Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quaker Prayer

If we hope to overcome the ocean of darkness in the world,
we must first light a candle in our own hearts...
Committing oneself to the path of love can be the most revolutionary
way to change. Make the most of your time every day of your life...
As living human beings we are impermanent,
but we are surely not insignificant, Everything we do matters.

-- Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker book of Wisdom

When I was studying for my Interfaith ministerial ordination, I had the privilege of studying the tenets and beliefs of many different religions.  One that I had been quite unfamiliar with was Jainism, but as I began my study, I was fascinated by  what they call the world's most peaceful religion.  

Jainism is an ancient dharmic religion born thousands of years ago in India that focuses its efforts on being peaceful, gentle and respectful towards any living being, whether human, plant or animal.  When I read the above prayer yesterday, I began to ruminate on how much many of the different religions have in common.  For example, although the above is a Quaker prayer, it fits right into the Jain ideals.

The Universal Jain symbol encompasses the core Jain teachings. In its comprehensive form it consists of a moon crescent, three dots, Swastika, palm of hand with a wheel inset and an outline encompassing all these symbols.

  • The upper, the realm of heaven containing the heavenly abodes of all the celestial beings and abode of the Siddhas
  • The lower represents the seven hells. 
  • The center, the Earth and the planets.
The raised hand means 'stop'. There is a word in the center of the wheel  which means non-violence. The two together signify the importance of careful thought before action and also non-violence in thought, speech and action. The wheel in the hand shows that if careful thought does not precede actions, humans are destined to follow the cycle of birth, rebirth and death just as a wheel goes round and round. The four arms of the swastika represent birth into any one of the four destinies...heavenly beings, human beings, animal beings and hellish beings during the incessant cycle of birth and death. The three dots above the swastika represent the three jewels of Jainism: Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. 

Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell? I humbly crave,
Let me once know.
I sought thee in a secret cave,
And ask'd, if Peace were there,
A hollow wind did seem to answer, No:
Go seek elsewhere.

I did; and going did a rainbow note:
Surely, thought I,
This is the lace of Peace's coat:
I will search out the matter.
But while I looked the clouds immediately
Did break and scatter.

Then went I to a garden and did spy
A gallant flower,
The crown-imperial: Sure, said I,
Peace at the root must dwell.
But when I digged, I saw a worm devour
What showed so well.

At length I met a rev'rend good old man;
Whom when for Peace
I did demand, he thus began:
There was a Prince of old
At Salem dwelt, who lived with good increase
Of flock and fold.

He sweetly lived; yet sweetness did not save
His life from foes.
But after death out of his grave
There sprang twelve stalks of wheat;
Which many wond'ring at, got some of those
To plant and set.

It prospered strangely, and did soon disperse
Through all the earth:
For they that taste it do rehearse
That virtue lies therein;
A secret virtue, bringing peace and mirth
By flight of sin.

Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,
And grows for you;
Make bread of it: and that repose
And peace, which ev'ry where
With so much earnestness you do pursue,
Is only there.

George Herbert 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday This and That

Every morning pull yourself up to your full height and stand tall.
Then think tall--think big, elevated thoughts. Then go out
and act tall. Do that and joy will flow to you.

William Danforth

As Monday rolls around, I wonder once again where the time went.  It was a quiet weekend, didn't do much of anything.  I even took a break from the computer yesterday.  Didn't even turn it on. That's really a first for me.   Instead, I spent the day rocking and reading.  I did take a trip to one of our local 99 cent stores and picked up a few things.  On the way back, I saw a sight that I've never seen before in my life.  An elderly Chinese lady was out there feeding the birds and the only way I can describe it is to picture Alfred Hitchcock's film, 'The Birds'. The winter birds, hundreds of them, flying in formation, pigeons flying every which way eager to get theirs.  

It was the seagulls who really amazed me. There were more of them flying about than there than I have ever seen at the beach. They were soaring high in the sky, flying in front cars, and whizzing over people's heads. And the noise level of all of these creatures was unbelievable. I stood there for a moment, mesmerized by the scene in front of me before I raced home to get my camera, but by the time I returned, all the birds except for the seagulls had disappeared.  I snapped some pictures, but my camera is not powerful enough to get good shots.

