Sunday, October 7, 2012

Balancing Act Ellipsis

In the last two days at work, I suffered 5 glass cuts on my hands/fingers. Aside from the discomfort and inconvenience of these occurrences, I am being forced to analyze this (that's my Virgo Sun rearing her meticulous head) energetically. My co-worker at the frame shop- M. (who I rarely work with) is a spiritual ally as well as a friend- was startled by my bloody mayhem and said :
Violet, you are out of balance and need to ground yourself.”
Truer words have not been said.

I'm stuck on Band-Aids, 'cuz Band-Aid's stuck on me!

I have a cut on my left pointer knuckle/base, another on my left thumb knuckle, one on my right inner thumb crux, one on my right ring fingertip AND one on my outer right pinky fingertip!
Our hands represent that which we grasp or hold. I clearly had not been able to grasp the brevity of my emotional world, that much is obvious. My body manifested reactions to the sublime workings of my Heart and Soul.

It is perfect timing to be reminded of the delicate balance of life as the Sun transits through Libra. Libra, oft represented in imagery as the scales remind us of balance, of dichotomies and of fairness. A Libran will listen to an entire anecdote and judge it based upon balanced fairness. (Versus the Gemini who will listen to and pose both sides of the story- in efforts to be thorough and well-informed, often without making a judgement about it at all.)


Interlude- the Science behind said slices:
Glass is known as a super-cooled liquid. Molecules of heated silica (imbued with a flux during the melting stage for stability) are mechanically or manually poured out and pressed or rolled out into sheets to cool, forming what we call glass. Although we usually think of glass as a solid, it is not. It is a fluid whose molecules move so slowly they appear as a solid to the eye. If you have ever worked with panes or sheets of glass, you may be familiar with the quasi-bendy quality- especially if you have pushed a large sheet to it's limit and it shattered in your hands. Ouch!

When I woke today, I started thinking of the glass-cut correlation and my balancing- energetically. I did not cut myself on mat boards (representing an Earth quality, being made of cotton pulp) or with tools (representing Metal) but with glass (representing Water, the emotional world.)
Admittedly, I have been out of balance emotionally lately. For some time now, emotional lessons have been extra stringent and heavy, due to my resistance of them. I was not ready to delve into the shadows of that world, being intense and scary. Heartache and heart-break will do that sometimes, and I made a pact with myself some time ago to allow myself a safe place to experience and immerse myself in it when I have the space to.
At times, life does not work as we plan it to, does it?

From the Mary-El tarot deck.
One of my favorite Lovers cards ever. 

For months now, I have been resisting a grieving period necessary for the emotional growth I am needing so desperately. Touching upon the grief, tiny periods of release have popped up at the most inconvenient of times, like when I am at work, or while riding the bus. “I will revisit you later” I told the emotions, but never finding “the right time” I suffered silently, eating and swallowing the pain that so desperately cried to be released in physical and spiritual form. It festered and grew which made matters worse in the long run. I couldn't bawl at work, on the bus, etc. Timing is of essence sometimes.
It has been months since I really cried. When I had access to the tears, had the space and the time to, tears dried up and went away. It was like “holding it” when you need to pee; the urge just dwindles until you cannot wait any more.
I can't wait any longer.

Even though I have no tears at this moment, I welcome them when they deem fit, and in the meantime, I will embrace the healing process in other forms. I am finally excepting the harsh reality of what got me to this place, the dark and the light of it. I had compartmentalized the two aspects for far too long, seeing only the dark or the light. Therein lies the pain. The two cannot exist with out each other.

Being an Earthy lady, it sometimes takes physical signs for me to correlate the deeper recesses- not all the time though, just when I need it to. (I am not suggesting that always I need an ailment or accident to manifest for my sight to be crystalized, but on occasion it has happened, and it helped. How do we spin out of control? Nobody is perfectly balanced 100% of the time, nobody!)


