Monday, January 31, 2011

The Eagle and the Chicken


Once upon a time, there was a large mountainside, where an eagle's nest rested. The eagle's nest contained four large eagle eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the mountain causing one of the eggs to roll down the mountain, to a chicken farm, located in the valley below. The chickens knew that they must protect and care for the eagle's egg, so an old hen volunteered to nurture and raise the large egg. One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful eagle was born, but the eagle was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle believed he was nothing more than a chicken. 

The eagle loved his home and family, but his spirit cried out for more. While playing a game on the farm one day, the eagle looked to the skies above and noticed a group of mighty eagles soaring in the skies. "Oh," the eagle cried, "I wish I could soar like those birds." The chickens roared with laughter, "You cannot soar with those birds. You are a chicken and chickens do not soar." 

The eagle continued staring, at his real family up above, dreaming that he could be with them. Each time the eagle would let his dreams be known, he was told it couldn't be done. That is what the eagle learned to believe. The eagle, after time, stopped dreaming and continued to live his life like a chicken. Finally, after a long life as a chicken, the eagle passed away. 

The moral of the story: You become what you believe you are; so if you ever dream to become an eagle follow your dreams, not the words of a chicken.
--Unknown-- 

The reading above  is one of my favorite little parables. I often use it with my clients to help motivated them to follow their dreams. I know how the eagle felt because for most of my adult life, I was just like him. I believed everything that  others said, but did not believe in myself.  I allowed them to dictate who I was and what I could accomplish.  I never dared try to follow any of my dreams for fear that I would fail...so, much like the eagle, I stood with my feet on the ground with the chicken as I watched the eagles soar, always dreaming, always wishing, but never really knowing that I, too, could soar.  And all I had to do was start believing in myself.   Easier said than done when you have been verbally beaten down for most of your life, but I am so proud to say that finally, around  the age of 50, I came into my own (Better late than never)....and left  behind those that only had negative thoughts for me, those who held me down.  
Far too often we let ourselves be defined by what other people tell us.  Foolishly, we allow them to determine our self-worth and  dictate how far we go in life.  We fail to realize that if we are ever able to live our full potential, we must first believe that we were born to be more than we are and believe it with such a strong conviction that we reach out and follow our dreams...no matter how often they are ridiculed or how often we stumble. For it is in the act of following one's dreams that your potential will be realized.
 
The worst thing that could happen in our lives  is to one day wake up and realize that it is too late, that we have been held back from our dreams because we were too afraid to lift ourselves out of the chicken coop and from the small thinking people, who, although they might mean well, can only see possibilities through their limitations and not from your possibilities.

If you can imagine it you can create it.
If you can dream it, you can become it.
-William Arthur Ward-

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life is Like a River



Life is like a river. There is no pre-charted way; there are no maps to be given to you which are to be followed.  Just be alive and alert, and then wheresoever life leads you go with full confidence in it. ......Allow it to lead you, don't force it. Surrender to it and allow it to lead you towards the sea. Just be alert, that is all. While life leads you towards the sea just be alert so that you don't miss anything.--Osho

May you all have a blessed weekend.  Be safe, be warm, and have fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow


Unbelievable winter we are having here in the city.  The above is a photo I took yesterday morning of our latest round of wintry weather.  Heard on the news that we broke a January record here in New York City...a record that has held since they first began keeping track in 1890....and the month is still not over.  Sorry, but enough is enough.  Just can't take much more of the slipping and sliding.  Possibly another 1 to 3 inches on Saturday, and another storm on its way on Tuesday.  

Following are some other photos I took of my neighborhood before I went to work yesterday.  It is so nice to finally have a camera.


(Would you believe that there is a car under there?)




(Or how about this one?)



(Early morning before the sidewalks were shoveled)


(So pretty, isn't it?  Too bad it doesn't stay this way.  By evening all was a dirty, icy mess)


(My backyard bush last year)


(And this year.  Flattened from the heaviness of all the snow.  I wonder if it will survive.) 

Snow

White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.

The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.

The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.

Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;

The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far a-field;
Then all is silent, and the snow
Falls, settling soft and slow.

The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream. 

--Archibald Lampman--

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dark Moon Lilith

“Some say there is a second moon circling the earth- a mysterious, dark moon, seen only rarely when the sky is dark and it is either in opposition to or crossing the suns face. It has a dusky presence that absorbs light rather than reflecting it…Observations by astronomers were recorded as long ago as 1618.” – Kelley Hunter, Living Lilith, 2009.


Dark Moon Lilith! Since ancient times, people have considered the possibility of a dark moon, invisible from earth and absorbing light rather than reflecting it, moving in an orbit that makes it never visible. This hypothetical point in astrology is known by several names...including Dark Moon, Black Moon, and Lilith. The reality is that there is an asteroid named Lilith, but it is not the same as the Dark or Black Moon. However, when used as a point in a birth chart, all three names appear valid as they all seem to describe the same thing.
 
