I don’t know if you are aware, as I have become aware, but there is an entire society underlying this one. I never paid attention to it before. But there is an entire group of thinkers and planners whose work often goes un-noticed because I couldn’t be bothered, but they contribute to the well being and ease of living that most of us take for granted. These capable men and women are agents of change. Sometimes their work is welcomed and sometimes it is not, and whether I like it or not, they are there in the shadows at government meeting, in towns, in municipalities, in planning boards and zoning boards and in judiciary posts. Sometimes they are responsible for assigning us more taxes; sometimes we luckily learn that we have fewer taxes. There are tax assessors, building inspectors, code enforcement officers and the people who drive snowplows. Maybe it’s your own neighbor. There are fire fighters and police officers calmly going about their jobs to the benefit of the rest of us. And there I am sneaking out into the pre-dawn hours to drive a school bus. Gee. I think I could make a novel out of this…
Books, books, books! And time to write.
I don’t know if there is a God or Goddess of books and libraries, but there ought to be.
I walk into a library, and I glance around at all the shelves laden with books. There are books in colorful bindings. Books whose drab covers do not inspire me to pick them off the shelf. Books with intriguing titles that make me yearn to see what lies between the covers. There are books with all types of subject matter. Some interests me and some does not.
And yet. All of these books represent the time someone took to have and develop an idea. Whether fiction or non-fiction my hat is off to those authors.
Creator, I am really, really glad some one took the time to write down his or her ideas so that I can learn. I have written down my own ideas. I am thankful for books that I can have a meeting with another human thinker, whether they are alive or dead at the time I am reading their work. Amen.
Creator, today I thank you for the entertainment of squirrels. Amen.
One of my favorite small animals to watch are the “Nutters,” my nickname for Squirrels. They are industrious, energetic, athletic, boisterous, and sometimes really, really stupid. They have good lessons to teach, and I have a few squirrel stories.
One time I sought the forest to drum and to pray. Two red squirrels located themselves on the trunk of a Hemlock where I was praying for healing the oceans. When I hit the drum, they sat hypnotized. When I stopped hitting the drum, they scolded me for being in their personal space.
Another time I was parked on a bench beside the Hudson River beneath an Eastern Red Bud Tree. It was mid-June. A huge leaf fell on my head, and then another. I looked up, perplexed. Finally I spotted the dancing squirrel, as it settled down to eat a mouthful of something that grows at the end of the leaf where it joins the tree. Not a nut. That leaf too fell on my head.
Many times I have been entertained by the antics of boisterous squirrels chasing each other up and down trees. There is a large population of them at this park beside the Hudson where I spend my days between bus runs. My favorite “Squirrel frieze” is when they stop suddenly on the trunk of the tree facing downward, the bushy tail jerking with alarm, their mouth open. They look like a water spout.
But the stupidity of squirrels makes me sigh. I drive a school bus, a large yellow box on wheels that any sensible, self preserving squirrel should be able to see before it darts out into the road. Alas. The little furry antic makers are very poor decision makers. “Which way do I go? Which way do I go?” Whop! Fade.
“When I want something done right, I have to do it my self!”
Well, yes, if this particular project is my own idea, and will be subject to my own brand of perfectionism, then yes. If I want something done right, I had better look to it myself.
Still sometimes life requires cooperation. And the need for cooperation can be downright funny – in hindsight. Especially when there are two of us working together and each of us likes to be right! I will probably never forget setting up the garden with my second husband. I learned to keep my mouth shut until he had tried everything and then calmly state what I thought might work. Our arguments did more than most other efforts did to teach me to hold my silence and to allow another person a process. At other times I needed him to let me have my process, so it was a two-way street. The reward was not whether he was right or I was right. The reward was the beautiful food we grew and had to eat well into the winter.
Creator, thank you for allowing us our process. Whether I am right or wrong. I need this time of discovery and error, this time of making mistakes and rectifying them in order to grow a more grace-filled soul. Thank you.
“Make me worthy.” These thoughts I often have when I come before the Gods. I really don’t know if I need to ask the Gods for that, because it is an act of preparation I make, that includes getting in touch with my own conscience, asking myself if there is anything out of balance in my life that must be addressed before I seek the Holy. But I ask it, in case I have missed something examining my conscience, because I know the Gods have the power to open my heart, break open my heart if necessary.
Yes, the Gods have broken open my heart before. Pride can be that most obstinate of inner opponents. I can justify anything to myself, but when I hurt those I most love, I am also most out of sorts with myself. Because those are the moments my world is most out of alignment.
The Native Americans have their teachings of the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is aligned in accord with the four directions, and each direction holds a teaching. In brief, the east holds the power of mind, of fire, of sun, of intellect. The south holds the power of emotion, water, needs, and desires. The west holds the power of the physical body, earth, death, endings, and harvest. The north hold the powers of air, spirit, and community. Within these four directions we can discern where life is out of balance and make redress.
So the prayer for today:
Make me worthy, O Creator. Make me worthy, not from pride or the falsity of ego. But make me worthy from the heart – in love and truth to be of service through the joy of sharing my gifts. Amen Aho
When my son joined the military I was tossed back on old emotions that I repressed until I could feel safe dealing with them. I was not a conventional mother. My son went to school with his dad. His dad has the farm and that is where my son wanted to be. He wanted to be with me too, but I could no longer be with his dad. The shadows between his dad and I drove me away.
