Then heart's relegated to the sidelines. The grief locked in the stoic heart when it is far from home be it the blackbird, the soldier or one's own is a lonely heart.

How do we call the men of whom I read home?

Maybe it isn't the blackbird that needs to learn how to sing, but instead our hearts, yours and mine. Heartful singing, just as grieving requires a vulnerability we are not taught, a willingness to dive into our deep hearts and embrace our feeling selves as men and women.

No one said this to me while in France, but I felt the deep sorrow and grief the French have known as wars have ravaged their land. Yet I also felt their joy. I suspect they've been to the bottom of the deep heart where all feels lost, loved ones and land, and they found their way back to love and joy. This is so evident in their appreciation of beauty in valuing the soil, the animals and plants. They (or at least the areas in which I traveled) value living and they value the feminine.

Maybe, just maybe, if we allow ourselves to journey the path of heart, of feeling, we would sing the spirits home of these 67, 581 men. I imagine calling their hearts home to the soil of our collective hearts and in doing so free ourselves to discover the beauty of our deep American hearts.

-Dawn!, The Good News Muse, 19 June 2010
reposted 11 November 2013 
* Click here to hear what for Veteran's Day I've retitled:  "In Memory of Men" 
* After writing this piece, I found that blackbird symbolizes primal feminine energies and that the color black symbolizes the feminine. Now I am certain our discovering our deep hearts allows our blackbirds to sing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Dancing Leaf - The Secret to Dancing through Life

For the first time in months, I went to the park to walk recently.  Intuition drew me to West End only a mile from my usual morning walking grounds along neighborhood streets.  Breaking patterns crossed my mind as I decided to walk counterclockwise compared to my prior circle around the park.   

I intended to walk yet ended up mesmerized by a dancing maple leaf suspended by a single spider's thread.  Moved by the wind, it twirled and spun as I watched. At first, I stood then I sat as people walked past. Two feet at most from the leaf and me, passersby walked on never acknowledging our presence, never looking my way.

This mirrored my experience of life on Earth at times especially as of late. I want to stop people while pointing nature's beauty out and shout, "Earth is beautiful. See!" And yet I don't stop people.  Usually I've a challenging enough time tending my own journey, ensuring I see what I'm suppose to see.

The leaf danced as its kin above and below watched with me.  I imagined it calling to those filling the branches above, "This is how it's done.  To dance freely, let go.  Give up control."   While those on the ground watched with satisfaction, no trace of competition or regret, as one of their own danced on and on.

I was gifted with beauty and grace as this precious messenger modeled for me dancing through life unselfconsciously.  I thought of the threads of love holding us all. 

The leaf danced for a half hour filling me with joy, wonder and gratitude. I sensed it enjoyed me as much as I did it.  The dance continued though I had to leave.

I made one quick half-loop around the park before returning to say my good-byes.

That's when I heard, "Take the leaf." 


I couldn't take the leaf and deprive it of its dance nor deprive those who might come upon it.

Prone to collecting Nature's things, I didn't want the leaf to become part of the collection that I easily neglect when hurried or disconnected.  I attributed this sudden urge-from-nowhere to the part of me that loves collecting Nature's things.

Yet I heard, "You were the one that noticed me."

If the leaf was mine, I wanted a sign.  I stated aloud that I needed the leaf to come near me.  The words were hardly from my lips when the wind brought the leaf within six inches of me.

'Luck,' I thought so I said it again.

And again the leaf was brought to me.

Attributing this once again to only the wind, forgetting Spirit moves unseen, I waited and a third time asked for the sign. 

Gently I broke the thread and held the leaf.

I thanked it and all its kin. I thanked the spider for without her thread the leaf could not have danced.  I thought of Grandmother Spider, the Weaver of Worlds in many native stories.  Without her, there would be no world in which for us to dance.  

Upon returning home, I sat holding the leaf before getting ready for work.  Then the leaf was given the center spot on the shelf where I keep sacred things.

I got caught up in work, tending my day and it wasn't until getting still that night that I remembered the leaf.  I gasped aloud to find it curling inward.  Its orange drying tips cupped toward the center.  I picked it up and listened again.

Turning inward has been my tendency in life.  Turning inward toward my center is how I listen deeply and best.  Yet turning inward to protect myself (rather than be myself) prompts a drying process.

Drying becomes dying and I stop dancing through my life.  I try to control my experience through not feeling whatever is up at the moment. 

I could not let this precious messenger go.  Hurriedly yet gently I did triage on the leaf carefully prying open its arms and placing it in wax paper before laying it to rest in the pages of the first heavy book within reach. I smiled.  The book was "Couples in Art." 

In the three days that passed, I began to second guess my having pressed the leaf.  The night I placed it in the pages of the book, I stopped the tears from falling that came to my eyes.  I could philosophize as to the temporariness of things, in this case the leaf, yet that too was my mind's way of keeping tears and fears at bay.

I could feel myself living on autopilot, which isn't living engaged.  I was subtly disconnected for every time I passed the book, I wondered about the leaf.

Reactively turning inward to shield myself or avoid pain and tension stops my experience of Me and contributes to disconnection.  This is one aspect of how I stop my personal dance and one of bigger patterns I am breaking.

Several days passed before I finally opened the book.  I needed to conclude 'our' story.  Had the leaf crumbled from not wanting to be saved?  Had I in panic done the wrong thing by trusting the urge to save it? The urge-from-nowhere is always from somewhere.  I've never been led wrong by trusting the unseen source of the urge.  

