Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Blues


There are times when the well runs dry, and my pail has come up empty.  We've all been there, had those...those days we started to write and nothing comes out, or we set out to start writing on a given topic then reaching mid-way, there is completely nothing else that flows from your mind?  Well, today is one of those days for me.  I just can't think of anything to say. 

I am drained, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It's been a rough week.  My clients have put me through an emotional roller coaster this week, and I am having a hard time shaking it.  Been dealing with a lot of the client's stuff here at work--grief, anger, frustration, etc--and to be honest, I haven't been shielding myself properly.  As a result, I've been cranky both at home and here at work, as well as to people in the stores. My equlibrium is all off.  I've several people to apologize to. As an empath, I know better than to allow myself to get this far, but, I also know how to pull myself out of it so I know I will be all right.   

So, in lieu of my usual rambling post, I found the following poem which I'd like to share with you.  Actually, when I first read it, it reminded me of the friendships I have developed here and tells how I feel about all of you.  I love you all, and am thrilled that you are a part of my life.  This is for you, my friends. Thanks for being you.

 A friend is more than someone who wipes
Your tears when you are sad.
They are more than the person you call when
Someone makes you incredibly mad.
A true friend does not have to be a person
You spend time with every weekend,
Or even someone who lives
Just around the bend. 

A friend can be a person with whom
You shared a single moment,
But you felt like it was just for
You they were sent.
Friendship does not always have to
Build up over years
It, like love, sometimes
Just appears. 

So always remember that
Each person you meet
Has the potential to be someone
Especially interesting and neat.
Try not to judge those who
Don't seen your "type,"
Because their personality,
May fit yours just right.
--Unknown--

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Four Seasons

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."--Stanley Horowitz

Yesterday one of my clients said good-bye; he's moving to Florida. I'm sad to see him go. He admitted that he really didn't want to go, that he actually doesn't like it there, but that's where his family is and his mom and dad have been getting on in years so he wants to spend as much time as he can with them. He talked about all the big changes it will be for him; namely, the usual such as finding a job, a social support system. He added that New York has nothing really to offer him anymore, but he IS going to miss the chance at having a white Christmas.
 
I know exactly what he meant. Having grown up in an area that had the four seasons, I couldn't imagine having it any other way. It has to be cool and crisp on Halloween and cold and hopefully snowy at Christmas. Of course, had I grown up someplace where it was always warm, it would probably be different, and amazingly, it takes a long time to adjust.  Hubby was born in the Dominican Republic, and he has never really been able to adjust to the cold weather. He bundles up to the point where he makes ME sweat just looking at him.

Each season is special in its own way. Winter with its blanket of glistening white snow, is frosty mornings, fluffy slippers, hats and scarfs, homemade soup, and steamy mugs of hot chocolate topped with miniature marshmallows. Then, in what seems a link of the eyes, spring enters the picture melting away the snow bringing new life to the landscape with its promises rebirth and a  and warmth. The rain falls and the flowers bloom. Delicate buds peak out from the tree branches, and once again the birds begin to sing.  Then comes summer, the warmest season of the year with its longer days and hot, hazy sun, the scent of freshly cut grass, vacation time. Actually, as much as I long for it, once we are in the throes of all the heat and humidity, I find myself ready to move on to my favorite time of year--Autumn.

What more can you ask for in a season. You first begin to notice it toward the end of August, the way the light begins to change and the days start to shorten, and even though the heat of summer refuses to let go, at night you can begin to feel the chill of in the air. When September rolls around, the days are shorter still  and the color of the leaves begins to change. Some days, you can even feel a chill in the air, but most of the time, the days are still warm, the sky  a brilliant blue, and the nights are just perfect for opening the windows and letting the fresh air come in...perfect sleeping weather. 


October brings with it even cooler days and nights; the smell of the air is crisp and every now and then, you may get a taste of winter in the winds. Bright hues of orange and yellow, and fiery red are everywhere as the leaves continue change fall to the ground. As a child, I loved nothing more than running and jumping into a huge pile of leave that my grandfather had just raked up.

November can be cold, wet, and gray, or it can be a continuation of October. Winds blow and change is in the air.This is the season of the Yoruba Goddess, Oya, who represents the winds of change, and because she brings change, she is associated with the season of autumn.  She brings endings to things which must transform in order to grow, but she also helps us to realize that, like Autumn, change need not be something to dread; instead we should view just another step on our journey of personal growth.


"Spring comes with flowers, autumn with the moon, summer with the breeze, winter with snow. When idle concerns don't fill your thoughts,
that's your best season."

- Wu Men -













Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wishes


Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

  
"Now make a wish and blow out the candles." Everyone begins to applaud as I blow out all of the candles on my birthday cake. "Now remember.  You mustn't tell anyone what you wished for or it won't come true."  Oh my, as I recall that was a hard one for a little girl.  Blowing out the candles was easy; making the wish was easy. Heck, I always had a ton of them.  No, the hard part was keeping the wish to myself. You know how it was when we were little. It was just so hard to keep a secret. (Hey, for some of us, it is still hard.) I'd get to looking around the room, and my eyes would get that glint; immediately grandpa knew I was close to blurting it out to everyone, so he would put his finger to his mouth and shake his head... 'Shush. Isn't it time to cut the cake?" he would ask.  Grandpa always knew how to change my train of thought.  And then we would cut the cake, and amidst all the laughter and conversation, my presents would  be opened, and my wish would be forgotten.

