Monday, December 24, 2012

Blessed is the Season

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! 
Hamilton Wright Mabie


Six years ago today I started this blog. I forget the exact reason, but much has changed. It is the second Christmas since I have lost my Mom. It is the first living with breast cancer. But one thing hasn't changed, possibility. Whatever your belief, the age old story of a child born to bring the possibility of love, peace and hope into the world is one that all can identify with.

In this early morning chill and quiet, may all the world engage in a conspiracy of love and:

May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy and content.
May all beings be free from danger and suffering.
May all beings be filled with loving-kindness.

To all blessed be, namaste and happy holidays.

George Winston, "Joy from December":


Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Time-Hey Santa

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
George Carlin

It's been a busy couple of days. Holiday parties and cooking for friends. Friends who convinced me it's time to let go of the the love I had (tried once more over the last weeks and it failed) and get back out into the playing field. They're right. I know what I'm asking Santa for in the coming year.

In the meantime, I made an Eggnog French Toast Brunch. Here's the main feature:

EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST

1 1/2 cups eggnog

4 eggs
1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Loaf of challah bread sliced into 1 inches slices
Maple syrup

In medium bowl, combine eggnog, egg and nutmeg whisking just until blended .Dip sliced bread into egg mixture. Turn over and allow to sit in egg mixture 2-3 minutes per side.

In skillet, melt 2 T butter and saute each slice over medium heat 2 1/2 min or until golden brown.

Turn over and cook an additional 1 1/2 minutes. 

Serve with warm maple syrup.

We had french apple chicken sausage made by a local butcher and fresh squeezed orange juice. The Pyrex percolator made an appearance also.

Today I'm grateful for friends and their love/support in this holiday time.

Carnie and Wendy Wilson, "Hey Santa":

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seasonal Haiku




a rain drop falls
from a lingering maple leaf
soft season's greetings



Andrea Bocelli, "Christmas Songs":


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice Eve

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet

I have been so busy that I haven't had much time to write. This year I wanted to give special gifts to those who stood by my side during the last months. I finished my last piece of embroidery tonight. I've also been baking and photographing. Add work, playing harp, plus decorating and that gives the bird's eye view of what I've been up to. 

Tonight I took my annual holiday light walk. Usually I take a friend along, but given all the busyness of late, I felt a need to just walk under the stars and reflect. Several ideas for poems danced through my head, but tonight I will let a gifted poet share what is in my heart and mind...

Lute Music
Kenneth Rexroth

The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names,
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only
As chemical constituents—
A small franchise indeed.
Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once—

Here at the year's end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts—
The precious metal of our mingled hair,
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs,
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses—
Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.
On this the eve of the longest night of the year, I am grateful for and celebrate that the darkness of the last months has tutored me in it's necessity so that the beauty of life may shine even brighter.

Mediaeval Babes, "In Dulce Jubilo":

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Coffee and Cookies (The Vintage Way)


A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.
Anais Nin

It's been a busy couple of weeks. This year I'm taking great joy in the holidays. I'm celebrating my wonder at life and clearing my six month breast cancer oncology visit with flying colors.  I've been embroidering gifts, decorating and entertaining. Not to mention getting ready for a couple of harp gigs.  A friend came up and we went to our favorite local antique store (there are several dealers there and prices are great). I found a mid-century Pyrex percolator and a Mirro cookie press. Tried out the percolator, worked incredible, my friend enjoyed the results before she went home.

The cookie press will be handled next weekend. I'm going to do two types, regular and adapted for how I'm now eating. I'll toss in one of the recipes I found that a friend requested:

Sour Cream Cookies

Time 10-12 min.
Temp: 400 F

1 cup of shortening
1 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup thick sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sale
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon soda

1. Cream the shortening, add sugar and mix well
2. Add beaten egg yolks and sour cream and vanilla extract
3. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition.
4. Fill a MIRRO cookie press
5. Form desired  shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

My mom used a Mirro cookie press at Christmas when I was a small child and this is one way of celebrating her memory, so I was thrilled to find this.

