Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My parents loved to read. They loved the language of a well-told story, especially historical fiction, and passed that love for reading down to my sister and me. Sometimes my mother or father would share a story from their own childhood as a value lesson. My grandmother in Oregon loved to take me out into her garden where I would help her pick peas or feed her flock of chickens that cackled and scratched around the yard. I always felt as if my parents and grandparents, especially my mother and maternal grandmother,  saw me as their hope for a better future. They courageously dreamed new dreams for me, hoping to release old family limitations and patterns in their own lives.

I remember times during my childhood that were filled with laughter, times when my mother, my sister, and myself would be thrown into hysterics by an unexpected mishap during one of our songfests or a family outing. We would roll on the floor giggling! I have passed many of those stories on to my children and hope they will be shared long after I am gone.

But I'm also keenly aware of the many secrets my parents and grandparents harbored. There are family secrets that I have spent a lifetime uncovering, trying to unravel the patterns that have unfolded throughout my own life, patterns repeating themselves over and over again in my family's history. What was my mother hiding and why? Why were my grandmothers so angry at the world? Why did my father mistrust anyone who got too close to him? Was it shame, guilt, fear, or self-judgment? How can I shift their grief into positive lessons for healing, not only for myself but also for my ancestors and my descendants?

These unanswered questions have guided my adult journey, leading me to explore inner dimensions in a way that I never expected. Something deep within urged me forward with the prayer that I could contribute to shifting old family patterns between men and women, parents and children. The realization that I could not change anyone else, only myself and my reactions in the world, was the greatest gift I ever received from the Divine! If taking responsibility for my actions was the solution, I was willing to take it on. 

Now I am older, and wiser, and the naiveté that I had when I originally embarked on this journey as a young mother has been replaced with a profound appreciation and respect for the challenges I faced along the way. It has taken me to remote inner realms that often felt overwhelming and dangerous. There have been times when I wanted to give up, run, and hide. But there was another, stronger, voice within that urged me to stop, regroup, and problem solve with a new strategy. Always at the core of my journey was Divine Love and guidance, encouraging me to expand my perspective and see myself and others with compassion. I won't pretend that I have always been successful at this but I am grateful that God's compassion was always present and eventually I was able to see the greater good in a difficult situation. 

Now when I see my children learning their life lessons through their marriages and children, I understand even more. Life is an amazing journey and we are invited to make choices throughout the adventure. Sometimes we wish we had chosen differently but regrets are vain. The value of age, and time, is perspective. We can always make a new choice that directs us to new outcomes. Continually we are encouraged to take responsibility for our actions and decide if we like the course our life is on or choose to set new intentions, altering our life's course. 

As we begin our entry into the holiday season, may each of us reflect on the past year's choices with a compassionate heart, for ourself and others. What about our choices do we appreciate? What do we want to shift? Who do we need to forgive? Life is an amazing journey that constantly changes. Read the signs along the way. Reflect. Release. Compassion is the key. When we can forgive ourself, we find the compassion to forgive others. When we can seek forgiveness we hold the key to transformation. 
"It is a wonderful day in a life when one is finally able to stand before the long, deep mirror of one’s own reflection and view oneself with appreciation, acceptance, and forgiveness. On that day one breaks through the falsity of images and expectations which have blinded one’s spirit. One can only learn to see who one is when one learns to view oneself with the most intimate and forgiving compassion."  (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, John O'Donohue)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Restoring Equilibrium

After returning from my recent trip to South Africa and time with the sangomas, I have been in a deeply reflective space. Although I have been able to navigate my daily life of seeing clients and taking care of business, I am still searching for understanding of the inner shift that has occurred. My dreams are filled with activity but details elude me upon waking. I have a knowing that "work" is being done during sleep but I lack clarity. I find myself a bit impatient with the waiting and yet I know that this is essential.  Things are shifting but it is still in progress.

In the last month there have been three eclipses. At a spiritual level, eclipses are significant events. It is useful to note that we are still in the middle of a galactic alignment called "The Great Shift," witnessing the closing of a great cycle of time and the beginning of another, as the foundations of a new creation are being laid down for humanity. These events are of major spiritual significance because they are helping to birth a new consciousness. Those who are sensitive to psychic energies will feel it most but everyone is being affected, whether they recognize it or not. Eclipses signal what we need to change; they are a rebirth.

As I continue to process and reflect, I read through some old postings on my blog and found one that rang true for me again. I am reposting it here, hoping that you will also find encouragement in the messages that come from Nature. 

Reposting of my blog entry from March 15, 2010:

When I was walking at the beach the other day I spotted a pelican "frozen" in place by the wind currents. He seemed relaxed, waiting for a shift. He had the ability to to maintain his equilibrium. He hovered for some time and then suddenly the wind changed, allowing him to move forward quickly. With this shift he soared ahead, enjoying the ride.

Stability is defined as the capacity of an object to return to equilibrium or to its original position after having been displaced. This is exactly what the pelican was able to do. He didn't fight the unseen. He understood that relaxing into the air gave him a period of rest that would give him more energy to fly when the situation shifted. He was completely free. I've been thinking of this omen all week, wondering how I can apply this insight in my own life.

In alchemical writings and shamanic traditions, animal symbols give insight into spiritual wisdom. These animals may appear in dreams or in real life. The important point is to consider the deeper meaning. When I walked on the beach that day, I was looking for answers, looking for an omen to appear and that pelican was the first creature I saw. I knew that the pelican's message was important.

One esoteric perspective on the pelican is that it teaches us that we can consciously use the forces of the etheric body to maintain our equilibrium and stability in the world.

