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




Friday, 13 May 2022


               
       Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. — Buddha

My favourite colour combo is forget-me-not blue and dandelion yellow.   And Nature has of course conjured these two beauties side by side in my garden.  How perfect is that?  They nod at each other in wind and rain. They light up my day.  

It really doesn’t take much.  Noticing.  That is all.  It need not be roses that we stop to smell (but roses will do nicely).  Just a pause in the dailyness.  Pause and be present with what is there.   Otherwise we bluster through our day, sucked up by the whims of the moment and the winds of discontent.

But I digress.  I want to talk to you about dandelion — bane of lawn perfectionists, pride of herbalists. Its bitter taste stimulates mind, body, and spirit.  Clip the young leaves to toss into a fresh salad.  Roast the roots for a deep rich tea.  Use the flowers to brighten any ordinary meal.

Dandelion is high in both vitamin A and C, both of which boost the immune system and   encourage healthy cell growth.  It also helps our eyesight and reduces signs of premature aging.  And dandelions are brightened with vitamin K which helps bone health and blood clotting.  Add to this magnesium, potassium and calcium, throw in tons of anti-oxidents, and you have a nutritionist’s dream tea.
It has become my tea of choice.  Very coffee-like in colour, texture and taste and a great morning wake-up.

You wild, yellow sun-of-the-grass, the French know you as dent-de-lion, lion’s tooth.   We call you windblow or parachute.  But never would I call you ‘weed’.

 Dandelion is one of the ‘endangered words’ that has been removed from the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary, widely used in schools around the world. 
Approximately forty words - nature words -  have been de-listed.  Among the words replacing them were: attachment,  blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail.

You see what is happening here.  The outdoor and natural is being replaced by the indoor and virtual.  The ‘lost words’ include bluebell (even now growing in my garden), heather, also in my garden, fern (I have a dedicated fern garden), adder, heron, kingfisher, newt, acorn, otter, and willow.  

I worry about this generation, and the expanding gulf between their childhood and the natural world,  it is a dangerous direction in which to turn the human race.  And we have not even discussed the sadness at losing the magic of kingfisher, otter, and newt.

So, in response to this dilemma,  Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris determined to make a ‘spell book’ to conjure back 20 of these lost words and the beautiful beings they name.  With their lyrical words and breathtaking paintings, they aim to return to us the grace and grandeur,  wonder and importance of everyday nature.  They have done it in verse and in landscape.  Each page a masterpiece.  I am holding that book in my hands and it has cast its spell over me, along with throngs of readers across North America, Britain and Europe where a grassroots movement has sprung to re-wild childhood.

The Lost Words was a gift from my children who understand and appreciate how I am charmed by the irresistible magic of words and of nature.  It actually feels like a ‘spell’ is being conjured, as I read, search and find the words among the letters and open each exuberant poem. 

It begins —
“Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed — fading away like water on stone.  The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker — gone!  Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren — all of them gone!  The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories . . . “

And now I will skip to the last page and the invitation to teachers, offered here::
A free “explorer’s Guide to The  Lost Words”, written by Eva John and intended especially (but not only) for use by teachers and educators, can be downloaded from:
www.johnmuirtrust.org/initiative/the-lost-words


                Teaching children about nature should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.  — Thomas Berry