Well, January is about to come to an end and we've had only about three inches of snow, and with the temperatures nearing the 50's, I doubt we'll even see a flurry before January ends. Last January, 2011, was the snowiest month on record. As of January 27, more than 36 inches of snow had fallen in the city. They say when February rolls in this week, we'll feel more like April has arrived than the dead of winter.

Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. 
 Talk health,
happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. 
Make all your friends
feel there is something in them. 
 Look at the sunny side of everything.
Think only of the best, work only for the best, 
and expect only the best.
Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your won.
Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements
of the future. 
 Give everyone a smile. 
 Spend so much time improving yourself
that you have no time left to criticize others.
Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.

Christian D. Larsen

Friday, January 27, 2012

Iroquois Mid-Winter Ceremony: January 28

The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony begins in late January or early February, depending upon the moon cycle. To be more precise, it begins when the New Moon appears and when the Sun is in Aquarius. It is then that their spiritual year begins and five days later the Midwinter Ceremony begins. As with all Iroquois ceremonies, the Midwinter began and ended with a prayer giving thanks. The Iroquois did not ask the supreme being for anything, but expressed gratitude for what they had already been given. As with all Iroquois ceremonies, the Midwinter began and ended with a prayer giving thanks. The Iroquois did not ask the supreme being for anything, but expressed gratitude for what they had already been given.  What a special way to live!

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. 
We return thanks the rivers and streams which supply us with water. 
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases. 
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squash, which give us life. 
We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit. 
We return thanks to the wind which, moving the air, has banished disease. 
We return thanks to the moon and the stars, which have given us their light, when the sun was gone. 
We return thanks to our grandfather He-no...who has given to us his rain. 
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficient eye.
 Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, 
and who directs all things for the good of his children.

This a time of purification and forgiveness is celebrated by burning the offenses and grudges of the old year in tobacco offerings. It was during the Midwinter Ceremony that the people should beg the Creator for the return of all the plants.  The ceremonies were special times of feasts, dancing, and singing, celebrated with tobacco offerings, confession of offenses, singing, drumming, and dancing. Newly born children receive their names now, and the year ahead is forecast in dream telling, celebrated in music and dance.

An essential part of the Midwinter Festival was the practice of dream guessing. The Iroquois felt very strongly that dreams guided all aspects of their lives – hunting, fighting, even marriage because the dreamer had been in contact with the guidance and wisdom of the soul.    For this reason, it was necessary that any instructions given in a dream be followed. Dreamers came to each festival and shared their dreams with the people there. The people would guess what these dreams meant.On the early northern frontier, it was not unusual for whole Iroquoian communities to base life-or-death decisions on the prophetic dreams. For example, if one person had a dream of failure before a battle, they would retreat, viewing the dream as an omen.  

I've always been fascinated with Native American beliefs, but even more so with the Iroquois. Traditionally, the Iroquois were very religious. As is true of most American Indians, the Iroquois believed that all things on Earth had a spirit. Gods called Creator, Our Grandmother the Moon, and Our Elder Brother the Sun all lived in the sky world. The chief influences directing the religious life of the Iroquois are given as mythology, belief in spirits greater and lesser, ghosts of the dead, gods, dreams, belief in a personal soul, witchcraft, shamans and taboos. 

I think I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven 't, I've been a collector of No-Face dolls for several years.  My mother-in-law told me the dolls had no face because they saw no evil, heard no evil, and saw no evil. The Iroquois offer the following explanation.  Hope you all enjoy this little tale as much as I did. 

The three sisters of the Iroquois, Corn, Beans and Squash are the three spirits that sustain life. In the beginning, the Corn spirit was so happy at being a sustainer of life that she asked the Creator for more ways to help her people. So the Creator began forming a doll from her husks, creating for it a beautiful face, and giving it to the children of the Iroquois. But the doll, as it passed from village to village and child to child, continually proclaimed her beauty, until she became so vain that the Creator disapproved of her and asked her to refrain from such narcissistic behavior. If she continued, the Creator warned, he would have to punish her.

The doll agreed, and attempted to be more humble. But one day, walking by a creek, she glanced into the water and stopped to admire the beauy of her reflection. The Creator, however was unseeing; he sent a giant screech owl down from the sky to snatch her reflection from the water. When she then glaned into the water again to admire her beauty, her reflection was gone. She could no longer see her face or glory in her superior beauty.

