Friday, January 27, 2017



It is - 15° tonight in Kalispell. I am sitting in front of the fire with my Irish sweater pulled close. My rabbit has been brought in from the porch and is snuggled into a crate in the mudroom. She is happily munching alfalfa hay and animal crackers. The dog and cats are snoozing contentedly near my legs. As I imagine all of the wildlife outdoors in this frigid cold, I think of my garden and my seeds that lay resting under the snow.

I planted hollyhock and poppies late in November. The timing has to be just right. If planting is too early, the seeds may be tempted to germinate. If I wait too long, the soil may freeze hard prohibiting the planting. Right now, the blanket of white is protecting them from the sub-zero temperatures and keeping them hydrated. The soil rises and falls as it freezes and thaws throughout the winter. The upheaval softens the tough exterior of the shell. The seed actually benefits from the harshness of the conditions. The flower sleeping within would remain imprisoned if the shell was not worn and weathered from stress.

The seeds do not question the timing. The seeds do not pace or fret under the snow. They seem to know that all the difficulties they are going through will allow them to open even more fully when conditions are right. It is me that sets up a happy light to cope and is anxious about the future. Will there be enough wood for the season? Will my loved one return? My seeds wait in quiet anticipation. The idea that spring will not come or that they will not bloom, never crosses their mind. Embarrassed, I admit, I do not have the faith of my tiny seeds. I look behind me and I see tattered dreams and broken promises. Do I dare to imagine that spring will bring growth and healing? “Trust,” says the seed.

 I see that the way I greet each day as a choice. The sub-zero temperatures and continual clouds can push me deeper into the recesses of coffee and doubts. Or, I can decide to accept the circumstances I face and stop resisting life. Winter winds blow and the thermometer falls in spite of bracing myself against them. Surrender is the best option. I lay down my shield of protection, my need for control. The effort is futile. Life will have its way with or without my permission.

 Inside the seed is a memory of sunshine and a vision of green tomorrows. I too, hold the remembrance of the heat of physical union and the effervescence of unbridled laughter. Love waits within me for the right conditions. My garden seeds can wait decades, if necessary, to burst forth in magnificent display, their colors bringing joy and happiness to all that see them. The same can be said for a Divine Partnership. When the love is unconditional and the timing is perfect, the relationship is a blessing to all that meet them. Their energy reverberates across humanity and beyond boundaries. These couples truly walk hand in hand with their Creator. They are living examples of compassion and forgiveness. This path is not for the weak of heart. There are obstacles and tests of commitment all along the way. This relationship is worth the delays endured. 

 My seeds will continue resting under the snow, realizing that soon this phase will pass. It’s not long now, when they can burst through the soil and unfurl their leaves in the warmth of the sun. The rain will patter down on their buds and they will burst forth with enthusiasm. I will give thanks for them and shower them with gratitude for demonstrating that there is a Divine Plan, that all is in order in the world. I am not the Master of my Universe. I can let my seed coat drop and relax in the reassurance that all is well. Faith and Trust, my seeds keep reminding me. I may not be able to see it out my window today, but it is all I need to hold.

 Spring is just around the corner. The trees will bud out in their beautiful yellow-green and the robins and the red-winged blackbirds will return. The lake will thaw and the cherry blossoms will bring forth their pink radiance. My love is ready. My seeds and I await the perfect conditions to break free of constraints and bring joyfulness into the world. Watch out, here we come!






Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Do It Yourself Project

I have been working on a project for most of my adult life. There have been moments of discouragement when I think I will never see the final result. Each year I get older and each year I see how much more needs remodeling. Maybe, I should just plug in the television and drink a beer. Then there are times when the progress is noticeable, and I give thanks for the hours invested. I’ve spent decades peeling away the layers, sanding off rough corners and sewing the fabric that was torn. I’ve returned the pieces that were not mine to their rightful owners and restored the treasures that had been lost or stolen. Defensive walls have been removed brick by brick; boundary lines have been set stone by stone. Plans have been drawn and modified. Ideas have been revised and discarded. Locations have changed. The challenge has been to sort out what is rubbish and should be tossed, and what is truth and should be saved. The physical exterior has deteriorated slightly but the interior is polishing up quite nicely.

