Wednesday, March 6, 2019

πŸ› The Only Constant...πŸ¦‹

Scroll to the bottom for quick update if have not already heard about my accident on Monday. Fortunately I had already written this blog over the weekend, because I would not have had time since then!

In the above image, the magic is taking place inside the closed chrysalis. But it's not a pretty process. It's gooey bug soup. A very messy transformation --as most significant changes are in life. But it's also noteworthy that the bug soup is made of what some creative scientist named "imaginal cells".

There's no guarantee that a butterfly will emerge. It might not make it out of the chrysalis. Especially if you try to help it, because then it won't develop strong enough wings to fly. This is a process it has to do alone.

The cycle of Life/ Death/ Life is not negotiable. Change is constant and death (both actual and metaphorical-- as in the endings we experience in our lives) comes to all. This much we know for sure. Whether there is a glorious rebirth/ afterlife following death is a matter of faith.

But even if you are one of those who has that faith; losses (whether they involve an actual death or other endings), are not easy for any of us.

I know I crave constancy. Everything in my survival conditioning strongly compels safety and security and sounds the amygdala alarm when there is chaos, confusion, pain or even the threat of loss.

I can only imagine what the Catapillar feels.

This particular caterpillar (found recently by one of my charges) was doubtless alarmed by suddenly finding itself on the hand of a giant human, and I'm sure had great stories to tell it's friends about miraculously escaping death!

Despite my understanding that attempts to control endings or prevent pain are feeble, futile and usually only exacerbate the situation causing me distress, I still scramble to protect myself.

Obviously sensible measures need to be taken to prevent harm, and sometimes pain requires alleviation.

But when I notice that I'm going through life with rigid armor, impenetrable walls and addictive behaviors that do not allow me to be present for the magic of life (especially during those times of "bug soup"), I am slowly starting to trust that the constant changes are almost always ultimately beneficial.

AND I understand that I can't do a spiritual bypass to get past the "bug soup" by cheerfully chirping "it's all good, I am love and light". I have discovered that when loss is dark and painful, I need to FEEL it all the way through in my body mind and soul.

I have heard from many others (I've actually been obsessed with hunting for real life stories and have found a huge abundance of them!) who have endured hardship, that this is true for them as well. It's fascinating to hear how the most devastating experiences become portals of transformation and evolution.

But we all have our own ways of coping with the pain and loss of life changes.

I created this collage to put on my altar in honor of a 6 year old girl who died last weekend. I would never presume to tell her loved ones how to process their pain or talk to them of butterflies, portals or even the arms of the angels.

The quote from Heraclitus :change is the only constant in lifehas been on my mind due to another recent death. And a coincidence of names.

Someone I know, who is deeply loved by people I care about, died unexpectedly last week. He was the picture of health and vitality. And he even cofounded a healing center that is renowned for cutting edge technologies in assisting people with serious health issues. 

Because of this paradox, I immediately thought of the first man I met when I moved to Marin County who also died before his time. My former housemate was the picture of health and vitality and associated with helping people with their health issues as well. He taught fitness classes and took people on adventures into the wilderness. 

Although I did not have a long or deep friendship with either of these men, their deaths were disturbing to me.  They seemed to do everything "right" in terms of taking care of their body mind and soul. So why did diseases take them out? 

As I pondered that question, I suddenly realized that they shared a name. Constantine was the first name of one and the last name of the other. Hence my musings about the name Constantine which is derived from "constant". Meaning that which does not change.

But of course, despite our best efforts to do everything "right"; losses,--both expected and unexpected, minor and the ultimate (loss of life)-- are the only constants upon which we can depend.

I was deeply affected by the loss of my father (whose birthday was Monday 3/4 --Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you!), but certainly not surprised.  He was the poster child for an unhealthy lifestyle, and actually took pride in that!* And yet he lived to be older than both of the Constantine's. 

Monday was also the Hindu holiday of Maha Shivarati. 

This little statue of Shiva is holding my wedding ring --with it's inscription : "surprise me"


This holy day celebrates the god Shiva and his dance of creation/ preservation/destruction of life. (For those who are interested, here is the story of how Shiva came into my life on the eve of my most devastating surprise life implosion). It was the death of a way of life -- among many other losses from that ending.

Maha Shivaratri is a floating Hindu holiday, that is celebrated during the dark of the Moon. It occurs in either February or March and is a very solemn introspective occasion involving fasting.

Today, is Ash Wednesday. It is also a floating holiday associated with the New Moon that occurs in either February or March and is a very solemn introspective occasion involving fasting.

The ashes from the burned palm leaves of the previous years Palm Sunday fronds are applied in the sign of the cross on the forehead, with the words "remember you are dust and to dust you shall return".