Yesterday's group topic was "Goals", and somehow it got around to wishes...what each member wished for their future.  Most just wished that this time around it would go well, and they'd live a clean and sober life...that they would be able to live like the normal people.  I hate it when I hear that.  We're all normal. I wish they wouldn't say that. 
 
Everyone wishes for something at some point or another. When we see a falling star we wish upon it...hoping that we are the first to see it so that our wish will come true. We wish on the first star of the night; we pass a wishing well and toss a penny in;  and we blow dandelions in the wind. We wish upon lucky leprechauns, look for four leaf clovers and hope to stumble across a genie in a lamp. We wish, we wish, we wish... This is what dreams are made of. This is how "hope" is born.

I remember when I was a youngster, my wishes were so basic...a new doll, a trip to the amusement park...a penny for a candy bar at the corner store.  I wished that birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, would last forever.  I wished for snow and day off from school.  Then, as I passed from childhood and entered the world of a teenager, I wished for a boyfriend, to go to the prom, to be popular and treated like the other kids. I wished my mom was not so strict with me.  When I was 18, I wished I was 21...and when I was 41, I wished I was 18. I wished I had a second chance. 

A wish is a need or a yearning for something that you want; a wish means to have a hope, to desire.  We wish for happiness...for a new outfit...for a better day. We wish for the things we've lost and the things we once knew.  We wish for our youth but then we remember that we would lose all the wisdom we have gained throughout the years.  We wish good things for our loved ones who may be suffering and ailing, and when it seems as if our wishes aren't coming true, we ask the "man upstairs" to hear us and hope that He will grant us what we are seeking. 

We wish not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but we wish for others as well.  We wish that there will be peace in the world and that no one will have go to bed hungry. We wish for tolerance and love of one another and respect of each others' beliefs...that religion will not be the cause of so many wars...of so much pain and heartache....of so many deaths.  We wish for a better world for our children and for our children's children.  We wish we could save the earth.
  
A wish is a quiet little whisper that comes from within the heart; it is a need of the soul.  A wish is something that makes you truly happy...a want is something that makes you smile...even if just for a moment. A want is never something you need; it is simply something you can live without. A wish can be something as simple and beautiful as love. Cherish what you wish for because it is more valuable than what you want.

Wishes are a momentary escape from reality and they help to restore our hope in life, love and the whole mixed up, crazy world around us.  If you feel like a fool for making a wish, don't. You're just acting on your need to hope. Where there is hope, there is the desire to change things and where there is desire to change things there is success.

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
--Irish Blessing--

Monday, September 27, 2010

Water is Life


A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. --Henry David Thoreau
 
Water is life. Water, wherever it flows quietly, is peace and growth. Yet water is also a sign of bottomless darkness, and of death. Here are some myths that try to personify, explain, or even tame the overwhelming power of water.
When you think of "Water" what comes to your mind? A tranquil lake...gentle rain...snow...rivers....or the raging sea? Whether magical element or just a simple cup of tea, water plays a very special part in our lives.  Water points towards the West; its colors are soothing -- blue, green, turquoise, and aqua. Its music is from stringed instruments.  Water energy appears as emotion and intuition, tears (happy and sad), and our bodies, as they are mostly water. Water is the element of compassion, and comfort.
.
The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.  ~Isak Dinesen

Water can be used in a variety of healing rites. Most people are well aware of healing energies found in teas, brews and baths. Next time you use one of these devices, try specifically to address the water aspect within your magic. Many people only focus on the herbs used in their potions, but we mustn't forget about the water spirits within our cup of tea. Magic is often the chemistry of mixing things...thus mixing the energies they possess. Together, water and herbs make something very special, more so than either could do alone. 


Some people practice scrying as a means to foretell the future or to answer questions.  This is the act of gazing meditatively into a shiny, nebulous surface, like a crystal ball.  Fill your cauldron with water and see what shimmers on its surface--whether by moonlight, candelight or just bathroom nightlight. Try any household vessel, perhaps one that fits your specific need. For example, if you seek financial guidance, try using the jar you store your loose change in. A new beginning? How about your morning coffee cup. Love? Perhaps a vase you might use for a dozen red roses. 

For divination, you may want to try saving water to re-use over and over again each time you scry. Perhaps this water, just like you, will become more adept at scrying with practice! You might experiment with the specific type of water you want to use. When might water from the ocean work best? The rain or morning dew? Try collecting waters from the special places in your life, the stream where you picnic, the lake where you camp. Use your creativity here. Is there enough room in your freezer for a chunk of the first snowfall? 

Another form of water divination might be to merely spill it on a flat surface. Which way did it run? Towards a specific direction? What does this direction mean to you? Try dropping something magical into a pool of water and count the ripples it makes. Four? Five? Do you find meaning in this number? Water is a very flexible thing. What new ways can you create to divine with water? 