Libra, the opposite of Aries on the Natal wheel, represents the WE in life, the partnerings experienced in life which bring us lovers and business/working pairs, versus the Arien I we all put forth. Libra energy heralds the balance and lessons learned in the world of We. Following Virgo's period of analysis and subsequent healing, Libra moves us forth onto the next step of life's processes of the experiences we take on as we grow. I like to think of Virgo as the pathologist, one who gathers detailed information and views the physical scenario to create a healing plan. Libra is the partnering of the healing.
In this suffering, I am the pathologist, the doctor and the patient. Physician, HEAL thy Self!!!
Okay then. Here we go.

Viewing life as an ellipsis, I seek a center point to view experiences from- the grounding point on a mathematical compass. Experiences and lessons cycle and re-cycle throughout our lifetimes, pleasant and unpleasant. To say to the Universe: “I no longer want to experience this” before we understand the meaning of the exact point of the path we are on would be like short-changing one's Self. I don't want to do that. Conversely, repeating uncomfortable lessons, experiences and patterns could insinuate a deeper Karmic issue at hand which needs to be dealt with energetically in another manner.

Awareness: I have literally cut myself off energetically to the deep emotional world which seeks to embrace me through this trying time. I return to the fearless state of Knowing this, and I am able to transform this seemingly-alarming energy into a positive experience where I continue to grow and trust the process. AHA!

PATH of least resistance

Assessing my wounds (pathologist) I am in charge of the healing path I choose to put into play (doctor) and experience the healing which is taking place (patient) as I share this process here, aloud.

Fortunately, I have been creating works of art and writing, copiously- throughout this entire “rough patch.” Looking at the fertile body of work flowing forth from my Soul and through my hands- which have bubbled upward and out- I see that I have been expressing my rich Emotional world all along, sometimes delicately and at other times, fiercely. The Emotional world balances itself out, given space and time to. Thank you Libra, for bringing this to my attention.

Isn't it attention and presence which leads to grounding one's Self? It serves as a giant step at least!

Ma'at weighs our hearts against a feather...
I have been heavy-hearted to say the least!

Apprehension (fear) leads to blocks of the necessary flow towards our higher Self's validating and healing experiences, or at least slows them down. Like glass. Slow to flow. I allowed my wounds to slow me down. I needed to. It hurt too much to delve in. But it does not any more. I see the path and move forward on it toward the goals I made, stopping to smell the flowers along the way- an imperative step in human development. Some flowers smell glorious, others make us sneeze. I will walk on, resting when I need to, pushing forth when I need to, sharing when I need to, retreating when I need to- all the time, blessing life, in gratitude and with grace.

Keep on walking the path!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Believe in People

I ask a lot of the Heavens. I ask a lot from/for Life. I ask for LOVE, Growth/Lessons, Change, Acceptance of What IS & Peace - to name a few. But when I am in the throes of my darkest moments, I always ask for a sign. And I ALWAYS receive one- at least one.

It was an Autumn morning as I was walked to work in the drizzling rain. Feeling despair about my less-than-healthy relationship* at the time, I asked for a sign. Upon stepping on a curb of the street a block from my job, I saw this:

Immediately, I felt something heavy, even if just a wee bit, lift.
It was just what I needed.
Choosing LOVE.

In spite of the lack I was experiencing in the Love department*, I was reminded that I was in control of this one thing. This one very huge thing. Love.
Love IS Everything.

Love is the catalyst for the growth, change, acceptance and peace that I ask for. Love is the strength which holds me up when I fall. Love is the patience that I need to sustain my hard lessons. Love is the seed of possibility I plant for my future self.
And Love starts with me.

For a few years now, I have been lifted by specific public art around New Haven. It started with the Anne Frank mural on the side wall of a gay bar on Crown Street. Who is not inspired by the Strength, Hope and Love that Anne had? 