But of course, as with Shiva's dance, where creation follows destruction, Ash Wednesday is also part of a cycle of death and rebirth. This day marks the beginning of the Easter season which culminates in the story of a miraculous rebirth. Butterflies abound in Christian symbolism at this time of year.

We humans create so many stories and rituals to help us dance with the mysteries of life and cope with our fears about the pain and loss we all inevitably experience. 

Although I love the many stories, holidays and rituals we humans have created and celebrate a ridiculous number of them, smearing palm ashes on your forehead may not do it for you. 

So perhaps just consider the (scientifically verifiable!) story of the caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by difficult changes and painful endings. 



I took the above photo of a palm tree recently while on in the company of two little friends of the girl who died. They had a blast finding creative uses for the dead Palm fronds they found on the ground. 

As always on our adventures, a huge amount of my focus is on keeping my little charges safe. 

We (me too!) climbed several trees that day and there was one minor fall.  

It can be exhausting to monitor all of the potential hazards of two exuberant boys and scary when they fall, but even if I kept them safely on the couch all day, there's no guarantee they will be spared from harm. (Superstitiously knocking on wood right now!) 

And so we playfully explore the wonders of the world with curiosity and courage and the willingness to muck around in the messy, muddiness of life! Way more fun than sitting on the couch!


This was not my plan for last Thursday, but my boys were running down a hill, skidded at the bottom and went down. Since they were already covered with mud,  I decided to let them wallow. And to mud they joyfully returned --thank heavens with exuberant aliveness!


* My father's cancer diagnosis was not enough to make him quit his decades long habit of chain smoking. However when the Democratic governor of Minnesota put a tax on cigarettes, my staunch Republican dad was irate and adamant that he would not contribute to the agenda of this politician. He quit cold turkey and never smoked again for the months remaining to him! 



On Monday afternoon, on the way back from the doctor to deal with a scary looking tick bite, my car spun out of control going around a curve on a wet road. As I was headed down the embankment toward the creek, I was sure that I was about to die. Miraculously, I hit some trees and although my sweet little car car was totaled (I am grieving the loss of this faithful friend) and I have some minor injuries and am in pain, I am alive! I did not have to go to the hospital, and I am deeply grateful to be typing these words! I am currently extremely dealing busy dealing with the aftermath (so much paperwork and so many communications..!).  I welcome all love and healing that is sent my way, but please be patient if you write or call and I don't get back to you for a while. 

And yes, for those of you who I know would be advising this, I am on antibiotics for the tick bite and am under the care of a chiropractor




Monday, February 4, 2019

☂️The Magic of the Doomsday ClockπŸ•›




Of course I had to see Mary Poppins Returns (spoiler alert!). The reviews were mixed, but MP has been a lifelong mentor for me. And I think it's high time for her return!

One reviewer demanded to know why Mary Poppins made the lamp lighters (love the symbolism!) go through the dangerous climb up Big Ben at five minutes to midnight, when she had the power to just float up there and turn back time herself.

I have an answer to that question and it also may be the answer to some really big questions we are facing right now.*

First I want to point out that the "Doomsday Clock" (based on the likelihood of various man made global catastrophes --according to scientists who first invented the "clock" in 1947) is currently set for two minutes to midnight.

Midnight is the death of the old day and the birth of the new one, and is often portrayed as a scary, supernatural time.

Midnight is also the time when we celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one.And by the way, tomorrow is the Lunar New Year,** so there will be great anticipation at five minutes to midnight tonight, with fireworks and parades.

What if we welcome midnight and the celebrate the possibility of magic?

Of course I do not want the so-called "Doomsday Clock" to go off, but there are many old paradigms that are dying, and this process, as intensely chaotic disturbing and painful as is for many of us, may also portend what Charles Eisenstein calls "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible".

Every beginning is preceded by an ending in the cycle of life.

Every fetus must leave the safety of the womb in a painful journey, every caterpillar turns to bug soup and every seed must be cracked open, before the new life can begin.

This buckeye seed, I recently photographed will be completely destroyed so a new tree can grow.
In Mary Poppins Returns, the family she cares for is going to be evicted at midnight by an evil banker (also symbolized by a cartoon wolf --both of whom initially seem friendly and benevolent), unless a miracle occurs.

Of course Mary Poppins makes that miracle happen --at the last possible moment.

If Mary Poppins represents the forces of magic and miracles in the world why doesn't she immediately handover the missing paperwork (the shares needed to prevent foreclosure which are currently patching a kite) or at least do her magic with the clock sooner and save everyone all of that angst?