Perhaps the most common water magic is washing away something unwanted; we wash things to cleanse. Often the physical act of washing can have a magical component as well. When you shower, do you sometimes wash away more than just the grime of the day, making your stress-relieving shower a magical act? Have you ever rinsed out a glass or piece of clothing for a special occasion, and visualized the desired outcome of that occasion?

Astrologically speaking:
The element Water is associated with the signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces; it influences the conscience and the subconscious forces that act on our lives. The element water pours forth to others.It allows one to feel their pain and suffering and offer sincere compassion.

Psychic awareness is also present in the water signs and shows itself from time to time with uncanny accuracy. Water seeks to heal and nurture those around it. Uncontrolled, this element can send emotions on a turbulent path resulting in moodiness and unpredictable highs and lows, like the crest and trough of the waves.

Water signs need serenity and calmness, like a gentle flowing river nurturing all in its wake and at the sametime leading to the discovery of new paths. Over expressed, there is tendency to be overly emotional, deeply sensitive and subjective. With too much emotion, depression may result. Weakness can result from being too protective andpossessive of loved ones; cold attitude and lack of drive may arise.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sacred Acts



The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.--Buddha


We speak of building a sacred trust.  The term "sacred cow" has come to mean any stubborn loyalty to a long-standing institution which impedes natural progress. We form a sacred agreement.  In a sacred kingship, the ruler is believed to be the manifestation, agent or the mediator of the Divine or supernatural realm. Sacred places are determined by the appearance of a Holy figure, by its special features as a natural setting or place of official, historical or spiritual significance. Groves of trees, special stones, bodies of water or places built and then consecrated by ritual are common sacred places. 

Just about everything from shirts to cows to books have been declared or consecrated as sacred throughout the history of mankind, by virtually every culture, and under the tenets of a host of religions. In fact, the word "sacred" has been used to describe everything from the last hundred dollars in our savings account to any prized possession that no one else is supposed to touch. Any activity can become a sacred act. 

In fact, even what many of us consider to be the most mundane of activities can become a powerful conduit of love and healing. It is simply a matter of how we focus our attention and set our intent.  For example, we can choose take our shower mindlessly or mindfully use it as an opportunity to release anything that no longer serves us, relax in a profound manner and to heal emotionally, physically and spiritually. We can simply eat our food or we can mindfully cook and prepare a meal with the greatest of love and fill each bite with magic and miracles by allowing ourselves to see the stars, moon, rain and sun in each bite, being grateful for all the people that made the food possible and being immensely grateful for the sustenance it provides.

When one takes time to pray every day or spend quiet time in meditation, one gets to know the soul and learns how to grow step by step spiritually. You see its not only important to feed and care for your physical body, it's important to feed your spiritual body too! Just for today allow all the ordinary events in your life to become sacred celebrations of life.

The philosophy of mine earth can be summed up as this:  Sunshine creates happiness, and I create myself.  Nights are long and life is predominantly good.  Wind is refreshing.  Tea is wisdom.  Do the best you can, and be good to yourself so that you can above all be good to others.  ~Jessi Lane Adams

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday This and That


Last night as I was walking down the subway stairs, a woman in front stopped dead in her tracks, took out her cell phone, made a call, and just stood there, chatting away.  Meanwhile, the man behind her and myself were almost tripping over each other to avoid ramming into her...and I have no idea about the person behind me. Just picture the driver slamming on his breaks and causing a chain reaction.  When you think of it, had someone been coming down behind me at a fast pace, we all could have gone down. I just can't understand the logic of doing something like that. I mean, you are only a few feet from the bottom of the stairs.  You can't wait a few feet to make your call?  You have to make everyone else go around you?  And this is not the first time this has happened. It happens all the time. The use of cell phones has caused an entirely new epidemic of rudeness. 

Gosh, and then there are the bleep bleeps or whatever you call them. They are so darned annoying. I don't like putting my personal stuff out there for the entire world to hear, and I don't feel like hearing anyone else's either. Who cares what you did today or that so and so is mad at you.  That's your business, not mine.  Do me a favor and keep it to yourself. And let's not forget those who have to give a tally of where they are..."I'm at Smith Street now.  Okay, just passed 9th Street...and so on."  The conductor fills us in on this information.  I don't need you to tell me, too.  Ah, the dark side of technology.

I've had a rough month here with technology.  It all began when my old wall phone finally gave up. Hubby went out and bought one of those new wireless models.  Well, by the time I learned how to work it, my phone service started going in and out.  Then, a few days later, I was sitting and watching the season finale of Covert Affairs and 20 minutes before it ended, my television screen went blank...and stayed blank.  Well, when I got up the next day, it was on so I let it go.  The next night, I was watching the season finale of Dark Blue, and you guessed it.  Fifteen minutes before it ended the screen went blank.  This entailed a call to the cable service who advised me they couldn't send a man until Friday.  "Not good enough", I say. "I am paying good money for this service.  I want money taken off the bill."  "No problem."  they say, "just call us after the man leaves and we'll credit you."  "Yeah, right,"  I tell myself.  "that's if you can get through."