The pelican is at home in the air and in the water. Groups of pelicans can be spotted flying effortlessly in formation high in the air or skimming the ocean's surface. It's magical to watch. Despite their size they are light and buoyant and can float like a schooner. Pelicans can suddenly plummet into the water and then pop up to the surface. They have this ability because of a system of air sacs under the skin that make the pelican unsinkable.

According to Ted Andrew's book, Animal Speaks, this hints at being able to be buoyant and to rest on top in spite of the heaviness of life's circumstances. The pelican can teach us that we can plunge into life's challenges, trusting that we will be able to pop up to the surface again and again.

The shifts that so many of us are experiencing currently are taking us to the core of our fears and even asking us to reevaluate where and how we live. When we find ourselves caught up in the instability around us, we must find our inner equilibrium. It is during the challenging situations that the invitation to apply the lessons learned appears. When we can trust Divine Love and willingly plunge into the inner realms, we will find ourselves popping up to the surface with new insights and "nourishment." It is through this ability to shift our perspective and maintain our equilibrium that we create stability.

I don't always recognize this opportunity but am ever grateful when Spirit is finally able to get my attention and I call upon Divine Love. Then I am able to regroup, find my equilibrium, and wait for the current to shift and a resolution to present itself. God's plan is always better than any of the ones I come up with!

Blessings of peace, love and light,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inner Landscapes of the Soul

Africa Shaman Retreat in South Africa

Africa is calling. I move through my days making preparations for leaving my cottage in the canyon for several weeks. Anticipation of what awaits me in Africa is present but there is more attention being paid to the safety and well-being of my feline companion, Bentley, than to the unknown ahead.

This morning during my meditation time I reflected on my upcoming journey back to Africa and the nature of soul and how new landscapes encourage us to go deeper into our own inner world. Everyday familiarity with place, family, and friends can keep us from exploring inner mysteries. We become comfortable with our everyday world and put off the calling of the soul to explore new depths, new places within.

I am preparing to visit a place in South Africa that I have not been before. It is a place filled with ancient wildness and it is unfamiliar to me. This morning I am feeling the invitation to explore this new landscape with anticipation because I have the opportunity to discover something new about myself. When I first arrive at this sacred place in the Drakensburg Mountains, I want to quietly observe the landscape, both of the area and of my own reactions, because I will never again see it in the same way. I want to savor the unfamiliarity of the mountains and valley and grasses, contemplating a new awareness of my soul through the experience. Visiting this new landscape in Africa is an invitation to explore my soul in a new, untamed way.

Change requires getting uncomfortable. Getting acquainted with the deeper wisdom of the soul can be uncomfortable. It is necessary to release the familiar and embrace the unfamiliar if we choose to explore new territory of the soul. On the spiritual journey to awakening to the soul's true purpose, we must awaken to the unexplored terrain of our inner world, discovering something new about ourself. 

Pilgrimages call us to explore this unfamiliar territory of the soul and invite us to open up in new ways, to embrace new inner landscapes. This calling may come in the form of a journey to new and distant lands or it may be walking a precarious road with illness or trauma. Whatever form your calling to explore your own inner world takes, I encourage you to accept the invitation, believing that there is a gift and blessing of new possibilities awaiting you! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Embracing Nature's Call

Here in Southern California rain is something we truly appreciate. Our average annual rainfall is about 14 inches and many years we receive less than that. So a rainy day is greeted with appreciation. I always thank the Water Spirits for blessing the land with the sweetness of water and for refreshing nature.

In the Dagara tradition of West Africa, this year is a Nature Year. Nature is about joyful expression and magic. It brings major changes at a personal and collective level. During a nature year we are encouraged to remove our masks and step into our true self. Sometimes this can require facing issues that have challenged us for many years but this is the year that supports us in letting go of core limiting beliefs and stepping into our soul’s longing, our true calling.

The example of Mother Earth and her expression through nature is key here. We must be in touch with our human nature while living with the elements of nature – water, earth, animals, plants. When we are connected with the rhythms of nature, we are in balance and see with all of our senses. Intuition is heightened and the importance of living in harmony with our neighbors and our self is brought into focus. There is an ongoing cycle of death and renewal in nature and if we apply this to our personal and family life, we can learn how to interact harmoniously with others. That’s the lesson and also the challenge!

Indigenous cultures throughout the world understand this connection between humans and nature. Rituals are performed to connect people with their inner nature. Nature unites our physical being with our inner spirit, our soul.

The same shift is going on in the world. In spite of outward appearances, the world is not coming to an end. America is not collapsing. We are in the midst of a great shift. This is a time of change and this evolution is essential to the process of global change. We are one. The world has much to learn through the challenges facing humanity but nature helps us remove old masks that no longer serve. Nature assists us in looking beyond what is visible and into the heart of matters, into the soul. As we move from a fragmented reality into wholeness, people and countries must shift. What is working? What needs to change? How do we release old patterns and stories that no longer serve the highest good and co-create new paradigms that move us into balance?

Humanity has much to gain by reconnecting to nature and Mother Earth. When we are in harmony with nature we are more deeply connected to our soul’s nature. Nature provides a template for human development, encouraging us to grow and transform into who we long to become. At our core, every human being has a unique and mystical relationship to the wild world and when we cultivate that relationship we mature into the adult we are meant to be.
What do you long for? Is it time to change jobs, receive training in an area that interests you, move to a new place, or end a relationship in your life that no longer serves the highest good? What is working well? What is not? This is the year to heed the call to your soul’s longing. Nature provides the template for coming into balance with your soul’s true calling. Listen with your heart. Allow all your senses to connect to nature and discover the joy that awaits you. It is time to bring magic back into the world.