Saturday, March 17, 2018

๐Ÿงš‍♀️ Magic in the Mists ☘️

A misty photo I took here in NorCal, not Ireland.

My maternal grandmother was a hibernophile. She loved all things Irish, including the vile liqueur called Irish Mist that she proudly kept in a Waterford Crystal decanter. Truly vile!

I celebrated many a St Patrick's Day and attended many a Catholic mass with her, but I am far more intrigued by the older Celtic/ Pagan/ Druidic religions that dwelt in the magical mists of Ireland's past. And I think Grandma Peg was strongly influenced by this as well.

My horoscope from the unconventional astrologer, Rob Brezsny* for last week was right on target.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In his book *Whistling in the Dark,* author 
Frederick Buechner writes that the ancient Druids took "a special interest in in-between things like mistletoe, which is neither quite a plant nor quite 
a tree, and mist, which is neither quite rain nor quite air, and dreams, 
which are neither quite waking nor quite sleep
." According to my reading 
of the astrological omens, in-between phenomena will be your specialty in 
the coming weeks. You will also thrive in relationship to anything that 
lives in two worlds or that has paradoxical qualities. I hope you'll exult in the educational delights that come from your willingness to be teased and 

I have been totally consumed with the topic of in-between places and paradoxes for some time now, but even more so recently. I am particularly interested in to how to be non-judgmental, compassionate and inclusive and AND have good boundaries with those who inflict harm.)

This escalated to a near obsession just prior to reading this horoscope due to several highly stressful AND ultimately instructive and helpful (for me) life situations involving loved ones engaged in conflicts.

So I decided to use this "magically delicious" ☘️๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒ™ New Moon to share a little bit about the paradoxical new land that I'm adding to the developing game of Sparks & Leaps. I am calling it "The Land of And".

I recently read that the ampersand is a broken infinity sign

In case you have not read any of my previous posts, I have been using the theme of the Hero/ine's Journey (which is the theme of a huge number of our best loved stories from ancient times to popular culture's Blockbuster movies and best-selling books) as a way of exploring those in-between places where an old life or way of life is ending (or recently over) and the new one is still a mystery.

Joseph Campbell called the place in the Hero's Journey after you cross over the threshold from the ordinary world; The Special World. Charles Eisenstein describes what he calls The Space Between Stories (in reference to our world right now). SARK calls it the Marvelous Messy Middle. William Bridges in his enormously popular and practical book Transitions, calls it the Neutral Zone. Lewis Carroll called it Wonderland.

There are other names for it as well, but what is noteworthy is that in all of these places, the usual rules of the "ordinary world" do not apply. Paradoxes are around every turn in the path in this misty, mystical, mysterious and often maddening territory.

I came up with the "The Land of And", because there is usually an "and" (sometimes looks like a "but") between the two seemingly contradictory truths found in paradoxes.

That "and" spot in-between the two truths can be a confusing and uncomfortable tight place AND it is a zone where magic and transformative alchemy can take place.

Snake making the infinity sign (photographer: Mark Laita)
NOT one of the ones St Patrick exiled!

Transformative alchemy takes us far out of our comfort zone sometimes into excruciating pain. Think about the heat it takes to melt metals, the pressure it takes to form a diamond or the bug soup stage of the caterpillar.๐Ÿต๐Ÿ›

Pain, fear and confusion cause our survival conditioning and consumer culture to warn us frantically of ๐Ÿšซdanger ๐Ÿ›‘ AND it is the only way to evolve so that we can reach the miraculous New World that is waiting for us. ๐Ÿฆ‹

The list of paradoxes in everything from philosophy to quantum physics and many more mundane topics about how to live our day-to-day lives is a long one.

Playing Sparks & Leaps will not solve all of the paradoxical mysteries of life (and I will explain later why this is a good thing), but it will offer alternative ways to find your way when you find yourself in the "The Land of And".

In the meantime, as I am putting the game together, if you find yourself in a confusing time of transition, I invite you to do your best to be present with the discomforts that you find there (rather than trying to figure out how to fix your problems or make the pain go away with your favorite addictive fix) AND to RELAX and soften your resistance--even when that feels impossible.