Fast forward to last year with the Love curb message. I did not know that also was done by the same artist. I knew he made at least one more, since I found this another down-trodden day when I was walking to meet up with my mother after work:

Fast forward again to last month. I was at work and my boss' wife was reading the New Haven independent (an online newspaper) and came upon an article about the art and artist who I am referring to and asked if I knew him. (Not YET.) 
He goes by BiP. Believe in People. He is from New York, but trains in to New Haven to share his messages with us {Blessed}New Haven folk. I was so excited to learn about his prolific art in town. I had no idea he created so much for us! I still take it personally, knowing that when an artist touches one single person, it changes them, and they did their job well.

Well done BiP!

Tonight, I was reading that article again and found a link to an earlier article:

which had a link to more curb-side messages, and a map that BiP made for us folks to use so we can walk around downtown and appreciate all 23 Encurbagements:

I cannot wait to print it out and walk the town. Knowing that someone is willing to risk getting arrested for art with positive messages inspires me very deeply. I want to let him know how much his art has helped me on rotten, rough days, how I walk out of my way to read those 2 curbs I knew about (before tonight) and I want to hug him!

After reading these BiP articles and others linked & related to it, I Believe in People more than ever!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Playing Possum

I type this from the steps of the condo where I lay my head. (The condo- not the cement stairs.)
 Smoking and drinking on a Tuesday night.

A car nearby is trying to turn over it's engine- to no avail.
I get it, trust me.

I'm feeling stalled because I deny myself feeling worse.
Why do we do this? By we, I mean me.
Why do I do this?

My head is spinning and I cannot remember the last healthy night of sleep I had in ages. I am overwhelmed by all my life's changes which have erupted like lava from the heart of the recent slumber of Pele. Some of the changes are positive and some are pained. Perhaps I fear and reject the changes I asked for.

Oh great, another lesson is coming on.

Some folks juggle ups and downs with ease. Not I. Not now, at least. Either way, I end up feeling clobbered by the pins. They do not make Excedrin for that type of headache. Regardless of the new and wonderful experiences change brings or the struggling it can also bring, stress is an after-effect. Or a during-effect. In the throes of expansion and contraction, it is easy to feel immobilized, even if momentarily.

Sure, I say my mantras and prayers and stuff, but I am not sure how much it has helped lately. I still judge myself harshly when I am not perfect. I am never perfect. Nobody is perfect, but some accept this fact.

My reality check just bounced.

On the flip side, I make the perfect Whiskey Sour- extra sour.

Recipe time:
Into your favorite mug- juice one and a half fat, fresh limes.
Add a squirt of agave nectar to taste- and stir.
Toss in ice and lots of whiskey- I prefer bourbon for this drink.
Sip and blob on.

Where was I ?

On the steps of a building situated on a busy street, I am reminded of * the passing of time, the acceptance of failures and the joy of be-ing. (*As cars pass by and lights change. The stalled car has totally died & The crickets' symphony blends with the song of the peepers.)

No matter what, I am like a cat. I always land on my feet. Sure, I may be a bit tattered and worse for wear, but that's the stuff strength is derived from, no? I put so much focus on the dualities of life that I must force myself to stop and look at the bigger picture: Will this pain last or hurt in 5 years' time? I doubt it. 
Am I less of a person for having doubts? Nope.
Charge on!

Now, I need to find a way to get a grip on my worrying and obsessive thinking. When the physical sensations of this addiction takes hold, I am unable to meditate or focus clearly. My sleep, work and personal communication suffers- deeply. It is easy to crawl into some dark hole and wait for this stage to pass. I do a lot of talking myself off a proverbial edge. Such a drama queen, I know, but f*ck it, I cannot berate myself further for being human.

Thank Godzilla that as an artist, I can channel this craziness into something tangible and beautiful, or I'd be completely screwed. Maybe it's all part of the bigger plan. 
IF there really is one.

Oh crap, my cocktail is getting low. Dang! At least I still have smokes. And crickets serenading me.

I was doing some synastry astrology last night for a friend of mine and decided to look up some alternative interpretations of my chart while I was at it. Half of it was about being a rule-breaker, a teacher and a non-conformist. The other half was about my psychic senses and lean toward metaphysics and the occult. Spot on. But I knew that. Why act surprised?

