Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Place Large Enough To Contain It

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to
pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs
or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records...

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch.   You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

~Naomi Shihab Nye

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birthday Love

Today is the 44th anniversary of my birth.  It is a magical day of celebration and reflective gratitude.  With this past week's infusion of amazing Summer Solstice energy, I am still riding a wave of bliss that carries me delightfully through my days.

Three weeks ago, when I drove up to Lakeside, I listened to an oldie but goodie CD in the car.....
"The Touched By An Angel" soundtrack!  (I *loved* that show!)

I had forgotten the array of wonderful songs on the album, especially those pertaining to the theme of LOVE.

Indeed, LOVE is something about which I am learning and experiencing a great deal lately ~ on many levels.  There appears to be some radical love infusion coming into my life and, at times, my heart is bursting so wide open that I am brought to the verge of tears.

If there is one gift you could give me for my birthday, it would be for you to find a copy of this book and read it.  Chapter Seven is one of the most profound descriptions I have ever encountered on what it truly means to say the we ARE love.    It is the eternal essence of our being.

Here are some excerpts:

"Somehow we must begin to recognize that we live now and eternally as love.  I believe we are in this world only to learn and teach love.  The lengths of our assignments vary, but what each of us gives and is given is the same:  love....

As long as our bodies are alive, our job is to use them as a means of extending love in a form that others can recognize and receive.

We love another when we see that our interests are not separate.  This is always a union of higher minds and not an alliance of egos...

When we are giving true love, our concern is not with our own or anyone else's behavior.  We feel natural because we recognize that love is our natural state.  We are not aware of limitations.  We don't question the possibility of devotion, and we are not preoccupied with time.  We are only conscious of now and all it contains.  When we are extending love, we are free and at peace.  Attitudinal Healing shows us how to allow ourselves to experience this kind of love ~ the only love that is eternal."

Now, if you'll indulge me, here are some tunes from the soundtrack!  ENJOY!  :-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Pilgrim Journey

Here we must deal with awe, fascination, and terror,
with ignorance, shot through with the lightning of certainty,
and with feelings of exuberance, love, and bliss...

~Francis Huxley

"In each of us dwells a pilgrim.  It is the part of us that longs to have direct contact with the sacred.  We will travel halfway around the world and endure great sacrifice and pain to enter the sanctuary, whether it is a temple, shrine, cemetery, or library.  
This is the way that is no way, but a practice...

Your practice is your path.
"The Way is uncontrived," as Lao Tzu said.
It is simply the way of seeing,
the way of hearing,
the way of touching,
the way of walking,
the way of being,
with humility."

~Phil Cousineau
in The Art of Pilgrimage

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Sun Dance

"Our sun our star that shines so bright
that gives us life, that brings us light
tonight we celebrate your name
tonight to dance with you we came
from near and far, from east and west,
from north and south, and what is best
is that we bring ourselves to thee
to give and take in harmony
your blessings on this holy night
in gold, in light, in truth, and right.

You shine upon us, golden bright
you shine in day, you shine in night,
and our hearts reflect your shine
true golden hearts be yours, and mine.

True golden hearts, true golden mind,
true golden body all combined,
now ready to make work and love,
empowered by our star above,
our center, our immortal soul,
that holds us safe and makes us whole,
our center, heart and soul of gold,
our riches, powers, love untold

And as the sun shines on our land
so do we fully understand
that each of us is born a star
a sun is who we really are
a sun that blesses, shines so clear
brings life and love to far and near

So let us celebrate the sun
so let us step into the sun
so let us draw the power of the sun

and now the sun dance has begun ..."


Happy Solstice!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life on the Lake ~ Bugs*

*This post is for Gail. :)

Lest you think it's all fun and games up here at the summer cottage on Lake Erie...

Please allow me to introduce you to two of the extreme annoyances of being here this time of year.


Thankfully they don't sting or bite.  But they are everywhere.  And, when they decay in large numbers, they stink.  They are attracted to light, so if you want to read at night, it's best to do so under the covers with a book light!  (Seriously, if you've got a light on, they will find their way inside and hover on the ceiling above you.)

Last week I made the mistake of hanging my clothes out on the line to dry.  (Silly me!)  I laid down for nap and, when I woke up, looked out the back window and saw this....

