Monday 18 December 2023


On Dec 18, 2023, at 6:40 PM, Kathryn MacDuffee <> wrote:

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe me’.
Look what  happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.
— Hafiiz

It has been so slowly creeping over me . . .this growing darkness and  sleepiness. I have to admit that I have never been more aware of it than I am this fall.  Is it just me?   And the more interesting side of this from my point of view, is that it feels okay and navigable.    In the past I would drift from pretending, to ignoring, to blustering through,  believing that this ‘SAD’ (seasonal affective disorder) thing had no hold on  me and half convincing my self that it was true.

First, stop lying to yourself.   The truth shall set you free.  And the truth is that only love is real.  The long, silent, sacred night is sent to wrap us in the soft arms of love, if we just stand aside and allow it.  It is up to us.  Will we  accept or reject it?
 Earth shows  us how.  Always.  The earth is alive, awake and aware.  Read that again.  She responds to our love and our gratitude.  The awe I feel when I am part  of a sea/ sky/ mountain scape is the portal to that  love — into that meditation.

It has been a wild ride on Mother Earth in this century and we have no reason to believe that it  will slow down anytime soon.  The coming lunar Year of the Dragon has some ‘exciting’ surprises  for us I understand.  At the same  time the portals to love are open as never before.  Simply reach out.   Seek and  ye shall find.  Ask  and it is answered.  It has never been simpler.

Make no mistake,  you and I are here at this time, in this place on purpose.   We would not be here if it were not so.   We said ‘Yes’.   We are part of the solution.  All we need do is open that love portal and the rest is under control.   You are the  perfect light for this world, as am I.  Just show up.   The world is waiting.   You are the sunrise.

We know this works because our experience of the world reverses to a joy-filled, love fest — when we remember who we are. This is no idle promise.

How do we start?  When you feel an unloving thought coming, catch it in the nucleus.  Change it to sending love.  Start with simply noticing.  As ye give so  shall ye receive.   Your whole world will change.   If you are still watching/listening to daily ‘news’,  send the victims of abuse your love and compassion rather than reacting with hate or fear.

Here is a really easy practice to begin:
You are in bed at the beginning of the long, dark night.  Having trouble dropping off to sleep?  
Send blessings.   
Think of someone who needs an intercession of love or help in their lives and blast them off blessings of love and beauty and joy.  Keep going until you fall asleep sending blessings.   I know from my own experience that it works, not just to lull me to sleep but to change circumstances in lives.   Some of us call this a miracle.

Become miracle-minded.   Know you are here on earth for one reason alone — to love and be loved, as am I.  To be the love that is missing from the world.  Everything else is decoration.

Loving solstice blessing to you, my dear, longtime friends.  

Yesterday I  was clever. I wanted to change the world..
Today I am wise,  so I am changing my self.
— Rumi

Tuesday 20 June 2023

 From time to time I forgot my central place in the cosmos.  I got caught up in the dramas, contradictions, angst and pain of the physical world and couldn’t see myself as one of the expanded, magnificent, infinite beings we all truly are.

Luckily I realized at those times that we never really become disconnected from the centre.  Rather, we temporarily lose sight of it and don’t feel the sense of peace and joy that comes from it.  We get caught up in the illusion of separation and can’t see that happiness and sadness go hand in hand — the light and dark, yin and yang.  Our sense of disconnection is simply part of the illusion of duality that makes it difficult to see oneness forming out of perceived separation.  But getting centred means seeing through this and once again feeling our infinite place at the centre of it all — at the centre of oneness.
I still had the visceral knowledge that we’re all one with the universe. Therefore I knew that even while I’m in my physical body,  whether I am aware of it or not,  I am the centre of the great cosmic web that is the universe.  This is the same as realizing my magnificence and my connection to the Infinite.

All of the above is a direct quote from Anita Moorjani’s inspirational memoir, Dying To Be Me.  She experienced a Near Death Experience (NDE) while in hospital in the final stages of lymphoma, after which her cancer disappeared and she was discharged within weeks without a trace of disease, leaving the medical staff stunned.   

Anita learned that she was meant to bring to the world her extraordinary experience and the wisdom that she received from her NDE.   This was, without a doubt, her ‘hero’s journey’,  and the ‘boon’ that she was instructed to bring back to the world is precious and sparkling like a diamond of wisdom for humanity in our moment of need.

Have you noticed the craziness, the despair, desperation, and trauma that hangs in the air?   I do not tune in to the ‘daily news’ on mainstream media but even without that source I am intensely aware of this zeitgeist.  Even when it seems like everyone but you has it all together, scratch the surface and you find it’s not true.   We are all running madly off in all directions, trying to find our ‘somewhere over the rainbow’. 