Ever since, when an Iroquois mother gives a doll to her child, she usually a doll with no face, and tells the legend of the Corn-Husk doll. The Iroquois want their children to value the unique gifts that the Creator has given to each of them, but not to view themselves as superior to another, or to overemphasize physical appearance at the expense of spiritual and community values.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The City

I own the charms of lovely Nature; still,
In human nature more delight I find.
Though sweet the murmuring voices of the rill,
I much prefer the voices of my kind.

I like the roar of cities. In the mart,

Where busy toilers strive for place and gain,
I seem to read humanity's great heart,
And share its hopes, its pleasures, and its pain.

The rush of hurrying trains that cannot wait,

The tread of myriad feet, all say to me:
"You are the architect of your own fate;
Toil on, hope on, and dare to do and be."

I like the jangled music of the loud

Bold bells; the whistle's sudden shrill reply;
And there is inspiration in a crowd--
A magnetism flashed from eye to eye.

My sorrows all seem lightened and my joys

Augmented when the comrade world walks near;
Close to mankind my soul best keeps its poise.
Give me the great town's bustle, strife, and noise,
And let who will, hold Nature's calm more dear. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 

I love the above poem.  Says everything about the city life.  I've been a city dweller since 1969.  Gosh, has it really been that long? I remember the night I moved here as if it were yesterday.  It is all so clear to me. The rundown hotel where Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary stayed was my home, and Washington Square Park was the place to be...and I was a part of it all. 

But now, now the time has come that I yearn for home. Oh, how it excited me, a young country bumpkin when I first stepped out into the city that morning oh, so long ago, and who would have guessed I would still be here today.  I can't complain. All and all, the city has been good to me.  I've struggled, yes, but I am one of those who came here with a dream and survived.  I've been blessed.  

Seems like I'm rambling today, and maybe I am. Worked on my ancestry last night and feeling a bit melancholy.  Family is what it is all about, and I am really missing mine.

Wishing you all a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

There Was Once a Wise Sage

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.


I have a couple co-workers who have really nasty dispositions. Sometimes I even wonder if they even realize how they come across to others. I find it hard to believe that someone could be so deliberately hurtful.  They've said things to me, just as they have everyone else.  Most of the time I let it go.  I know it comes from their own inner securities, and besides, two wrongs don't make a right.  But sometimes, though, it is impossible to keep your peace.

When we first moved to our new offices, we had the greatest maintenance worker.  She'd been a graduate of our program who had gone on to complete an internship and was eventually hired by the company.  She did a great job of keeping the place clean, but management decided that she was a bit too close to all of us so they moved her to another floor.  Since that time, it has been 'hit and miss' in the cleaning department there.

The other day a new girl was assigned to our floor.  Well, she is not exactly new, but this is her first time working our floor.  I'd seen her around the building before but we'd never really spoke, so when I saw her, I called her over and introduced myself and started a little conversation to make her feel comfortable.  It was then that my office mate stopped playing her GAME, which she plays every day, all day, when not on personal calls,  and turned around and said in a very 'nasty' tone, "You people don't do any work around here."  You people????  How dare she?  And I told her so.  When she quipped a nasty remark my way, I responded with, "People who live in glass houses should never throw stones."  She didn't get it.

If you could have seen the hurt look on the girl's face.  All she said was, "Wow, that's a low blow" and walked away.  Several times I've tried to engage the girl, but now, it is like she has the impression that we all think we are 'better than' because we have office jobs and walks away.  Perhaps in time the girl's pain will heal.   

When people say cruel things to us, it hurts.   I know this from experience.  During my childhood, I was pretty much beaten down by words, from both my parents and my peers.  And, verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse.  As I always told my clients in my domestic violence group...bruises will go away.   Despite the claim of the old nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" names DO hurt and DO inflict injuries that last a lifetime. 

When we sincerely praise someone else, we encourage them and careless words spoken in anger, thoughtlessness or because someone hurt you are sharp daggers that can penetrate through the heart. Words can be used for good, and used for evil, so what are you going to do with your words. We must always remember that, when we speak, we either make someones day or we ruin it. Our words can hurt or our words can heal. It is up to us how we use them.

Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect.
We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.

U. Thant

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aquarius, the Water Bearer

Aquarius symbols always incorporate water. The simplest of these symbols is a pair of squiggly lines, representing waves.

Aquarius is the 11th sign of the western zodiac. Aquarius constellation is located in the southern hemisphere in the region of the sky sometimes referred to as the Sea, because it contains a number of constellations with names related to water The element for Aquarius is 'Air', but, ironically, its  name means water-bearer (or cup-bearer) in Latin. and it represents water. It is a fixed sign. Aquarians are the stubborn ones, and want to keep things as they are. The symbol of Aquarius is a water bearer, a young man pouring water into the mouth of the  constellation Pisces.

Aquarius is traditionally thought to be ruled by the planet Saturn, but, since the discovery of Uranus in 1781, many astrologers have labelled Uranus as the ruler or co-ruler of Aquarius. This planet takes approximately seven years to journey through a sign of the zodiac, taking about 84 years to complete all twelve signs of the zodiac cycle.  In Greek mythology, Uranus is connected to the divine mind and is said to have invented the world.  He is said to have been  born from Gaea, the Earth, and he became the god of the sky. His rains fertilized the Earth and gave birth to many kinds of human-like creatures.  Uranus is known in astrology as the 'Awakener' because its aspects and transits bring sudden changes and shocks.

In Babylonian mythology, Aquarius is identified as the god Ea himself and, according to the Egyptians, Aquarius pours water into the Nile River at the season when the Nile normally overflows its banks; this brings the much-needed water to the farmlands bordering that great river. In some images he is seen watering the earth from two large jugs. In the Hebrew zodiac, Aquarius represented the tribe of Reuben, 'unstable as water.' In the New Testament Christians of the 16th and 17th centuries appropriately likened Aquarius to John the Baptist and to Judas Thaddaeus the Apostle.

According to Norse mythology, Aquarius was considered Wall's palace, and it was supposed to be covered with silver. In the Indian zodiac, the name of the constellation is 'Kumbha,' meaning 'Water Jar.' In the context of Hinduism and Hindu mythology, it is also symbolic of the womb. The Arabs who were so dependent on the water of the rainy season saw Aquarius as a bucket because their religion forbids them from showing pictures of any living form.

In February, the Aquarius month, the sun entered the Peruvian sign known by the name 'Mother of Waters'.  The Water Mother was figured as a sacred lake located in the Southern Fish and the Crane. The month of February marks the height of the rainy season in the Andes, and the rivers are then in flood so that the powers of the Mother of Waters are at this season most conspicuously displayed. 

In Greek mythology, Aquarius is usually associated with Ganymede, the cup-bearer of the gods. Ganymede was a beautiful youth of Phrygia, and the son of King Tros of Troy. Ganymede was so beautiful that he caught Zeus’ eye, prompting the god to disguise himself as an eagle (represented by the constellation Aquila) and carry him off to Olympus to serve as cup-bearer to the gods in place of Hebe. 

The Aquarian is an independent free spirit, and are considered to be the ones who create change and start revolutions.   They are frank, practical, idealistic and spiritual. Equality, freedom and fairness are important issues for them. In this regard, we often find the Aquarian individual associated with a search for truth, change,  humanitarian issues and causes. Aquarian people also make very loyal and good friends, and will always be there to help you if they are needed.

The problem with Aquarius individuals is that they have difficulty adapting. Being an air sign, this signifies that they are a fixed sign, which makes it hard to be flexible. At times the Aquarian may seem unapproachable and distant, but far from being deliberately unfriendly, Aquarius is simply guarded.

Monday, January 23, 2012

As Monday Rolls Around...Again

For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson--

I love the above prayer of Thanksgiving. I have found that whenever I am feeling sorry for myself, repeating the above has always been a source of support.   There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and often enough we focus so much on the negative we forget about all the wonderful things in our lives.  I woke up this morning, and before I even had a sip of coffee, I began to make myself feel miserable because I 'didn't want to go to work.' A wave of the 'poor me's' came over me. 

I often find myself so focused on my dream of retirement that I forget that many out there can't find a job.  People are losing their homes, their families, everything they have. Homeless shelters are full, and housing programs have lost their funding.  Where does it all end?  I often think that take away my paycheck and 'there go I'.  It is a frightening feeling to know that you are only one paycheck away from losing everything you have. 