These two items weren't the worst.  My denim capris were *absolutely* covered (think swarm of bees) with muffleheads!!!   It was the point at which I almost had my first meltdown of being here.  I was torn between crying and throwing up.  And was subsequently thrashing around the side yard beating my clothes against the picnic table to get rid of them.   All thoughts of nonviolence escaped me.

Later that day I made a trip into town for groceries.  I realize yet another 'note to self' mistake ~ in that I had left my car windows down a bit for temperature's sake.  The muffleheads had gotten into my car and died en masse in the back window.  (Luckily, I remembered a car wash with a high-powered vacuum was on my way into town!)

You can read more about muffleheads here.

And be sure to check out this amazing photo of them swarming overhead.  We saw similar groups on our trip through the nearby Marblehead Quarry the night I arrived.

Mayflies (aka Canadian Soldiers)

They arrived in Lakeside last week.  One lady who called to book a reservation literally changed her mind when she found out the Mayflies were here.  They can be *that* bad.

Also harmless, they hatch out of the Lake and cling to every available surface.  They are much larger than muffleheads and have wings attached to a worm-like body.  They too are attracted to light and will die in large numbers around street lamps, eventually causing a noxious odor.

Mayflies on outside of the building where I work.

They crunch when you walk on them.  And the ground/streets actually get slippery with their remains as people trod on and cars roll over their carcasses.

You can read more about Mayflies here.

* * *

Jealous yet?  :-D

As a professed Nature lover, I am trying my best to accept this unique ecosystem and honor its importance to the bigger picture that connects us all.

Still...I have my moments of just being totally grossed out!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Revolutionize Your Soul

One of my favorite tunes from Susan Tedeschi...

And some local Lakefront chalk art. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dreamtime Visitors

For the past two nights I have been awakened by the sound of pyrotechnics going off just down the street.  Firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman name it...they're letting 'em sizzle and fly.  It's been in the 1230am-1am time frame, just when I'm fast asleep.

Last night's episode went on for quite a while and I had trouble falling back to sleep.  The fear gremlin (there are a myriad of new mysterious sounds in the night here) was getting the best of me.  And I could swear I heard something fluttering back and forth up in the ceiling above my bed ~ and then something much larger crawling down the side of the house past my bedroom window.

Eventually, I gave up and just pulled the covers over my head in order to feel safe and get back to sleep.

Then the dreams came...

They were very active and vivid.  A large bear came into the cottage (through my bedroom window, no less) and, although it was not threatening to harm me, was cause for great alarm!

In addition, there was an adult fox with two baby foxes running around the place.  Like the bear, they did not seem intent on hurting me and appeared to just be frolicking about.

Nonetheless, in the dream, I called for help.  Though none came.

The dream continued to unfold in other ways that were equally bizarre and remarkable.  Whew!
I was kind of glad to wake up, actually!

Early this morning, on my way out the door for work I grabbed my Medicine Cards book.  I don't recall having ever dreamed about either animal before and wanted to gain some insight into the significance of their appearance in my nighttime visions.

And, just like Blue Heron last week, these two animal guides have some intriguing and relevant wisdom to impart:

Bear represents INTROSPECTION and "In Silence Is Knowing".
Read more about bear's message here.

Fox, on the other hand, brings the message of CAMOUFLAGE and ONENESS WITH ALL.
A description of fox's qualities can be found here.

As I adjust to living alone in this house by the lake, I am grateful for the presence of these Animal Spirits.  I feel even more connected to All That Is and 'seen' by the Universe with each guide gift that comes my way (even if they are during weird dreams of interrupted sleep!)

I know of no better place to embrace and live out the power of Bear and Fox than right where I am.  What peace!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Gift from Great Spirit

"An inch of surprise 
leads to a mile of gratefulness."

~Brother David Steindl-Rast

Saturday evening I engaged in a long-standing ritual of walking along the lakefront down to the dock to take in the evening's sights and sounds and perhaps catch the sunset.  That simple but profound process is a huge part of what connects me to this place ~ and often what those of us who love it here recall during times of strife, when relaxation is needed or harsh winter days make dreams of summer warmth seem very far away.

I encountered friendly people, an array of dogs, lovely flowers, and familiar houses, trees, rocks, benches, and more.  I stopped to ponder briefly at the bench and tree near the pavilion that were established in memory of my father 20+ years ago.