As any do-it-yourselfer knows, there is a plethora of opinions out there on any subject. I consult with experts. I read books, watch You Tube videos, attend conferences, listen to eminent speakers and gather with like-minded students. But, it is ultimately up to me to get the work done. I am my project.

I cannot hire a contractor to complete this self-improvement task. I wish I could employ someone else to run on the tread mill when I am feeling tired, but the results would be disappointing. I could sit in a chair and read about exercise but the desired effects would allude me. I must do it myself. No one else can sweat for me. After a 20 year sabbatical, I am practicing karate. There is no short cut to remembering the forms or strengthening my muscles. It’s going to take effort and focus to reap the benefits. I am helping myself by watching videos and practicing in between classes at the gym. It’s up to me to commit the time to hone my skill. The same goes for my horseback riding with Lakota. I cannot improve my proficiency with her if I do not get on. It’s up to me to establish the body language and cues that allow us to communicate. 

I have chosen a spiritual path. My intent is to learn how to discern between the egoic mind, which is forever playing in my head, and the Divine Spirit that moves through me. My Creator has a heck of a time getting through to me when there is an endless dialogue of old conditioning blocking my guidance system. I challenged myself to 100 days of one hour meditations. In the stillness, I am allowing old fears, triggers, parental accusations and limitations to rise to the surface and be healed. I know when it is my mind bubbling forth when I can watch the thought and label it “past” or “future”. The Divine speaks to me in the moment, in the “holy instant.” My Spirit is calm and steady; it has no needs or wants. It is love, flowing in and out. Worry, fear, and anxiety are only the mind. I get to this place of awareness by doing the work. I cannot hire an expert or drop off my brain for dissection while I go to the office. If it was possible, it would be worth taking out a loan for this job. Sitting with my heart and mind for countless hours is committing to the project. I have to do this myself. Each session leaves me more peaceful than the previous. Even if I am distracted or feel heavy in my center, I continue because I know my connection to my soul is worth the investment of time. Serenity and spiritual evolution are my goals. There is no race or deadline. I’ll keep at it until I get there. 

Each person and situation that comes to me is a mirror for me to reflect my progress. My outer world reveals my inner being. Judgmental individuals no longer hold power over me; I see the punishment they inflict on themselves. There is nothing that could be done to meet their approval since their mind is continually berating them with criticism. The mind is forever creating separation between people and with Spirit. If we tap into the knowing that is deep down inside of us, we will be reassured and comforted. The static is our societal and familial belief system smacking up against our knowing. Peace is possible once we sort through the clutter and reorganize our inner space. The mind is a useful tool once it has been tamed and is not allowed to run the show. “Be still and know that I am God.” Let your heart guide you. Find the stillness between the thoughts. Rest here. Finding true peace is a do-it-yourself project. Volumes of journals that I have written over my life, track my progress. They are also a recording of how many times I fell off the track. What I can say is that I have somehow found the strength each time to get up and go back to the stripping and painting, the digging and sowing. The love I embody becomes purified and shines brighter after every opportunity for growth, which can - at first glance - look like an obstacle.

There are times when I can hire someone to help me with my project, like getting a good haircut or enjoying a massage. The rest is up to me. I realize I am a fixer-upper. Peace and happiness visit me more and more often in my rehabilitated vessel. I am worth the time I spend. It has taken me a long time to feel this way. Each time someone walks out my door, never to return, I understand that I may have insecurity or a fear that needs healing. Or, it can be that they are not in a place of receiving love at this moment. The other person may feel unworthy or broken in some way. I bless them and thank them. When I am in connection with the Divine, my being burns brightly with an internal fire even in the midst of a cold Montana winter.

Best of luck on all your projects. I will always be a work in progress. I’m going back to my buffing and scouring.