Tuesday, 29 March 2022




                                                              THE WATERS OF MARCH
A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump, it's a little alone
It's a sliver of glass, it is life, it's the sun
It is night, it is death, it's a trap, it's a gun
The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush
A knot in the wood, the song of a thrush
The wood of the wind, a cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all
It's the wind blowing free, it's the end of the slope
It's a beam, it's a void, it's a hunch, it's a hope
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of the strain, it's the joy in your heart
The foot, the ground, the flesh and the bone
The beat of the road, a slingshot's stone
A fish, a flash, a silvery glow
A fight, a bet, the flange of a bow
The bed of the well, the end of the line
The dismay in the face, it's a loss, it's a find
A spear, a spike, a point, a nail
A drip, a drop, the end of the tale
A truckload of bricks in the soft morning light
The sound of a gun in the dead of the night
A mile, a must, a thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme, it's a cold, it's the mumps
The plan of the house, the body in bed
And the car that got stuck, it's the mud, it's the mud
A float, a drift, a flight, a wing
A hank, a quail, the promise of spring
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the promise of life, it's the joy in your heart
A snake, a stick, it is John, it is Joe
It's a thorn on your hand and a cut in your toe
A point, a grain, a bee, a bite
A blink, a buzzard, a sudden stroke of night
A pin, a needle, a sting, a pain
A snail, a riddle, a wasp or a stain
A pass in the mountains, a horse and a mule
In the distance the shelves rode three shadows of blue
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the promise of life in your heart, in your heart
A stick, a stone, the end of the road
The rest of a stump, a lonesome road
A sliver of glass, a life, the sun
A knife, a death, the end of the run
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of all strain, it's the joy in your heart
— CARLOS ANTONIO JOBIM

Here it is . . .the whole ten verses of this, my favourite Jobim song and in fact at the top of my all time hit parade. Originally written in Spanish of course

It’s just so juicy.  Life IS messy.  It hurts sometimes.  It’s dark.  It’s light.  “A thorn in your hand and a cut in your toe’.  But despite it all it’s the promise of life and the joy in your heart. 

The yin and yang of life is so captured in these simple lyrics that each time I hear it, it enraptures me all over again. So I thought that with humanity hurting so much right now, it would be a sweet thing to share.
Today I sat on the riverbank and listened to aguas de marco.   It is full blown spring in my corner of the world.  A wee garter snake curled up beside me and we listened together, The spring sun warmed our skin.  Yellow skunk cabbage bloomed in the river.  Pond frogs sang.  

                                  It’s the end of all strain.  It’s the joy in your heart.






Saturday, 19 February 2022

 We’re in an infinite game, playing a finite moment.  As particle beings and expressions of light energy we are witnessing the dawn of a new era of human thriving never before seen on this planet.  If we choose to stay and play, we could witness something more beautiful than our human minds can ever imagine.

                                                                                                —    Zach Bush MD

I definitely choose to ‘stay and play’.  How about you?

You may have heard the bird of flight story that has circulated these past few years.  I first heard it years ago from Lynn Twist while training with Pachamama Alliance.  She learned it from the Achuar People, an Amazonian community living on the Ecuador/ Peru border (that story for another time).

The shamans tell of the bird of humanity that has been flying in circles since its beginning, because only the masculine wing has been engaged and propelling it.  But we are now, at this time, seeing the feminine wing begin to unfold, and everything that was impossible before will become possible.  The beautiful feminine energy  (common to both men and women) that had all but been abandoned, will surge and the bird will fly straight and perfectly balanced into a new, enlightened world.

And to support this, we are entering the lunar Year of the Water Tiger, having just completed the Year of the Metal Ox.  

Think about it.  Even just pronouncing the words, the energy shifts radically with both the animal and the element.  This is not simply “the year of the tiger”;  it is much more nuanced than that.  

Water expresses the feminine.  The yin.  Powerful, but soft, non combative, able to flow around objects in its path rather than confront them.  Water expresses life and love. It supports us and purifies us.  

Was that strident, rigid, metal ox unyielding in your life last year? It absolutely was in mine.

It is exciting for me that the cosmos is pointing  to the feminine for the future, while suggesting we draw on the courage, strength and confidence of the tiger.  What a dream team!

We were born in love but weaned in fear and have all but abandoned feminine energy on a global scale.  Now is the hour to return to love, joyfully connecting to one another, stepping from victimhood into empowerment.

Patricia Cota Robles describes ‘the law of the circle’: we are co-creators of our experience here on Earth with every thought and deed. The frequency of these thoughts and deeds creates electro magnetic energy that exits our personal circle and, like a radio wave, flies into the ether.  Then as we know, like attracts like, and that same frequency of thought wave returns to our personal circle and creates our ‘life’ as we know it.   I would tell my young students that “life is a boomerang”. What you give, you get.  And they had no problem understanding the boomerang principle.  They saw it at work in the classroom and on the playground everyday.