Lilith has been subjected to many male-dominated prejudices. She was reputedly the first wife of Adam, before he knew Eve. They called Her a demoness, the killer of infants in their cradles. Lilith was the original woman, the one who refused to be subjugated to a man's desires. No other spirit possesses a more intriguing history than Lilith, and few are more powerful to this consort to both the devil and God himself, She is the enigmatic and mysterious Lilith. She is the wild woman in each of us, that aspect that we usually keep hidden. She has been associated with witches and sorcery, with darkness.
 
Her placement in the chart is especially important to women for it represents the power of the original woman. In a man's chart, Lilith's placement will reveal the hidden power struggles or other issues he may have, resolved or unresolved, with the women in his life. It is also representative of the enchantress or the seducer, one who lures another by use of sexuality or devious means. The kind who tempts another by implying that the grass is greener on the other side, that they can rescue someone, but it is in reality for their own selfish gain.  Dark Moon Lillith is the hidden areas of the self, the areas we refuse to see or unaware of. She is related to self-destructive behaviors, seduction and charisma. She tells us where we need courage, where we will need to resolve repression. She represents the primal and emotional connections to your shadow side, and where you will find liberation.


The Dark Moon Lilith also has associations with motherhood, like her counterpart the Moon. With Lilith however, the instinctive nurturing is replaced by a strong protection of her offspring to the point that she would kill if necessary any that threatened them or caused them harm. She is also reactive against the ties involved with motherhood and the emptiness that mothers sometimes feel by isolation and the perceived lack of individuality that accompanies it.

"Rather than withering away in exile, the Lilith shadow grows and flourishes in the same way that she was prolific in breeding demonic offspring on the shores of the Red Sea. When this aspect of Lilith’s shadow is active in our lives, our psyche becomes overwhelmed with images of revenge and retaliation. When the shadow inevitably erupts and violently breaks through our boundaries of constraint, she unleashes the terror of her vengeance.” --Demetra George. Mysteries of the Dark Moon 1992

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Forever Oneness



 Forever Oneness,
Who sings to us in silence,
Who teaches us through each other,
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
Honor the purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
Always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm, and leave
Music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to Forever,
May the circle be closed and
The spiral be broader.

--Aboriginal Ritual Chant--


Another day.  Another winter storm.  Blessings to all on this cold wintry day.  Stay warm.  Stay dry.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Essence of Wisdom

Wisdom is not to be obtained from
textbooks, but must be coined out of
human experience in the flame of life.

--Morris Raphael Cohen--

Wisdom is usually associated with the harvest time of our lives, and with that wisdom comes a greater acceptance of the self.   While it is true that aging does bring about maturity and experience in many avenues, does it bring wisdom?  I think not. I don't think that just because we grow old, we are wise.  I think wisdom is something that must be earned.  I am growing old now, but am I wise?  Or, is it just that I have experienced a lot of different aspects of life?  Well, all that experience was  meaningless until I finally learned from them. In my mind, wisdom comes only when we apply the lessons of life as we learn them.  It is not always easy to do that. Sometimes we have to experience the same things over and over in our lives until we finally get the  point.   But, gosh darn it, did it really have to take so long? (sigh)...

...And sadly, there are some who never seem to get it.  Take, for example, one of the clients I have been working with...or better said, trying to work with.  He is 67 years old and has spent his entire adult life in and out of rehabs due to his chronic alcohol use.  His liver is shot and his mind not far behind it, yet he continues to drink.  He has informed me that working with him will be a waste of my time, for he will continue to drink until it kills him.  This man should have gained wisdom by this point of his life, but, alas, he has obviously learned nothing from his life experiences.  

Wisdom is not a mystical force or something that suddenly appears. Wisdom belongs to knowledge, to experience, and to understanding.  It is a fullness of self, and a freedom from energy-wasting endeavors.
  Yes, wisdom is indeed a gift, but it is given to those that are willing to learn from their life experiences. 

There is a old Sufi story in which the people of a village ask a wise woman for help. She asks them, 'Do you know the solution?'  When the villages say no, she replies, 'Then you're not ready to hear it.'  Months passed and they were still in trouble, so they call her back.  This time, when she asks, 'Do you know the solution?', they answer 'yes''Well, then you don't need me to tell you!'  The wise woman leaves again. When the desperate villagers call her back once again, half answer 'yes' and half say 'no'. 'Good,' she replies, 'the half that knows can tell the half that doesn't'.  She rose and never returned again. 

That night, an elderly village woman had a dream, and when she gathered the people around she said,  'Last night, a voice told me the meaning of the message from the wise women. She wanted us to know that really important knowledge can be derived from our own community and our traditions, not from outside experts. We already have the knowledge. We already know that the wisdom of locals will always exceed the knowledge of the experts. We just don’t have the confidence to believe in ourselves.'

The wise woman has shown them their answers lie within.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The North Wind Doth Blow

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the dormouse do then,
Poor thing?
Roll'd up like a ball,
In his nest snug and small,
He'll sleep till warm weather comes in,
Poor thing.
 
