Monday, November 30, 2009

I Reach and...

“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”
--Psalm 143:6


Rolling waves of parched land spread out before me.
Dry. Thirsty. Barren.
My soul connects.
Spirit is present in the midst of my own desert.
Thirst and longing.
I stretch my hand.
I lift my eyes.
I feel your presence.

I see it through the window of a plane.
The photo of a tree.
The creating of a card.
The quiet of my heart.
I engage with the mystery.
Perhaps only I can name it.
Perhaps.
Still, I know I am connected.
Blue sky.
Clouds drifting over.
Those who have gone before?
Yes, I am connected,
even in my desolation.

I close my eyes and see the barren landscape.
It is magnificent in its beauty.
I hear your name in the sky and
see it written across the lands.
I am created in your image.
Earth. Fire. Water. Air.
All right there.
Beside me and around me.
The fullness of your majesty.
The fullness of my life.
I stretch out my hands for you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.

I reach…
and you are there.

photo taken just before landing in Walla Walla 11.24.09

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stone in My Heart

On a quiet day in Glendolough, I curled up in an abandoned room filled with extra chairs, tables and a perfect crimson loveseat by the window. For the first time in the trip, I placed my i-pod earphones into my ears, set the music to shuffle and listened to the conversation that played out between the Universe, the still small voice, God and me.


Much of the poem here is made from lyrics that showed up “randomly” that day. I journaled as I listened, and the result turned into the conversation I call “Stone in My Heart.”

Abbey of the Arts gives us a great invitation this week to engage in poetry and gratitude. I am grateful for so much – including the stone in my heart. ☺ So, pop on over to the Abbey and share your version of gratitude. Here's mine:

She gets unruly with things she don’t wanna do.
Stuck believing her dreams will never come true.
So, Baby, how’d you sleep last night?

Stop hanging on. It’ll be alright.

Let go of the stone in your heart.


But I don’t understand the touch of your hand.

You might think it’s easy being me.

Just stand still and look pretty.

Don’t wanna hurt anymore.

Can’t let go of the stone in my heart.


In every moment there’s a reason to carry on.

Sweet love flowing almost every night,

I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight.

Life is more than memories.

Let go of the stone in your heart.


Sweet surrender’s all I have to give.
Stop hanging on. It’s time to let go.

Dance, Baby, dance – child, wild & free –

Unruly one, come dance with me.

Embracing the stone in your heart.


photos taken at NewGrange, Ireland 10.09 ©lucy

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blessed by Risk...

...a response to yesterday's post.

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.” --Epicurus

Words like Thank You, Yes, and Sally Fields’ academy award speech from years ago, “You really do like me,” ring through my head. I am wrapped in the warm words of others. We mirror each other and I hear myself in both the encouragement and the resistance. Your words are mine - “I read, but don’t always comment.” The overflowing sentiment (from you and for you) - I am here when you need me.

It has taken me a long time to learn to ask for what I want or need. For me, it can be a paradoxical situation. If I have to ASK, does it lessen the gift when I receive? The challenging thing is that when I get scared or lonely or angry, I can get pretty prickly AND by that point, I don't know how to ask - so I push. Thus, the initial response is for others to back away when what I really need is for someone to move in closer. I need a cocoon to hold me. I need to cry and weep and wail.

The other day I was so beside myself, it was pretty ugly and instead of backing away – my dear sweet husband leaned in. He wrapped me in a giant bear hug and held on. I cried – we cried – wracking, gut-wrenching, snot-slinging, unabashed tears. I pushed away ...surrendered ...and then cried some more. Somewhere inside my little soul, I was confident he was there to help me. And you know what? When I finally came up for air – I laughed. Yes, laughed! I felt lighter, better, more complete and real.

A similar thing happened yesterday as soon as I wrote the words “Would it make a difference if you knew I was sad”? Something deep inside me KNEW you would show up. And you came – lots of you – some I had no idea ever visited here! You offered much and it didn’t even matter what you said (although I loved every word). My heart lifted when the first comment showed up in my inbox… Really, I think my heart began to shift when I took the risk to ask. It was the sheer act (yes, sheer, as in transparent) of risking the ASK – risking to be real – even though I couldn’t definitively predict what might happen.

