Friday, October 18, 2013

It is a sacred time for New Beginnings

Star-od-David-660x660crop2This is a sacred time.  This spring we saw amazing rings around Mt. Shasta.  In the summer heat, wildfires purged many of our forests; Mother Nature told us loud and clear we need to listen and respect her, walk in better balance with her rhythms.
    And now the rare star of David came in July to herald the birth of a new king, perhaps to herald the birth of a new Era where charisma and power will be aligned with a very different kind of leadership, one that honors the heavenly bodies, the Earth Mother, not the false gods of personal greed and capital ventures that harm our environment and destroy the very air we breath, water we drink, oceans and soils that have given and sustained life for millennium.
   As we gather to honor the changing seasons, let us also make time for solitude and reflective moments so our course is more true to our unfolding talents.  It is a time to pay attention to our bodies, our sacred vessels that allow us to better enjoy this earthwalk. 
   It may be a time to quietly, or boisterously, create rituals that honor those who have died, and also give guidance , courage,  and inner strength to  those of us still living.  Yesterday I heard a coyote story about grieving souls crossing the great river into the Land of the Dead. They learned their loved ones who had died did not want to come back, but had made peace with their transition, and wanted their living partners to return, to be doing their work in the Land of the Living.  Grieving can help us be more open, more vulnerable, and it can give us resolve to move on, accepting our losses and learning resilience from their gifts.
  If we are to become stronger from enduring losses as we grow older, we need to be attentive to our blessings and our lessons, and not be frozen in fears that make us unable to be present, to enjoy the simple pleasures in our daily living.  It's a new Dawn.  May we arise and honor it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grieving Needs Balance with Self-Care Measures

In recent months my family has celebrated the life of my mom and dad with a memorial service in the Sierra (see photo of my sister and son, Jeff), a dear friend Mary died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Alex, one of my favorite caregivers has stepped down and I am getting used to Shira, Alex's replacement.  The seasons are again changing, and my vision makes it unsafe for me to drive much at night for 6-8 months of the year.  My companion for several years, Curtis, has multiple health issues and feels unsafe driving out of Chico, so I phone him just to chat, and send him e-mails with a few i-photos he might enjoy.
    With aging comes loss, some expected, some sudden, with little time to adapt to the necessary changes.  It helps me to celebrate simple pleasures, like preparing an interesting potluck dish when my energy is at its best, or saying yes to a chance to dance, or attend a special concert with a neighbor.  Sunshine and simple exercises always help me, and I've just begun a class on Stillness Midst the Chaos, where we're learning mindful meditations to help us be more relaxed, present, and okay with whatever arises in our day.
    The driftwood photo above evokes the memory of walking the beach, listening to the waves, and the sound of young children making forts and laughing, oblivious to the fact it is windy and cold.  I have always loved arranging driftwood, and as a child, I'd make gifts for family out of driftwood and manzanita and pinecones. Yesterday I delighted in making a collage to hang of  the fun time in the mountains and a Davis park with my sons, Adrienne, and granddaughters, Taryn and Eliza.  Even midst the waves of grief or focus on loss, it sure helps to pay attention to what is working, what still gives joy.
    Self-care means honoring routines that nurture me on my own, and it means being with others in ways that don't drain me.  Tonight I'll be part of eight women sharing a potluck dinner, and soon I shall get outside to enjoy a warm and sunny autumn day.  This is enough for now!
    Carol  October 5, 2013