--Traditional Ballad, "The North Wind Doth Blow"



I was much like that little dormouse this morn.  Just couldn't do it.  Couldn't drag myself out in that 6 degree temperature, so I decided to play hooky. Curled back up in my bed and just got up a few minutes ago.  Guess I was more burned out than I thought.  Sometimes it is hard for me to slow down until Nature forces it upon me.  Like this morning, all I could think of was, 'oh, I have my smoking cessation group, and what about my intake?"  Well, there are only four regulars in my smoking group, and how many times have I forced myself into work feeling ill because of an intake that never showed?

So, today is my day, my friends. Gonna go grab a bite to eat now and make a hot cup of tea.  The house is kind of chilly, but that's okay.  I can always climb back under the covers and read my Kindle or sleep, whatever I choose for this is MY day, a day free of work and made only for rest.

Blessings to all, and may you all stay warm and cozy in this frigid arctic weather.

Out in a world of death far to the northward lying,
Under the sun and the moon, under the dusk and the day;
Under the glimmer of starts and the purple of sunsets dying,
Wan and waste and white, stretch the great lakes away.

Never a bud of spring, never a laugh of summer,
Never a dream of love, never a song of bird;
But only the silence and white, the shores that grow chiller and dumber,
Wher'ever the ice winds sob, and the griefs of winter are heard.

Crags that are black and wet out of the grey lake looming,
Under the sunset's flush and the pallid, faint glimmer of dawn;
Shadowy, ghost-like shores, where midnight surfs are booming
Thunders of wintry woe over the spaces wan.

Wifred Campbell, The Winter Lakes

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ah, the Winter Blues

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest
clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.

--William Sharp--


A person can dream, can't they? Actually, there is nothing more beautiful than a forest bathed in white, glistening snow. The frost reflects on the twigs and branches as the dull winter trees are transformed in objects of beauty, each branch enhanced by a covering of snow. And when the Sun shines during the day, the snow seems so much more brighter and beautiful to look at, but even at night, there is much to admire....the snow falling, not making a sound...so quiet and so peaceful When the moon is out, its light reflects onto the snow and ice, causing them to glitter as if they were diamonds. Old Jack Frost paints his masterpieces on windowpanes for our delight, and icicles of various shapes and sizes hanging from the window sill.

Those are my memories a a country winter...a magical world of snowmen and snow angels, of snow balls and snow forts, of squirrels scampering across the white blanketed grounds as the winter birds sing, oblivious to the crisp, cold air....a far cry from the slush and sleet and slippery,  garbage-lined sidewalks that have become a part of our landscaping here in the city.  The beautiful whiteness of the fresh fallen snow far too  soon gives way to the gray, dingy, dirty mounds of snow which melt as the temperature warms up  and form huge black puddles at the crosswalks, some so deep the cold water seeps in over the top of your boot,  which, if you want to cross the street, are unavoidable. Not a worry today, though.  Just got back from food shopping, and it is so frigid.  What people didn't shovel or throw salt on is a mass of ice.  It was slow going for me today.  I am so afraid of falling. 

You are all probably saying to yourself, "This one doesn't know what she wants."  And you are absolutely right.  Just a few short months ago I was envying those of you who already had a snowfall...and wishing it would happen here.  Well, you know the old saying, be careful what you wish for.  Well, who knew?  Who knew that once the snow started, it would never seem to stop, that after one big snowfall, sanitation would never be able to get it together...and each time you feel a sense of hope that maybe, just maybe, the neighborhood would finally get cleaned up, more snow comes down, and the cycle begins again...over and over, week after week. 

(The following gives some idea about what my neighborhood has looked like since before Christmas.  See the dirty mass of snow.  Add some doggy do and urine stains in there and you've got a clear picture of snow in the city. This is one of the better days because some of the garbage was picked up.)


All in all though, as much as I complain, winter is indeed a special time...a time of fluffy slippers, homemade soup, thick sweatshirts, and hot chocolate with marshmallows.   All those extra pounds are well hidden under the bulky sweater, and Saturday cooking sprees without overheating the house.  The season gifts us with the opportunity to think about the past seasons, and glean the lessons we learned in them. At the same time, winter gives us a needed rest and time to plan for spring and new beginnings. 

  "In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago."
 
-  Christina Rossetti-



 (My first shot of the moon.  Could be better, but not bad on a cloudy night.  Just stood there waiting for the clouds to part and when they did, there she was)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aquarius, the Water Bearer

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
--Fifth Dimension-- 

Aquarius, the 11th sign of the zodiac, is a very old  constellation; he has been found carved in stones of the Babylon Empire and is probably much older than that.  Aquarius is a cluster of 56 stars, and the Babylonians believed that the constellation was located in the part of the sky that they called The Sea.   Aquarius, the water bearer is typically represented by waves of water which gives the impression that it is a water sign, but it is not.   Aquarius grouped as fixed, air, and masculine.   Masculine signs tend towards extroversion. Fixed signs tend towards stability and are resistant to change. Air signs are considered good communicators, imaginative and inspired.  Traditionally, the ruling planets are Uranus , and some now equate Prometheus with this sign.  


