An ode to life, and death, and life again

I awoke with a start last night at an hour long before the moon was ready to give up its place in the sky.  My mind was foggy, confused.  I tried to go back to sleep before I could remember what I was holding at bay with sleep, but it all came crashing back with a whoosh, so quick I could practically feel the thrum of the after burners in my mind.  And then I remembered what had happened earlier- My horse got sick (mine by default but not on paper; she was loaned to me on a sort of ‘long-term lease’ to be a companion for my horse, the one who captures my heart with his ‘hello’ whinnies.  It happened so quick, but it seemed so harmless at first, that when she couldn’t breathe without rattling or eat or even drink without water and food particles rushing out her nose and throat, we were surprised.  And when the vet said it would be inhumane to help keep her alive til morning, let alone a few extra days to make preparations, we were unprepared.

I’d never seen death before, not really.  So when, a few minutes after the vet administered the first vaccine, she crashed to the ground in a full-body paralysis (she was not in pain and was not even aware of what was happening at this point), the accompanying thud reverberated in my ears, and I felt her last ragged breaths as my own.  The emotions were so high (her rightful owners were with us through the whole process), and the tears so real, that my heart has been depressed since last night.  So, here’s to Indi:

An ode to life, an ode to breath. An ode to the inability to know what will happen next, but to hold a seed of faith that all will turn out as it’s meant to. An ode to the tears of sorrow that follow a being’s suffering that turn to sorrow at their passing; tears that hold the sweet truth that nothing really ends, just changes form. An ode to Indian Doll, may you run freely once again.

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country living and exotic baking don’t mix

I love baking.  Really, I do.  Cooking…eh, the jury’s still out on that one.  Baking, however, puts me in a state of ecstasy obtained by nothing very little else.  I have a favorite cooking/baking website that I attend on a regular basis, and if you watch me looking through this website at the recipes this woman gives, you’d think I was privy to a ‘firemen gone wild’ site.

I have just one teensy little problem- I live way out in the country; I’m at least 30 minutes from any respectable grocery store (out here, grocery stores come connected to our gas stations).  So, when I’m ogling these recipes, getting excited with visions of friends coming out for a weekend party with a planned spur-of-the-moment menu of chocolate souffle, sweet corn spoonbread, and tortilla de patatas, my entire demeanor deflates when I realize I’m missing crucial ingredients.  Like, flour.  Or chocolate.  And I can’t just make a ‘quick’ run to the store to pick up what I’m missing.  So, I usually just shake my fist at my cupboard (“damn you!”) and make nothing.

The one ingredient I never run out of is eggs (except when the ladies are on strike due to some unforgivable act, such as going two days without letting them out of their run).  And for that matter, chicken.

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Lay it down in prayer

I haven’t prayed in quite awhile.  Why should I?  Everything I send out in prayer most likely ends up turning around and dive-bombing the Godly entity that I’m sure resides in my cracked heart.  There she reposes, making a home among the bruises and heartache.  Campfire lit, she hunkers down, finding refuge from the storms.  Rather than storms of rain and hail and high winds, these storms consist of much more dangerous items- anger and sorrow that can pierce through the toughest walls.  But here, the beauty is also much more fulfilling.  Azure skies, brilliant sunrises, shimmering pools of nourishing water.  

So I lay my prayer down in writing.  I lay down all the uncertainty of my existence, all the times I’ve asked over and over, “WHY AM I HERE???”.  I offer forth the times I’ve shut my body down, the times I’ve opened my heart and let it bleed, the times I’ve had no other reaction other than to cry in shame.  I lay down the lack of compassion I’ve felt as well as the times I’ve become paralyzed by too much feeling.  Anger, rage, feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy… 

I lift up my open heart and ask for love to slide in and fill the cracks with grace as thick as honey. I seek the whispers of the flowers and the music of the stars.  I look for the God outside of myself, seeking Holy footprints across the planet.  Are they infinitely large?  Are they imperceptibly tiny? I see the sacred signature of Holiness in the faintest outline of a full moon, becoming more apparent as the day fades and dusk creeps in.  The softness of my horse’s nose which speaks of tenderness.  The iridescent feathers on the back of my chicken which hold Divine secrets, as do the bell-like sounds of my talkative barn cat as she follows me around during chore time.  Beauty replaces fear, beauty that is made all the more miraculous not despite, but because of, the sorrow it replaced.  The most ordinary things can display the most loving grace.  

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A dark woods

This morning I am sitting in my sunroom looking out the window at the rain (so, rainroom would be a more suitable name).  I don’t think there’s been more than 2 days in a row here in southern Michigan without rain.  I like it, but rain always brings its own worries with it.  Today, I am musing on the concept of the pathways of life.  I would imagine that if we were to turn around and look back at the paths we created along our life, that it would very much look like a system of river channels, branching out every so often as we make a choice at a crossroads.  Or it might look like a leaf.  Or a network of veins and vessels in a body.  Or…you get the picture.  

I wonder what the consequences really are when we look back at our decisions and try really hard to imagine what life would be like if we had chosen differently.  Is there a reason we do this, or does it really serve no purpose but to create a stumbling block in front of us?  Think about it this way. Your life is a large forest, full of twists and turns small deer paths.  Large meadows melt into shadowy woodsy parts. Streams and pools and raging rivers can be found everywhere, but you don’t always know they are there until you stumble into them.  The way ahead of you is dark, but everywhere you’ve been is alight.  You keep walking forward, but your head is turned around so you can see the light behind you, and every time you notice a fork in the road, you sigh wistfully and try to send some light down that path to see where it might have led.  Walking this way, you don’t notice what’s in front of you.  Predators are unseen until it’s too late, and so are the abundant joys found in the little pockets all along the way.  Unless you notice them out of the corner of your eye, *just* before it’s too late.  

Many of us walk all along the pathways of our lives like this.  Are you one of these people?

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Your potential for potential never ends

Somewhere within all of us, whether we know it or not, there exists a seed of possibility.  As soon as one seed starts sprouting, another one develops.  Therefore, all those who strive to reach their full potential shall never succeed.  For there are always new possibilities, new heights to reach, new discoveries as to what it means to be human (to be alive).

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The Invitation, A poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own; without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “YES!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

- See more at:

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The Art of Money

Calling all truth-seekers and deep soul divers and heart-centered life journeyers:  What if you devoted a year to your money relationship?  To how it’s entwined with your beliefs, career, parenting, life goals, spirituality, self-care — all of it?  What could shift in your heart, in your relationships, in your life?   

The Art of Money is a year-long virtual money school, providing the financial education, healing, and community none of us ever got.  It’s a holistic approach to conscious money work, weaving together teachings on personal, couple, and entrepreneurial finances into one complete tapestry.  It’s got an incredible lineup of guest teachers, a global community for support, and it’s lovingly guided by my dear friend and colleague, Bari Tessler Linden.  I had the opportunity to work through her program last year, and I am amazed at how weak my relationship with money was.  Bari is a phenomenal leader, entrepreneur, and visionary.  I have no qualms about sharing her work; she is a gem of a human being, and so I am sharing her work to others who would benefit.  

Bari is leading a global conscious money movement.  It’s growing.  Is it your time to join?  The Art of Money 2014 is now open for registration for a limited time.  If you feel called to see what she offers, check out the beautiful program page here — including free tastes of Bari’s work and tons of love.

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