I'll let you know how it comes out. Having been learning Carol of the Bells as a friend's request, but will never do it as well as the:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Carol of the Bells:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shadow and Light

Contrast
Noun: The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association. 
Verb: Differ strikingly.

Photography is a good teacher about life. One of the most important concepts when you learn about in photography is contrast. How the interplay of shadow and light can make a photograph very exciting or very flat. And that one state is not always better then another.

This week was an interesting study in contrasts due to the holiday. On Thanksgiving I worked and had some patients who came in and were happy excited about the holiday. Not so much the story for a couple of others. In fact before eight am I had to make a protective services call. The other thing was the Black Friday shopping. Some of the patients/staff were making plans. For them it was about getting the perfect gift for a loved one. They went about it with an attitude of joy and fun. Contrast that with people who hurt other people in their rush to get what they wanted (thankfully they seem to be in the minority).

Life has been in contrast for me the last several weeks. The tone of my blog has not had as much light of late. I'm moving back towards it, but going back to work, losing yet another relationship, and the effects of the medication I am on has created some shadow.

The last paragraph of the creed I created for this blog several years ago sums it up:

I will continue to explore, photograph and live in the light while allowing myself to acknowledge the dark as it is vital for understanding oneself.

I will live my yes.

This week I am grateful for lessons in contrast and for the courage to try and live my life that way.

Sarah McLachlan, "In the Bleak Mid-Winter":

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Transitions



The time of transition is here…
One moment moves to the next
One season gives way to the other
One life is recreated from the old.


The Holly and the Ivy:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It Was...

Some women who have had breast cancer come to be thankful//grateful for how it has changed their lives or even view it as a gift. I cannot. However it is a teacher that has given me difficult lessons I have had to learn.
Me

It was six months ago today that I found the lump that led four days later to a diagnosis of breast cancer. It has also led to some relationships ending, i.e. family and friends. It has forced me to make changes, some of which are holding, some of which I am struggling with and still need to push forward on. 

My perceptions about life have changed significantly. I'm trying to live a life I think I should live, not what others think I should. Some days I do better with that, others not so much. I look back at the road that I've traveled and am amazed at how far I've come. When I look forward, I take a deep breath at how far I need to go. I try not to dwell though in either reality for very long.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It goes without saying that I'm grateful and thankful I'm still alive and that I am learning. It's just a very different world that I exist in this year then what I thought it would be....

George Winston, "Thanksgiving":

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Harper's Heart Haiku



heart sounds in discord
fingers stroke upon it's strings,
harmony again


Deborah Henson-Conant, "The Nightingale":

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Juxtapositions of Life

Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition.
Max Ernst

It's been a week of many juxtapositions. More endings and beginnings. I think I have seen more of this in my life and other friends life's this year then the past ten years combined.  The hardest ending for me was a relationship that I was holding onto for all the wrong reasons. Right now the ground under my feet feels more like landfill that has been liquefied by an earthquake. I don't mean for it to sound like a disaster, more like I just have to see what happens in my life in the coming months. That is the familiar is ending, learn to go with the unfamiliar.

It has been a creative period. I mentioned earlier I've been embroidering again. I have begun to look at ways to use it in art practical applications and art. I've found some. Enough so that I am going to try and open a Etsy shop after the first of the year as my taking some risks and moving towards a new life post cancer diagnosis.

So this week I'm grateful for the ability to keep hanging with changes and the unfamiliar and to keep on growing. There is magic in this period of life, if one keeps one's ears open and and listens for the enchantment of the nightingale singing.

Alan Doyle, "Where the Nightingale Sings":

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Ariake Moment



In the garden of our lives
The blossoming of desire
Brought us to the brink.
Pulling back
How barren it now seems.


