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On Thanksgiving morning I hiked through Plaza Blanca with a despacho, two dogs and a drum. I once followed a trail of trickling water through precipitous passages in this mystical landscape. With no map for guidance, the trust and support of another was all there was to rely on to traverse the unknown, rugged terrain.
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Our uncharted trek led to an impasse from which water fell between white and black mountains, a sacred union of all that is dark and all that is light. I vowed to return for ceremony to this sacred womb of Mother Earth.

As I carried my despacho full of prayers, with two of my favorite hiking companions at my side, my mind could not escape the corruption of the holiday.

We stand at the precipice of a critical planetary evolution and the First Americans are under siege at Standing Rock for protecting our water. Decisions made now will have a devastating impact on our climate, our Earth and her resources leaving a shameful legacy of destruction for future generations to come.

The First Americans are teaching us how to be in right relationship with our Mother, the Earth. The First Americans are showing us how to walk in prayer. The First Americans are personifying the way of peace. The First Americans are living and breathing what it means to Love.

The way of Love is extremely courageous. Love must stand and face life not as we want it to be but as it is. Love requires us to hold a position with honor and respect. Love does not allow us to select who to love and who not to love. Love encompasses all. img_1778

As I hike through Plaza Blanca, a sacred land owned by Muslims, I carry prayers in a despacho from a Peruvian tradition in the Andes. I beat a drum and sing chants to our Earth Mother.

I have walked many paths and traditions in my life, a freedom granted by the very foundation of what it is to be American yet we are turning those freedoms against the First Americans with rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray.

And still they stand.

Our country is clinging to an old paradigm of patriarchal power that believes it has dominion over our Earth and others.

We have been gifted a planet of great beauty with everything we need to not only survive but thrive. Who are the caretakers and stewards of the land upon which we live?

It is us.

It is you.

It is me.

We can be overwhelmed thinking we cannot change the world so we give up hope.

But we can change ourself and this is where we have influence.

The First Americans are showing us the way.

And the way is Love.

 

 

Throughout our latest presidential campaign I was particularly quiet with any political postings. Once Bernie left I found little inspiration in a campaign reduced to mean-spirited bullying driving our country to deeper divide.

Election Day felt dismal right up to the moment I voted yet once I circled the little bubble on my ballot for Hilary my angst turned to pride. My humble vote was being propelled in history by electing the first woman for president.

And then the results hit. We are now lambasted with news that dissects every what if as we grapple with the question, how did this happen?

As power is shifting into the hands of a conservative, anti-almost anything I stand for government, my concern is for my daughters who face losing a freedom of choice that I have been granted along with a legacy of planet destruction that may not be safe for any grandchildren to inhabit. It is easy to succumb to despair and lose any sense of hope yet we are all granted the power to make a difference. As shock recedes and reality glares, I find myself catalyzed.

The recovery of the Feminine is my personal path of healing and the message I carry as dharma yet I have been hiding behind excuses for the past year and a half using fear and doubt to justify my inactions. Rather than create fear, the election of Trump has helped me remember why I am here. There is no more time for hiding. There is no more room for excuses.

This past weekend a simple offering to restore right relationship, or ayni, was made to Pachamama to honor the Masculine and Feminine. Feathers and flowers, a tarantula and snakeskin held intentions and prayers.

May we honor and respect each other and our differences.
(Feathers)
May we shed the borders that divide us based on color, gender, race and creed.
(Snakeskin)
May patience and fortitude guide us through these turbulent times.
(Tarantula)
May our new leaders see through the eyes of compassion and kindness to be of service to humanity for the greatest good of all.
(Flowers)

Join me as a catalyst for Love. It is time to embody the deep Feminine within us in order to bring balance to the world around us. To meet that need I have begun to create an offering compiled from thirty years in the healing arts, both personally and professionally. Through video, audio and written word we will gather online to strengthen the Feminine with Kundalini kriyas, clearing and detoxification rituals, automatic writing and ceremony to connect us more deeply to the wisdom of our body and the body of our Mother Earth, Pachamama.