So of course, I will step to the beat of another accordion. I will delve into the macabre. I will feel deeply when others do not. Time to accept it. Time to accept me more fully. Time to be patient and trust the bigger plan!!!

A sweet, pale, little possum just walked past me, inches from my feet, not looking up or paying any heed to me.

A sign!

Opossum: In Dreamtime, opossum is the master performer, for he is a true chameleon at heart. His favorite game is ‘hide and seek’ for opossum hides from his true self and then seeks that same truth when he suspects that no one is looking. Opossum teaches us that wisdom is the journey within our own hearts. The key is to see through the smoke of illusion and to pierce the darkness of the night to discover that we are inseparable from our Creator.”

Okay, I'm off the edge now... And off to bed, where I hope to sleep better than last time I tried!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


As I soften the tattered edges of my archaic belief systems, I am blessed with opportunities to open up channels of connecting and healing .
As I open up the channels of re-invented communication, I am blessed with opportunities to experience new and profound love.
As I open up the channels of new and profound love, I am open to regenerative life.

I say yes to life... 
a thousand times: 

It has been an eventful week. In the last week, my world has shifted in leaps and bounds. 
Leaps and Boundaries, actually.

In the true essence of change, I observe and honor the differences between then and now. Harboring differences only keeps us separate from one another. 
This serves no-one.
It is in the realization of how we are alike that we flow in peaceful essence of acceptance of what is. 
What IS.

How often do we operate from a stringent core conviction of what our preconceived notions lead us to conduct our emotions and behaviors from? Are we reactionary and habitual or do we roll with the punches of the unexpected without presumptions?

It has been due to the utmost blessing that I have been presented with revisitations to past truths which are no longer so. The universe has tested me, pop-quiz-style, to weigh my growth and strengths against that which no longer suits me: outdated skepticism born of the sharpest cynical nature, bogged down with resentments and hurts.

Sometimes we love wallowing in human misery. We choose the shadowy world wrought with suffering and stoic self-righteousness.
Perhaps due to familiarity...
 Serving us- how?

But in admittance of imperfection, we rise and move beyond this phase- hopefully. And when we do, we experience an illumination of the most brilliant sort. Illuminating the truth of who we really are, and with that knowledge, we can forge forward from there. Next step. 

We as humans seek conflict and drama to divert attention from otherwise confusing and disturbing sensations within our mental and emotional worlds. Often it shows up as conflict in personal relationships and utter disappointments. Rather than admit the sublime hurts we experience, we act out. Usually, like less than our highest selves.

But what if you let down the wall of convicted egotistical stoicism?

Your world opens up.
The Universe says Yes to you if you say YES to the Universe's lessons and tests.

Would you rather trade one pain for another, if the new discomfort brought you bliss in the end? Or would you choose to cling to the past, in efforts to surround yourself with the familiar smoke and fog?

YOU decide.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Attack of the 50 Foot Green-Eyed Monster!!!

How does one, in the midst of evolution, defend against the direct blows of jealousy? Merely challenging it and denying it's presence is not enough. Fact of the matter is, jealousy can be subtle and sneaky as well as overt and torrential. 

Jealousy has been an ugly opponent of mine for as long as I can remember. Rather than fight with those who were acting out of jealousy towards me, I intended to deal clear-headedly with the resulting snare. Often I did just that. But, being human, I have gotten caught in the tangled net on a few occasions. On the other hand, I have been jealous of others a handful of times, usually envying perceived situations, like their life's ease re: financial wealth and the grandiose adoration some shamelessly receive.
Admittedly, I wanted to not struggle being impoverished, and feel oodles of doting love- regardless of deserving either.

In the recent weeks, I have been experiencing the caustic pangs of the jealousy focused on me. I humbly accept my talents as a gift from the great spirit, and use them lovingly in homage to all those before me, and to educate and inspire those currently and after me.
Same goes for being a warm, compassionate human bean.