October Project, "Return to Me":


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life's Basket

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
John Burroughs


It is amazing how your perception of time alters when events knock on your door and change it. In recent years I've always felt time moved too quickly, i.e never enough of it do all I wanted. Now I ask the question when I can is something or someone worth the time I have left. To this end I have become more ruthless about who the people in my life really are. My Nokia contact list has had some losses of people who have been in my life long term, but since the cancer have been distant. After several attempts to reconnect met with failure, I decided it's not worth the time to keep trying. However to be fair my contact list has grown with others who have given to me and receive from me.

There were many events this past week that continued to cause me to look at life. A close friend lost her father and one of my favorite patient's suddenly passed away. Late in the week I had some blood tests run for another cancer check next week. And on the same day had a cold began to bloom. So I was having a day of blues. Finally it was the toughest day of several I'd been having at work. It was a day that I asked if I still had a purpose, if my living was making any sense. I sat with it in line of my philosophy of not running from fear or shadows and having asked the question, the universe gave me my answer.

On Friday as I was rounding with my patients, a couple took it upon themselves to tell me how they had missed my presence and how it made their life better. I got a text from a friend who has an organic farm to come help at the market and it concluded with what a blessing I had become to them. Finally yesterday I was called over to my neighbor's condo who had passed. Her family had a vibrant print of her's that I had loved to give me and a thank you note that they had found that she had written to me. In that note she shared  her gratitude and thankfulness for the meals I had brought her, for the visits I had made and how they had enriched her life and made a difference.

So as I enter a new week, I am grateful for what my shadow has given me, i.e. lessons that are needed and ultimately have deepened the appreciation for the gifts of my life and the people who are in it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Life's Lessons":

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Morning Awareness





softly morning calls me awake...
      the last remnants of a dream fading
      the lone trill of a bird touching my ear
      the bite of cold air caressing my skin
      the tumble of sunlight falling across my bed
senses become aware
life calls to me
       joy infuses me,
       warms my heart
i have been given the grace of another day



Great Big Sea, "Heart of Hearts":

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Was That Will Be




when the beauty of
what was
begins to fade
we seek desperately
to hang on
eventually though
like the leaf
that knows
it must separate from
the tree
that sustained it
we let go
bare to life 
we await the
next flowering of
the beauty that 
will be


Flowering Night (Violin Version):


Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Fallin" into Life's Hurricane

The storm was devastating and I find that I can live without the TV and Internet but the lack of contact - human, voice or electronic - with my family and friends has been the hardest to deal with.  I find it worse than the cold.  On the bright side, I am getting quite good at using my Sterno fueled camp stove to heat up food and drink.  I have been texting with a friend in Asbury Park who told me he made French Toast on his grill yesterday.  We're thinking about collaborating on the Disaster Cookbook.
Gail Z.

It has been a week for my friends out east. My best friend Gail lives just 2 miles from the Central Jersey shoreline. She has been without power since Monday. She has managed to text or talk to me trying to remain positive, but I have to salute her fortitude. I'm not sure I would have done as well. If luck holds power will be restored on Wednesday for her. 

My week was a walk in the park by comparison. Beautiful weather. The photo above was taken with my recently acquired Nokia N8 (I wanted it due to camera capabilities). Fall is just starting here for us and we remain in the balmy 70s during the day. I cooked, worked on a collage and my recently restarted hobby of embroidery. Went out with a friend and practiced harp, getting ready for a couple of performances next month. I didn't get to the mountains because their weather wasn't so great, rearranged to go in two weeks if all goes well.

Also, completed and mailed in my ballot. I cannot get used to having to vote on 11 propositions, compared to the few in other states where I have lived. It almost requires a BA to get through it, but with help from the Attorney Generals office, the League of Women Voters and a few other sources, I was able to make my decisions.

I get many books from the library and Neil Young's "Waging Heavy Peace" came in for me today. Started reading it and love it. It's like gaining a trip through his mind and creative process. No major ghost writers or editing here. I have a feeling what he wrote is what you get. Highly recommend reading it.