I loved my son with all that was in me to love him. I had him summers and weekends until he was old enough to want to build deeper ties with his friends than his mom. I was the best mom I knew how to be given the circumstances of my life, and yet, being his mom, I still have incredible feelings of guilt that do nothing for anyone, not even me! I broke my own heart when I chose to let my child go to school with his dad, and I have not yet managed to live down my own self-betrayal.
With all of this inner discord recognized, my son’s choice to join the military meant that I had to deal with my own inner shit. I could not ask the question, why would you make this choice. He had already made it. We had already discussed it. He had talked about it separately with his dad and me. It quite simply was what he wants to do.
Now with all the stupidity going on in government, I may have to prepare my heart that my child, yes, the one that grew inside me and that I birthed into the world, that one, may get sent into some very risky areas of the world. What I have to comfort me is that I have not let the moments to make memories go. He came home and surprised me over Christmas. I got out to see his graduation from Marine Boot Camp.
I am not alone in sending children off to the military. Many, many mothers before me have seen their sons and daughters off to prove their mettle under the duress of war. I am less afraid for my son than I am my own broken heart, and this… This attitude does not seem worthy to me for the kind of man my son has become. But I put it out here, because these tender and heart racking emotions are what the gift of prayer is for.
Creator, when my son told me he wanted to serve in the Marines, my heart knew fear. What parent sees their child enter the arena of war without a healthy awareness of just what could happen? But God, this isn’t all I am feeling. Any mother’s son could be my son in this moment. We love them and we miss them and we hold them close to our hearts, for any of them could be my son’s comrades in arms, and they all hold each others’ backs. Let us hold theirs on the home front while they are on the battle front. Let us hold the victory. Let us see our children safely home after the battle is won. Let our hearts be glad again, always, in the coming together again. Amen.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
How often have these words sustained me, carried me through hard situations, been sung by me in praise, or just as an act of honoring the Holy.
What am I giving my words to? What act of grace will I stand by today? What supports me in my living?
There is a connection to what is divine that I believe all people have access to, if we choose. How often the intellect or the ego gets in the way!
Creator, may I walk humbly on the Earth. May I choose words that sustain me and support others through your grace. May I hold fast to the ideals I have learned in relationship with you.
It is really just the start of winter, and already I am longing for Spring and my garden. I suppose it is because winter is supposed to be a season of rest, but often the weather makes more work for me to get out of the home and to my job on time. It has become a matter of self-discipline to stop thinking about how hard things can get, and find gratitude for each moment in the day.
Still, I am posting this photo of last year’s Daffodils just to remember that shape of beauty.
Creator, without the cold season I could not appreciate the warm season. Thank you for all the seasons, especially the seasons of the heart.
When my son joined the military it brought me to a whole new level of patriotism. Patriotism is no longer lip service. The fact that my son is willing to put his life and his time on the line in defense of this nation feels to me as something akin to the feeling I had when I brought him into life. There is depth of love. There is a fierceness that I would put my life on the line for. There is a fanaticism to my politics, yet an effort to see the other person’s point of view. There is a willingness to remember that the United States is a melting pot, and that our constitution brings freedom and liberty to all people, all colors, and all genders. Therefore I will speak out against hatred and short-sightedness when I find it.
But most especially I speak out for the freedom to worship as I choose. Those things that I give my love and devotion to – those things are my religion. Patriotism is no less a religion than Christianity, or Buddhism, or the Faith of Allah. Heathenism is the religion of my Swedish ancestors before they became Christian. The first Americans – some still hold to their ancestral religions, which are Earth and Nature based religions. I honor their rights to their ways. I have my own ways of honoring the Earth, my ancestors Elder religion and the teachings of Jesus that I grew up with.
So let us speak no negatives of any man or woman for the beliefs and the loves they hold that are different from our own. This is a land of justice from sea to shining sea, and liberty under law. And so may it continue for many more hundreds of years.
Gods of my fathers, and my mothers, let us have the illumination of consciousness to feel deeply, see broadly, and care more. Let us remember what we stand for, what we are willing to give a true yes or a true no to. Let us honor another’s right to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the sun of America. Amen.
The first thing I do every morning is to make myself a cup of latte. Alan and I keep a Mr. Coffee Espresso/Latte machine instead of a regular coffee pot. The rich taste of the coffee combined with the steamed milk is a real joy to wake up to, and reminds me of the importance of being present to the delights of the five senses.
The second thing I do every other day is a weight workout routine to maintain strength, flexibility, and health of body and mind. It adds a little discipline to my life that further keeps me mindful and present in the moment.
The third thing I do most days of the week is to head off to my day job as a school bus driver. It is a job I like and it pays the bills.
In short I have a relatively ordinary life, but it is one that can be lived with extraordinary presence and attention. The rest of the time I am working to honor my calling as a Rune reader, author, and healer. I am still a student of life, and every day has something to teach me as long as I am willing to listen. If life were a solitary pursuit, it would be really boring, but as it is, people and circumstances are entertaining enough.