Being given attention and thanks for sharing my gifts and lovingness with others has sparked a handful of green-eyed monsters to attack! From those I believed were loving friends to peers and strangers, I have been feeling like I have been blitzed and side-swiped. I have been lied to, and lied about. I have watched as people try to outshine me the moment I express joy and a sense of fulfillment. I have had my belongings stolen and my creations both destroyed as well as copied outright.

And although that feels crummy when I discover this monster:
It's not going to kill me.
I move on.
Stuff is stuff.
My art is my own.
I love creating, and will make more.

What I don't love is the dank, dark place it comes from. The place which seethes and rusts the sparkle of our spirit. I want to get a handle on it so it does not effect me so negatively. Time to do my meditations and chant. Time to pray and write for a spell. Time to love me and my life. 
But almost more importantly- time to look waay down, deep under the surface, and see just what I did to contribute to this or how- I too, am a greenie-meanie!

~Take a big bite.
Chew it slowly.~

Am I boastful or egotistical? Do I put others down? Have I taken something from another, either figuratively or literally- willfully or accidentally?

Where do I fit into this uncomfortable equation?
Right here.

The sensation of jealous pangs is a warning symptom that one is displeased with a certain situation. Otherwise it would be take form of another emotion/reaction. One may be instead- inspired, pleased, happy for another, contented, satisfactied, etc.

When I feel my best, no matter what the situation or circumstances are surrounding my life, I am at peace. 
I feel connected with all living beings. 
I understand the pendulum of extreme high points and low points, and accept them as fleeting.
 I take little to nothing personally.
 I openly radiate love within and outside of myself.

Unfortunately, I am not in a perfect state of zen-like serenity all of the time, chilling with non-attachment to outcomes. 
Again, I am human. I elate, I suffer.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

So, amongst my earlier fit of victimized shock and "how-dare-so-and-so" I self-posed the question:
How do I rise above this?

Love me.
Exactly where I am.

Jealousy is based on speculations. 
Most speculations are not based in any semblance of fact. Based on that information, it is safe to say that jealousy in and of itself is a conjecture. 
One which I simply cannot afford to entertain.
So I took a step back- after I calmed down- and breathed in the peace which is my true state. 
It took a little while. I admit it.

I have no control over the choices or intentions of others. 
I am only in control of my own reactions to life around me. I can choose to let certain emotions drift off, and replace them with new ones that are fruitful and pleasant or at least-neutral. By giving in to the negative thoughts/emotions and meeting them with equally high energy, it propagates the same stressful situation, even if it has a different face. 

Why not compost the scraps of icky emotions into a delightful mulch, and feed your garden of spirit?!?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Z is for Zenobia

Zenobia died in my arms. Her tiny body could cary on no longer. She was always a petite little girl but in her final months, she dwindled away to next to nothing. Her spirit stayed strong even through her pain and suffering. I know that her strong spirit is one reason she held on as long as she did. The other reason is me.

Throughout her lifetime, Zenobia was my best friend, my progeny, my sidekick, my protector, my confidante. She understood me on levels which no human ever did, and I suspect, never will. We spoke an unspeakable language of the soul. When I felt ill or upset/depressed, and could not call aloud for her, I would call to her psychically- and she came trotting in- every time.

We had entire conversations without a spoken verbal language.
Zenobia also appeased me when I attempted meow-speak, although I could swear I heard her giggle at me under her tiny kitty breath.

She was interested in literature. I kid you not, she enjoyed reading. And by reading, I mean she sat next to me or on my lap as I read, listened to the words as I said them in my head and even had her personal preferences as per genre and authors she enjoyed. As a tiny kitty, I went through this mystery novella jag reading “The Cat Who...” series. An outspoken siamese helps his human solve mysteries, and the author went to great lengths to alliterate the kitty's spoken yips and maws.
When I read those words, Zenobia would imitate- aloud- the cat's chat in the book. It was absolutely darling. And entirely brilliant.