I am blessed with my new home and the love I receive from friends and family.  There was a time in my life I had neither. There were times that I laid across the bed and forced myself to sleep the day away because I had nothing to eat.  Now I try never to forget where I once was and where I am now.  I may feel sorry for myself at times but life truly is good.  

Too many of us take life for granted. I love when, in my groups at work we go around for check-in and client's say, "I am grateful that I woke up this morning." Being alive and in good health is a gift that I am thankful for. When I wake up every morning and still have the breath of life inside of me, I am thankful for my life.

Today I light this candle in gratitude for life.

Between Sleep and Waking

Softly in a dream I heard,
Ere the day was breaking,
Softly call a cuckoo bird
Between sleep and waking.

Calling through the rippling rain
And red orchard blossom;
Calling up old love again,
Buried in my bosom;

Calling till he brought you too
From some magic region;
And the whole spring followed you,
Birds on birds in legion.

Youth was in your beaming glance,
Love a rainbow round you;
Blushing trees began to dance,
Wreaths of roses crowned you.

And I called your name, and woke
To the cuckoo's calling;
And you waned in waning smoke,
As the rain was falling.

Had the cuckoo called 'Adieu,'
Ere the day was breaking?
All the old wounds bled anew
Between sleep and waking.

Mathilde Blind

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Snowy Saturday

The snow whispers around me
And my wooden clogs
Leave holes behind me in the snow.
But no one will pass this way
Seeking my footsteps,
And when the temple bell rings again
They will be covered and gone.

Amy Lowell

The first snow of the year.  My food is simmering on the stove, and I am sitting here in front of the window, watching the snow gently fall to the ground, and almost 'too' gently it falls.  I'd actually been hoping for a more spectacular view, but the snow has not lived up to what was forecasted, at least in my section of Brooklyn.  But, I've talked about this for so long and now, here I am, enjoying my rocking chair just as I always said I would. Took some pictures, but I'm still trying to find a way to download them. The memory card doesn't work, and the wire my son was using got bent in the move.  I know I have to buy a new one, but now I have misplaced the old one, so I don't even know what to ask for.  The photo above is from last year. 

After I posted yesterday, I took a shower, put on my makeup, all but got dressed and heard the weatherman say 'snow up to 4pm on Saturday.  3 to 5 inches', and picked up my phone to call in.  Did my food shopping yesterday instead.  I have to say, I am missing my old supermarket.  I've been to this new one three times, and still can't get used to it.  Told one of the workers there I felt like I was getting a 'workout' at the gym what with all these armlifts and running around.  Seems like just about every other item I need is up so high I have to stretch to reach it.  I did mention that I didn't think it was the wisest move to keep ten pound bags of cat litter on a shelf so high.  What if someone reached for it, and it fell on their head?  I tend to think of silly things like that, but hey, it can happen. 

I'm anxious now to get a small table for my kitchen so I can begin my garden. My blogger friend, Wendy  has the greatest indoor garden.  She really has inspired me.  I've so many things on my list to buy, but a small table to sit in front of my window has moved to the head of the list.  Hubby says there won't be much room, but the way I look at it is, 'where there is a will, there is a way.'  Any suggestions from you indoor gardeners?

My heart is a garden tired with autumn,
Heaped with bending asters and dahlias heavy and dark,
In the hazy sunshine, the garden remembers April,
The drench of rains and a snow-drop quick and clear as a spark;
Daffodils blowing in the cold wind of morning,
And golden tulips, goblets holding the rain—
The garden will be hushed with snow, forgotten soon, forgotten—
After the stillness, will spring come again?

Sara Teasdale 

Friday, January 20, 2012


You are given the gifts of the gods,
You create your reality according to your beliefs.
Yours is the creative energy that makes your world.
There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in.

-Seth (As channelled by Jane Roberts) in
'The Nature Of Personal Reality, Chap. 22, Session 677' -

It's hard to believe, isn't it? Another weekend is upon us. Seems he weeks fly by so quickly now that I hardly know they were there. We're in for some rather inclement weather tomorrow...sleet and rain. Couldn't wait until Sunday, could it? Had to be stormy on the day I head for the supermarket. 