Today I am grateful for all those who are supporting the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. We may have differences, but watching people pull together, makes me see the best of what we are, not the worst.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, "Like a Hurricane":

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bewildered Place





The end of us is the beginning of me…
What I thought would grow in the light,

Has become an obscure shadow
The gate was nudged open to let you travel the path into my heart,
And I was the one who got lost
Now I need to break out of this bewildered place,
Where I've lost my certainty

Even though my head tries to convince me,
The ember is good enough
My being yearns towards flame,
Am I brave enough to burn?


U2, "Vertigo":


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two Weeks Normal




Back to work
equals
back to normal,
at least in most
people’s mindset.

They can breathe a
sigh of relief.
Finally

a sign that
I’m winning against the
breast cancer.

Normal means bills will be
paid.
Health insurance will be
maintained.
All good signs of my continued
prosperity and well being.

But...


When I look in the mirror
I see
      emotions staring back at me 

      coldly reminding me that
      ignoring them 
      is what took me over
      the cliff before.

Curled asleep in my bed
     dreams become messengers of
     my spirit
     weeping, whispering
     you promised
     it would be different.

Tonight
I hug
emotion and spirit
to my center
reassuring them,
we are just visiting our
old haunts
for a time
until our new home is ready,
we will never be back
to leading a normal life. 


Peter Gabriel, "Lead A Normal Life":

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Testify to Truth

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
Buddha

It has been a long week, both at work and of consideration of how I'm doing on this still new road I've been traveling. Work gave me a five percent increase. Some people who I've talked to about making some changes in the career front, thought it might keep me there. Oddly enough, it makes me more determined then ever to make the change, to go all the way.

The other consideration is my personal life. There are still relationships that need tending and I am not sure where to go. Since I've made some of my best decisions in the Eastern Sierra Nevada's, it's road trip time. Mama Nature is giving us a beautiful fall here in Northern California and it's supposed to continue through next weekend. I took Bella my Springer last year for an abbreviated trip and she did well, so I'm taking her with me for the longer one.

One of the jewels of the week is discovering Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea's solo CD, 'Boy on Bridge', which was released last spring. I didn't get to it until now. Lot's of rock out stuff. Especially one cut which somehow reminded me of the Alabama Hills....

Tonight I'm grateful that I'm going on my first major road trip post diagnosis. Life is resuming.

Alan Doyle, "Testify":

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Creativity of Play

Ask any child. When children are painting or building castles of sand, there is nothing but fun going on. They know what we adults have long forgotten: that they all have a right to create what they want, want whatever they make is true and good.
Jan Phillips

The hardest thing about going back to work is finding the energy to play and create.  I've gotten a couple of reminders though from the young girl I encountered above and my Springer, Bella.

I worked a late shift at work and got home late. I did all of the tasks that needed doing, practiced harp and then at 9:00 pm felt a wet nose on my leg. I looked down and there was Bella. She had a tennis ball in her mouth and her tail was wagging. It might be late at night, but to her it was a good time to chase balls. I started laughing and grabbed some of her squeaky toys for a game of tug of war.

She taught me tonight. There is always time to play. Also, that when you play you open up yourself and began to create.

Tonight I'm grateful for the animals and children of the world who teach us so much.

Bless the Beasts and the Children Medley:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Landscape of Mind



Sitting in the quiet of midnight
ideas illuminated in the midday sun
become burning stars
chasing across the landscape of mind


Sharon Van Etten, "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get":

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Lullaby to Jagged Pieces




Sometimes life breaks into 
jagged pieces.
Gently you pick them up,
then with care,
try to fit them
back together.
After enough failed attempts, 
enlightenment arrives.
The only thing you can do is
form them into a
new picture.



Nickelback, "Lullaby":


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When Clouds Are On The Horizon

It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are... than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.
Henry David Thoreau

After returning to work, I know that as soon as I can figure out how in the next 6-9 months, I will be leaving a world I have inhabitated for the last several years. It's like losing weight and going back to put your "fat pants" back on. They don't fit and you cannot wear them.

