Saturday, March 21, 2015

Eostre, Spring Equinox, Lent and the International Day of Happiness

Week 4 Lenten Project
I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Rumi

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” Marianne Williamson

Yesterday morning, I drew “flexibility” from the Angel Cards.  The first thing that came to my mind was doing a back bend.  I haven’t done a back bend since I was 13, and that was… hmmm a long time ago.  But, the thought of doing a back bend has been on my mind.  It was one of the things I put down in my new year’s resolution.  Why?  Back bending was an item that came into my head when I was meditating on the wishes of my heart in 2015.  Crazy?  Crazy.

Mohamad Gandhi stated that happiness occurs when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.  I believe that in order for this to happen you need to be flexible.  Yesterday, my interactions with others left me with wanting to pound my head against the wall.  I wanted a project that I've been working on for six months to be done and off my desk.  However, others didn't think the same way. They wanted one more thing changed and discussed.  
After a lot of deep breathing, the only thing I could do was find humor in the situation.  I don't know if this is true for others, but it is difficult to see in the moment.     

Icing on the cake came in an e-mail my supervisor and I received on a Friday afternoon.  It was at this point I decided what I needed to do was a back bend.  Back bend modified that is.  I don't know what made me do it, but there I was bending my my body backwards over an office chair without arms or wheels.  The blood quickly rushed to my head.  I definitely saw things from a different perspective; my office space up-side-down and the ceiling.  And, it caused my supervisor and I to laugh.  The whole day we needed to just laugh.  

I think this is what spring is all about.  It is a time to step back and just laugh.  How can one not laugh, especially if you survived record level snows and polar vortex wind chills.   The yellow crocuses out in my garden they are laughing; they survived the winter months.  I think this is what Marianne Williamson meant in trying to recognize how things really are in the big picture - joyful.


Middle English lente springtime, Lent, from Old English lencten; akin to Old High German lenzin spring


Spring is like a perhaps hand
E. E. Cummings, 1894 - 1962


Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spinning back into my heart’s song - Lent 2015

2015 BEMS First Week of Lent
“It is only with the heart that you can see fully: what is essential is invisible to the eyes.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

“Whosesoever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ Confucius

Sometimes I find it hard to remember the language of my heart.  My ears get filled with wax and I can’t hear my unique lyrics that I’m supposed to be singing into the universal song.  When this happens, I find myself being swept away by social injustices, and instead of trying to find peaceful resolution or trying to be empathetic towards the other side’s point of view; I’m angry.  The lyrics I sing clash with the ones I’m supposed to be singing about love.

It is Lenten season again.   I gave ‘giving up’ a long time ago.  I found this practice not useful in redirecting my heart down the right path.  For me, Easter and Spring are about re-birth, composting the old into something new.  Giving up chocolate, turning off the TV or becoming a vegetarian doesn’t seem to affect how I react to life’s crises or challenges.  This type of practice doesn’t unplug the wax in my ears and it sure doesn’t help me hear Motherfather Spirit any better.

This Lenten season (2015) I have chosen to get back to knowing those words on my heart.  The ones Motherfather Spirit wrote before I was born.  I want to remember those words that are to inspire me in become a better person through my actions.  Those words that make me empathetic towards others and those words that sing what is really important.   I want to get my heart back on track.  This is the re-birth I am looking for. 

I’ve been inspired this year three groups 1) Wild Woman Project – Wild Heart Wishes Meditation (February 2015) 2) Abby of the Arts - Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks, and 3) Findhorn Inspiration website.

Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) - Ola Gjeilo - this music makes me very contemplative.  

Spinning back into my heart’s song: A daily ritual during Lent:

Materials Needed:

  • Paper with a spiral design or you can make your own. 
  • 40 plus Premade circles.  I made mine tracing quarters onto paper.  You can make yours bigger or smaller. 
  • Magic markers, pencils, ink pens
  • Glue or paste
  • Scissors
  • Small votive candle
  • Angel cards or Findhorn Daily Inspiration that includes an Angle Card or opening spiritual writing and identifying on word describing its message.
  • Journal