The portals are open.  We are supported right now and humanity is ascending into new levels of consciousness.   The light on Earth is increasing. This will be a powerful year.  Let us claim it!  Let us show up as beautiful, shining, sovereign beings, stepping into our destiny and co-creating our world — with every thought, word and deed.
Shift from judgement to observation.  Disengage.  Shine the light and detach.  Stay in Loving Awareness.  Keep your words soft and sweet (for one day  you may have to eat them!)

                    When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near truth.
                                                                                                     Rumi


                                                   
                                       



                                                    

 

                  

                                                   
                                       



                                                       
                                                                                    

                                                   
                                       



                                                        

Friday, 7 January 2022



                                               

FOR A NEW BEGINNING
John O'Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Yes, more O’Donohue, but this poem was sent to me last week by a friend.  She said that to her it expressed a spirit of adventure and growth when the external world can seem closed and stagnant.   John O’Donohue seems to be the man of the hour.

We can be forgiven if we look to the year ahead with less than shining enthusiasm, given the news feeds of the day.  “But then your courage kindled,” he says, “and you stepped onto new ground.”  Perhaps we just need more kindling for our courage, to fire it up and look at it with new eyes and energy.  At least according to John O.

I ushered in 2022 relatively quietly, with a few friends and family and six ‘passwords’.  That, at least, is how I describe them.  Here is what happened:
It was a snowy, sun drenched afternoon on Cortes Island, as we sat around a table sipping mulled wine. We were asked to select a word — one word — that described the trait or quality that we felt would be required for the coming year.  I loved the challenge and knew instantly what my word would be.

However I am going to list the words here in the order in which they were presented. 

FAITH: This is a rather all-encompassing word which can mean different things to different people.  Faith in our self, in God, in goodness and love, or even in the system that seems to be failing us currently.  However, knowing the author of the word, I think it was not the latter but perhaps more a faith in God that she intended.

ECCLESIA: This comes from ancient Greece and means ‘to gather in community.’ We will need to gather, and community will be our strength.  Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk, has said that humanity will be saved by ‘sangha’, a gathering of community and not one supreme being.

TRUST: Again, what or whom do we trust?  Is it our own strength and power?  Or is it the power of Love?  I have learned to trust that above all else, but this word was not chosen by me. I think the author of this word was more invested in trusting our ‘self’.  Interesting what O’Donohue says about it: “Though your destination is not yet clear, you can trust the promise of this opening/ Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning / That is at one with your life’s desire.”

PRESENCE: This was my word so I can say exactly what it means.  This quality is so needed in today’s world.  It means to be exactly here and now — with another sentient being or with a situation.  Giving all of my attention in the present moment.  It’s a beautiful gift that we can bestow whenever we wish, not just on another but for our very self.  It keeps us living in the now where the action is.

NOT-KNOWING: How counter-intuitive is this trait in today’s “fear-of-missing-out” world? But we absolutely do not know nor can we know all the truths of daily living on our planet.  And accepting this in a spirit of not-knowing and being content with it will serve us so much better than needing to know the answers to all the questions on a daily basis.

KNOWING OURSELVES AS FREE: This may be the most challenging to explain and to understand because we assume that we are ‘free’.   But humanity has never been without the yoke of some kind of ‘power over’.  We learned to live as a kind of ‘slave self’.  But this is not our true identity.  We are sovereign beings, and in a new and better world we need to imagine our Self as our soul sees us — free to be who we came here to be.

And that’s it.  After each of us offered our thoughts, we toasted it with bubbly as we watched the sun set behind the mountains and slip into the sea.  A memorable, thoughtful closing of the year that was, and a hopeful look at what’s to come.

This is when we need that last verse of A New Beginning, ringing in our ears:      

                             Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk:
Soon you will home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

                             I wish you, dear hearts, a beautiful, new beginning.