Then I proceeded out onto the dock, where I could see groups of people gathered around taking photos and chatting.  Suddenly, this magnificent sight appeared:

There it was ~ right in front of me ~ a majestic Blue Heron!

In all my years of coming here, I do not ever recall seeing one perched on the edge of the dock like this.  It was very tame and hung out for a long time ~ waiting for a nearby fisherman to throw it some extra food.  Smart bird.

It walked a bit up and down ~ even turning from side to side as if to say, "Here, take another picture of this side."  If folks got too close, it would flap its wings and fly a bit further out, resting in a less-busy section.  It tolerated all manner of onlookers.  One boy caught a Goby and left it on the cement.  The Heron quickly walked over and scooped it up.

I lingered quite a while, soaking in the mystery and magic of close communion with such an amazing bird.  I noticed its variety of textures and colors.  I looked into its eyes.  I watched its topnotch flutter in the breeze.  In those moments, the rest of the world fell away and I was fully present in communion with Great Spirit.  I felt a powerful sense of having been blessed by this incredible opportunity.

Of course, when I returned to the cottage, I immediately went to investigate the significance of Great Blue Heron medicine. usual...I marveled at the relevant meaning of its appearance.

Role = PeaceMaker

Lesson = balance between relating and standing alone

Element = Air/Water

Wind = East...Peace and Illumination

Medicine = Uniqueness

Keywords =

~ability to stand alone
~call to balance

You can read more of the essay here.

In spite of the maze of questions that remain in light of my decision to leave home and family to come spend the summer here ~ and the ever-unfolding ramifications that meet my days ~ I continue to believe it is where I am meant to be right now.

I choose to embrace this gift of Spirit and its meaning as affirmation of that I am seen and supported by forces greater than myself.  As a result, it is with much awe and gratitude I go forward on my Journey.

"Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, 
and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky."

~Ojibwa saying

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Scenes from the First Week

I arrived here safely at Lakeside this past Monday ~ and spent the first day with my mom and sister, who had come up over the weekend.  They returned home on Tuesday and I started work.  The new job seems to be going well so far.

A self-portrait as I head out the door to start my summer job!

I'm slowly adjusting to this new routine ~ and getting settled in to a place in which, even though I have a long history, I have not spent much time alone.  It's an altogether different experience being here by myself.

Hours and hours and hours of my life have been spent on this pier.

I hope to soon start some stories of Life By the Lake ~ sights, sounds, smells, etc.  Indeed, there is *much* fodder here for a variety of tales!  :)

I never tire of capturing the sun on and over the water.

Today, my first day off from work, I get to do one of my favorite things:  visit a LIBRARY!!!  I'll even get a new library card!  (It is, in fact, the same library I visited here as a kid ~ and the smell upon entering it takes me right back to those younger days.)  

Of course, I brought a TON of books and magazines with me.  Somehow, though, they are not holding my interest.  It seems I need to explore some new topics.  And I've got a nice summer reading list already filling one entire page of my journal.  Ahhhh...time to just sit and read in the shady breeze by the shore.  Lovely!

* * * 

Now, tell me...
What scenes have been gracing your life this week?

* * *

Sunday, June 5, 2011

To The Shore

Yet the Lord pleads with you still:  Ask where the good road is,
the godly path you used to walk in, in the days of long ago.
Travel there, and you will find rest for your souls.
~Jeremiah 6:16

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Sheryl Crow Kind of Day

This week of endings and approaching new beginnings feels like a huge shift for me.  I'm doing my best to go with the flow and stay in the NOW as I move intentionally through the next several days.

The energy that has been created around my decision to move to Lakeside is having a ripple effect in many areas:  I'm kicking long-standing habits (coffee and processed sugar), cleaning out closets, buying new clothes, getting a new hairstyle, changing my finances, saying good-bye to friends, forgoing my home garden and composting, re-structuring my relationships with Doug and Tanner...

Many a moment has found me overwhelmed and wanting to change my mind.  I am daily facing down demons of fear, mistrust, lack, uncertainty, and an overall sense of "this is too hard; this would all be much easier if I just decided to stay home".

And yet, the winds of change cannot be resisted.  They will get me one way or the other.

Might as well stop fighting and let go.

* * *

Here's the song that's been on my mind today.

Tell me in the comments how you're experiencing CHANGE these days.

Or ~ post the name of a song that has the word CHANGE in the title!  :)