And why are there SO MANY stories in which ticking clocks/ bombs, and even hourglasses are counting down the final nail biting seconds before some miracle or courageous act saves the day?

Obviously, it wouldn't be a very good story and characters would not be developed without dramatic tension. And nothing says dramatic tension like ticking clocks and sand running out!


What if that is true for us now?!

What if we need to experience that dramatic tension and encroaching danger to break us open, make an evolutionary leap AND to discover through that painful process that there is magic available to help us?

No, I'm not advocating that we sit back on our couches and wait for some Deus Ex Machina to save our world from imminent destruction.

As the saying goes; "God helps those who help themselves".

I firmly believe miracles and magic happen in times of the greatest peril and we need to have faith to have that occur. AND we also need to be resourceful and diligent and keep showing up taking action even when it looks hopeless.

All while realizing there is no guarantee.

Here are a few things that have made miracles more likely in my life, and what I have observed in the stories of many others:

✨πŸ’–✨πŸ₯€⚡️πŸ’žπŸ’«πŸ¦„πŸ›πŸ¦‹πŸŒͺ🧚‍♀️🧘‍♀️πŸ›πŸ§‍♀️πŸŽŠπŸ’”πŸ§œ‍♀️πŸ’πŸ˜πŸ€±πŸŒ‚
  • Fully FEEL (on all levels --especially physically and emotionally)  that tension/fear/grief/anger and whatever else comes up as while surveying the dangers and losses that are present during times of change.
  • AND AT THE SAME TIME,  relax and nurture any feelings trust (even though this seems nearly impossible sometimes)
  • Physical movement (even if just a token, ritual gesture or baby step) is necessary
  • AND AT THE SAME TIME, summon inner stillness and know there are times when rest and non-doing is called for
  • Surrender expectations as to outcomes
  • Time in nature is essential --although in a pinch, even viewing nature and listening to nature sounds helps
  • Activate curiosity as to what might be possible
  • Discover your unique quirky gifts and superpowers. Use them whenever possible
  • Remember every time in the past when significant turning points occurred and how they came about. 
  • Reframe the story to one where there is an opportunity for evolution
  • Cultivate courage 
  • Offer love, empathy and compassion for all involved --especially yourself!
  • Invite allies (internal and external, includingfriends, family, magical characters --huge bonus points if you can convert an adversary into ally!) to join in on the adventure.
  • Integration to dis-cover wholeness is key. 
  • AND AT THE SAME TIME, as keeping your heart wide open to be nonjudgmental, compassionate, connecting and inclusive; be mindful of boundaries and protection of the vulnerable.
  • And always invite playfulness --especially when things seem particularly serious and grim!
                       ✨πŸ’–✨πŸ₯€⚡️πŸ’žπŸ’«πŸ¦„πŸ›πŸ¦‹πŸŒͺ🧚‍♀️🧘‍♀️πŸ›πŸ§‍♀️πŸŽŠπŸ’”πŸ§œ‍♀️πŸ’πŸ˜πŸ€±πŸŒ‚

I wish I could say I always remember all of these and perfectly follow through. I'm still a novice. But as I keep practicing, it gets easier and life gets more joyful --and filled with more magical synchronicities that seem to prove the Pronoia theory (that life is conspiring on our behalf)!

Evolution is not a neat and formulaic process. It is riddled with bewildering paradoxes and painful uncertainty. There are no guarantees and it's not easy.

But what I love about hearing so many real life miracle stories (as well as being inspired by the fictional stories of protagonists overcoming seemingly impossible odds or being saved by a magical hero/ine --like MP with her umbrella!), is that they inspire and invoke the possible.

You may think magic is not real and miracles are not possible, but I beg to differ. And my mentor Mary Poppins will back me up on this. She is all about making the impossible possible!

She also points out that "In every job that must be done There is an element of fun You find the fun and snap! The job's a game.

So this is why I am in the process of creating a game. I want to make it easier and more fun to do the seemingly impossible at this time before midnight --whether in our personal lives (many of us have ticking clocks of one kind or another) or in the world at large. And I promise the game is filled with super practical material and backed by peer reviewed scientifically proven research.

If you would like to be a part of my game creation and discover my gifts for you (there is a category called the "Magic Umbrella" which allows you to create your own gifts), please check out my Patreon Page.  And just a reminder, that I will not be back in your inbox again until the next New Moon as Full Moon Blogs are now through Patreon.

I also invite you to practice willfully suspending your disbelief (as you do when watching a movie) in your life and in looking at the world, so that you can be more open to making the impossible possible.

Happy New Moon and Happy New Year!