I promise you will find magic there if you can do this. Don't forget to enlist allies to support you.

Photo credit: Matthew Harvey

Saint Patrick was credited with driving to snakes out of Ireland, and some say that those snakes actually were those who followed the old religions.

Whether or not you believe that ๐Ÿ,  or in the banished Little People๐Ÿงš‍♂️, or like to drink green beer ๐Ÿคข or think Irish Mist is delicious, or believe St Pats Day is a rebranding of the Vernal Equinox (๐ŸŒธFIRST DAY OF SPRING ON TUESDAY๐ŸŒท), I hope you have a fun time celebrating. Wear green and smile ๐Ÿ˜ at everyone you see who is similarly attired! A sweet and fun way to connect. ๐Ÿ’š

And if you discover a pot of alchemical gold at the end of a rainbow following a perfect life storm; may it bring you richly deserved blessings. ๐ŸŒˆ

Best to be respectful to any little people you might meet. Just in case!

* Rob Brezsny is also the author of one of my favorite books of all time: Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, Revised and Expanded: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings


Thursday, February 15, 2018

๐Ÿ˜€Friend or Foe๐Ÿ˜ก?

It sure looked like a foe!

The attack was sudden and hit me on all fronts (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial) with particularly horrid timing.

I saw it coming and I put up formidable defenses, confident that I would prevail.

But I went down. WAY down.

And now, over two weeks later I am just starting to pick up the pieces and assess what's next.

The first thing I did as I crawled out my bed, was to attempt to reframe my foe as a friendly ally.

After all, I sent out a call in my last post for allies for the game I am creating *and one of the key components of the game is to transform challenges and "enemies" into allies.

How perfect that I received this opportunity to not only practice what I preach but to also learn about what works and what does not in seeking support. Especially given that creating a supportive team is another important part of the game.

It turns out that the flu, (or possibly two flus --one that hit my chest and sinuses with a fever and sapped every drop of my normally effervescent energy and the other that wreaked havoc with my digestive system), brought me some truly precious gifts. For real!

Nothing happened the way I planned. I certainly would not have asked for the flu or for the many repercussions. And I'm still in the process of learning the lessons and appreciating the gifts, but the lessons and gifts are definitely there.

In my next post, I will reveal what I learned, and how it can benefit you.

In the meantime if you are one of the many people in my network experiencing intense times, or if you are just feeling the stress of so many (and not just humans) in the larger world in crisis, I invited you to consider the possibility that the foes in your life, might just be friends in disguise.

I also want to remind you that this week, (2/11-2/17) is Random Acts of Kindness Week. If you are having a rough time, one of the best remedies is to do kind things for others. Even tiny acts will help you as well as those who will benefit from your kindness. I promise!

Also, in addition to Valentine's Day, it was Mardi Gras, and the important Hindu holiday of Mahashivaratri and Ash Wednesday-- which marks the beginning of Lent.

Today there is a solar eclipse , the Buddhist holiday of Nirvana Day, and the very ancient Pre-Roman festival of Lupercalia.

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year (the year of the Earth Dog) and Losar (Tibetan New Year) begins on the same day this year.

Another surprising remedy for difficult times is to connect (even if only in your heart, or by a small gesture like eating with chopsticks tomorrow and thinking of how many millions are doing the same), to others who are celebrating the natural cycles of life.

Aside from the commercial Hallmark holiday of Valentine's Day, all of these holy days are connected to natural cycles. They remind us that Life is filled with cycles within cycles.

Light  becomes dark and dark becomes light. Love and gifts come to us and loss is inevitable.

And we are all in this together.

I am not suggesting that you pretend everything is one giant party or that you should not use caution in the face of danger.

I am however, unequivocably stating, that no matter what you are experiencing, you can help yourself and others by creating opportunities to connect in kindness and adopting a spirit of curiosity as to the possible gifts from even the worst possible "foes".