Almost all of the ancient cultures saw the constellation as a man with a water pitcher or vase, pouring water down to earth.  Perhaps the best known ancient Greek myth about Aquarius identifies the constellation with kind and gentle shepherd boy named Ganymede.  One day, while he was tending his sheep, the god, Zeus, sent a giant eagle down to swoop the boy up and carry him to the temple of the Gods where he was to become Jupiter's favorite water carrier.  He was then given ambrosia, the food of the gods, which made him become immortal, and from thenceforth on, wherever Jupiter went, Ganymede was always close behind.  

One day he asked Jupiter if he could help the people of the earth who were desperately in need of water.  Jupiter, who was not always kind, granted Ganymede's wish.  So, Ganymede, well aware that to send a great deal of water at once would be dangerous, began sending it in intermittent amounts in the form of rain, and this is how the young shepherd boy became known as the god of rain.    


In yet another ancient Greek myth, Aquarius is identified with a man, Deucalion, and his wife, Pyrrha. According to the myth, in about 1500 B.C. Aquarius caused a great flood to wash over Earth. Deucalion's father advised his son and wife to build a great boat and stock it with provisions. They did and the two floated about on the worldsea for nine days and nine nights, eventually running aground on Mount Parnassus. (Sound familiar?)
The Sumerians also believed that Aquarius brought on a sort of global flood.

Accordingly, this constellation represented to the Egyptians the rainy period of the winter season.  An Egyptian legend relates that the floods of the Nile were caused by Aquarius sinking his huge urn into the fountains of the great river to refill it.      During the 17th century, Christians associated the constellation with John the Baptist.  The Arabs, also dependent on the rainy season, depicted Aquarius as a bucket since their religion forbids them to show pictures of any living form. 

In February, the height of the rainy season in the Andes, the Aquarius month, the sun entered into the Peruvian sign known as the Mother of Waters.  In Hindu  mythology, Aquarius is related to the great god, Indra, who rules the heavenly world where the souls dwell as a result of their good karma.  

I began this post with several lines from the great hit The Age of Aquarius.  Many believe that it is already here, while others say it will not begin until 2021. Perhaps it arrives on the solstice in 2012. Aquarius is a humanistic sign; it wants to help others.  In the shift from Pisces to Aquarius we begin to look beyond ourselves.  It the sign of hope, brotherhood, and friendship.  It has been said that in the Age of Aquarius the potential exists to achieve world peace and universal harmony, but this  must first take place in each person's mind and heart.  An era of peace, freedom, and sense of community will not come from any government.  It will, instead, come from a spontaneous flow of human spirit and fellowship amongst man. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fairy Tales

Once upon a time there was a young princess who met a young Prince. It was love at first sight and they fell deeply in love, got married and lived happily ever after.  Is there really any such thing?

Recently I began reading the book, Spinning Straw Into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Women's Life by Joan Gould.  Great book and highly recommended to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the meaning of fairy tales.  It actually was one of the books I had been assigned to read when I took my course in fairy tales; the other book was by Diana Sexton so you can imagine the intensity of the course.  Because we had skipped around so much in the book, there was quite a bit of it that I hadn't read, but when I looked for the book shortly before Christmas, it was nowhere to be found.  So, you can imagine my glee when I discovered I could buy it for my Kindle, and since I got it, I have barely been able to put it down.  

Ah, the fairy tales of childhood...the princess who ate the bad apple and fell into a deep slumber and was finally awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince or the  young maiden forced into indentured service until her fairy godmother rushes in to save the day.  As an only child with no real role models when I was a little girl, all of these stories served as a base for what I wanted in life...to live in a perfect make believe world.  Those afternoons spent immersed in a magical world filled with the daring prince and beautiful princess...with gnomes, pixies, elves, gave new meaning to awe and wonder.  But, let's face it,  while these wondrous tales may offer a lonely and pretty much unloved child a chance to dream, do they, in any way,  prepare us for real life.  Think about it.   How many times have you found yourself in some sort of predicament parallel to a fairy tale princess, but no fairy godmother or perfect prince rushed in to save you?

Don't get me wrong.  I still love to read my favorite fairy tales.  There is nothing like leaving the stresses of real life and entering into that world that meant so much to me as a child.  All the stories seemed to start the same and end the same.  There is always the heroine wronged in life, be it Cinderella and the wicked stepmother or Rapunzel stuck in the tower, but there was never any boredom in the repetition;  rather there was a sense of comfort in knowing that, in the end,  everything turns out wonderful.  And we dream about how it would be, but one day something wakes us up  and find out there is no such thing as happily ever after as we begin to face the harsh realities of life.  As Joan Gould says in Spinning Straw into Gold:

"The truth is that we have no idea why we wake up when we do.  Call it an inner migration from the Underworld to the Upperworld, brought about by some seasonal change in the light.  

At any age, it we get a taste of who we are, if we fall in love with life in whatever form we find it and choose to embrace it, we can fairly call that moment 'the Prince's kiss."

Keeping this post on the "I", it was in my early 20's that I discovered that the Prince wasn't really that charming after all. The Perfect Prince I had always dreamed about had turned into the drunkard, the addict, or the abuser only a few short months into the relationship...and when the relationship ended, someone else would come along, another Perfect Prince, only he, too, was not so perfect....but my journey continued for giving up was never an option.   As Jane Gould puts it so aptly:

"In the years we call 'ever after,' the Prince disappears or our lives, which seemed so ordinary that we took them for granted, are shot out from under us, and we have to start from ashes and wooden shoes all over again, at the never-ending task of inner transformation that will give us the strength to go on living."