What makes the work not possible are the following factors: everything is presented as a crisis, even when its not, we encourage dependency rather then independence, and most of all the majority of the people I work with don't want to make things better, they want to stay at the status quo, i.e. maximize their disability rather then try to make improvements. So I have some ideas to make career changes, I just have to make the practical met the ideal...

I'm grateful to my employer, they have been very supportive to me and others, but I have a different idea on how I want to work with people now and it's time to put that into place.

Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides Now":

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sowing the Seeds of Awakening

Fear is a natural reaction of moving closer to the truth.
Pema Chodron

Shortly after my lumpectomy by a happy synchronicity, I found a teacher. I have never met Pema Chodron, but she has taught me much in the last four and a half months.

One of the biggest struggles I have had and have is dealing with fear/uncertainty. In the past I would run away at times from things that would scare me or I didn't want to face. I am struggling with returning to work. There were massive problems before I left in June and I'm sure they remain.....My fear isn't so much the problems, but in that I have had to learn lessons on how to deal with the life much differently if I am to stay healthy, i.e. will I be successful in applying said lessons to the work environment. Also on my mind is will people respect the person I have become?

I woke up this morning from a nightmare related to the fear of failing etc...heart pounding, palms sweating ... A few months ago I would have sought distraction. Thanks to Chodron's tutelage I have learned to go to the meditation mat and sit with what is. In her words from "Comfortable with Uncertainty":

"That is why it's so good to meditate every single day and continue to make friends with our hopes and fears again and again. This sows the seeds that enable us to be more awake in the midst of everyday chaos."

In her other books and lectures, she talks about being tender hearted with the fear and practicing gentleness and loving-kindness towards ourselves when dealing with our fears and perceived flaws. Shortly after finishing meditation, I went to help out a friend at her fruit stand at our local farmer's market.  When I saw this white pomegranate there it seemed to visually reflect Chodron's lessons....

when fear breaks you open
do not run
rather stay sit and breathe
wondering at the tender places
you find
contained there are
the sweet seeds of awakening

Today my gratitude is to fear and the lessons it is teaching me.

Sarah McLachlan, "Fear":

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vivid Colors of Life

Autumn asks that we prepare for the future —that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.
Bonaro W. Overstreet

One of the things I love most is fall (as if you couldn't tell from recent blog entries). This fall is even more awe inspiring because of the summer I've had. I'm looking at the colors with new eyes, even though I've seen them before. The colors above are what we have in the Sierra Nevada's. Not the rich maples of my birth state, but still beautiful in their spareness all the same.

I've been given the clearance to return to work next Monday. I've been asked over and over how do I feel about it.  My answer is I'm trying not to focus on it until I'm there...Changes will be happening, but I'm working on letting go of too many expectations and live each day now as if it were my last. That is the biggest lesson I've learned from the last four months.

So today I'm grateful for the vivid colors of life. They've always been there, but it's just recently that I've been able to appreciate them in every day that I'm given.

Nickelback, "If Today Was Your Last Day":

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zen of Two Flowers

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
Buddha

One thing I'm learning on this journey, is that every day is different and has its challenges. This weekend I went off some of my eating/practices and yesterday paid the cost. This a.m. I was doing a bit of beating myself up and yet trying to find some equilibrium. Not a good combination. I looked up and saw on my altar the two flowers I had placed there on Saturday. Suddenly I had my lesson:

flower is dying
open up your life's breath
flower now blooms

So in gratitude I bow to the universe for the teaching. Namaste.

MC Yogi, "Shanti (Peace Out)":


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Lessons



My autumn began in early summer.
Slowly as I learned to be quiet,
to be still,
lessons were given by that master teacher:
Gaia.
They were this:
Shed your life's leaves,
the ones that no longer do their job.
Give up that which needs to die.
Rest so you may renew.
Know that in solitude and tranquil silence,
new essence is being prepared 
to grow.
As I contemplate autumn's schooling,
I can see more clearly
the vibrant colors of this world.