Zenobia proved the adage “BIG things sometimes come in small packages.” Maxing out at maybe 5.5 lbs., ZZ was always dainty and light on her feet. With a bold attitude, she would defy gravity and perform wacky tricks. Her fetching skills were worthy of a kennel club event. As an amateur acrobat, watching her static flips, often from a stand-still starting position, would impress even the Cirque Du Blah Blah.

Like many a witchy familiar, she was always present for healing and divination and circle. And when it was bubble bath time, she was present. Dipping a paw or two into the water, tail swaying in as well was a regular pleasure for us both. Seeing as how I spend many hours soaking as I read, bath-time was also a special ritual.

Since her passing, I still feel her presence during those events. I feel her jumping up on the bed and siding close to me. Fletcher, her 20 year old mate, does too. There are even days when we both see her faded shadow run across the room. Weekly or so, I see the shower curtain move when I bathe. She lets me know she is here in spirit.

It was about 4 months ago, when I was experiencing a very trying time. I came into my room to lay down and unwind and was feeling tearful. I look down at my white blanket, and found a black whisker. Quickly, I dismissed it as mere coincidence. I went into the bathroom to wash my face and returned to find another one waiting for me where I found the first one. I have moved since Zenobia died. She never lived in this apartment with us. It is not possible that I found her whisker by chance as this blanket was newer as well.

Zenobia had black whiskers. Fletcher has white whiskers.

From beyond the veil, she left me a gift. Two actually. Those affirmations let me know that no matter the earthly space or time measured, we are always together.

9-3-1992 to 4-27-2011

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y is for Yes

I found this challenge quite challenging. To write on a topic with thematic and alphabetical guidelines really stretched me past my comfort zone folks. I skipped a few days of writing to take care of “real life” and myself/my needs. With this and one more post left, I am grateful I agreed to do it and stuck to my guns with minor wavering.

It was not without unforeseen glitches along the way.
Who doesn't have events beyond their control?
I don't know of anyone who does.

So in keeping with the promise I made to myself about posting essays, I have, on days I wrote yet wasn't eager to write, made use of a cheat sheet/topic reference list which I created two weeks prior to the A to Z challenge's maiden voyage. 
That list has been a go-to many a day.

Like with this post.

Oh sure, I wrote twice today already, but since I really want this to be over, I shall stretch.
And in this pushing, I will grow even more.

Proving to yourself that you can do things, which at first survey seem easy, yet are not as easy as you originally thought, is a challenge in and of itself. It is a real boost to the system though. Like sticking to a new diet or exercise regime, taking on something that propels you usually goes against current habits, and breaking them, even a little bit, is not a cake walk.

Today I want to talk about YES.

I said Yes to accepting this challenge.
I wanted to write about poignant issues filling my heart and head and life and share these contents with cyborglandiers, i.e.: you folks.
I wanted to grow as a writer and instill a new level of creative discipline into my daily goings-on.
That is not what ended up happening.

What did end up happening is this:
I wrote and wrote about subjects from my heart. I shared interests in ways I enjoy developing my soul. And I couldn't care less about the discipline of a writing practice. I got that. The letter limitation was a different story, but I approached that as a student's outlook and had fun regardless.

 Like anything in life- it is how you approach it- 
 your attitude dictates the real outcome. 

 I said yes. 

I want to say YES to many more creative ventures, 
YES to many more limit-pushing [yet small and gentle- for starters] challenges
 and YES to evolving.
I had no idea what I would actually get out of doing this, but I enjoyed it more than I would in certain ways and less in others.
Predictions are meaningless so often when it comes to our intentions.

I subscribed to and commented on blogs I would have not read any other time. I feel like we taught each other pertinent things about seemingly useless or random (only to others...) subjects and fascinated one another with sharing our personal mysteries. Who knew that some folks who “usually” blog about life and cars and work have passions for such unrelated things? Who knew that the cynics were as sweetly sensitive as they can be sarcastic? Thanks to this sometimes chore of a challenge, I know this now, and have a greater appreciation for you.
I thank all the readers who may or may not continue following and send lovey interweb hugs to anyone reading this blog ever ever.