Life is all about the journey...the ups and downs, the good and bad...and as we head off into a new direction, we believe that things are going to be wonderful and perfect, but many times they are not for life isn't about waiting around for Prince Charming to come along and sweep you off your feet or sitting around hoping that a Fairy Godmother will come along and make it different.  Real life is about seizing the moment, making things happen for ourselves, looking in the mirror and being proud of what we see. Life is filled with trials, tribulations, and mistakes. Rarely is it that anyone wants to admit or acknowledge them, but with age comes wisdom...

....and we begin to realize that it is those times that give us a chance at redemption for one day you realize as I did that, yes, there is a Prince Charming that will one day come along as he did for me,  but nothing will just be handed to you.  Happily ever after is really a misnomer for, into each life some rain must fall, and it is only through these stormy days that growth and transformation take place.  Real relationships take work if we want them to succeed.  Yes, the child within still craves for fairy tale  beginnings and  endings and the happily ever after romances, but, when you get right down to it, I wouldn't trade my real life Prince for anything in this world. I now know that my happiness is up to me.  Life is not a fairy tale...nor is it a dream.  Life is what you make of it.

We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.
--Thomas Browne--

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Full Moon in Cancer

Full Moon
Above the tower — a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across the waves.
On mats, it shines richer than silken gauze.
Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden . . . All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!
by Tu Fu

The  Native American often calls the first Full Moon in January as the Wolf Moon or an Old Moon.  This is, indeed, a magical Moon for it will be its fullest and brightest, yet the weather is at its  coldest. And, while it occurs in the middle of the cold winter months, the season of death and desolation, it is also a time of both beginnings and endings for, under the Wolf Moon, the January moon, life and death come full circle.  Our ancestors called this the Wolf Moon because the extreme cold and deep snows drove the wolves  into the villages in search of food. 

This Full Moon is in Cancer which symbolizes the emotional self, family, emotional security and nurturing amongst other things. This Moon also rules areas of people, dreams and karmic memories.  The  Moon in Cancer need for inner security  is pitted against the Sun in Capricorn and its urge for recognition.  Full Moons offer us a chance for full awareness, or full illumination. We tend to see things more clearly at the Full Moon , and our emotions may make us  feel a bit more sensitive...especially with this Full Moon in Cancer.  Cancer is the sign of the mother, of home and family and we might find ourselves seeking comfort from food, old pictures, and memories.  This is a time for taking care of oneself and others. 

The Full Moon is also a time of release, symbolically heightening  the urge towards completely letting go.  This Full Moon falls on the last degree of  Cancer while the Sun is in the last degree of Capricorn;  this indicates an opportunity for endings and completions.  Hence, this may be an ideal time for us to symbolically release old resentments and wounds from our past or to forgive someone....especially from our familial past.  You might feel the need to connect with someone from your past...or, perhaps you will experience a strong memory of someone or something from your past. 

See if there is anything that you now need to let go of  in order to move forward with your life. Look inwards and take stock of your physical and emotional needsThe emotional reality of a situation may come to light and it’s a good time for release and healing. If you need to cry, then cry. Get it out of your system and then let it go.
 

Water delicately flows over and around obstacles. It quenches the thirst of parched land and hearts. Listen within the stillness. Nourish that which is in need.’ ~ Dipali

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Rainy Day


The day is cold and dark and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold and dark and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining:
Thy fate is the common fate of all:
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.


--Henry W. Longfellow--



It was hard to get myself going this morning. I just did not want to come to work. The weather is dreadful, and it is so slippery. I was really afraid of falling, but cannot take off every storm we have....especially since they will not allow you to use your sick time for snowy days or the day after a holiday. Last week I was penalized for taking off...even though I REALLY was sick. If you don't bring a doctor's note, they make you use your personal or vacation time. Really now....Who is going to run to the doctor for a little tummy ache? It frustrates me because I am really one person they can depend on.
 
Oh yes, it was such a good day to just roll over and pull the covers over my head. The thought of leaving the warm comfort of my bed for the cold, wet day outdoors was almost too much to bear Actually, I have been having these days more often lately, and it's getting harder and harder to head out the door and come to work. Is it only THIS job, or am I just getting tired of working. True, there are some issues at work, my office mate's attitude, for one, which make it an uncomfortable place to be, but I will be 64 in March, and I have worked since I was 16. My goodness, that is a good many years to be working.
 
Back in mom's day, this was retirement age, and people WERE able to retire when they reached my age. Perhaps if I lived elsewhere, it might be possible, but not here in the city where everything keeps going up while income keeps going down. Here is an unbelievable fact for you When I went into the battered wives program twenty years ago, welfare was paying $215 a month rent for a single person. Today, they pay the same amount....no increase in all those years. Makes you shake your head and wonder.