George Winston, "Autumn Medley":

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Flood of Pink or It's October....

I have to admit, like so many women, I always knew there was a chance. But like so many women, I never thought it would be me. I never thought I'd hear those devastating words: 'You have breast cancer'.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz


It's October and I'm being flooded with pink. Some people around me now see me as a poster child for pink. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of pink as a metaphor for the waging of wellness (and I've used it) when you are trying to deal with breast cancer...what I don't like is the idea of capitalistic culture turning it into yet another money making venture. In fact if I see one more tagline on how said companies are contributing to the war against breast cancer...well you get the idea. And it is the concept of waging war that also bothers me. I received a quote in an email recently that encouraged me to wage war against breast cancer by raising money.... it's not a battle against one's self, it's trying to bring oneself to wellness so you can thrive, but I digress as I could go on at length about this and that's another blog entry...

There are many reputable foundations who are raising money for breast cancer research and services. But there are just as many opportunistic companies using pink to maximize their profit line. I cannot tell you who is whom, but research will help one decide. Google companies and look at their profiles. See how much of their charitable contributions goes to foundations and to individuals in need. Look at what the overhead is. The long and short is the vast majority of funds should go to the betterment of life for women/men who have breast cancer.

I would like to see October become an awareness for all cancer....my breast cancer doesn't make me more deserving then say my sisters with ovarian cancer. It just makes me more visible. 

Today I am grateful for the efforts of people who helped break the glass ceiling of breast cancer, but now it's time for all persons who are dealing with any type of cancer to gain as much support as those of us with breast cancer have been given.

Ann Wilson, "War of Man featuring Alison Krauss":

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Opening Your Heart Under a Harvest Moon

In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts. Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts. It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being. It is, after all, one heart touching another heart.
Roberta Sage Hamilton

Summer brought a plethora of lessons due to the breast cancer. Now that fall is here I've begun to reap the benefits. One of the most important teachings was about opening my heart even more deeply then I have to heal, love and know what is needed to live my life more fully. Last night the harvest moon came up full and bright. Going out and spending some time under it, I thought about a love affair that I had begun under a harvest moon and another that will end soon. I haven't found my soul mate yet, but my heart sang to me and I know he is out there and he will be the one that I dance with in the years to come on the harvest moon.

My gratitude goes to to John who taught me to dance under a Sierra Nevada harvest moon.

Neil Young, "Harvest Moon":

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Thanksgiving for Wellness

To feel keenly the poetry of a morning's roses, one has to have just escaped from the claws of this vulture which we call sickness.
Henri Fredrick Amiel

This past week I went to have my first check-up post breast cancer treatment. To recap I had taken my own path in not doing the chemotherapy and deciding to use diet and other integrative techniques (although I had followed the other things they wanted me to do: surgery, radiation and hormone therapy). When I had the blood draw, I would be less then honest if I hadn't felt some fear and trepidation, but I acknowledged them and continued on. So when I landed at the doctor's office, it was hard to wait an hour before they called me,. During that hour, as it was a major chemotherapy day, I saw different genders and ages come in to do their treatment. Looking at them, I knew for me I had made the right choice (they all without fail looked terrible and for them it might be the correct path, but I knew it wasn't for me). The doc called me in and immediately gave me that I had good news across the board. He told me that whatever I was doing keep it up. All was negative....

I let out a deep breath I didn't know I had been holding. However, it makes me more determined then ever to continue my journey with my meditation, yoga, diet and acupuncture among the other things I am doing. One good check-up doesn't mean I can go back to my old life style, it means I'm on the right path and I need to keep traveling down it.

Tonight I am grateful for the beauty of life, which I feel even more keenly as I go forward to live each moment that I have been given. And to the god and goddess who guide my path.