I've decided this week that I'm going to pick up some baking supplies. I'm actually very anxious about it. Haven't baked now in about 13 years. I tried the first two years at the other house, but it was just too difficult and no fun the way the kitchen was set up. Pound cake is on the menu...as well as some scones. (Robin, you had my mouth watering when you mentioned it). Heck, maybe even some hot cinnamon buns as a treat.

Has anyone here read the Seth materials? Way back then I read them all.

You share an existence with others who are experiencing their own journeys in their own ways, and you
have journeying in common, then. Be kind to yourself and to your companions."

Seth was a personality who is no longer living in our physical reality, and from late in 1963 until 1984, when Jane passed away, Seth spoke through Jane Roberts. The readings were recorded both in long hand and later on audio tape. Collectively the sessions are frequently referred to as the Seth material. Don't know if it was a hoax, but he had a lot of good things to say. 

Seth often spoke of 'creating your own reality.' We truly reap what we sow. And I also think our thoughts are much more powerful then we realize. You are indeed living what you believe. For example, if one believes they are a failure, this experience is perpetuated in various repeat situations throughout their life. When we finally look into the self and face these irrational beliefs and fears of failure, a release is achieved, and a way is found to come to know self is no failure. Sound familiar? Pretty much like the more recent Toltec teachings. 

The Seth books have sold over 7 million copies and been translated into 11 languages. Most of the original material has been archived at the Yale University library.

Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul

The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book

The "Unknown" Reality, Volumes I & II

The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression

The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events: A Seth Book

Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment, Volumes I & II

The Magical Approach

The following are a few more of my favorite quotes:

"As long as you fight for greed and gain, there will be no peace."

"You create your reality according to your beliefs and expectations, therefore you should examine these carefully. If you do not like some aspect of your world, then examine your own expectations" 

"...if you do not have a loving concern for the environment in which you dwell, it will no longer sustain you - you will not be worthy of it. You will not be destroying the planet, you see. You will not be destroying the birds, or the flowers, or the grain, or the animals. You will not be worthy of them, and they will be destroying you."

"Realize that your physical experience and environment is the materialization of your beliefs. If you find great exuberance, health, effective work, abundance, smiles on the faces of those who you meet, then take it for granted that your beliefs are beneficial. If you see a world that is good, people like you, take it for granted again, that your beliefs are beneficial. But if you find poor health, a lack of meaningful work, a lack of abundance, a world of sorrow and evil, then assume your beliefs are faulty and begin examining them."

"You should tell yourself frequently, I will only react to constructive suggestions, for this gives you some protection against your own negative thoughts and those of others."

May you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dealing With Loss...Again

You ever get those days when you realize you should never have gotten out of bed?  Those days when you find yourself taking deep breaths and repeating the Serenity Prayer more often than naught?  Oh my, since they changed our program to a mental health program, those days seem to be coming more and more frequently.  Yesterday was the day from hell.
It began when I got up.  I 'really' didn't want to go.  I was tired and  suffering from a sinus headache.  Thought about calling in, but I didn't.  By the time I realized my mistake, it was already too late.  Again, I forgot my I.D.  Now, our I.D. just happens to be a key to get in as well.  You swipe the back of it and the door opens.  I was able to get into the office, but it sure got to be a pain in the butt when I had to use the ladies' room.

In group, I put on a video that "I" had bought and all was well until about ten minutes before the end.  That's when it got stuck and wouldn't go any further.  Turns out that someone who had borrowed it had not taken care of it and left a big scratch.

I walked out of group when it was over to find two clients waiting for me.  Both had emergencies that could not wait so they followed me to the front desk and pestered me while I was trying to sign everyone out. The first was a female client who decided that 'she didn't need to be in this program, that she wanted to go to college instead'.  I had to remind her of her excessive alcohol use and that she must get that under control before moving on to anything else; hence, the necessity of attending the program.

The other client has not shown to the program in almost two months.  He has been medication non-compliant and it was obvious that he was not himself.  He was yelling and carrying on so that 911 had to be called.  But, none of this prepared me for the news that was to come.