The next day I go to work, and my work computer goes down. Okay, so they supposedly fix it, but it's still acting up.  Then, Friday rolls around, and I've got the cable man at my house (my son taking care of that), and I'm on the phone dealing with the Help Desk to fix my office computer...both at the same time.  Work computer repaired....cable messed up.  They have to dig up the streets which will be Monday before it is repaired. 
 
Monday I am at work and my son calls with even worse news.  Now, not only is my cable down, but so is my home internet.  "What?"  I scream.  "No, it cannot be."  Much as it bothers me to be without cable, it's unbearable to have no internet.  At work, I found myself staring at a blank computer...wondering what all you guys were doing, wondering what I am missing.  Praise be, by the time I got home, all was well...cable on, internet on...no more problems...

That is, until I get home last night and want to heat up my food.  Now, my microwave has died.  "What next?"  I cry out.  "What is the Universe trying to tell me?"  Have I become far too reliant on technological devices?...that it is time to get my butt off the sofa and do something?  Go someplace?  Yes, I am reliant on these devices, but  I am far from alone. From the home appliances we use, to the cars we drive, and computers we use for our work...all the way down to the manufacturing of the food we eat, there is hardly a device that we own and use that does not have technology in it or has been made without using technology. Though in this sense, technology has not literally taken control over society, but rather we have come to place technology as a central role in our lives and we have become reliant on it.  Perhaps the Universe is trying to say that it is time that we return to Nature. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Setting Goals By the Light of the Moon

The temperature here in the city has shot up to the 80's, and the humidity is so high.  It is supposed to be clear, cool, and crisp...not drab, hot and humid.  For goodness sake, this is Autumn!!!  But, unlike those scorching summer days that endlessly went on and on, I know that relief will soon be here.  At least, that is what I keep telling myself.  

Last night, I was a little restless and spent some time outdoors in quiet contemplation.  To tell you the truth, this full moon in Aries has me raring to go, and the moon at 0 degrees Aries is very much ready to begin something new.  Aries, a Cardinal sign, is all about instigating, activating, and launching something new.  As a fire sign, it has its emphasis on being animated, enthusiastic, and eager to act.  Hence, last night I took some time to reflect on the things I have accomplished, to take stock of what is going well and what is not, and what I hope to accomplish during the long winter months.

For one thing, I've been getting a little antsy lately.  I'm one of those people they call a Lifelong Learner.  Love school, love learning, love doing homework.  I love reading and learning new things from my books, but as much as I LOVE my reading, there is something different about taking a course, doing homework, and getting graded on it.  Somehow, and maybe this is just me, it means that I am REALLY learning something when I see that passing grade....and there is just so much out there to learn, but, needless to say, my credential will expire early 2012, and although that seems a long way off, I need to get 60 hours of training in before then...so THAT is number one on my to-do list.


Next, I really want to try my hand at scrying.  Actually, this is something I have been wanting to do for awhile and just never have gotten around to it.  In fact, I've had visions of scrying since I read the entire series of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series (not once, but twice...once reading forwards, then reading backwards).  I have no desire to know the future.  Whatever will be shall be, but I do want to see the past.  Connecting with my ancestors has become very important to me, and I am hoping to peer into that scrying mirror on a moonlit night and see my ancestors....just as Morgaine did in The Mists of Avalon.

I haven't done much work with my crystals, either, so that, too, is my my winter agenda...finding time to really knuckle down and give them the attention that they deserve.  Crystals, one of Earth's magical gifts, are amazingly beautiful stones just to look upon, and many can calm and soothe a person just by gazing into the multicolored facets of the stone.  Crystal healing in itself is not something that one takes lightly...so this is something I plan to take very seriously. 


And, along that line, I realized last night that I have not touched my Runes in ages.  In fact, it has actually been so long that as of right now I have forgotten where I put them, but lately they have been calling out to me.  I am aware, though, that my first step will be getting to know them again, and for this, I have to get myself a Rune journal.


The first section of all Rune journals is a detailed breakdown of your Rune set.  The simple way of doing this is taking a single Rune each day, starting with Fe and meditating on it.  There are actually several exercises you can do daily to aid in this--word association with Rune names, visualization, etc.  In a month's time, you should have a complete section with information on each of your Runes.


The second section of the Rune journal is about Rune spreads.  Record which Runes landed face up and which ones face down, what you think each one meant in context of the reading, and what your general impressions were.  Even if a reading makes no sense to you when you do it, it might become cleared to you later on...encouraging you to pay closer attention to your instincts, even when  you are wrong.


The third and final section should be a record of any readings that you may have done.  Each reading should be broken down into the reason for the reading; for example, general reading, specific question, etc.  Next should come the type of Rune spread used and notes on the Runes drawn and finally, the outcome that happens.  Actually, my first time around, I skipped the first two steps, but that was wrong on my part.  This time, I plan to do it right.


So far, that is my goals for the upcoming winter months.  Will I accomplish them?  Only time will tell.  Time moves on and as it does, change occurs, so I have to be ready for it.  Perhaps by the time of the solstice, I will have a completely new set of goals.  