The collective intention is to anchor love more deeply and empower our Feminine Wisdom. Our personal healing is what ripples into the world we inhabit with our families and communities. That is where our true power resides. My intention is to make this offering available by the first lunar cycle of 2017 starting on the New Moon.

naked-rockBe an Anchor In Love.

It is time.

When I first heard the infamous Trump tape I felt a self protective recoil. Even though the intended threat had long passed through time and space it viscerally sent me shrinking in terror to a deep, dark hiding place of shame. My personal evolution is an ongoing recovery of the Feminine. As each woman adds her voice and shares her story the power of the collective Feminine grows. This excerpt from the forthcoming “A Feminine Path to Enlightenment” speaks to the national conversation currently taking place on the sexual violation of women.

These are times of great evolutionary change as we move from a pervasive patriarch dominating our consciousness to a remembering of the force of our feminine. Balance of our feminine and masculine nature is fundamental to bring balance to the planet on which we live.

This domination has taken deep root in our psyche and is obvious when we see the rights of women publicly thwarted the world over through culture, religion, politics and law. Yet for those of us who may believe we are liberated from oppression, this insidious weight shackles the voice of our feminine in covert shadows beyond the bounds of our own awareness.

I did not expect the weight of this oppression to reveal itself while making love to a man I trusted. After a climax of intense pleasure an ache to feel my lover deep inside was met with his command that he was going to make me wait for him. This made me want him even more.

Slowly he began to enter and once inside he could not hold back from thrusting deeper. He seemed precipitously close to getting off. My throat choked in disappointment. He said he was going to wait. Now I wasn’t so sure. I numbed my heart and silently waited for him to come. He pulled out, delaying his own gratification, to let me know I was worth waiting for.

His unexpected action seemed to release eons of emotions. What began to crystallize through my tears was a feeling of being used by men for their own satisfaction. His act of pulling out meant I was more than a body to gratify his physical urgency. It was a deep bow to the Goddess in a way I had never felt before.

This awareness of being used by men resided deep within me as a collective knowing. Somewhere in our cellular memory a woman knows what it feels like to be used, manipulated, oppressed or violated, whether it is ripe in her consciousness or not. And what was more painful than being used was what lay beneath.

For in order to be used I had to deem myself worthless. My needs held less value than the love or security of a man. The voice of my own feminine held less power than that of the masculine. To sacrifice our soul for a misaligned belief is painful. The revelation in my bedroom seemed to open the doorway for another feminine voice to unleash itself a few days later.

A patient I worked with had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). After being hit with a second bout of pneumonia I had her sit forward, propped on pillows to work the muscles in and around her shoulders stressed by the very act of breathing.

“Why does this pain on the left side of my neck nag me all the time?” she asked.

She had no idea what a big question she was asking. I could feel her bitter heart twisted in pain. I knew much of her pain had to do with the relationship of her own feminine and masculine energies. How could I language what I felt in order to answer her question? At 68 years old what was she ready to “see”?

“Has there ever been a man in your life you felt you could completely count on?” I asked her.

“Never. I have felt more like a slave.”

She began to recount stories of relationships, including one marriage, that felt more like prison sentences than partnerships.

“Nobody taught me anything about life. When I got married I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea sex was part of it. I didn’t even know how you got pregnant. I had to figure everything out myself.

Every man I was ever with wanted me to wake up at 5 am to make coffee and get his breakfast ready. I was never allowed to sleep in. While he relaxed it was my job to clean up. Every meal was like this. Me fixing the food. Waiting on him. Cleaning up while he rested. I wasn’t allowed to watch television. I could never do anything I wanted to do. Every day I had work to do. I had to paint, fix up the house, keep everything clean. One man had a camper he used for hunting. I would not be allowed out until I cleaned up the whole thing for him. Blow jobs were expected whenever he wanted them. Sex always made me feel dirty.

I still think about relationships. I would like to have someone to be affectionate with but I have gotten so bitter. It’s just not worth it. When I see young women catering to men I tell them to stand up for themselves. I try to help them.”