My heart overflows with gratitude and I want to sit here for hours basking in your wisdom. It’s hard – very hard, but I am going to push away the desire to spend the day at the computer responding to everyone's wonderful posts. I need to move and stretch and maybe go dance in the rain. Perhaps it’s a risk and you will see me as selfish – I certainly hope not. I have been, and continue to be, blessed by your words and presence. SO...I offer this in return:

May your day be blessed with risk,
May your fears be answered with companions,
May you know that you are loved, and
Experience the inseparable wonder of both grief and joy.

Peace to you, my friends.

"fashion risks" - dublin 2009 © lucy

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If you knew I was sad, would it make a difference?

Life upon return from Ireland hit hard and fast. I find myself rising and falling like the rhythms of the ocean. Sometimes the waves are gentle and I float as though on a blowup mattress in the middle of a still Oklahoma lake. Other times, I feel as though I have been slammed by a giant Tsunami – shaking myself off and gasping for air from the force of the hit.

I have been lonely here at Diamonds. Not sure if my readership is down, if my topics are not engaging or if people are just plain busy – or maybe I sound so content you don't realize I crave your company and comments. So, I ponder the question in the post title… If you knew I was sad, would it make a difference? Would you make a little more effort to comment if you knew I needed it? Would you stop and speak to a co-worker or a child or a stranger if you thought your comfort would make a difference? I wonder how often I settle for the pat answer when someone responds with a standard, “I’m fine?”

I wonder about people’s interior journeys (those who confide in me and others I pass on the streets), realizing I can only know a fraction of their stories – if that much. We are complex beings and have a capacity to present many faces to the world. Does showing joy when grief lurks inside (or vice versa) discount either emotion? I ask, because, the waves that follow me these days are somewhat confusing. I feel both the gentle rocking of comfort as well as the motion sickness of constant movement. I find it near impossible to answer the question, “How are you?” for the water that washes my spirit clean and gently holds the raft upon which I float is the same element that threatens to drown me and take away my breath. The two cannot be separated for they flow in and out of each other like waves moving against the shore – both gentle and wild. Hmmmm.Anybody else ever feel confused by two seemingly contradictory emotions that flow in and out simultaneously? Reminds me of the old lyric “hurts so good”…or maybe not. I’d love to hear your thoughts (but a simple hello works, too).

ireland brook ©2009
dublin river ©2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Pilgrim's Day - October 21, 2009

Rain. Rain. Rain. The other pilgrims off to Dublin – a handful stay behind in ancient Glendalough. I am snug and cozy in a room beside the flowing stream. The monastic gates rest just beyond. Today’s gift: to follow the breeze of my own heart. Listening to the i-pod – a poem and thoughts form through the stream of music. God leading. Me following. Listening. Writing. Companioning.

A walk to Laragh. Braving the elements. Skipping. Dancing. Singing in the rain. Two ancestral maidens hold my hands and we are one – alive and at peace. A momentary pause to soak in the wonder of St. Kevin’s Well, we are washed clean.

Further down the path, I am drawn to the ruined church of St. Saviour. Mesmerized by this holy site. Two gates to enter. Stone steps downward. Crossing back and forth between worlds. The rain begins to pour once more. Mother Earth sprinkles me with her holy, heavenly waters.

I continue down the trail. Rain comes and goes. I dry, and just as quickly I am soaked again. Another pause – this time a rock. I almost pass it by, but Mother Earth – Goddess – calls out to me. “Stop!” I return to the spot and witness the sienna stone with one white vein splitting the middle. I pick it up and turn it over in my hand to see two identical veins on the opposite side. The babes – the maidens - have greeted me again. My heart and throat burst into laughter. Goddess is greeting me every step of the way. We are three. Maiden. Mother. Crone. My knapsack fills with treasures.

Material things hold no value for me today. The linen shop is warm and dry, but it cannot hold my attention. I return to the elements. Rain pouring – the sound from the heavens matching the rush of the stream. I retrace my footsteps and then turn upward along the marked hikers’ trail. It takes me higher than I imagine. Up. Up. Up. Until the valley spreads below me.

I walk and walk – an hour, maybe two – the Monastic City a mere speck in my viewfinder. I follow the trail and loop back out by the upper lake of St. Kevin’s Desert. Waterfalls sing to me along the way and I join them with my joy-filled chorus. Whistling while I walk.