Peace of mind.  How does that phrase fall for you?  For me it feels like a warm, soft blanket being wrapped around me.   Tranquility.  Joy.  Beauty.   Grace.   These are not just words that appear in a meditation manual.  These qualities are the foundation of Life, that is if we wish to enjoy it.   And they are there for us just beneath the surface of the noise.   

Often it takes a life-threatening or at least a life-changing event to bring us to our ‘senses’, and yet it is not our three dimensional senses that will lead the way.  For Anita Moorjani it was the vision she had in her NDE.  

“Love yourself unconditionally and be yourself fearlessly!”  This is her passionate advice for us, and she feels that if she had always known this she would not have succumbed to cancer.   Sounds so simple, but we have been conditioned from childhood to eschew our own needs and to compare our emerging self to others.  A crowning disservice!  Comparison takes the joy from life.   

By being true to myself,  I become an instrument of truth for the planet.  Why? Because we are all intrinsically connected.  When you hurt,  I hurt.  When I am happy it bubbles out of me and spills all over you.

Anita has another, just as important and every bit as passionate, piece of wisdom for us: Don’t take life so seriously!   (I first heard this from Bugs Bunny — Don’t take life too seriously or you’ll never get out alive!  I have never forgotten it).   Laugh as often as possible throughout every single day,  is her wise advice.  In fact she believes that the world’s spiritual traditions are much too serious and should include laughing  — a lot.  Especially at yourself. 

Does not this just make sense?  When we laugh it releases endorphins that wash over us and relax tension build up.  It heals us.  This is a proven fact.  I can actually get high on laughing.  After all, what could be more gratifying than spreading joy?  Our gift to the world.  The legacy we leave could be love and laughter.  Priceless!

This book was given to me two or three years ago, along with the sequel, What If This Is Heaven?  by a dear friend.  She didn’t say why.  She just handed me the books one day.   I read both and enjoyed them.   Now, fast forward to spring 2023.  I just received my own medical diagnosis.  Whoopsie!  

I had passed on the book, but retrieved it and re-read it.   This time I paid more attention.  This time the words leaped off the pages and imprinted my soul in a way that very few books have ever done.  The truth of it resonated so deeply.   It felt holy.

Now I am on my own ‘hero’s journey’.   I am testing the principles I have mentioned here and adding some of my own.  It will be custom made for me but there for others to follow,  because of course we are all one.  What’s possible for me is possible for you.

Living the mystery that is Life takes us around so many twists and turns, ups and downs,  and occasional messy spills.  I believe I am here in this final decade to learn to love the world better.  What could be more necessary? What mission more critical?

Mary Oliver said it first:   My work is loving the world.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Little darlin’ , it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darlin’ , it feels like years since it’s been here.
Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright.
                                                                                                   — George Harrison

Almost spring.
Most of the country is still feeling the grip of a long, cold, and yes, perhaps even lonely winter, but we know, don’t we, that there are certain things we can always count on, and one of those life-affirming, heart-warming, kick-starting ‘things’ is spring.  Even when it’s buried under a couple of feet of snow, we know it’s there — the heartbeat of Earth.  She is pulsing, awakening, calling to us  . . . “It’s alright”.

The patience of nature is such an ongoing learning curve for us humans. I know it is teaching me to slow down.  And that I am a slow learner.  Eight decades so far.  But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  
Nature leads and I follow.  Today I followed her out to the end of the dock that sits on a pond that was simply quivering with swamp song. Spring has arrived on the West Coast.  I sat on a stump stool — listened, and breathed deeply, floating somewhere in time and space.  It’s easy to meditate when the world around me is whispering “wake up!” From the sparkling ripples and Colorado blue sky, to the copulating frogs.and ‘woodpeckered’ snags, I heard, “Pay attention!”

There is a story of the Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi who was confronted with a young student who became speechless upon meeting him and could only gasp out the words: Tell me something.    The sage responded, “Be! Without leaving yourself.”
(I can relate to that story.  When I first met Dr Jane. Goodall words would not come.  All I seemed able to do was to burst into tears.)

Be, without leaving yourself.  What a perfect instruction for a student of meditation. So simple, and pure.  My tip for slipping into meditation easily is to choose a spot out of doors, and it doesn’t need to be a pristine pond or rainforest, although that absolutely leads you there even if it were not part of your plan.  Simply sit at a window where there is sky — or a tree.  A guidepost to slip away.  To ‘be’.

Nature has more to teach than we imagine.  The miracle of growth, of healing, of listening, and the grace of cooperation.  

Cooperation, you ask?  Were we not taught to believe in ‘the survival of the fittest’?  
That is old 20th century Newtonian physics.  Today we are living in a different paradigm of 21st century quantum physics.