In the midst of this all, I got 'the call'.  One of my ex clients had passed away.  His sisters found him in his apartment.  The housing program had a myriad of questions for me, and I was really having difficulty holding myself together.  I'd worked with this for two years; he was the nicest person.  Never raised his voice.  An alcoholic, he always had a hard time staying clean and sober.  He'd put together a few months, then disappear.  Later we'd find out he'd put himself in detox or the psychiatric ward.  And, he had always been suicidal so when he disappeared, there was always that nagging fear along with the sigh of relief when he finally did show up.

After my office moved to our new location, his attendance dropped off, and he admitted to me he wasn't very comfortable with the new place.  After much discussion, we decided that perhaps it would be better for him to attend a program closer to his home.  At first he was agreeable, but then, as the day drew near for him to leave, he balked.  Everything for his transfer had already been put in place, and he got a little angry about it and told other clients I was 'putting him out', but he followed through, and all seemed to be going well.

About two weeks the psychiatrist and I received a telephone call from him. He told me that "although I was angry about being put out, I realize that what you did was because you wanted to help me.  I'm going to the other program, and I like it.  I'm just calling to thank you for all the support you have given me.  I love you, Mary.  You've always been good to me."   Our psychiatrist got pretty much the same call.  We both had an eerie feeling about it.

Over the weekend his sister found him in his apartment, most likely cause an overdose.   His calls to me and the doctor had indeed been a good-bye.  

Today, I light this candle for Pascual.  May he finally find the peace that he never found in life. 

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Waning Moon

And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapped in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky east,
A white and shapeless mass.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

This morning as I was waiting for my train, I looked up and the Moon was still visible in the sky.  She was just little more than a sliver as she continues her cycle from full to New.  

As the Moon grows smaller, its energy represents reflection and cleansing. The Waning Moon is sometimes called an old Moon. It’s seen in the east before dawn. The waning moon parallels sunset, when energy subsides and stabilizes.  During the Waning Moon we work on that which we wish to release, to cleanse, and to let go of. It is the time for endings. In ancient Greek culture, the goddess Demeter who signifies the harvest.

Mythically, the Waning Moon is symbolic of the Crone, the wise woman, the elder who knows the secrets of life. She is the woman who has reached a certain age and has come to a point in her life where she has skills she can teach to the younger generation and wisdom to pass on. This, the autumn cycle of her life,  follows the preparation of the maiden, the fulfillment of the mother, and now the woman as Crone comes into her own, bringing inner wisdom, guidance and the mysteries. It is the time later in life when our experience is sought as wisdom.

The Crone is connected with the color black, night, endings, the cauldron, caves, the spider and web, the owl, the raven, and the Waning or Dark Moon. She represents old age, maturity, the command for respect, winter, and the waning moon. She holds life and death as one within her. She is the post-menstrual woman Since the Crone is usually at the time of life when she no longer bears children, she has the ability to gather her force once spent in this area and focus her energies and creativity on other matters 

Youth, large, lusty, loving--youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace, force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid--day of the immense sun, action, ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and restoring darkness.

Walt Whitman

At 64, soon to be 65, I'm not totally a crone, but I realize I am nearing the age because of the respect I receive at work. The others don't like to tell jokes or talk dirty in front of me.  And I have a lot more aches and pains than I used to. My wrinkles are deepening, my neck is drooping, and the grays are taking over. My children have grown and are on their own. And I ask myself, 'Are you ready for this? Are you ready to be a Crone?' You bet I am. I am ready to accept the power of the Crone.

Nature gives you the face
you have at twenty; it is up to
you to merit the face
you have at fifty.

Coco Chanel

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to Work

The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you'd just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency.

--Susan Allen Toth, England For All Seasons--

Well, it is back to work on a rainy day.  (Sigh)  It seems that these three-day weekends pass by so very quickly, and I am finding it gets harder and harder to get myself up and out the door.  On a day like this, I'd like nothing more than to call in sick, pull up the covers, and go back to sleep , but, alas, we are not allowed to call in the day before or after a holiday.  If so, we need a doctor's note. Otherwise, they take one of our personal days from us, and I want to be the one to choose when I take my personal time. 

Oh well, I'm not going to complain.  I'm here, and I am dry, and I plan to make the best of it. A little colder, and we might be in the midst of an ice storm. 

Wishing you all a wonderful day.