* I am using enormous self-discipline to not also dive into the themes of turning back the hands of time and the cracked bowl , wolves as villains and "turning turtle" from the movie and the theory of the original Mary Poppins in the book as a shaman.

**The year of The Earth Boar --not seen since the year of my birth!


















Saturday, January 5, 2019

🧜‍♀️Overflowing Magical Gifts πŸ›



Yesterday at an overflowing waterfall.
On the first New Moon of the New Year (featuring a solar eclipse), and on the eve of Epiphany, I am overflowing with gratitude for gifts more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Some of the gifts have been actual presents over the holidays that have stretched my capacity to receive graciously (knowing I am unable to reciprocate in kind and judging myself for not being able to do so) and some have been gifts of incredible beauty in Nature beyond my ability to fully convey (with either words or photos), as well as Love (even more indescribably beautiful in both the giving and receiving to the point of nearly bursting my heart), and many moments of quiet epiphanies, luminous joy, sparkly delight, and playful fun.

All of this amidst the ever present chaos of my inner anxieties, some minor kerfuffles (with judgment for the others involved followed by judgment of myself for judging them and spending time down that rabbit holeπŸ°πŸ•³), and the cacophony of increasing dissonance in the world around me.

More and more, I am genuinely saying "YES" to ALL of it.

To be clear, there are things to which I say "no". For instance, I work with children and "no" or "stop" can save a life. To say nothing of the scared and belligerent inner children of many decision makers--and not just politicians. Sometimes "no" or "stop" are essential here too.

On yesterday's hike to the waterfall there were many occasions where I said "stop"! 
Also, I live the time and place where there is an overwhelming plethora of possible activities and companions with whom to spend my time. I truly feel like a kid in a candy store, and I know what happens when I overindulge...So sometimes I need to say "no" to myself and others.

What I mean is that I say "YES" to accepting whatever is happening (even while sometime taking actions to prevent harm, which may include a "no" or a "stop") and to trust that there is a gift somewhere within the situation.

Each time I lean into whatever is not comfortable, I feel my heart expanding to make room for more love (which in turn leaves me increasingly vulnerable to heartbreak --because the more people I care about and the more deeply I feel Love for them, the greater the risk).

I'm certainly not asking for the excruciating pain of heart break (despite knowing that it has ultimately benefited me greatly every time).

There is only so much heartbreak I can take in a world where I have the opportunity to take in the anguish of witnessing the immense pain that is available 24/7 courtesy of the devices (including my telephone) that connect me to the world at large.

To say nothing my face to face encounters with those in need.

There are still many ways I guard my heart and I often fail miserably with automatic "HELL NO" responses rather than the calm and kind acceptance I aspire to and advocate in my words to you.

And I say "YES" to that as well, because that's the way it is in the moment. My hope is that being more openhearted towards myself about not being openhearted, I will become more openhearted! So far it seems to be working --just not at fast as I want and the whole lot messier.

YES to slow and messy failed attempts 

According to the astronomers, this New Moon eclipse is a particularly potent time for creating change.

Of course, not everybody believes in astronomy or Epiphany.

They are stories.

And I believe wholeheartedly in the power of stories.

I share stories to offer alternative possibilities for those who might need them in the midst of grim "realities".

I borrow magic from wherever I can find it.  I celebrate as many holidays (Holy days), sacred possible moments in time, and Life affirming stories as I can include in my life. And I share them freely with those who might be too busy to discover them.

What if, connecting to the stories/ celebrations that others believe in, connects us in some way to them and the collective power of their beliefs?

There are actually fascinating studies (some using random numbers generators) that show how when a critical mass of people are thinking the same thought or feeling the same feelings the same time it affects the collective field.

Whether or not the power of magic sacred moments in time to affect my life is real or imagined, it has helped me measurably on more occasions than I can count. Perhaps just because I believe in it.

If you need a little magic at this time in your life, why not temporarily suspend your disbelief (like when you're watching a fun movie). Let your stodgy, logical, rational intellect have a little mini vacation.

A dragon and mermaid I encountered on an adventure with a friend and my little charges a couple of days ago. 
It will still be there, ready for you to pick up the weary load of all of the serious, important burdens whenever you want.

I'm well aware of the necessity of what it takes to survive in difficult times and am not advocating magical thinking and mad frivolity at the expense of fulfilling essential responsibilities.

But I invite you to join me in welcoming the possibility that this moment could be a moment of profound change.

Which begs the questions :

What changes would you like to see in your life at this time and in the year ahead? What gifts and epiphanies would you like to experience?

I am adding my overflowing love (and a little bit of magic) to whatever you most wish for in 2019.

Can you feel it?!