Charles Darwin was essentially a botanist whose theories matured and evolved over his lifetime. In his later writings he wrote about kindness, not competition and polarization.  Cooperation and connection.  This lens, however, did not sell well to the patriarchal society of the 19th century. Two hundred years later we understand that nature is all about teamwork. 

Billions of interactions are happening in a handful of soil.  Regeneration, rebirth, and nurturing is what nature is demonstrating.  Not hoarding nor greed, but teamwork and symbioses.  Darwin was hijacked.  We need to pivot back.  98 percent of Charles Darwin’s work was about survival of the kindest.

Louis Schwartzberg, in his beautiful film, Fantastic Fungi, tells us that mushrooms are trying to speak to us about these same values — beauty, connection, wonder, gratitude and love. Are we ready?  Can we open our hearts to include everyone?  

There’s the rub.  It’s easy to love and be grateful for our friends and those who love us, but can we extend this grace to everyone?  Can we bless those political leaders with views that are. different from ours?  This is a spiritual practice, and as we know, practice makes perfect.  I find that an easy approach is to see the person as a small child and to imagine the trauma in their young life.  This elicits compassion which begets forgiveness.  It’s a way of ‘turning the other cheek’.

When humanity can stop ‘othering’ there will truly be heaven on earth.  And it is coming.  Take the cue from nature.  Be, without leaving yourself.  Do not imagine that the monkey mind is our ‘self’.  
You are beautiful.  
I am beautiful.  
It is almost spring.   
“It’s alright.”

Thursday 22 December 2022


In the depth of winter
I finally learned
That deep within me
There lay an invincible summer.
                     — Albert Camus
It is December 21st as I write.  Not quite 4pm, but the western sky is already touched with a rosie bronze brush stroke and, within the hour, darkness will fall signalling the longest night.

My body and soul are no longer in dispute with this beautiful, soft, quiet element.  Call it a time of life — I am well into my third act although not going for the final bow just yet.  Call it an awakening — I have done the work, although there is so much more of the onion to peel. Perhaps it is the rising consciousness of the planet.  Whatever the reason, I am welcoming the season.

I am allowing the darkness, the yin, the peace and release to hold me without arguing that there is too much to do, to buy, to send, or to add to a worry list.   I have received Earth’s message loud and clear:  stop your ‘doing’ and learn to ‘be’.  Drop into the void and trust.

This is huge for me.  My kids gave me a wall plaque many years ago that warned:
                              YOU CAN DO ANYTHING BUT NOT EVERYTHING
And guess what!  I actually wrapped it up with a Christmas bow and gave it away to a friend this year.  She needed it much more than I did.  It hit me then, that I had truly eclipsed my endless ‘doing’.

I am leaving shortly for a solstice celebration where we will, one by one, carry a candle winding step by step up the labyrinth in a spiral to set it down with a blessing for the year, or for the special one whom you wish to honour.   We will sing together to welcome the returning sun while celebrating the blessed darkness —

Light is returning even though this is the darkest hour
No one can hold back the dawn
Let’s keep it burning let's keep the flame of the hope alive
Make safe our journey through the storm
One planet is turning circle on her path around the sun
Earth mother is calling her children home

It will be a healing balm for the body and soul.

Many of us struggle with the lack of sunlight through the long winter.  That was never an issue for me.  I simply ignored it and kept going.  That is until I saw the light. (Pun intended)
If that is an issue for you, I suggest you tune in to the podcast that I am attaching.  It is a radio interview with Kira, my daughter.   I found it to be full of wise advice and some new information.

“Your path is illuminated by the light, 
yet darkness lets the stars shine bright.”

May your path be illuminated by the light, my dear friends, and may the coming year be light in every sense of the word.  May you dance as y’go, dance as y’go and you’ll find the load is lighter and you’re there before y’know.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Summer is sticky.  For me.  Letting it go is excruciating.  Difficult to explain really, but when I see the lovely, long spikes of goldenrod feathering the trails, I can feel my heart sink.
No!  Too soon!
 I think of the last few lines of Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day:
                                    Doesn’t everything die at last? And too soon?
Yes.  But that doesn’t  make it  any easier,  Mary.

How we do cling.  It seems a part of being human.  What is it you cling to?   Relationships are high on the list, even when they do not serve us.   Another one right up there is that prison of unforgiveness. Or a particular mindset.  Fears are also high on the list of holding on.  We say we are in the grip of fear, when it is we who do the gripping.

“Letting go” has become a new age cliché and I can attest to this just sorting back through conversations of the past few months.  Perhaps because our world did a big ‘let go’ a couple of years ago.  During the pandemic we let go of things that we would not have believed possible.  But at the same time, we picked up phobias previously unheard of.

The Disney film folks even wrote it into a song that climbed to the top of the charts.  Let It Go”, the teeny-boppers sang out, emulating the princess in her Frozen tower.