Tired and hungry, I return to the hotel. Wet, but warm from the exertion. I satisfy my hunger with Guinness and chips. Returning to the room, my roommate gently naps. Quietly, I run a hot bath, soak my body and shampoo my hair. Clean. Tired. Sated.

I have tended much today. I have laughed and played. Danced and whistled in the rain. Greeted the elements and made time for my heart. Listening. My anam cara with me every step of the way. Blessed be and amen.

view from glendolough hotel window ©
st. kevin's well ©
st. saviour church window ©
monastic city from orange trail ©
st. kevin's desert waterfall
©

Monday, November 16, 2009

Simple Day

FOR TODAY November 16, 2009
prompted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window the rain continues to steadily fall. Night time is upon us even though it's only mid-afternoon.

I am thinking how I would love to get in my pajamas right now and curl up with a good book.

I am thankful for the graciousness in the world around me.

From the kitchen - fresh chicken soup and cornbread muffins to warm the damp, wet bones of my family.

I am wearing BROWN - head to toe (except for some crazy-colored stripes on my socks.)

I am creating an activity for my spirituality class at the Recovery Cafe and gathering images for my SoulCollage® workshop this Friday night.

I am going to my memoir writing group tonight. My piece, "Ordinary Life," is up for review.

I am reading Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (vampires and werewolves for a dark fall night!)

I am hoping there is minimal traffic on the way to Bellevue.

I am hearing rain, rain, rain.

Around the house all is quiet.

One of my favorite things is snuggling with my curious cat who keeps me warm and cozy in the midst of darkness.

A few plans for the rest of the week: a schedule full of clients, yoga, therapy, group facilitation, and a new workshop.

My picture thought is Aslan - Lucy's faithful friend.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sacred Sunday

Still. Numb. Quiet.
I absorb the light.
Shadow of hand upon paper,
Music of monks drifting through air,
greeting me from centuries past.
Am I alone, or surrounded by saints –
a cloud of witnesses to guide and protect?

Am I alone – or is every hurt of every generation
wrapped inside my body?
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

The pen is heavy, but I cannot release it –
Running out of ink, I pause and pick up another –
Another sorrow? Another pen?
Trading – sorrows & shame.
Am I allowed? Are they welcomed?
Does the Cross exist?

Created in the image of Creator,
Can I write a new story – or
will it always be a continuation of the old?
There is no escaping –
the sorrows run deep,
but what of the joy?

Am I alone – or is the joy of every generation
wrapped inside my body?
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

It is a massive excavation for the
spark lies deep within –
Covered with graves of sorrow and pain –
still the seed is there.
It is Eden before shame
before the covering layered on,
Layer upon heavy layer.

The mustard seed of hope is eternally there –
Waiting to take root.
Waiting for me, alone, to release it.
No one else can write this story –
Or live it –
Or tell it –
Or feel it.

Am I alone – or is every feeling of every generation
wrapped inside my body?
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

glendolough celtic cross ©lucy
remembrance of soil ceremony ©lucy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reflections from Ireland


Through days and miles, I close my eyes and see the wondrous faces of Noble Silence.

Dim lit room – candles flickering – features softened. Some weary from a day of feasting on the senses - others radiant upon reflection of the ancestors and saints gone by.

Silently – we form a circle – entering meditative prayer through reading and ritual. We bow our heads with soft-focused eyes until the words of the first bubble to the surface.

Palms together – gentle nod – the words flow. Some brief – others a longer story. They wash over me – absorbing me in the soft light – the dark of night surrounding us beyond.

A bow to finish and the silence rests upon us again.

castledermot graveyard ©lucy

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On track or off?

Following my statement last night to Sunrise Sister’s post where I proclaimed myself as having thrown away my day planner, I found myself this morning in great need of a list. For the first time in weeks, I have the luxury of some much needed spaciousness in my life. For the next few days, there is little on my calendar, but LOTS in my mind that wants to happen. My head was beginning to hurt and my stomach spin with all of the possibilities before me – so much that I found myself nearly immobilized. Thus “the list.”

