Tag Archives: spirituality

Sacred Connection

Sitting in the grass, sitting bones against the earth, is a birthright few of us spend much time exercising. The energy that flows up into us from the earth is so different from the experience of sitting in a chair; taking the time to sit intentionally, allowing source energy to enliven your spine, support your legs, bottom, and root chakra (the energy center that resides at the base of the spine), is self-prescribed therapy. Resting directly on the Earth reminds us of our connection to everything, and allows us to root and be present to our body in a way that is intensely grounded, momentary, and personal.

The feeling of the soil, soft and malleable, accommodating,
invites us to sit for a while as indigenous humans do, with our bottoms pointing behind us to support our backs, vertebrae stacked, root chakra at the base, breathing in the smell of grass, flowers, or other flora nearby, and the soil, warmed by the sun. Or lie down and look up, clouds floating by in a panoply of shapes. The trees arcing up to touch the sky, birds criss-crossing above.

With the earth beneath and around you, you might feel that you come from this earth, are part of this earth, one with the wind, the birds, all growing, crawling things. Or you might just feel a little better, more grounded. I’d bet, though, that you won’t just do it once.

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Bringing Heaven down to Earth

Consciousness, spirituality and awareness are important topics – and hot ones – that rightly inspire earnest attention for many of us. We all want to be the best version of ourselves that we can.

And I think the uniqueness each of us can bring to the journey of self actualization is such a rich thing to ponder on.

Whatever path you embrace – a traditional path of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, an “alternative” path of Earth-based consciousness, a philosophical approach like Taoism or anything else – I think the trick is marrying your beliefs with your day to day existence, your relationships, your way of being in the world – and making your spiritual practice be the way you live. Which is hard.

I feel like every practice puts forward a set of ideals and ideas that we feel driven to embody. And we struggle with not being perfect or measuring up. I catch myself showering too long when I know that conserving water is a value I hold close, for instance. I get irritated with my rescue dog hound for her incessant barking when I love her and value empathy and care toward the planet and its residents over most everything else. And I don’t always choose products at the grocery store that sport the least packaging or most earth-friendly production methods/sources. Worst of all, I have a long commute to work.

Right along with that, I am not caring for myself the way that I want to and should. I don’t meditate as much as I’d like to. I don’t exercise as much as I’d like to. And like so many of us I’m critical of myself.

But I think being on a spiritual path has more to do with accepting what you find in yourself and incorporating that into the ideal you are striving toward. Noting what’s hard, allowing that to be a part of the process, and seeing that you ARE the thing you embrace, you ARE the experience of striving toward your own actualization.

Otherwise your mind would not have alighted on a resolve to walk the path you are on.

If you think you are imperfect consider: the pursuit of the ideal is the point, not the attainment of it.

And if you think you are perfect, that’s another thing altogether.

The Hindu tradition has a thing called Dharma – it means many things but in my days of studying religion I understood it as accepting and being the best you can on the path you find yourself on. Be your best you with the circumstances and work you find yourself in.

It’s a little like being Charlie Brown. Of all the Charlie Browns, your the Charlie Browniest.

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Roots and Branches

I sit in front of a west-facing window when I work from home, under the branches of a great old Ash tree.  It reaches over and past the window, protectively shading the house and reaching up high into the sky.  I imagine it’s cooler up there in the topmost branches, and that the tree knows I’m down here.

These trees are becoming rare in the states because of an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer.  Cute little guys, they are a shiny turquoise and plum color with a kind of kaleidoscope finish like they were dipped in a jar of glaze. And they like to eat ash leaves.  Unfortunately for the Ash, the larvae of the borers eat the inside bark of the tree, making it hard for the trees to transport water up the trunk, which is how trees absorb water and nutrients.   The larvae spell disaster for the trees, and over time the Ash trees die of thirst.

We are fighting for ours; we hired a company to treat the trees in an effort to fight off the beetles.  It’s expensive but when I look at the tree that can’t be saved – the oldest, largest, most graceful of them, which was too far gone to be treated by the tree specialists when we bought the house –  my resolve hardens. 

These trees aren’t particularly huggable.  Some trees are, practically inviting you to wrap your arms around them and lay your face against them, but the Ash trees have a stand-offish air, seem aloof and distant and seem to want their space.  Still, they are my favorites, probably because they are struggling.

The biggest of them, with a trunk that is more than seven feet in circumference, has more than a third of its majestic branches defoliated.  It is hard to watch it decline; it exudes a kind of pride, even now, that is undeniable.  People come to the house and notice it – beginning to remark on its beauty, taking it in, looking more carefully – and then they stop speaking.  It’s like that.  A sudden realization you’ve said something offensive, or sad, without meaning to.

The trees around us have a kind of slow, deliberate presence and awareness, existing in a symbiotic relationship to us and around us, reaching up to meet the sky, joining the earth with the heavens. 

I would like to work from home more often. 

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Loving Gaia

On a starry, moonless night, there’s silence, except for some wind in the tree tops.  The bare limbs of the deciduous trees – usually imposing shadows lit by the brilliant cornflower-midnight blue night sky – are almost invisible.

This moon looks like other dark moons but today’s New York times featured an announcement that 2018 was the 4th warmest year on record – the 4 warmest being within the last 4 years.  I’m not a statistician but I’m pretty sure that is not normal.  The planet is warming up.  We could even say it has a fever.

As if to underscore the point, I saw a bird today that I’ve never seen before.  The feathers of it’s head had a pretty red sheen- a kind of sparrow or finch.  Not a cardinal.  And not a bird I’ve ever seen here. A newcomer to my feeder.  Perhaps she found her way here because of changing weather patterns?  Or perhaps I’ve just never noticed her before.  But that seems unlikely.