But cliché or not, it is a ‘powerful inward manoeuvre’ says mindfulness teacher, Jon Kabat Zinn.

I am imagining that  I hold a a butterfly in my clenched hand.  With great difficulty I open my fingers so tightly bound,  and I watch the creature’s release into the cosmos.  I have given up struggling, and pretending.  I am over resisting or wanting.   I am allowing things to be as they are.  Deep exhale.

I look honestly at my likes and dislikes — at my fears and insecurities — all in that field of awareness.  That field that Rumi writes of, where the soul lies down.  That is “beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.” Where “the world is too full to talk about”.  I so love that field.

Shining the light of awareness on the stickiness of clinging or condemning or rejecting, that I am guilty of each year when September dawns, is my therapy.   We can open to these sticky moments and recognize them.  (Helloo, and welcome to my therapy session!)

Any truth seeker  knows that wisdom and stillness and insight can be accessed only in the present moment when we can be complete right here and right now.  It doesn’t work otherwise.

Try it.  See if going into that quiet meditation space and sincerely giving up the fear, the grudge,   the longing or the belief doesn’t feel better than clinging, even though a part of us wants desperately to hang on.

And now if you will indulge me, beloved reader, I will give the last words of my 
“goodbye to summer” to Mary Oliver and her lovely The Summer Day.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life.

Wednesday 8 June 2022


As I look at the pandemic in the rear view mirror, I see that for some, there is a whole new way of life unfolding.  For others it’s an awakening.  Many of us are being asked to make that breathtaking choice — go along to get along, or be true to our Self and stand firm in our belief.

I notice too that coming out of pandemic mode we seem to be either in the grip of fear or a circle of love.  Imagine that metaphor for a moment:  the tension and terror of a body in the fear grip versus the softness and sweetness of falling into love.  The choice would seem a no-brainer.  Why then, is it that so very many souls are stuck in fear — disempowered and looking for someone to tell them what to do next?

Could the insane hatred that we are witnessing in the world be simply buried fear?   Is it hurt that’s buried underneath  that anger and hatred?  If so, once hate is gone these wounded victims would be faced with their own pain.

I suggest that a first step toward letting go of fear and embracing love is to surrender our defences.  Shed the armour that we don each day.  It is such a heavy mantle. And it sends a message: Don’t mess with me! Don’t try to get close to me! 

Instead, put a hand on your heart to awaken it, inhale love while imagining something or someone you love.  Take several deep breaths — five minutes spent with your spirit first thing in the morning will change the direction of your day.  And contemplate this lesson from A Course in Miracles: 
‘In my defencelessness my safety lies.’

Following are the ten rules of life according to Dr. Zack Bush (a favourite of mine) with my own two cents’ worth  tossed in.

1; Find gratitude in the present moment
     Just recognizing ‘the present moment’ is a leap for some of us.  The minute we can hit the pause button and become ‘present’ we let go of wanting, fear, and all the ‘head stuff’ that plagues us.. Then if we take one more step and find gratitude here (simple things like sunshine on our skin) we snap out of the ‘something’s wrong trance’.

2. Make a ritual out of meditation, both when in crisis and when at peace.
  I find setting a certain time (morning and before bed at night) and sticking with it works best, and  a short meditation grace before a meal. 

3. Accept responsibility for your own behaviour, language, actions, and existence.
    Be the adult in the room.

4. Allow yourself to be yourself and accept who you are with kindness.  
   I am still working on this one at the tender age of 86.

5. Focus on creating what you want and it will manifest.  Don’t be anti-anything.
    ‘Energy flows where attention goes’,  so be pro what you want to create.  It takes more energy to fight something than to embrace its opposite.

6. Re-connect with nature to find your own beauty.
   This is a big one for me.  When my world seems to be falling apart, I know I need a walk on the wild side.
“When beauty touches us we remember who we are.  We realize that we have come from the homeland of beauty.”   — John O’Donnohue.

7. Recognize your connection to everything and everyone at all times.  
 Sadly we were taught as infants that ‘you are here and I am over there’ all locked inside our skin. Now we must unlearn it.  We are a part of everything/everyone.

8. Forgive yourself and others.  Accept that nothing is against you and no one is opposed to you.  
I think that forgiveness comes first.  Accepting that nothing is against you is a big order but if we can forgive, then it feels more possible.

9. Behave in a place of love, and set that as an example for everyone else. 
That morning meditation sets us up for this.

10. Join together in community spreading love and dissolving fear.  
This is what the new human is being asked to do on this planet at this time. It’s mandatory if we are to survive as a species.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

And finally, here is how Aussie super-model,  Elle Macpherson sees it all post-pandemic:

Wellness is the new beauty.
Health is the new wealth.
Kindness is the new cool.
Inner peace is the new success