Artist link

* ๐Ÿ’žFor those of you who responded to my call for allies after my last post with messages of support, I can't even begin to tell you how much that meant to me. I started crying with an answered longing I did not even know I was feeling.

I will be in touch soon with clear, easy, quick options for how to participate. For those of you who are just seeing it now, click this link, it's not too late --I would be thrilled if you want to play with me!

Sorry, no video this post. The timing of my almost-but-not-quite-complete recovery and all that is clamoring for immediate attention after over two weeks of neglect did not allow for me to create one.

Update: last night after the first day that I was feeling almost back to normal (or as normal as I get!), I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. It was much easier to befriend the flu in retrospect, thinking it was on its way out, then to have it as a lively companion again. Especially since I have dear friends (whom I enjoy hanging out wit a lot more than this one!) coming into town to see me this weekend from Minnesota. So once again, I am being given the opportunity to show that I really mean what I say about befriending seeming foes. You have my attention, my friend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

๐ŸญRATS! Another failed New Year's resolution. ๐Ÿพ


If your effervescent hope for a fresh start on New Year's Day has fizzled like flat, stale champagne, you're not alone.

And if styling the fur of decomposing rats* or rubbing your head with a cheese grater sounded more useful and enjoyable than torturing yourself with another exercise in futility (like a fat-free diet combined with 6:00 a.m. fitness bootcamp), so you just skipped the whole resolution plan, you are definitely not alone!

Perhaps you are that rare breed, (like the hairless Guinea Pig pictured above, but hopefully more attractive) who is actually rocking that New Year's resolution and will continue to do so. If so, I congratulate you as being one of the 8%! ๐Ÿฅ‚

I am happy to report that I have kept my resolution --which was to not make a New Year's resolutions this year.

Believe it or not, this is much more difficult than it sounds. I have an abundance of extremely compelling issues that cry out for resolution. I so want to try again to do what I have always done (never mind that it always eventually fell short) --which is to try and fix my problems with some new angle/gimmick/miracle program.

I have fabulous will power and am willing to work hard, so I always believe that surely this time I will figure out the way to force lasting change.

And I am a sucker for the concept of new beginnings like a New Year. This is where The New Moon Blog got it's name, since a fresh start every month is so appealing!

However, I have learned a thing or two about failures and new beginnings over the years. And one of those things is that any changes I try to make happen with the underlying premise of needing to "fix" what is "wrong" with hard work is doomed to fail.

Sooner or later, that fear based motivation and serious drudgery will sabotage even my most sincere and diligent efforts.

So, in two weeks, I will be offering myself up as a Guinea Pig for a fun experiment and inviting you to play along with me.

What's in it for you?

I hope you will benefit greatly, first from being a part of what I am doing (either by witnessing or actively participating) and then, once I have had a chance to fine tune it, to get to try it yourself.

I anticipate that this game will work for any challenge you are facing and will be a-MAZE-ingly helpful if you feel lost, confused, and hopelessly stuck in the middle of a mysterious world (what Charles Eisenstein calls "The Space Between Stories" and SARK calls "The Marvelous Messy Middle") with no idea where to turn next.

If you receive my Full Moon posts, then you will find out more soon. If not, and you are curious, then send an email to and I will put you on the list.

On 1/31/18 : The Blue Moon/Super Moon/Total Eclipse, I will reveal all!

Just in time for Groundhog Day †. Unless the Guinea Pig sees it's shadow.

*Attribution to one of my former nanny charges, Kaethe Schwehn who is now a grown up college professor, mother and published author, for the phrase "styling the fur of decomposing rats" which I just read on one of her FB posts today in reference to an unenjoyable task. I am so proud of her! And yes, I should probably offer to help pay for her therapy...

† I have a long and complicated history with this holiday which began 46 years ago (see link for story) and this year will mark the fifth new beginning I have created with Sparks & Leaps.

I might not have started out quite as cynical as Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day and I hope I will never end up as desperate as his character was to get unstuck, but I am counting on a happy ending to my story too!