So, what are your goals for the season?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mabon Blessings


When fall comes, the festival of Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox also arrives; it is the second harvest festival of the year, a special time of the year for many cultures around the world and  a major part of the Wheel of the Year in all of them. This is the time that day and night are divided  equally, a time for us to take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark and a time to give thanks to the waning sunlight as we store our harvest of this year's crops.
 
The goldenrod is yellow
The corn is turning brown
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down."

--Children's Song--
 
The Druids call this celebration Mea'n Fo'mhair and honor The Green Man, or the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Other offerings at this time include ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer. The Lady is now mourning for the loss of her Lord who must lay down his life, as the grain is cut, to insure the fertility of the Spring. In ancient times a straw man was burned to honour the fallen Horned God of the harvest. In other traditions the Oak King, resplendent ruler of the light and Summer, is defeated in battle by his brother the Holly King who rules in the dark and cold of Winter.

Mabon is a time  for giving thanks and for sharing what we have with others. Perhaps this may be some extra food or simply volunteering your time to someone in need. Considered a time of the mysteries, it is the perfect time to honor the ancient deities that have frequented the world since the dawn of time and continue to do so as the eternal seasons wax and wane in synchronicity with the Moon. and to those who have passed over to the Otherworldly realms. 

Today represents the passage from the light half of the year to the dark. The equinoxes are times of balance...between light and dark, between birth and death, and between the sowing of seed and the harvest. From this time on the darkness increases each day. The warmth of the Sun decreases as he drops lower in the sky.  This time of balance can affect people in different ways.  For some, it may be the season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, while for others, it is a time of thankfulness, a time of gratitude for the abundance we have received at the time of harvest. For many of us, this is a time of high energy, and from reading your blogs, I see that many of you have already been feeling this energy for awhile now. Hence, we need to stop and take some time to enjoy the fruits of our own personal harvests. These can be  working in our gardens, at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with our everyday lives.


"Harvest home, harvest home!
We've plowed, we've sowed
We've reaped, we've mowed
And brought safe home
Every load."
 

Spend some time contemplating all of the positive aspects of your existence, both spiritual and material. Allow a feeling of gratitude to overtake you as you examine all of the good around you, light a candle and stare into the flickering flame and thank the gods for your continuing good fortune.

May your Mabon be memorable and your hearts and spirits filled to overflowing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musings of Autumn

"I trust in Nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility.  Spring shall plant and Autumn garner to the ends of time."--Robert Browning
 

You can feel the change in the air- the weather is crisp and cool, even when the sun is out. 
The autumn equinox, when day and night are of equal length, will soon be here once again. This  means letting go of the summer, of the warmest sunshine, the longer days. The natural world seems to take on a certain "glow" during the fall season, and even during early September when the temperature can be just as hot as in August, the sun seems so much less harsh and the shadows cast are longer. The changing of the green leaves to vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow is a blessed event. Why, the very air we breathe even smells so much cleaner! And after the uncomfortable heat of summer, we find ourselves reaching for cozy sweaters and warm mugs of tea. 
  
The Equinox offers us a moment of pause, a time to reflect on what we did and what lies ahead as we  take a moment to wonder what the 'harvest' of our lives has been, what our soul has harvested along the way. The Equinox creates a space of releasing, of allowing the deaths of our limiting beliefs and patterns to occur. Like the burnt oranges, deep reds and golden yellows of the once thriving leaves, the instances of our lives are continually transcending and recreating themselves in a brilliant display of color, reflecting the light within and the light without, always moving, always changing, always in process.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Everyday Magic


"Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy that, with our permission, can encase our every action."--Dorothy Morrison, Everyday Magic

I stopped at Duane Reade this morning on my way to work, and as I waited in line, I was listening to a little girl who was badgering her mother. She was the sweetest little thing, with the brightest smile...and noticeable gap where a tooth had once been.  "Mommy, are you sure she will be tonight?"  "Yes," mommy sighed, exasperated after having to answer the same question over and over again. "But how will she find me?  I wish we hadn't move." the little girl pouted.  "Oh, she knows where you are.  She knows everything."  The little girls face lit up. "You promise, mommy?  You promise that she will come?  Will I see her?"  "She will definitely come, " mommy said, "but you must make sure to go to sleep early.  The Tooth Fairy doesn't like to be seen."  I couldn't help but smile.  Ah, the wonderful magic of childhood.

When I was a little kid, it was so easy to believe in magic...the wonder found in the twinkling of a firefly, angels, fairies, the magical excitement of Christmas, peaking through the crack in my door as I waited for Santa Claus...lying awake at night hoping to catch a glimpse the Tooth Fairy, the man in the moon.  When you are young, there was a sense of wonder around every corner...just waiting to be discovered.  Life was full of incredibly, magical events.

And then, one day, you grow up, and, with the dawn of adulthood comes that sense of drudgery, responsibility and a good dose of rational reality as we see more of the other side of life...the pain of losing a loved one, our parents growing older, our grandparents seeming to fade away,  divorce, worries about paying our bills on time, illness. Our hearts get broken as we experience many things that leave us broken and crushed. Reality has a way of taking away the magic of our youth, and our belief in magic fades, until,  we no longer believe in fairy tales. We must get on with the reality of living our lives and leave the magic to children.