Needless to say, it's been such an odd weekend for me. I was feeling so blue, and just couldn't seem to put my finger on it. Oh, it's gotten so easy to blame my job, and, yes, there are a lot of things there that make it an unhappy place to work, but without it, what would my life be like? It is definitely fun to be able to sleep as late and as often as I wish, but it is also far too easy for me to isolate myself from the world. After my shopping excursion on Saturday, I put on my jammies and did not leave the house until this morning. What if I didn't have to go to work anymore? What then?

I once sat and thought about how, in today's world of computers, one never has to leave the house if they choose not to. I imagined how great it would be to be able to live like that, only going outdoors in my backyard. But, truly, when you really think of it, how healthy would that be to never come into contact with real beings, never to have the joy of buying new clothes because you don't need them anymore. I think with the loneliness and isolation I would waste away. Would the sadness become overwhelming?
 

The soul would have
no rainbow
had the eye no tears.
 --John Vance Cheney--
 
Fortunately I have been able to pull myself out of it.  Yesterday a dear friend shared a video on her blog in honor of MLK, http://akasawolfsong.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-honor-of-dr-martin-luther-king.html  and before it was over, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably.  Even after it was over, I could not stop them from flowing. The song alone evoked so many memories.  I used to cry all the time, but I realized yesterday that it has been a long time since I really shed real tears.  For the life of me, I don't even know where the sadness came from. Perhaps it wasn't even sadness; it could have been burnout, or, quite possibly, could have been related to other work-related stuff such as taking a personal day away from me for missing the snowstorm day...even though there was NO way to get there.  As someone who never takes off work, that really, really hurt.

All too often society gives a message that we always need to have a smile on our face.  This forces us to hide our pain and never really heal.There is no shame in crying just as there is no shame in not being okay.  We all have those days when we are not up to par emotionally and spiritually, and these feelings are very real.   I view tears as a sign of strength, not one of weakness.  Hope and healing reside behind those tears for it is only when 
we  embrace the truth of our own need to heal areas of our life that we open our heart to the power of healing

 Sadness is related to the opening of your heart.
If you allow yourself to feel sad, especially if you can cry,
you will find that your heart opens wider
and you can feel more love and more joy.

--Shakti Gawain--

Martin Luther King Jr.

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
--Indira Gandhi--


Today, on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, it is  important for us all to take a few moments to acknowledge the incredible contributions this  man made and to incorporate his example into our daily lives by embracing a non-violent approach to changing this world into a more peaceful and better place to live for our children and for the generations to come.  May peace one day prevail. 

Peace is not something you fight for
With bombs and missiles that kill,
Nor can it be won in a "battle of words"
One fashions by scheming and skill
For those who are greedy and warlike,
Whose avarice for power cannot cease,
Can never contribute in helping
To bring this world nearer to peace
For in seeking peace for all people
There is only one place to begin
And that is in each home and heart--
For the fortress of peace is within!

--Helen Steiner Rice--
 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Musings

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.-- Spanish Proverb

 Sunday afternoon.  I hope everyone has  been experiencing a blessed weekend.  I know many of you have had some horrendous weather conditions to deal with, and I hope everyone is safe and warm.  This has been an odd, but much needed weekend of rest for me.  Haven't felt much like doing anything.  Yesterday morning I went out hunting for a winter jacket, and I was too late.  The only ones they had left I was too fat for...to put it bluntly, but truthfully.  Did I feel badly to look upon jackets that in the past used to fit?  You bet I did, but I am not beating myself up.  Things got out of hand with my eating habits for awhile, and now I have begun reigning myself in.  It's a slow process, to be sure, but if I could stop smoking, I certainly can begin watching my diet. 

I also could not believe that all the winter items are being cleared from the shelves to make room for the summer.  Here it was, 19 degrees outdoors, and basically, half the store was already filled with the pastels of summer and spring while the sweaters and winter wear was relegated to a small section of the store.  Yes, it was surely a welcome reminder that Spring will soon be on its way, but also another lesson in the commercialism that has become such a part of our lives.  I remember the time when I could STILL find a winter coat in February; now, bathing suits and shorts have taken their place.  Time is so precious that I feel a touch of sadness when I see the seasons rushed by so quickly without giving one a chance to savor what each has to offer.  

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled
with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the
universe of your life.  It is yours.  It is the most precious of
possessions. No one can take it from you. It is unstealable.
And no one receives either more or less than you receive.
--Arnold Bennett--



I wanted to share with you  the wonderful prize/gift I received from Robin over at Wiccan Writes.  My prowess with the camera still has a long way to go, but I guess this isn't so bad for a first.  Included in her thoughtful package for her first ever giveaway are:  Dancing with Dragons by D.J Conway, Llewellyn's 2011 Magical Almanac, the most precious little candle holders with one gold and one silver candle which are being placed with my angel collection and later will be prominently focused on my altar, a beautiful little bag holding a fairy stone, an amethyst, and some lavender and cedar, some wonderful incense, and Lady Godiva chocolates which are almost gone.  Hey, what can I say?  Once I start, I just don't know when to stop....besides, they are just too yummy.  Robin has a great blog.  Be sure to drop by and say hello. 