Armed with list nearby, I started on my merry way until nature called and I made a pit stop in the bathroom. There I picked up a book on guided meditations and explorations so I could look for an appropriate reading for next week’s Deepening Your Spirituality group I am co-facilitating at Seattle’s Recovery CafĂ© (a place I hope to share with you in the near future.) While I am not certain whether I found the reading for the group, this one jumped out of the book and said, “READ ME.”

Consequently, I have already ventured off of my list and instead of writing about Noble Silence (another topic I hope to return to soon), I am sharing this quote that came under the topic of “What was your face before you were born? He asked.”

When the heart bursts into flame
history completely disappears
and lightning strikes the ocean
in each cell.


There, before origins,

when the
double helix
is struck like a tuning fork

there is a hum
on which the universe is strung.


My word for the year has been Fire and as this calendar year nears its end, I have found the theme of Water rising in my consciousness. Given those two things and the recent discussions here and elsewhere on synchronicity and thin places, I could not resist taking a moment to stop and post this. So…does this detour make me on track or off? Or does it really matter? Can you feel the hum on which the universe is strung?


P.S. Upon a little further exploration, I find that the "double helix" looks amazingly like the swirl I have worn around my neck for a few years which mimics the ancient symbols I encountered in Ireland AND looks surprisingly like the
Source card I created a few days ago. I swear I didn't know what a double helix was until this verse jumped out and said, "READ ME." Oh my, I think I need some fresh air!!
"swirls" on celtic cross at castledermot 10.23.09 ireland ©lucy
"fire in water" glendolough stream 10.09 ©lucy
"entrance to new grange" 5000 year old tomb 10.09 ©lucy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leveling the Playing Field

Last week at the "Honoring the Ancestors" retreat, I was greeted by these images during an experience of walking the labyrinth. My oh my!

Giggling little girls – full of joy and eager to greet me. “Come on. Come on,” they say. “Come play with us.” The years fade away – the hurts – the sorrows – the weight of life. We are girls – skipping – laughing – tumbling. Full of joy. Generations cascading together. Somersaulting like acrobats. Walking a tight wire without fear. Taking each others’ hands and holding – caressing. We raise each other upright with our laughter – lightness and light. A puddle of puppies, but we are giggling girls – all of us. Grandmas. Aunties. Mothers. Nieces. Daughters. Tumbling together on beds of feathers – light as air. Pure goodness – All else dissolves into fits of laughter.

“Come play with us.” We are little girls even in our death. Those who have gone before and those who come after share in the joy. Let it out of the box for all to see. Anne. Daisy. Myrtice. Audrey. Addie. Morgan. Janey. Stephanie. Kari. Ainsley. Dianna June and Kayce Dee. Come play with me. Auntie. Glenda Jo. Vicki. Carolyn. Barbara. Marilyn. Little girls, all. Their beauty glows.

Little girls. Aunts. Cousins. Daughters. Mothers. Grandmas. Sisters. Blonde. Raven-haired. Straight and curly. Giggling girls. Our laughter and compassion will save the world. Little girls, come dance with me. Little girls of wonder for all the world to see. Communion white and taffeta red – pink – yellow – golden girls. All tumbling into giggle pie.

Little girls skip and scuff their shoes. Giggling precious girls. Generations of them. Embracing me. Touching me. Our blood flows through from Eve. Transformed girls. How can anyone be angry with them? Look through the wrinkles of gray and death – into eyes of laughing girls. Full of hope and compassion and JOY! Amen. Blessed be.

"laughter" © lucy 11.11.09

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Spirit like water...

"Spirit like water
is a source of life."


Sometimes I wonder if I shared everything that transpires in my day and mind whether or not people might think I was going a little crazy. In mental health, it is said if you at least think you're a little nuts, it is a sign of sanity - so at least I have that going for me.

The truth is I feel so connected to the Universe that I have moments when I wonder which realm I am operating in. This time of year in particular is designated as a very "thin" time when the veil between the known and unknown worlds dissipates. My air was already pretty thin, so my ancestral mind that lies just below consciousness has kicked into high gear. For example...