But, the good news is that the magic never really goes away; it continues to live inside of us all....only now we call it fantasy, belief, faith, and countless other terms that are just a mask for the magic in our lives. what about the magic of falling in love or in the birth of a child?  Ir the magic in the power of the words that lift us up when we are feeling down?  There is magic in the sense of touch.  How many times when you have felt angry or hurt that a simple hug made it go all away?  Our dreams for the future can be magical.  In fact, anything that we add special meaning to can be magical...the changing of the seasons, that cute little puppy, in the sight of a beautiful tree, the beauty of ocean, its waves lapping against the shore. 

Yes, the magic does live within us all; it is up to us to reach for it. When you are feeling down, remember, it is okay to go out and dance in the rain or to smile and wink at the man in the moon. Open your eyes widely and see, really see,  the fairies as they dance about in your garden.  Don't be afraid to make a wish upon a star; it just might come true.  Reach for the clouds. Above all...live...There is nothing wrong with living, laughing, and loving every moment of it.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.--Roald Dahl

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comfort Foods


As the days grow short, some faces grow long.  But not mine.  Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy.  It's time to start making soup again.  --Leslie Newman

Yesterday was my cooking day so my entire day was spent slaving over the stove.  There was a time when I loved to cook; why, I'd make everything from homemade noodles for a Polish meal to a 3 course Chinese meal, but those days are long gone.  Today, I absolutely hate cooking.  That's why I try to get it all done on one day.  It's always easier, though, when the cooler weather comes round, and it is during the fall and winter that I still get a bit daring with my foods...and it is in winter that I lean more towards my comfort foods.


Comfort foods, those satisfying, healing comfort foods that warm and strengthen us, healing us from the inside out. A comfort food may also trigger positive memories of childhood meals or other occasions.; it is any food that makes one feel safe, loved, and satisfied.  We turn to them when we are feeling sad, unwell, or otherwise depressed, and we turn to them as the weather begins to cool down each year. We all have comfort foods that we seek out.  They don’t have to be warm and hearty.  For some people, it is a box of chocolates; for others, it may be a bowl of spaghetti.  When I have a cold all I want is some homemade chicken soup, and when I am really stressed and feeling down, it is bowls and bowls of Rocky Road Ice Cream...topped with chocolate syrup and gobs and gobs of whipped cream.


"For the millions of us who live glued to computer keyboards at work and TV monitors at home, food may be more than entertainment. It may be the only sensual experience left."--Barbara Ehrenrich


Having learned the value of comfort goods when I was young, one of my favorite memories of comfort foods is from childhood.  As you all know, I spent all my childhood weekends at my grandparents' home...a place of peace and serenity, of joy, a place to retreat from the dysfunctional family life I had to endure Monday through Friday.  And grandma always made sure she had my favorite foods.  Ironically, for a child, you would think it was cookies and ice cream, but on the contrary, my favorite comfort food was Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup.  On Saturday night we'd put on the television, and I'd sit between my grandparents eating a bowl of soup and a glass of soda.  Sadly, the Bean with Bacon soup I bought not so long ago tasted NOTHING like the one I remember. It was bland and tasteless....another victim of the new health conscious form of eating...not that I don't want to be healthy, but some things are best left alone.

There is a factory near where I live; I don't know what they make, but there are times when the entire area smells like cotton candy...the scent of which reminds me of Bertrand Island Amusement Park, one of my favorite childhood places to go. And this is the time of the year that the supermarket starts selling candy apples, one of the classic treats of autumn. I yearn to enjoy one, but it has been so many years; I just can't bite them anymore.  

And then there is the lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches which tasted so good after a morning of play in the crisp autumn air.  Grandma also used to make pancakes which she smothered with chicken and gravy.  


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The scent of cinnamon in an apple pie always reminds me of October and Halloween. I have always loved the fall and the aromas that meant the heat of summer was finally fading into cooler night air ...perhaps even a little chill. And apple cinnamon cookies at Christmas. Cinnamon is one of those scents that you can never get enough of.  I always keep cinnamon candles of hand; it is a scent that gives me a sense of comfort and takes me back to the days when I had fewer cares and the unknowns of life were something to look forward to.

What childhood comfort food do you yearn for the most? 

Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.--
Walt Kelly

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Tornado in Brooklyn

Have to say, it's really good to be back.  It has really been a strange week with me and technology...between my cable and my work computer.  Finally, the work computer is working well after a second call to the Help Desk...and my cable has been acting strange since Tuesday.  It'll play great for awhile and suddenly, when you are just in the middle or near the end of something, off it goes...for hours.  Only channels you can get during that time are the Brooklyn Channel which plays the same news over and over again...every 15 minutes...and the Brooklyn weather channel which tells you the weather and transit info, but how much of that can you watch?  Hence, the cable man paid a visit today....ironically, at the same time as the help desk was working on my computer.  Unfortunately, the cable will be off and on until Tuesday; they have to dig up the street.  Something is going on with the main source. Just great, but at least I will have a whole week taken off my bill.