And while trees and bulbs know better than to blossom early,  I see kids walking around in summer clothes when Massachusetts temps reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit in February.  It’s a little surreal.

Okay, they are teenagers.  Not that surreal. But, still.

The dark moon favors sleeping, letting go, decluttering.  Making way for something new to grow.

Like a sense of deepening connection to the planet.   A personal relationship, even.

Every thing we create and the energy we consume comes from the planet and the elements.  And it returns to … the planet and the elements:  the water, the air, consumed by fire, or buried in the earth.

This dark moon seems to be suggesting that we cultivate more awareness and commitment to the planet.  That we let go of our need to consume every cool/adorable thing we see and maybe use less energy.  Our choices about these things are choices in our relationship to the one and only planet that sustains and nurtures us.

When I bring bags to the grocery and minimize packaging I imagine I’m blowing a kiss to the Earth.  And maybe not adding to the giant plastic pile floating in the middle of the ocean.  It gives me a little thrill.  Really.

If we break (up with) this planet I don’t think we are going to find a better one to live on.

And I am not sure she would give us a second chance.

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February 7, 2019 · 12:39 am

Winter Charms

Winter months are long – days are short, the air freezes your ears and bites your skin till it’s pink and chafed.  Still, it’s beautiful to see a field of snow beyond the glass, or rooftops blanketed in white.  I would miss the site if it didn’t repeat itself year after year, returning like a family member for a mandatory holiday.

And winter invites us to slow down and turn our attention in.  To our interior thoughts, our interior spaces; we are all encouraged to indulge our inner introvert and embrace cozy — this is something the Scandinavians are expert at.   I happen to be Norwegian, so I am a subject matter expert in this area.  🙂

Listening to freezing rain pelt the window from the a couch, blanket wrapped around you, is a giant perk of being human in this day and age, if you are fortunate and resourceful enough to have a warm and cozy home.  It would be a shame to pass up the opportunity of indulging in winter’s delights.

Among them, hot drinks, giant sweaters, snowboarding, knitting, hearty soups, adorable winter hats and … books.

Here, books fill a 10 foot tall bookshelf arranged in a neat row and then bearing stacks layered horizontally along the top of the row to reach the shelf that hangs above.  There are also cabinets filled with books – some behind glass, some behind wooden doors.  Topics vary – Rumi, Shakespeare, Engineering, Emergency Medicine, spell craft, the classics – Hesiod and Theogony, the Iliad, et al., modern witchcraft, Islamic poetry and philosophy, Early Gnostic Christianity, Flaubert, Jungian psychology, history, gardening books, astrology, Arthur Conant Doyle, the Dalai Lama …  and it goes on…

Standing in front of them brings me feelings of comfort, happiness and security.  So many hours of pleasure there in those books just waiting.  All I have to do is select one and settle on a nearby couch, wrap up like a burrito in a throw blanket, crack it open, and settle in.

The weeks between Yule and Imbolg, when the first seeds will stir, is a kind of gestation time, a tide perfectly suited to looking inward to take stock of where you are.  What you can be grateful for, what challenges and adventures you wish to engage when the snow finally melts.

Because it will.  The days are lengthening.  So savor winter – enjoy it in whatever way it speaks to you – while it lasts.





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The Appeal of Red

Proving that the apprehension of even the mundane is fluid – birds see color varieties that we don’t, seeking in each other the appeal of colors unknown to us.

And so the boy birds and the frogs – prey for birds – have adapted.  Boys become bright to attract feminine attention, frogs to warn that they are poisonous.  I once had a boyfriend like that.  So shiny and colorful I knew he must be dangerous.  And he was.

If the world is for each of us what we perceive, a subjective reality, then it must be an infinity of realities made sweet or sour by the tastes each of us give it, expect of it, believe to be real, and have the capacity to perceive.  And so a million realities exist around us but we see and create realities unique to ourselves.

We are dreamers diving into the swirl of our days, abandoning ourselves to the past, what we’re instructed to believe, what we can accept.   Endlessly dancing with these lovers, until something or someone trips us, jars us awake, rips us from the fabric of our diligently woven lives.  If we are lucky.

Waking from a dream of myself or perhaps nudged by some nascent desire, I have begun to weave red into a tapestry that has before been a kind of grotto of earth colors.  Here, indulged desire – oh, yes – where my careful heart would never have dared.  There the fiery red of a creative flame allowed to burn.  Consequences?  Perhaps, but you have to live.

This love-child could become a blaze, burning away old perceptions that have outlived their power to be potent; or a long, warm summer day of lovemaking in the forest, bent over a tree.   Or maybe it will become a garden, velvety flowers springing from alongside the path of my days, meandering through cool archways overgrown with trailing ivy.  No telling, yet.  But hopefully it will involve my share of red and an enhanced perception of color.

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A Silver Lining

silver lining

A silver lining illuminated a single cloud floating in the sky above my head, noticed first by my companion as we sat basking in late day August sunlight.

It appeared quietly, a visitor I failed to notice,  hanging in the sky and listening to us as we felt our way toward each other across the landscapes of our lives; here describing verdant places, relating stories, there owning up to places withered by neglect or discord,  each describing the sort of unexpected journey that life proffers when we try to live it fully.

He was direct, self-possessed, perhaps stronger and more mature; somewhat anxious, I thought, over where our conversation was taking us.  His eyes rested on the horizon, measuring the sky.

And I was absorbed in the moment:  enjoying his handsome face, the sun, the wine, his stories, the sound of his voice …  indulging in the sum of the moment as the sun sunk in the west, washing the patio in heat and light.

Our afternoon drink ended in a lingering kiss  sweeter than I could have imagined and a parting smile that felt like warm summer rain on my legs.

A silver lining that, credit where it is due, was all his creation on the landscape.

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