Not every situation is so extreme. And women the world over are subjected to much deeper abuse and oppression. Whatever the level of suffering, whether obvious or hidden, the stories unravel to the same thread of powerlessness. It insidiously weaves the collective matrix of the feminine through personal threads of oppression. How the feminine has been held within us is how we have held the collective feminine around us. We are part of, therefore, cannot be separate from, this collective wounding.

I was not sure what would happen when I opened this conversation yet I stood in awe at her understanding and awareness. I honored her courage to share and her strength to endure. For the first time she felt heard.

There is much more work to be done but from what I see we are waking up I told her. Every time you stand up for yourself you are influencing your circle of the world to wake up.

She beat herself up for not seeing things sooner. I don’t know if we were ready for this conversation sooner but one thing is certain. We are ready now.

Of course the answer does not lie in a bitter heart. The solution is not to cut yourself off from relationships to save yourself from pain. She knows the work is in learning to love herself.

She learned this she said from watching TV.

If you know me or follow my blog you might remember I was lost on a mountain last year with my dog Jethro. Oddly enough, through that formidable ordeal, there was never a moment of fear. What I am terrified of though are my feelings, the intimate ones that ache when hurt, the tender ones that fear rejection.

Thirty years ago I bent backward over a bioenergetic stool in the Upper East side office of Alexander Lowen. Lowen was a pioneer in body mind psychotherapy and the father of Bioenergetics. He instructed me to breathe. A spontaneous convulsion of sobs rocked my body. He summed up my condition with this phrase.

You are scared to death. 

I had no idea what he was talking about. I never felt afraid. As a matter of fact, before the insurgent sobbing, I was numb to feeling anything in my body. I scoffed at his diagnosis.

Somehow he saw, deep in the shadows, a little one buried in fear. One who believed she would never be loved. This is the bedrock I have built my life upon, a misguided truth that I am not loveable. A truth born from voices outside that shamed my feelings into submission until the outside voices became my own.

Yes I am scared to death. Not the specific kind of fear that is scared of snakes or heights or small, dark spaces but a nameless fear that has seeped into every cell, tightened every muscle and twisted every thought in a relentless drive to find security.

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There is a shape that fear has. Fear contracts us to the smallest denomination of ourself so we cannot be seen. Fear builds a fortress of protection around our heart through a contortion of muscles that keeps pain out and insures nothing gets in.

Somewhere inside another voice whispers. One too faint to hear beneath the armor. It is the voice that brings my head to the floor each morning in my practice of yoga. A voice that can only be heard once the armor melts.

Yoga changes the shape of fear. Little by little, ancient tensions bound in bone and sinew lose their grip. Truth is found when the armor cracks. Demons hiding in darkness tumble awkwardly through an opening leaving us existentially naked in the dawning light of truth.

Yoga opens our most vulnerable heart in a deepening dance between the retreat in to darkness and the revelation in to light. Yoga changes the shape of our heart. A shape that learns to let the love in.

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An old pickup full of bright-colored furniture and bulging suitcases stopped at the stone casita on the mesa in Abiquiu. Out jumped Zelda. She had traveled to New Mexico, all the way from New York City, leaving behind everyone and everything she had ever known. Tired of the crowds and tight spaces of living in the city, Zelda had said good-bye to her mom and dad, two brothers and two sisters and crammed all her belongings in the back of the truck. She was ready for an adventure. As soon as she stepped out of the truck in Abiquiú she fell in love with the wide-open spaces, the silence of the mountains, and the bright rainbow of many colors stretching across the afternoon sky in the Land of Enchantment. 

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On the other side of town, an old pickup zoomed down the highway. A door flew open, and out tumbled a little puppy. The truck screeched away leaving the little puppy all alone and afraid.

Before long the kind lady from Animal Rescue heard news that a little puppy was whimpering on the side of the road. She couldn’t imagine how anyone could abandon a puppy. She took him back to her house, which was already overcrowded with animals. She soon realized that there was no room left to keep even a puppy for very long. She posted his picture around town, determined to find him a better home.

excerpt from the forthcoming Jethro the Runaway Puppy

And so starts the story inspired by the runaway of my dog Jethro last summer. The commitment to self publish a book is rooted in love with huge doses of time and money invested. One takes a faithful leap into territories not usually traversed by novice storytellers with no certainty of the results. I never imagined I would write a story for children yet the unfolding of Jethro’s story was a guiding light through a time of darkness.