Bursts as a wave that from the clouds impends, And swell'd with tempests on the ship descends; White are the decks with foam; the winds aloud Howl o'er the masts, and sing through every shroud: Pale, trembling, tir'd, the sailors freeze with fears; And instant death on every wave appears.--Homer
Nature, the most powerful force in the world; it is tempestuous and shows it's beauty and its dark side at will, and while man has discovered ways to predict some of nature's behavior, nature has a mind of it's own and has shattered the belief that we "know" how nature behaves time and time again.  Take this past Thursday evening, for example...

...When we went into our staff meeting at 3 pm, the sky was sunny and bright, and by the time we finished at about 5 pm, dark looming clouds were sweeping across the sky and the roar of thunder was gradually rising in the distance. Suddenly, the sky unleashed a torrent of heavy rain and lightening seared the sky.  The storm had begun...but who was to know that a tornado would hit us here in Brooklyn. The weather service has confirmed that not one, but two tornados and a series of microbursts (history making and most violent storms ever in New York City) ripped through the city leaving 14 miles worth of damage, killing a woman, killing  thousands of trees...some more than a century old, knocking down utility poles, tearing off roofs...need I say more.  The following video is one of the best I found that shows the sheer power of this storm.(Actually, there were better, but those had some very vivid language)




Storms are an inevitable part of life, and no matter what kind of preparation we may make, we cannot stop them...and while man may be able to spot a tornado with the help of modern technology and warn people ahead of time, Mother Nature can be fickle and change its path at will....choosing instead to turn her wrath upon unsuspecting victims with devastating results. It's not that she means to hurt us; she is only striking back from all the hurt and pain we have caused her. Many call this the dark side of nature. But, this is her way of crying out in pain. 

Yet, she also has a beautiful and a creative side as well which we often overlook in the face of the destruction she may inflict.  A gentle rain on a spring day, the budding of trees and flowers that signify that Spring is on it's way...the warmth of the sun that increases as the summer approaches...long summer days which dwindle as autumn approaches and leaves on the trees signify the change by turning from green to bright orange, red and yellow colors creating a beautiful landscape for all to admire. Then, when the leaves fall from the trees and the cool air turns cold, snow falls and blankets the earth with a glorious white coat.  Nature has completed once again the cycle of seasons...a cycle that only nature has control over.

Yes, it is true that the awesome power of nature is one to be feared, but it is also true that it should be revered.  Nature destroys, but she also creates...Together, the seasons symbolize the materials of the world, the elements that created her into this beautiful form we treasure and love so much today. Nature has a way with herself, and with the seasons, she is the greatest teachers of life. She gives us what is natural and needed to survive. We get our water, food, materials for shelters, medicines and sheer enjoyment from her. The circle of life is one of her greatest lessons and she has the opportunity to teach it to us every year. One year in our life is one day for Mother Earth. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm Back


I'm back...connected to the world again....but I am not sure for how long.  Same computer...still acting up. Of all times for my computer at work to go down...on my late days.  In the morning, my son is still asleep, so I was unable to get to my home computer, and when I get home on my late days, all I want to do is eat a little something and get some rest. I'd really like to get a laptop.  I've been thinking about it.  I really should do it...although I am not really sure how they work...like how does the internet get installed...because without that, there'd be no sense in having one.

As you all have probably figured, I'm not one of those gadget people, never have been and probably never will be.  Don't have a cell phone and don't want one.  I have have my phone at home and my trusted answering machine; that's good enough for me...and only recently when my phone died out, did I go wireless...and I am still trying to figure out how all of the buttons work.  Nope, I'm not up on all that new technology...all those gadgets that people stand in line for hours for on the day they come out...just so they can be one of the first to have one.  I Pads, I Phones, Wii, Nooks, and that other fake 'book'.  Give me an old hardcover any day, and I'll be happy.  But take my computer away?  Now, that's another story.

Computers, though?  Computers are another thing. Computers have made our lives so much easier....that's for sure. But take them away, and you can have a real case of stress on your hands. I found myself obsessing over what I was missing. Now, mind you, not only was I totally cut off from all of you, my dear friends, but I also couldn't do any work...so imagine what a boring time I had.  Everything here is done on the computer nowadays, and our work program can only be accessed through the internet...which sometimes makes me wonder how confidential our client's information really is.      

Technological addiction....In the 50's, the radio was our main source of entertainment. We'd all gather round to listen to shows such as Dragnet, Burns and Allen, Barbara Stanwyck.  Few families had televisions until the early 60's, but I remember my grandparents getting one in the late 50's. On Saturday nights my grandma loved her Lawrence Welk, and Ii remember how my cousin, Tim, and I used to lie on the living room floor cracking jokes about the bubbles.  Grandma's face would redden, and she'd get so angry.  I hope she knows that it was all done in jest.

In the 60's and the 70's, it was the television set that kept us in our homes, glued to some addictive sitcom or one of the soap operas.  We didn't have cable back then; we just had the standard basic analog black and white...no VCR's, no DVD's, nothing. But, wow, the shows sure were special back then. Personally, thanks to grandma and her soap addiction, I grew to love As the World Turns, Dark Shadows. Guiding Light, and then in the evenings, it was Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing. Anyone remember them? 

