Tuesday, March 22, 2016

holding on to earth

I like to think I am a glass half full kind of person. Most of the time, it is easy to perceive the bounty of goodness, love, hope and possibility in the world.

But other times? Yes, darkness seems to pull hard and my heart wobbles, my thoughts scatter and emotions surge.  Yesterday I read in the morning paper about the antarctic ice sheet melting due to warming waters. The accompanying photograph is of the penguins and my mind envisions them - along with the polar bears in the arctic - sinking under rising seas. So too my heart sinks and the tears flow. Too much water, too much destruction and too much to comprehend.


This morning I learned of more bombings in Belgium. I don't know if my heart can dip lower? Overwhelm threatens to paralyze me. Yet I know burying my head is not a answer nor is it a solution. The ripples of violence, the pall of despair, the numbing of fear and frustration strike at us all. Indeed these emotions are at the heart of what drives the insanity and our reactions to it.

What can I do? I turn to what I believe is both the source of the imbalance and the means of transformation. I look within myself and I consider my relationship with Mother Earth and her fellow inhabitants. I consider the health of my relationships - with myself, with my community, with my home soil, and I ask where is healing needed? What is within my power to effect change? Can I identify my imbalances so that I might lovingly and compassionately begin to correct them? 

I have identified for myself the need to establish a new relationship with earth. To understand in a way that is more than merely intellectual, how I am a part of the whole. How do I dishonor earth when I dishonor my own being? And how might bringing awareness to self care be a means of shifting the balance away from abusive patterns of acting/thinking/reacting and towards healing, supportive action, and an environment of mutual respect and consideration?

I step outside and bring my feet to the emerging green grass. I feel the prickles of dried blades give way to the softness of new growth. I close my eyes and listen to the birds speak across the lawn. I smell damp earth and perceive the slow but certain waking up of life that is Spring's arrival. Here is where I begin. This is what I trust. This is what I hold onto and here is where I pour my hopes and my fears for the future. This lap of Mother Earth. May she guide us. May she remind us we are all one. May we understand the need to pause and listen - really listen -  and hear. May we come to honor her love in more than just words. 

May we find the courage to continue to hope and to see what we do matters and each day there is opportunity to be an agent of positive change. It begins right now in this conversation with mama earth. I promise ... I promise ...

Monday, March 14, 2016


Wow. It's been awhile.

I suppose I am a victim of the season ... this betwixt  and between time ... not yet Spring yet clearly no longer Winter. It has me all tangled up inside. I awake to hear the raucous sounds of randy robins mingled with the clatter of shovels, spades and boomboxes as armies of landscapers descend upon my neighbor's yard to ready it for a new season. (My neighbor owns his own landscaping company, so there is a continual stream of his employees prepping and primping his yard. This is not the case in our wild landscape.) I sip my morning coffee and plan my day which is quickly sabotaged by my spring fever. There is just too much productivity happening around me and I must escape.

I've been hitting the trails of the neighboring park. For eight years I have lived near this recreation center and managed to overlook it. Way back in the early days, Cowgirl and I would pack a backpack with sketch books and snacks and walk a half mile or so to a bench to sit and draw. I admit a snobbery and insensitivity to the landscape of my home. Dried grasses,milkweed, and scraggly mulberry trees did not capture my imagination. Wildlife appeared to be limited to Canada Geese, seagulls and wooly caterpillars.  

Of course it was not the landscape that suffered from lack of imagination, but this viewer.  Thankfully Nature has been patiently going about her business, unbothered by my lack of enthusiasm. (Seems like a good model for me to follow as Cowgirl enters into the preteen Eye Rolling and Deep-Sighing-from annoyance and/or boredom stage of development.) And thankfully, the writing and influence of this teacher has inspired me to take a longer and more studied look into the spaces and places I now embrace as home. 

It is only recently that I've made the conscious attempt to consider and refer to this place as home

"Later I would look back at my time with the cedar trees and say I was visited by the mythical crone - the old woman of the crossroads who allows travelers to ask her one question, which she is bound by the laws of nature to answer in truth. My question might well have been: where do I belong? And her answer, with a gesture to the wild forests, sprawling meadows and dark waters of the earth, would have been: here." 

I feel the pull to venture out. I pack my backpack with camera, binoculars, and bird guide.  I tuck inside my journal, pencils and pens. Fill my water bottle and strike out. Each ramble I discover more and more. I hold in my hand the map of the Arboretum tour with the hope of familiarizing myself with the over 90 different tree and shrubs lining the trails. I have found a tuft of a fox's tail, the shedding coat of some deer, feathers, seeds - signs of life vaster than I had realized. 

Porcupine have been feasting on the tender flesh of young shrubs. A corridor of trees hosts Downy Woodpeckers late in the day while the  Black Capped Chickadees have an earlier commute. I have been seeing a Bald Eagle and now know it has a nest safety tucked away in one of the park's larger sycamore trees. 

"Maureen Murdock, author of The Heroine's Journey, says that women find their way back to themselves differently than men do. Men move up and out into the lights of the world, but women's challenge is to move down into the depths of their own ground of being."
-Eila Carrico, The Other Side of the River 

I am drawn to exploring this patch of world around me because I believe it holds a key to understanding myself. For too long I have felt unrooted, out of place, free-floating through my life like a dandelion seed blasted by the wind across my lawn. To understand myself, I believe I must discover my relationship to this place. Or more accurately, uncover where and how I belong in the web of being. What is my place among the Ponderosa Pines, the Mulberries, the Geese, the rabbits and the coyotes? 

I want to understand how the rhythms of Nature move through me. I am taking part in a new and exciting offering: The Lunar Womb. I am following the moon's rhythms and charting my own. I am examining the dance between the Moon, Sun and Earth and learning how those energies play out within and around me.  

It is immersion into my self and my days which takes me out of modern time. I come here and it seems as if lifetimes have been lived out in 24 hours. I cannot operate within the rhythms of social media and am accepting that now is a period when I orbit far away from connections that once were regular and daily. I know things will shift and so I surrender myself to this new way of being ... I want to see where it takes me. Deeper within, I hope.  


I have every intention of regularly reporting back here. But just in case, I am trying to leave a breadcrumb trail.