Mamacita

 

DSC02095

We keep our eyes on our feral cat Mamacita. We house her in a heated abode and when she doesn’t want to sleep there, we make sure there is another choice – also heated. Perhaps the wind is coming from the wrong direction, we make sure she has choices.
Her water dish is heated and refreshed regularly. Her food is offered room temperature and fresh. She allows us to pet her most of the time. This has all taken about four years.
When she is here we feel relaxed, part of a larger whole. We pay some of the same attention to the birds and other, what we call creatures, that we live with and around. We have the ability to think we make their life better and we depend on that.
When Mamacita is elsewhere – we don’t know where – we are on the lookout. Somewhat uncomfortable in our skin. Is she OK? Will she come back? Did something eat her? It can be an internal (interfamily) struggle sometimes – one of us says keep her thinner so she can run fast and another may say she needs to be warm and able to go days without food if that were to become necessary. But no one of us can resist her face at the window, so she is fed generously.
She has given us three kittens and we have given her the end of her motherhood in a moment of neutering – where it was assured she would never be tamed. We think it may take a bit more time and we think she will be inside with us one day. We are not (collectively) sure if this will be a great moment in our history!
In the meantime, we lean on her for our self approval. And when she doesn’t reject our care, when she takes in our nurturance, we are so happy and feel so blessed.
DSC02101

 

 

 

Easter

IMG_3029

 

Always an “easy” holiday, Easter was my favorite. Sometimes it fell on my birthday and I could be special in the spring welcome with daffodils and pansies.
I kept the tradition of making a cake in the shape of a lamb for many years. Recently I took the cake mold to my daughter Becky’s house and we made a cake together – and I left the mold with her! She has been asking for a lamb cake for some time and I look forward to many more bakings with me going to her house or her bringing the cake mold to me. Nice to switch up the traditions. It was great to sit with her family and friends talking about Easters past – and not actually doing anything!
Lambs – all babies and most animals – are filled with expression and rarely have a negative vibe. Easter doesn’t explore guilt or blame – particularly if you stick to the Pagan tradition – and who can complain about coloring eggs and looking for them.
I am going to skip the blood and guts of the Passion in favor of reveling in the rite of winter’s passage and my own deep pleasure in the coming of spring.

The Language of Doubt

DSC00212_HDR

 

This morning as the cats and dogs aligned themselves with my body in a way designed to prompt wakefulness, I was reminded that the only difference between aggravation and enjoyment is how I see it.
“It” can be anything. Does the above photo look ominous? Playful? Beautiful? If I remember correctly, (or if I don’t) it was windy in a playful way and I was stirred to participate with the earth and the wind, the clouds were my playmates and my feet were happy to be on the ground.
I have to say that I prefer those unchallenging times – but, it’s all in the way I see it, isn’t it?
IMG_2152

 

How to be Your Best Friend’s Best Friend

Last night a dear friend texted to get help with her brother’s dying dog who happened to be the sibling and litter mate of her own dog. She was worried about her dog as well as her brother’s and wanted to know how they were handling what was going on for them all.
When I went to speak to Sugar, the dog whose death from cancer was imminent, I got a huge wave of concern for my friend. I called her immediately and heard her confusion in what the focus of concern and help should be.
She had a lot going on, the death and possible pain of Sugar, the chance that this could happen to her own dog and her own concern for herself and her brother. A lot of emotional threads.
I think this is the thing I really do in animal communication. I listen for the threads and put them together in a way that soothes the humans involved. The vet had told them Sugar was not in pain, Sugar told me another story and said that this pain was not a big deal, she was ready to die and be away from the discomfort and, yes, pain that life was bringing her now. She was ready was her main theme.
Actually the most impacted was my friend’s dog who was apart from her, she is a nervous dog to begin with and her companion was emotionally torn and confused. Dogs can stand a lot. They have a resilience that boggles our minds and hearts. They are patient and forgiving beyond our wildest imaginations, but it is hard for them to have the people they look to as their chief focus be overwhelmed.
One of the best ways we can help our companions is to take a break, a breath, a walk. Do what they want for a few minutes a few times a day – walks, treats, a little panting never hurts. It could change us into being the humans they treat as if we already are.
DSC00034

At bottom, the reason why we’re scared of rejection, failure, intimacy, embarrassment, abandonment, loss, the unknown, being judged, being alone, losing control, expressing our true feelings, and so many other things is that we’ve mistakenly identified ourselves with our limited ego self. When we know ourselves to be one with the ground of all existence, then nothing is separate or foreign to our nature and all of our unhealthy fears dissolve.

From Deepak Chopra’s “Awaken to Happiness Replace Fear with Love”

HP0014

I have loved you
Through fear and rainy days
Long summers of sunshine
And sometimes boredom caused
By anxiety from too much abundance.
Birds have flown in unison
As my heart’s involvement turns
On a dime. I am benevolent and unkind
Trained in no jurisprudence but the flat
Feet of the ego, mine, steps uncannily
On searching toes, on my heart as it (I)
Divide, not meiosis, but some momentary
Clamor in my brain that I believe.
The best I can do is know I am lost,
That I am found and, stunningly,
There is little difference between.