I especially remember the year of Who shot J.R? How could I forget.  That was the year that I moved here to New York City ...1979/1980.  Had no money back then, so, of course, I had no television...and I can still remember how I felt the night I knew the show was airing. Why, it just about killed me knowing that the whole world was finding out the answer, and here I was...sitting in some dinky little transient hotel room...doomed to learn the answer two days later while standing in line to pay for a Hershey's chocolate bar.  And when I think back on it,  I guess you can say I felt the same sense of loss that I have these few days without my computer.


So, I guess what I am trying to see here is that we humans have always been addicted to technology in one form or another...and one day in the future, computers will most likely be as passe as the old black and white or the weekly radio show...but we'll find have something else to keep us occupied.  You can mark my words on that one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Checking In

I know it is unusual for me not to check in, but I'm computer-less at work...for the time being.  I wanted to let you all know that there is nothing wrong; I will be fine.  Just going through a bad case of computer--itis....an emotional state newly recognized in our  modern technological era; it consists of severe withdrawal symptoms which can include anxiety, depression, and what some would call a feeling of 'lack of connection' with the outside world.  The person feels isolated and cut off from friends.  Thus far, the only cure has been a 'new computer' or a cell phone with internet connection. 

Unfortunately, my computer at work has gone down, and I am waiting for its replacement.  No pictures on this computer.  It belongs to my office mate.  Hopefully, I will be back in full force tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appreciating the Small Things in Life


Well, I made it through my first day back at work; it was much as I had expected....a pile of paperwork in my mailbox and a long line of clients who had waited a week to talk to 'their' counselor.  My co-workers all seemed genuinely glad to see me, and all agreed that the changes I had made took ten years off my appearance.  I don't believe I had mentioned, but I'd changed my hair color from a medium blond that was giving me a washed out look to a dark blond that seems to give my face a natural glow.  I also chopped two inches of dry, brittle ends off.  That sure made me feel good.


There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.--Author Unknown


But all was not so sunny on my return.  Sadly, I learned that we lost a client last week.  Clients have passed away before, and it always hurts so deeply when you learn that someone you have worked with is gone, but almost all of the clients I have lost were those who had chosen to give up their recovery and return into the world of drugs. This man, however, was doing everything right. He had almost a year alcohol/drug free and was scheduled to speak at the graduation ceremony this Friday; after living in the shelter system for most of his adult years, he finally had obtained and was maintaining his own studio apartment; he had found a girlfriend and was so happily in love, and was actually thinking of returning to the workforce...all this after over 20 years of getting high and living on the streets. In fact, he'd done such a complete turnaround in his life that he had been approached to do a documentary on his life.  He went to sleep last Friday and never woke up.


Whenever you lose someone by death, it makes you appreciate life so much more. You begin to look at your life through a new set of eyes and see the quality of what life has to offer. It makes become more appreciative of things, of life, to become humble and not take anything for granted.  For example, sunshine is is a precious gift; it brings us a feeling of joy and warms our spirits on days when we are feeling low, but it is all too easy to not appreciate those sunny days in our lives.

This past weekend when I went out into the backyard to hang my clothes, my neighbor was mowing her lawn. I love the scent of freshly mowed grass, but do really really think about nature's miracle?  Grass in itself is a gift, a miracle. First, it grows from a tiny seed into a luscious green carpeting growth which we mow because we like it to be a certain height..Then, nature takes over and the grass once again grows to new heights, and the cycle continues, reminding us of the cycle of life. Waking up in the morning and being thankful for another day is such an awesome experience in itself for with each new day we have the ability to meet new goals and succeed in ways we have never imagined. 

Life moves too quickly. We often look up and wonder where did it all go?   The little things in life...they are so precious because we never get them back. These are the moments that we need to enjoy and appreciate....because all too soon they, too, will become distant memories.  Those flowers in your yard....take the time to smell them...breathe deeply...take it all in. Because we may never get the chance again.


While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. --John Taylor

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Gladness of Nature


Doesn’t time just seem to fly by when you’re having fun?  Yes, my vacation is over...and far too soon.  And just when I was getting used to sleeping in, I once again have to get used to that irritating ring of my alarm clock.... 

...Ironically, though, when you are seated at that dentist's office and listening to the sound of the drill, your tummy tied in knots and just wanting to 'get it over with', time appears to be crawling along.  But that is the nature of life. Some days appear to drag while other days seem to whiz right on by us in a flash....and we are left wondering where all the time all went.  

Was I feeling sad this morning when I got up?  Most definitely.  Am I letting it get me down?  Nah, doesn't do any good.  Only serves to make you miserable...a gosh knows, there are far too many miserable people in this world.  Gosh, forget I said that.  Nothing negative today going to come out of this mouth today.  In fact, I'm going to make it a point to find something positive in everything. For example, I may not like my job, but it pays my rent and puts food on the table....and, I am blessed to working while so many are not. So, today I am going to turn over a new leaf.  I am going to make it my business to spread joy in the world.  Mother Nature knows....  

Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our Mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground? 

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,
And the wilding bee hums merrily by. 

The clouds are at play in the azure space,
And their shadows at play on the bright green vale,
And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale. 

There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea. 

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away. 
 --William Cullen Bryant--