Friday, January 14, 2011

Phases of the Moon

 

The half moon shows a face of plaintive sweetness
    Ready and poised to wax or wane;
A fire of pale desire in incompleteness,
    Tending to pleasure or to pain:-
Lo, while we gaze she rolleth on in fleetness
    To perfect loss or perfect gain.
Half bitterness we know, we know half sweetness;
    This world is all on wax, on wane:
When shall completeness round time's incompleteness,
    Fulfilling joy, fulfilling pain?-
Lo, while we ask, life rolleth on in fleetness
    To finished loss or finished gain.
--By Christina Rossetti--

The Moon has been worshiped for centuries. Its powerful effect on the natural world is seen as proof of its magical powers.  Therefore, the Moon was, and still is the focus of many people in various cultures across the globe, but in particular among poets and writers, who looked at it and wrote about what they saw, what they felt and what they imagined.

Think for a moment about the changes of the moon.  In the beginning of its cycle, we see just a sliver in the darkness, and  night it grows larger and larger until it reaches its full size.  When it is full and rising, its orange glow seems to fill the sky, and its gentle light brightens everything it touches.
But this fullness is only part of the life of the moon.  For it also then grows smaller eventually  its dark side toward us before reappearing as a sliver and growing again to fullness.

There  is so much more about the effects of the moon on us as human beings.As children of the earth, we, too have different moods and phases. We will all face those periods of darkness when we try to find our way by the light of the stars, and yet, the moon shows us that again and again, the darkness will end, and,  just like the moon,  we will grow to full size, only to fade and grow again in a new way. Learning to work with the moon and how she affects us can result in a much deeper understanding of ourselves and how much more power we have in our lives...more than perhaps we've realized. 

We too the children of the earth, have our moon phases all through any year; the darkness, the delivery from darkness, the waxing and waning--Faith Baldwin

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Power of Our Words


 Well, I am back to work.  Didn't really want to come in today.  Still feeling a bit under the weather, but I remembered this morning that I didn't do my time sheet, and they are due today.  Whatever happened to time clocks?  Do they still exist?  To me, this time sheet business is only another addition to the already tremendous amount of paperwork piled on my plate.

I've been having some difficulties with my office mate again.  Her argumentative way of talking to me is started to really get to me.  Lately, she has gotten much worse, and I've asked her to tone it down on several occasions.  She is one of those people who if you say the sky is blue, she'll say it is black.  And there is no way you can sway her otherwise.  She is always right.  I hear her on the phone with her family members, and she does the same thing.  This is just her nature, but it sure can make one miserable.  

Our words are powerful weapons, and all it takes is one word to cut a person down.   Furthermore, words  not  only affect those who they were directed at,  but  can  spread far beyond that. A kind or unkind word can affect the way someone is feeling at any given moment. Then, they in turn can be kind or unkind to others around them and so on and so on.  How many times I have to catch myself from taking it out on another after my office mate has cut me down.  

So, it is important always that we remember how powerful our words can be.  They can  be one of the most healing instruments that we possess, or they can be the most damaging weapon in our arsenal.  It is all up to us to decide which way we will use them.  In closing, I'd like to share the following with you.  

 There once was a wise sage who wandered the countryside.  One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by  a woman who saw he was a sage and told him of a sick child  nearby.  She beseeched him to help this child.  The sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man  was a rare sight.  One woman brought the sick child to him,and he said a prayer over her.

 "Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine  has failed?" yelled a man from the crowd.

 "You know nothing of such things!  You are a stupid fool!" said the sage to the man.

The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red.  He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out,  when the sage walked over to him and said:  "If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot,may not another have the power to heal?"

And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Snowstorm Ramble

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things,
but just look what they can do when they stick together.
--Vesta M. Kelly--


This snowstorm really wasn't so bad.  Nothing at all like the last one.  I still stayed home, though. Not only am I so afraid of falling, but my tummy was acting up last night. And, it sure is a good thing I did stay home  because now my nose is a little runny and my throat a little scratchy.  Just got over a cold, but everyone on the train is coughing and sneezing and blowing their nose.  It's almost impossible here not to pick up these little things.

Also didn't sleep much last night.  The plows went back and forth throughout the night.  I am really glad that they took care of things, but it's almost like they went overboard this time.  Even after the streets were cleared they STILL kept plowing through.  Do you know what it sounds like to plow a snowless road?  Drove me crazy, it did.   A little bit of overkill, if you ask me, but the mayor sure took a 'hit' on the last storm, so he's making darned sure he rebuilds his image. 

Almost didn't get to post today.  Computer really acting up.  I think I might be in need of a new monitor.  Seems as if the power is getting through MOST of the time, but there is a blank screen and no sound.  Every once in awhile the menu will pop up and then go blank again.  This one is about 5 years old.  Anyone know how long these things last?  

Proud of myself, I am.  Rather than get myself all stressed out, I climbed into bed with my Kindle, which, by the way, we finally got working.  Left the computer on and after I took a little snooze, noticed that the monitor was working.  So, I rushed here to find out how you all are....not that it goes out while your working on it, but it takes a few hours to come on.  