One of the more challenging aspects of bringing Jethro’s story to life was finding an illustrator. I am fortunate that the proverbial leap landed in the hands of Jennet Inglis. She has been able to extract the essence of each chapter with poignant illustrations drawing the reader into the real and imagined world of Jethro. It has been a thrill to witness Jethro’s story soar to life in pictures.

I hope you think so too.

 

I went to the river alone. I wondered if it would have been a “better” ceremony if others were there with me.

And then this quote appeared by Mary Oliver.

“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.” Mary Oliver

It has been over a year since I was in ceremony. An emptiness had occupied a space in my soul.

For me, ceremony is a work of art. But unlike other “arts” there is no unique talent needed other than your own soul, for ceremony is the language that it speaks.

A ceremony starts with inspiration. To that, intention is added. It is all mixed with love and in that process an offering of your heart is created. Ceremony is an expression of a longing for Oneness, to know that we are as vast and infinite as the stars of the night sky.

Rishi stars and sunflowers sparked the inspiration to awaken our Star Nature and heal the wounds that leave us feeling separate from the Infinite.

I drove along thirteen miles of dirt road to Christ in the Desert Monastery to sit by the river. It is here, at this spot, that intentions prayed into sunflowers were fed with honey and lavender, sweets and sage, before being offered to the river.

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Ok so I wasn’t completely alone. Jethro the gatekeeper had a watchful eye on our floating despacho.

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Oh and did I mention Charlie? He and Jethro took full advantage of the healing waters of the Rishi Stars.

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I traveled the dirt road feeling alone and separate. Ceremony changed that.

An offering is made. A burden is lifted. Intentions are carried by Spirit to find their way in the river of life.

And then this happened.

This is what happy looks like.

 

My enlightened friend Lou McCall told me about Rishi Stars. I had never heard of the phenomenon. Apparently Rishi Stars, more commonly known to Westerners as the Big Dipper, are very close to the Earth at this time of year.

“According to Tibetan and Vedic astrology, when the ‘Rishi’ stars are visible in the night sky, their light is said to possess special healing powers that transform all water into a healing nectar.”

This year they are out from September 9-15

Read the full article on Rishi Stars here

Sunflowers are all over northern New Mexico now blooming in the most unlikely places. Their bright faces are forever looking to the Sun. I can’t help but smile seeing them line the highways with their lighthearted beauty.

I watched a video on Facebook the other day where Neil deGrasse Tyson shared the most astounding fact about the Universe.

The atoms that comprise life on Earth and make up the human body are traceable to the stars. We are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us.”

Sunflowers, stars and astounding facts about the Universe; seemingly happenstance moments have synchronized in ceremony. An offering has been made for the waters. A loaf of challah bread, full of sunflowers, holds a collective intention.

May we Awaken to our Divinity.
May we align with our Star Nature,
the destiny our soul is here to fulfill.

May we heal the wounds that leave us feeling separate,
alone and disconnected from the world in which we live.

May every atom of our being vibrate in the memory that we are made of Stars.

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With your breath, offer our collective intentions by blowing them into the image. Individual prayers and intentions can be added as well; for yourself, your loved ones and for all of humanity. Our offering will be carried by the healing nectar of the waters.

You can also create your own offering. I have used muffins, bagels and unfrosted cupcakes to create offerings. Prayers and intentions are blown into the sunflowers yet you can use any native plant, leaf or flower for prayer holders. In Peru, cocoa leaves are used.

Before being released to the water, our prayers will be fed with sweets, honey, sea salts and seaweed to boost their power. Since our bodies are made mostly of water, you can take advantage of Rishi Stars by lying under the stars at night or soaking in hot springs. Leave water out overnight to be charged with celestial wisdom and drink it in.

Maybe I’m just an old hippie but these words still say it best..

We are Stardust,
We are Golden,
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.
Joni Mitchell