To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death.

I say Yes to getting out of my comfort zone.
I say Yes to calling my own shots and boundaries.
I say Yes to YES!!!

X is for Xizang

Xizang |ˈ sh ēˈdzä ng |
Chinese name for Tibet .

I remember when I first got it into my head that I wanted to visit Tibet. I was monitoring a class of children as they took annual standardized tests, and I was in a classroom not my own. It was downstairs in the fifth grade wing, in a room reserved for Geography and Social Studies. Across from the teacher's desk where I sat, was a map of Asia.
As I looked at the map I began thinking about Tibet- which has been called the birthplace of all things.

I mused about the Dalai Lama and monks/nuns garbed in saffron robes. I pondered about meditation and chanting and Buddhism and what is implied by being called the birthplace of all things. I considered the Chinese occupation and deaths of over 200K Tibetan people about or before 1950. I wondered how long the trek out of Tibet took the people who were excommunicated, and the Indian people who gave them a new place to reside. I thought about folks who were told that Buddhism was no longer an option.
I daydreamed about yaks and sherpas and strings of prayer flags.

 The prayer flags are left to blow in the breeze even when they become shredded. 
 Then they transform among the elements. 

Perhaps less than a month later, a group of Tibetan monks came to our school. The monks lived in a monastery in India, and had grown up there since infancy. I cannot remember why they were specifically drawn to being at our school...

For whatever reason, they came to our middle school and were giving us a gift of a sand mandala and opening/closing chanting performances. I was blessed to be asked to come to the auditorium and help supervise the students. (I felt totally loved that day. I was not scheduled to take my students to the event, but my boss called me down at the last minute.)

I arrived as they walked out into the cement floor and sat down, lined up at the front of the open area- just in front of the stage. The monks did not want to be up, they wanted to be on the same level as we all ARE.

The men were all between 19 and 60-something. They were dressed in fine robes of the highest quality fabrics and wore these majestic headdresses that looked like horse mane mohawks made of garnet flora/plumage.

One by one the men started out with an awe-inspiring (because it literally makes you inspire... take abruptly deep breaths in, to merely watch and hear this!) cyclic chanting.
I swear that they can be heard on the CD/soundtrack for Heaven.
Their voices, being added one by one, melted and layered smoothly with each another's seamlessly. It looked as if they did not take breaths at all. If you have not seen or heard cyclic chanting, it is impressive at the least.
I was so moved, I decided to take a seat in the rear of the auditorium, where, I am convinced, the reverb and acoustics were best anyway.

 The flag's colors represent the Traditional Chinese Elements.  
 White/Metal. Blue/Water. Yellow/Earth. Green/Wood. Red/Fire. 

I in-visioned monks, many many years ago, chanting on the edges of sky temples in the Himalayas sending vocal-waves of prayer up and out... and the holy sound carrying on forever.

The power of vibrations made by their voices opens one up inside.
As I listened, I felt my heart burst open and the instantaneous connection of myself with the monks, the students and all living beings on the planet. (Like some Kundalini bursting alive event!) The opening chant lasted for over an hour. It threw me into reverie about the movie The Dark Crystal. I remembered the scene with the “Mystics” chanting- which sounded like these gentle men before me.
{Oh Jim Henson, you are greatly missed!}

As a kid, I was drawn to the Buddhist ways. (That was the platform for my argument for being a vegetarian when I was a little girl, Buddhists, and Hindus too... Not that it made my family accept the fact that I didn't want to eat meat. But that is another story for another day, I promise.)

When the Tibetan monks stopped the opening blessing chant there was a silence in the building like none other. We were all pin-drop quiet in the auditorium, and you could see how these children were effected as deeply as we adults were, it was beautiful!

 It was similar to this, but they had 3 foot long tubes used to tap the sand into the less-specicified outline/area than shown in this photo here. 
 Sitting on the floor, they sand-painted directly on the cement. 