 

“My Heart is Green and Growing”   painting by Pam White

this must be shared – from Mary Oliver

Leda and the Swan

 

From Mary Oliver’s book, Winter Hours

The Swan

Years ago I set three “rules” for myself. Every poem I write, I said, must have a genuine body, it must have sincere energy, and it must have a spiritual purpose. If a poem to my mind failed any one of these categories it was rebuked and redone, or discarded. Over the forty or so years during which writing poems has been my primary activity, I have added other admonitions and consents. I want every poem to “rest” in intensity,. I want  it to be rich with pictures of the world. I want it to carry threads from the perceptually felt world to the intellectual world. I want each poem to indicate a life lived with intelligence, patience, passion, and whimsy (not my life – not necessarily! – but the life of my formal self, the writer).
I want the poem to ask something and, at its best moments, I want the question to remain unanswered. I want it to be clear that answering the question is the reader’s part in an implicit author-reader pact. Last but not least, I want the poem to have a pulse, a breathiness, some moment of earthly delight. (While one is luring the reader into the enclosure of serious subjects, pleasure is by no means an unimportant ingredient.)
“The Swan” has some of these qualities. It has as well a “secret” humor; I was watching geese not swans when I began the poem – that is, thought of the poem, felt it in concept, and wrote down a few lines. Since I had only recently written a poem about geese, I thought I would intensify the poem’s display, and make something even fancier than wild geese out of the beautiful bird shapes I was watching. I thought this fairly funny, and I remember it was therefore with a certain light-hearted pleasure that I proceeded with the description. Though unknown as a fact to the reader, I don’t wonder at all if my mood attuned me more finely than otherwise to my work – I am sure it did.
The form was no problem – long sentences and short lines, a little enjambment to keep things going (the swan is in motion) but not too much, so that the lines, like the swan’s movements are decisive, and keep their dignity. Take out some commas for smoothness and because almost every poem in the universe moves too slowly. Then, once the “actual” is in place (in words), begin to address the reason for taking the reader’s good and valuable time – invite the reader to want to do something beyond merely receiving beauty, and to configure in his or her own mind what that might be. Make sure there is nothing in the poem that would keep the reader from becoming the speaker of the poem. And, that’s all. The final phrase – “touch the shore” – is vital; it is a closure yet it is also a moment of arrival, and therefore a possible new beginning.
The poem in which the reader does not feel himself or herself a participant is a lecture, listened to from an uncomfortable chair, in a stuffy room, inside a building. My poems have all been written – if not finished at least started – somewhere out-of-doors: in the fields, on the shore, under the sky. They are not lectures. The point is not what the poet would make of the moment but what the reader would make of it. If the reader accepts and thinks about its question, “The Swan” accomplishes what it set out to do.

The Swan

Across the wide waters
something comes
floating – a slim
and delicate

ship, filled
with white flowers -
and it moves
on its miraculous muscles

as though time didn’t exist,
as though bringing such gifts
to the dry shore
was a happiness

almost beyond bearing.
And now it turns its dark eyes,
it rearranges
the clouds of its wings,

it trails
an elaborate webbed foot,
the color of charcoal.
Soon it will be here.

Oh, what shall I do
when that poppy-colored beak
rests in my hand?
Said Mrs. Blake of the poet:

I miss my husband’s company -
he is so often
in paradise.
Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles.
It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.
Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those
white wings
touch the shore?

painting, “Leda and The Swan”   Pam White

Galloping Along

DSC00318

 

Everyone is writing and posting about the Year of the Horse – the Wood Horse. I am too, and I’m going to put a long essay at the end of this post all about what to expect this year.
What I personally want to write about is the habits we have that might get in the way of our thoroughly taking full advantage of these opportunities.
There is a story about awareness and the readiness to act that goes like this: A long time ago in a place not too far away from us here, there was a river running fast and cold. In the river were many rocks and it was well known that there was a rock that even in this cold river was hot. It’s heat could change your life for the better if you happened to find it. A young monk heard about this rock. He thought that if he could find the rock he would be able to change all of humanity for the better. He deeply wanted to do this. So he took himself to the river and knelt in its cold waters near where he felt the rock might be. He put his hands into the cold running water and began to feel the rocks as he picked each one up, he would say “cold rock.” He spent many hours in a day and many days. One day he was on his knees, “cold rock, cold rock, cold rock.” as he released them back to the stream. “Cold rock, cold rock, hot rock, cold rock, cold rock,” then he jumped up and cried out, “oh, I felt it, I felt it!” But nothing he could do, no amount of mindfulness or attention could bring the hot rock to his hands again.

This is what there is to be mindful about. We have all dropped the “hot rock” without responding in time. Chances missed are chances missed, it’s what we do after that defines us.
This young monk became clear on his wishes for himself and his dreams for the world. He redoubled his efforts – not at the stream, but in the world around him. He took his fine hands to the task of bettering all he found. His brave heart supported his efforts and his diligence made him into a fine man who many looked to and learned with. He never lost heart and he allowed whatever could happen to be.

Happy New Year!

 

DSC_0007_2

 

The Year of the Horse brings great promise. We mostly all love horses, even if we don’t relish the thought of being next to them, we love the promise of them.
This is the year of the Wood Horse, there are many Horse years and I think this is a good one. Here’s why from Wikipedia, “In Chinese Taoist thought, Wood attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of warmth, generosity, co-operation and idealism. The Wood person will be expansive, outgoing and socially conscious. The wood element is one that seeks ways to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity. Wood needs moisture to thrive.”
That all sounds good to me, lets pray for rain!
Stallion with Orange Mane - nfs

This Time of Year

DSC00354

Whatever you are doing right now, it probably has something to do with family and friends.  So many stories, so much love, longing, regret, and joy. I love the cold and the coming of the light. The stars’ light falls on us all. We are all touched by the beauty of the dark and light surrounding, contrasting, memorializing all we experience. It feels as if there is more quiet, more smiles, more shared music.
When I think about what’s important, what feels right in my heart I am grateful for those who help me understand who I am and grateful to myself for taking up the challenge.

From Brene Brown:

“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

May you gather support from all you feel, from all you touch and are touched by.
May your dreams come gladly to you and leave quietly.
Let light be your angel and the dark your comfort.
DSC00361