Well, that's it.  Not feeling up to par, so it's back under the covers for me.  Will be grateful for any input from you computer savvy people. I love the quote below...so appropriate. 

The futures and ultimate fates of the characters in The Snow Queen are profoundly changed by choices made in their own minds or hearts, as well as choices unexpectedly forced on them by things beyond their control.--
William Shakespeare



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Here and Now

Do not carry the burden of the past; do not live in the future.
The only important thing is that one lives in the present authentically
and fully. Whatever your current life is, be the most
you can be by living in the moment.
--Chan Chih--

Think about it.   Days, weeks can pass by while our minds are elsewhere.  We are so busy ruminating of what's to come, that we forget about the present.  For me, these past few days have been spent worrying about my computer. Seems that lately all my monitor wants to do is sleep, and it takes a heck of a lot to wake it up.  The computer will go on, Windows will warm up, and then comes the little message "Monitor going to sleep," and the screen goes black.  I am hoping it is only the monitor; that is fairly cheap to replace. But if it is something else, it may cost a lot of money to fix or replace.  And now,  all I can think about is that there is another snowstorm on the way, and what if the monitor goes completely?  What will I do?  I won't be able to go to work and use that computer, so I will be lost. I joke around about how addicted I am to the computer, but that is not the whole truth;  I am addicted to what I found here in the world of blogs....a wonderful, caring social circle of friends and sisters, and it is without you that I would be lost....but I am diverting...

...Life is so short, too short, and without being aware of what is actually happening to us, is is whizzing by us at lightening speed. How many times have you said, where the heck did the time go?  Or look at your children and wonder how did they ever grow up so fast? (Sigh)  My boys are men now, yet it seems like only yesterday that I was changing their diapers.  How quickly the time flew by!  And all I have is the cherished memories of the moments that passed by, oh so fast.  The world stands still for no one, so it is very important to live in the present, or else we will miss out on so many special moments... 

...Life unfolds in the here and now,  yet I sometimes find myself allowing it to slip away by worrying too much about the future, of events that have yet to occur.  The fact of the matter is that the storm has yet not even arrived, but I not only already have myself snowed in (which, by the, I really don't mind because I LOVE a day off), but snowed in without a computer.  Sadly, these past couple of days I have been so caught up in worrying about something that hasn't ,  and may not ever happen in my life, that I have forgotten to live it.  Those special little moments have been passing by, and I have been missing out on them. Worrying about potential future events makes it impossible to be happy in the present moment.

Yes, it is quite possible that I may have to live without a computer for a few days; and, yes, I may be pretty unhappy, but things happen in life, things beyond our control,  and we have to learn to accept them , or we will miss out on so much else that life has to offer.  Worrying about the snowstorm will not make it go away, just as my worries will not fix my computer. R
uminating on something that might or might not happen in the future negates the happiness available in the moment.  The reality is, life is happening now, only now.  Letting go of the future allows us to bring whatever happiness is available right here and right now into the moment....regardless of what is going on around you.  Accepting life as it is is the first step to living in the present.


"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away".--Anonymous

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Already?

If it weren't for the dark days,
we wouldn't know what it is to walk in the light.
--Earl Campbell--
 
Another Monday morning!  Spent much of yesterday nursing the aches and pains that come from all the physical labor required to dismantle Christmas and bring the house back to normal.  What a hectic weekend it was!  Shopping, cooking for two weeks, AND taking down the decorations, but it The house is all back in order....village is packed away and books back in their respective places on the shelf. There is something so bittersweet about this activity each year; the season is just so short.  All the fun, excitement, and planning for the holiday is over...and far too quickly.  Adrenaline, once high, has now hit its yearly low.  I really didn't want to do all this this year, all those decorations.   Actually, I say that every year, but every year the village still goes up in the end. It's just so much work for something that comes and goes before we even realize it is here...but it is one of our family traditions.  Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the skaters circling the tree or the children looking in the toy store window as the carolers sing nearby. 

The post holiday blues. Come this time of year, and I find myself overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness...and I am not alone. Many people suffer the post holiday blues. Holidays are times when we suspend our ordinary lives and enter into an entirely different universe. And then, quick as a flash they are over, and we once again find ourselves back in reality. The excitement of pre-holiday planning is over and for some strange reason the blues hit and that joyful sense of new beginning that I felt at New Years has gone. The emotional crash I experience is hard to explain. It feels like something is missing and I experience a sense of sadness and emptiness.

And January can be such cruel month. Terrible weather plagues us, and the cold and darkness keeps us indoors. Perhaps if I could take a nice walk in the country woods, I wouldn't feel so letdown, but alas, I am a city-dweller...and the change of seasons has turned the hot, steamy concrete into an icy walkway; getting about can be difficult in the snow months.  Yet, while the month of February is a cold and bitter month, the arrival of Imbolc at the beginning of the month is a promise that Spring will soon arrive, and new life will begin again.


The bud itself is the miracle.  To watch the upthrust of a daffodil,
to see it take form as a flower-to-be, to see the bud grow and take
on the warmth of color--there is the very synthesis of spring.

--Anonymous--