2015 BEMS - Openness

  • Light the candle and open your heart.
  • Pull an angle card and read it.  Say the word out loud.  Write down in your journal what you think this word means spiritually or why it should be written on your heart.
  • Next, read the word again.  Say the word out loud.   Ask for guidance from Motherfather Spirit.  Meditate on the word.  Example: Open   These are the types of questions I ask myself: 1) What does being open mean to me as a spiritual being?  How do I show others that I’m open?   How do I react to hearing something new – open or closed?  (NOTE:  The CCWWW way is different for each of us.  You have equally interesting questions to ask yourself.)  Allow some time to journal on this word. 
  • Contemplate what the word means to you in a symbol.  Doodle or draw in your journal.
  • Now, reflecting back on your journal, draw or write something that will remind you of this word in one of the pre-made circles.  Color it in.  (NOTE:  A CCWWW doesn’t judge their art against famous artists. This is a spiritual art and speaks from your heart.)
  • Cut out the circle and paste it on the spiral path.
  • Thank Motherfather Spirit for giving you this message about your heart.  Extinguish the candle. 
  • I tend to do this ritual in the morning and carry the small circle around.  The circle reminds me of the word that is etched on my heart.  In the evening I glue it onto the spiral. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Imbolc and Migrating Swans

Two Swans (Wallpaper) by Walter Crane 1875
Initiation is a process by which "we try to develop ourselves not that we may become great and wise, but that we may have the power and knowledge to work for humanity to the best effect." ~ C.W. Leadbeater

“Women and birds are able to see without turning their heads, and that is indeed a necessary provision for they are both surrounded by enemies.” James Stephens

“It is the women who make life endurable for each other, give physical affection without causing pain, share, advise and stick by each other,” Adrienne Rich

This Imbolc evening,  I witnessed a beautiful sunset driving home from work.  The sky had pinks, yellows blended together with a touch of magenta.  It is a joyful sight at this time of year in Ohio.  When I finally reached my home, getting out of my car, I heard honking above.  Looking up, I saw a flock of geese flying in V formation headed towards the north.  The moment was a hopeful after a week and early morning of icy rain, slush and forever-gray haze.   It was a taste of hope reminding me that spring is near.          

This year CAYA Coven’s focus is on women free as birds.  My thoughts have centered on Brigid, Imbolic being her feast day.  The white swan and a bird’s foot are two of her symbols.  There is also the Scottish tale of the goddess Cailleach.  On Imbolc eve if the day is bright and sunny, Cailleach gathers firewood if she wants the winter to last longer.  If the day is gray and hazy than Cailleach sleeps-in.  This makes her firewood run out sooner and in turn make the warm weather come sooner.   She too is associated with a giant bird carrying sticks in her beak.  Some feel she is Brigid in crone’s form ruling winter until spring.    


The Simple Dark

by Luci Shaw

Black birds slice their evening patterns—

long curves in the sky. Everything

is drawing down into shade.

But the dark, which is at first so simple

is not simple. Away from the farmhouse

with is slits of yellow, the monochrome

develops like a print in the chemical bath.

The unbroken velvet swims

with complications so subtle that

seeing and hearing must take their time

to know. The shadow purples,

the dusk intricate with crickets. The sky

infested with pricks of light.

My whole body an ear, an eye.


In my yearlong exploration of women’s friendship, what I’ve discovered so far is an emphasis of giving and receiving.  Friendship is about staying in touch through notes, phone calls and coffee.  To be a friend means to stick with this dear person by celebrating the joys and holding their hand during the sorrows.  This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they believe, it means you can agree to disagree, but still respect each other.

I believe people can learn a lot from observing nature, especially from swans and geese.  “Scientists have found that birds position themselves and time their wing beats so perfectly, that according to aerodynamic theory, they minimize their energy use. “  (note: a great video showing birds flying)  Each bird creates an uplift for the one behind.  This allows the flock to fly further than one going solo.   

Geese like a great friend, honk from behind cheering those ahead to keep up their speed.  Geese believe in shared leadership; all get their chance in the key position.   When a goose gets tired, someone is there to step up and take the lead.  This allows the tired goose to fall back and rest. 

Geese are caring.  When one gets sick or wounded and falls away from the flock, two others will fall out of formation to be with that bird.  They will not return to the flock, instead they stay with their fallen friend until they are able to fly or it dies. 

"We shall lift each other up" by Circle of Women