During and since I went to Ireland, I have been experiencing lots of technicolor dreams. When I am disciplined enough to awaken, I can capture them on paper before I return to sleep. Last night, I was vividly dreaming and was making a SoulCollage® card in my sleep (not literally), BUT... when I awakened this morning, the materials had already been gathered to create the card I dreamed. (I keep a stack of images that attract my attention nearby.) I was dreaming of creating a Source card which symbolizes the Oneness of All Things. In reality no image is suitable for the Source for it is without form. (Some people refer to this as their God card.) Nevertheless, swirls continued to follow me throughout my dreams as they have for years in various shapes, sizes and forms, so I laid out the images on my desk and sat down for some quiet meditation. It was then that Nepo's quote greeted me. "Spirit like water is the source of life." Key word - Source. Key images - Water. Before me lay my floating, swirling water-filled card I was considering naming "Source."

Am I making this up? No. Had I read those words before? Maybe. Had I already seen the images? Yes. Did they all come together in one serendipitous moment? Absolutely. Does this make me crazy? Nah, I don't think so. Is it just coincidence? Nope, don't think that either. This, I believe, is part of the great mystery of being alive. It is bigger than anything we can possibly imagine AND it meets us in the everyday of our lives, when we allow ourselves to open up.

So, that's how my day started. Not particularly unusual for me. How about for you? Any encounters with serendipity, synchronicity, thin air or the like lately? Please share... it's much more fun to be a little crazy with friends, isn't it?

"source" - created by lucy 11.08.09


Friday, November 06, 2009

Saturated


Like a sponge…

Soaking up the luscious green of Ireland
Feeling the presence of ancestors
Creating poetry with addicts and alcoholics
Holding space for compassionate listeners

Snuggling with my kitty
Listening to the thunderstorm of night
Stretching my weary body
Birthing the dreams of my soul

...I am saturated.


glendolough waterfall 10.09 © lucy

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New SoulCollage® Workshop

Please join me on Friday, November 20 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. to celebrate the abundance of Fall by creating your own SoulCollage® cards.

Beginners and experienced collagers are welcome at this three-hour workshop. All supplies and instruction will be provided in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Workshop held at Soma Yoga in Crown Hill. Pre-registration cost is $35. ($40 - night of the event.) Space is limited, so register today. For questions or to sign up, please e-mail kayce@kaycehughlett.com.

Feel free to pass this information along to anyone who might be interested.

SoulCollage® is the process, developed by Seena B. Frost, of creating a deck of collaged cards from found images for the primary purpose of self-exploration and self-acceptance.

Some things I love about the SoulCollage® process include:
  • the premise of everyone is an artist. We can all tear or cut images and apply a gluestick, right?
  • a way to move beyond words and connect with ourselves in new and creative ways.
  • you are in control of the process. Gentle guidelines are suggested, but do not become rules of engagement.
  • no special skills or knowledge required (i.e. everyone can participate.)
You can visit the official SoulCollage® website here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Invitation to Poetry

My senses overflowing - saturated, really - after almost two weeks in Ireland, followed by a retreat to honor the ancestors. I was grateful this morning for Christine's Invitation to Poetry. It is a welcome entry point to "step across the threshold" back into my blogging world. The invitation made easier since I have a poem already created from this past weekend. It came out of an intuitive process where we poets were asked to include a given word line by line in our poems. It never ceases to amaze me what pops out when I choose to get out of my own way.

Titled, Healing Women, this creation turned into a tribute to my mother and two grandmothers. Our history is not one where loving care is the first thing that always comes to mind. However, something shifted this weekend as I honored the women - the girls - they were. The pictured shrine came later in the weekend as more pieces fell into place. The young girl is my mother, Daisy Ernestine. The top photo, her mother, Myrtice; and my father, "the sailor", holds the arm of his mother, Anne.
Stepping over the threshold,
what story wants to be told?

Shafts of silver light illumine my world,
spreading bare the winter of my soul.

Anne, Myrtice, Daisy step into the dance
as we let go of the stone in our hearts.
Je t'aime, mes amis.

The breath of God has washed us clean &
Jubilation rings the bell
as we return Home together.

I hope you'll join in the fun and join this week's poetry party. To get you started, here are the 10 prompts used this weekend. Let me know when you create your own poem!
  1. threshold
  2. story
  3. a color
  4. winter
  5. names of ancestor(s)
  6. stone
  7. a foreign phrase (perhaps from your country of origin)
  8. breath
  9. an emotion
  10. home
Bon chance, mes amis!!