I am so glad I chose to get the leaf.  There it was, my partner, with arms open wide ready to embrace me after its dark journey of a few days in the book.  Immediately my heart's arms were opened.

I felt:  It's me! It's you!

My joy was doubled to find part of the spider's web hanging from a leaf tip.

Just like the leaf, keeping my heart's arms open is the secret to dancing through life.

As someone who feels deeply this is easier at times to write than live. Yet this is how I experience the love of Spirit and the Divine.  This is how I stay in love with Life and know that just as the leaf was carried by the wind, I am carried by spirit held by a strong thread of love again and again.

The leaf's end and beginning...

The clock read 11:11 the morning I shared this story on facebook.  No sooner had I pressed post, than I heard a familiar thump down the hallway, the sound I feared of a bird having hit a window.  Paper plates taped to the windows and reflectors purchased to prevent these things doesn't deter birds from chasing one another as I saw happen recently. That bird, a bluebird, chased by one of its kin, lived. 

I threw on a coat and shoes and rushed outside where I searched hoping if I had heard a bird it too survived.  Instead I found a beautiful female cardinal her head and wing titlted a bit. I immediately scooped her into my hands then into a clothe and held her first in silence then in song.

I sang to her, "You are so beautiful to me" and thought, 'This must be how God feels.'  I spoke to her of her beauty and asked her to hold on if it was for her good.  My heart sat open in peace and pain. Nearly an hour passed.  She left. Still holding her, I came inside and read of the symbolism of cardinals. I have read of them many times past.  As I did I knew it was time to let her go yet there was more.  It is time to let the leaf go as well.  

Previously I would have wanted to hold on.  I feel like I'm just waking up in life to the deep beauty of the Earth all around me.  I want to hold on. I want to hold on.  Yet holding on does not lend itself to dancing.  The truth is when I'm awake and engaged, I do hold within me the presence of what I've experienced even though I'm letting it go.

Dancing as the leaf showed is about letting go, letting go, letting go.

I walked into my yard to free the cardinal and the leaf and I sensed some parts of me.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse  8 November 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Every Day is Field Day

Last Fall thanks to facebook, I saw an announcement regarding "Field Day" at Waters' Farm.  I was heading into Cookeville to the Corner Coffeebar and Art House when Laura Lee and Kevin posted they were closed for the afternoon so they could attend Field Day.

Field Day?

Jerry was out of town golfing and I was in the country alone something I enjoy, yet Field Day was enticing.  I had met Randy Dodson, the convener of Field Day, the year prior at another area event, Cookeville's "NatureFest."  Randy, a teacher at Tech, was offering tours of TN Tech's farm.  Despite a cold intermittent drizzle and breeze, Randy's passion for sustainable farming was contagious for me and I sensed others, as eight of us chilled to the bone followed him around the grounds through hoop gardens and green houses.  Somewhere in my time there, Randy referenced his ultimate dream for Waters' Farm just down the road in Baxter, TN.

Field Day 2012 provided evidence of the birthing of Randy's dream, a dream shared by his wife Sandy and son Nate.  I found my way to the farm that year and felt like I was coming home in a sense as I watched the making of sorghum, met people of all ages and walked among rows of growing things. 

When Field Day 2013 rolled around recently, I knew where I'd be. 

This time as we arrived, cars overflowed the parking area and I was near-tears.  There were (I'm guessing) over two hundred folks, if not more, of all ages. Stations were set up so visitors could watch a blacksmith and potter, listen to music, try their hand at archery, ride through the fields pulled by a tractor, view and touch animal skins (the only thing I didn't check out since I like my animals alive rather than dead.)  Children could make veggie people, paint pumpkins, play in hay bales or join in sack races and tug-of-war.  And throughout the noon hour, we feasted on foods brought by participants and those prepared by the Dodson's thanks to the land and animals.

Yet the best part for me was what I found near my visit's end.  I think of myself as the Noticer in my relationship but Jerry noticed this. He was the first to walk among the bee-covered sunflowers.  He made certain I saw them.  I was overjoyed, bee-side myself truly. 

The dramatic decline of the bees this summer in my yard and along my walks has troubled me greatly.  I have been unable to conjure the certainty of which I wrote this spring in a piece about our being bee-keepers. Friends telling me they had bees around their flowers provided some comfort yet seeing the bees at Waters' Farm not just alone but in pairs and trios covering the sunflowers brought me such joy, joy I wanted to share.

Someone once said, "Seeing is believing."  More recently this has been turned into "Believing is seeing" something to which I aspire yet have been unable to conjure this summer within myself.

Sometimes I just need to SEE and seeing the bees stirred my bee-lieving again.  

Quantum physics refers to the quantum field through which we are all connected.  In this moment three weeks since Field Day, I imagine the reverberations of my joy then and now being felt around Mother Earth's energy field.  Actually it is more than imagining, it is something I feel in my bee-ing.  A Shift to Joy and for me, someone who has felt such sorrow that is a beautiful thing. 

I offer this to all and any who need to bee inspired to feel joy, to have hope, to remember there really is a field through which we are connected.  

Feel the Joy. Imagine the Shift. 

Every day is Field Day around Mother Earth and in our Universe.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 4 November 2013
Thank you to all who are part of making Waters' Farm a reality.  Field Day video highlights HERE thanks to Andrew Trivette and here's WCTE's 2013 story (public tv)  "Live Green TN: Waters' Farm."

And check out "Art Prowl" another Cookeville event this Fri/Saturday!