A few deep breaths later, we drew closer to watch them create a sand mandala.
If you are not familiar with this art form, let me fill you in:
A sand mandala is a moving meditation, each colorful sand grain is laid out with intention as per where it is to go. An ornate pattern relating to a prayer or honoring a sutra is painted before your very eyes. Then after many labored hours, the sand is blown away by the wind, reflecting the impermanence of everything- both good and bad.

Being a photo/art teacher, I had a camera with me. I took some snaps of the monks at work (NOT using my flash though,) making the mandala, which turned out dark and grainy since the lights were very low. I printed one specific photo from that day's events to show my friends, which I did.

I do not know what happened to that film, or the photo. As a very organized woman, I keep my film strips and proof sheets ALL in ringed binders, dated and in chronological order.
But that roll of film and proofs and single print is gone.

 Talk about non-attachment and impermanence, huh? 

I may not have the pictures, but I will forever have that wonderful experience!

W is for Weight

 Atlas by Karim Design 

What is it that weighs you down? Is it worries about work or money or relationships? Is it literally poundage on your frame? Is it philosophical in nature?

Thinking often about this subject, I have come to realize that I am more weighed down than I wanted to look at. I have harbored toxic emotions which seethed beneath the surface poisoning my heart and mind. I have become someone I did not see myself as becoming.
Funny how we can have such distorted views about ourselves!

I have taken steps back from the things which I was aware were weighing me down. I have gained valuable perspective and am actively addressing the issues at hand. But it is not enough.
Like the onion, we are multi-layered and may even bring forth tears when peeling back those layers!

Let's face it, we all want to alleviate the stressors in our lives. Feeling stressed out and full anxiety is not a pleasant experience, but feeling the need to NOT feel them is like adding another layer of stress.

Pushing against the water of emotions is futile. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Earlier this week, I was blessed to see and face one of my most intense stressors of my life. I was asked not how I felt about them, but why I thought they were the way they were. In pondering this strange question, I thought of the reasons.

After a little while, I realized something huge:
 If I spend my energy and time and thoughts and emotions fixated on the painful holding on of these stressors in my life, 
 I become the pain. 
I may wear a different mask, but I become it nonetheless.

Whether I was taught to or expected to or volunteered to take the weight of the world upon my shoulders, I can always choose to change that dynamic.

 I choose to shed that layer of the onion NOW. 

I often remind myself:
Do not invest in fears related to the past.

Thinking about where we have come from and what decisions we made which did not serve our highest power are natural. Dwelling on them and berating yourself for them is counter-productive. As it is important to honor your light and shadow sides, you must remain in balance between the two, for no-one is all light, and no-one is all shadow.

Patiently reminding yourself of the weighty issues you wish to release and then lovingly letting them go, thanking them for the layer of protection they gave you, and explaining that you no longer need them, can be helpful.
This goes for excess mental, emotional AND physical weight.

We could all spend lifetimes going over the root cases of pain, so we may avoid the pain in the future, but I think that is too much retroaction and keeps you chained to the past. By releasing the need for holding onto the pain, you create more space to feel good, or at least neutral. And more often than not, if you still need to understand the painful foundations, you will do so in due time, naturally. Revisiting stressors with a non-attached heart does not sting nearly as much... if you wish to at all!

Some helpful affirmations to help release that which weighs us down.
I say them in the shower, in the car, while on a walk, or most-likely, in my head and heart.

I release the need to
(_fill in something you are addicted to- it can be a food, a drug, a person, a habit, a belief, a thought, etc._)
and I lovingly let it go, making way for better things to come into my life.

Today is a new day.

And one of the simplest, but a favorite of mine:

I am Safe and Loved.

P.S. I am not suggesting that you carry on in a bad relationship, in a job you hate, in anger and frustration, eating poorly, etc. instead of adding or replacing that stuff with healthier habits. 
But clearing space in your spirit and soul makes the healthy choices easier to make!