Re-engaging with my blog, after a long hiatus, is honoring my practice to follow what pulls me.
I created this blog five years ago, as part of my work with altars and sacred space, www.altarswithin.com
After just two blog posts, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. All of my energy turned to the quest for wellness.
Good news: I’ve come out on the other side of chronic Lyme. It’s not that I’ve licked it, but I’m embracing its lessons and blessings, making the most of my privileged life. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!
The pull to blogging comes with the query, “Why blog now?” The broadest, clearest motivation is to juice INSPIRATION, my drug of choice.
Inspiration pulls me up by the bootstraps when I’m dragging, disenchanted, and discouraged.
The gift of Lyme disease is that, at long last, I’m learning how to live in a BODY. Specifically, it computes as finding how to honor and negotiate fatigue…how to build and sustain a practice for strengthening my body…how to create changes in my brain, getting the nervous system to calm down so my body’s healing mechanisms can do their thing.
Puppy Tara, our two-year old golden retriever, is my boddhisattva. She’s teaching me about presence, living in the moment, taking long naps, stretching my body—and playing!
These are a few of my favorite things…
I LOVE…travel to distant lands, intimate conversations, the first light of morning, laughing ‘til I cry, walks in the forest, being there for others, cuddling Tara, Beauty in all of its forms, free flow days without a schedule. Oh! And silence! Ahhhhhhhhh.
I LOVE…being a wife, step-mom, grandparent, friend. I’m the last living member of my nuclear family. Native of Chicago, USA, I relished childhood summers with grandparents in Michigan. The forest was my grandmother’s cathedral. I inherited her reverence for the Natural World.
I LOVE…making bold moves! Bold, for me, can be as small as applying tempera paint over an image in my visual journal, and as grand as swimming with 60 ft. humpback whales in the deep blue waters of the Caribbean…or, like now–blogging!
Dear Reader, thank you for checking out my blog. As we meet in this moment, my blessing wishes fly to you. Meo
What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.
What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.*
I first heard these words in the cozy living room of an Irish cottage, there with my husband, Bill, and a small group of other travelers. A blazing fire crackled in the hearth. The mantle was adorned with the singularly beautiful, ancient rocks of the countryside, all bathed in the yummy glow of candlelight.
It was a dream of a morning, my first ever in Eire, the homeland of my paternal grandparents. What better way than to be here with a poet, our tour leader, David Whyte!
David’s words–what you can plan is too small for you to live–blew my heart wide open, bypassing all the defenses of my mind. It was the moment I said “yes” to a friendship with the Unknown.
Shortly before our departure for Ireland, I’d followed the deep guidance of my inner voice and ended my work of 30 years in K-12 public education. I was exhausted. The best part of me had been missing for months. My intention: “Find what pulls you.”
First, I made space to reflect on the blessings of my tenure as artist-educator and administrator within the K–12 school system. I‘d enjoyed myriad opportunities to work with students, teachers, school managers, and community leaders. While facilitating creative process, I had witnessed breathtaking expressions of self, like windows to the soul; the ultimate of beauty and blessing!
Hanging out in the void of no work was scary! My primary way of being in the world had been to push myself.
As so often happens, a personal crisis created the shift from push to pull.
My mother-in-law was critically ill in a large, urban hospital. Seeking to quiet my fear, I visited the hospital chapel. I was surprised to find myself in a space devoid of life, filled only with the relentless buzz of fluorescent lights. As others entered the chapel, my heart opened to a circle of suffering beyond my own. Behind me, a woman cried. In front of me, a man collapsed on the bench with a shuddering sigh. The voice in my head whispered, “Bring beauty here.”
As soon as possible, I returned with an offering: fresh flowers and a note inviting others to add visual prayers for loved ones. Over the next few days, many contributed names, room numbers, words, plants and flowers, images and small objects, including a sparkling red paper heart, the picture of a cruise ship at sea, and a pair of safety glasses. Gazing at this montage, I experienced a deep connection with the larger prayer and with Divine Grace-—so comforting.
Mom rallied. When we left the hospital setting, I removed the prayer altar (a prior agreement with the chaplain). At home, in ritual context, I burned the messages and released the non-paper objects with honoring, except for the glasses. Trusting my intuitive attraction to them, I placed the glasses on my home altar and wondered: “What do you want me to see?”
The hospital altar wasn’t a random inspiration. It came from my core: the instinct to create beauty; and the longtime use of altars and personal ritual as outer mirrors of my inner life. Yet, the action was totally unplanned, a wholehearted “pull” that couldn’t be denied!
My personal journey over the past 10 years (since Ireland and the hospital experience) is filled with enormous change, mystery, and paradox.
The outer world events include creating the new work of my dreams–embracing it’s evolution and surrendering to its non-linear trajectory while supporting my Mom, my Sister, and my husband’s Mom through many phases of crossroad and passage.
Through the deep and wide rivers of change, loss, and new life, I’ve had countless opportunities to…
… hone my intuition for what pulls me,
… know grief and trust myself in its depths,
… ask for help and embrace my worthiness to receive it,
… inhabit my body and cherish the moment, breath by breath,
… practice profound gratitude,
… extend the reach of my allegiance to Beauty as a healing grace,
… and act boldly on the belief that my unique gifts are exactly what the world needs now!
*Opening quote from David Whyte’s poem, “What to remember when waking.”