Enya,"Caribbean Blue (a dedication to the goddess)":

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fire in the Sky

Firefighters save hearts and homes.
Author Unknown


Tonight I have a major reason to be grateful. We had a fire in one of the units in our complex. We have a fire station a few blocks from our complex and they arrived quickly. While two units apparently suffered major damage, no one was hurt and the rest of the condos were saved.

I went out and took photos to remind me of how hard these people work and how much we depend on them. 

So I'm grateful for the dedication of firefighters. They put it on the line every day to make sure the rest of us are safe and well.

Deep Purple, "Smoke on the Water":

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meditations from the Morning Mat

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
Buddha


I've been doing yoga off and on for twenty years. It took the events of this summer though to bring me to new levels of doing it. Yoga has become my morning cup of coffee. I cannot start the day without it. I use two primary web sites to help me practice; one is free, one I subscribe to. The Do Yoga With Me website offers a variety of styles. I love the restorative and gentle classes. The other My Yoga Online is a subscription website that costs about as much as one yoga class. It offers huge selections of yoga styles. Lately I've been doing yin/restorative yoga as the hormone therapy I've been taking has caused some side effects with my joints. The yin yoga has diminished them to hardly there now.

After I do my yoga, I practice meditation. This one is harder. I have a very type A personality and my mind offers comments on everything. Once in awhile I get it to shut up and find my sweet spot, but it is an ongoing process. Luckily there are many sources out there to help you with the experience and they agree that meditation is worthwhile, but it is a lifetime discipline, it's not something you arrive at and stay at with all now being nirvana. Rather you sit with it every day and try to live the benefits of the it throughout your life's journey. I also recently began chanting to add into the mix. 

So my travels continues and it is to my many teachers who have taught me and guided me on the path of yoga and meditation that I give my gratitude to.

Deva Premal, "Jai Radha Madhav":


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hinges

I prefer to explore the most intimate moments, the smaller, crystallized details we all hinge our lives on. 
Rita Dove
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The word that has come up a good deal in the last two days is hinge. Whether I go back to work in two weeks hinges on lab results. Health insurance availability in a few years may hinge on a election outcomes. By definition it is that on which anything turns or depends....That seems to be the theme of life lately.

In light of thinking of hinges, I'll share a short poem by Shel Silverstein:

Hinges

If we had hinges on our heads
There wouldn’t be no sin,
Cause we could take the bad stuff out,
And leave the good stuff in.


Tonight I'm grateful for for the lessons of hinges....

Amber Digby, "Hinges on the Door":

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dance Your Seeds to the Wind

Dance is movement infused with magic and medicine. As Rumi once said, "Dance when you're broken open. Dance if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free."

My September calender asked the question when was the last time you danced like a dervish? I realized it had been awhile. So tonight I danced, put on music and expressed myself....Rumi was right, dancing brings a lot of insight and joy. 

The flower of my old life might have died this summer in some aspects, but the seeds of my new are there getting ready to blow and dance into the wind, who knows what freedom and knowledge it may bring...

So tonight I am grateful for dance.

Madonna, "Express Yourself":

Friday, September 7, 2012

Whimsical Enlightenment

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
Mary Oliver

Whimsy has always been a part of my personality. However, I rarely let that part of me out to play. Also only a few others get to see much of that side of me. In recent years, this has changed. Over the last several months I've turned my extra bedroom/music room/library/yoga room into a place of whimsy and romanticism. And in the whimsy I am finding myself, taking responsibility for who I am and what I want in my life. It's been a great way to find enlightenment.

Tonight I'm grateful for authors over the years who have kept whimsy alive in my life, Andrew Lang, Lewis Carroll, J. R. Tolkien, Frances Hodgson Burnett, but to name a few...

Bruce Springsteen, "Secret Garden":


Beauty Is...

  "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." -Anonymous  I went outside tonight and found the waning moon in a glow surrou...