Category Archives: darkness and light

Celebrating the Eclipse Spirit Full Style

Yesterday’s eclipse was magical. Did you feel it?

I didn’t look.

Instead, at its peak I lead a quiet meditation with a few friends. It felt wonderful to clear our minds, make space for the new chapter of the New Moon and absorb the celestial energy.

Before the peak, we feasted on sunshiny lemon ricotta cakes with blueberry moon sauce, turmeric yellow frittata with spinach, feta and shallot, English cheddar with fig preserves, grapes, yellow watermelon, purple Izzy soda and Moscato wine. If the heavens give us a reason to celebrate, why not do so with gusto?!

As the eclipse was ending, we dropped flowers into the creek and let the combined moon and sun energy carry our wishes into the future.

It was a magical eclipse.

Did you feel it?

Eclipse photo credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Water Ballet at the Community Pool

Loyola Spirituality Center
As each person is awakened to the sacred in all life, 
the world is transformed.
“Celebrating Summer Solstice and Joining Loyola”
…During one summer of despair, I knew I had to dig deeper to find ways of connecting to the moment, and that is how I discovered what is now a favorite summer hangout – the outdoor community pool! I had taken my daughter there when she was little, but then when she became too cool for the pool, I got the urge to go alone one difficult day after work. I entered the deep end and then danced my own water ballet while kids splashed and screamed all around me and the sun beat down on my face. Something about the weightlessness of my body as I treaded and stretched as well as the otherworldly feeling when I swam beneath the surface made me feel especially connected to the moment and to my body, my spirit, my neighbors and my Creator. Going to the pool regularly became a part of my yearly summer rhythm. I let myself melt into the community waters and become one with all that is…..

 

Depressed? Connect!

Depression is disconnection.

Disconnection from:
self,     others,      the world around you      and      the great Mystery.
Medications and therapy ease the symptoms, but are not a cure.

You know that, right?

My guess is that every person reading this either takes, or knows someone who takes, anti-depressants and still experiences some level of depression.

Why? Because CONNECTION is the only path to relief.

Anti-depressants can give us the boost we need to get out of our ruts and seek connection,
but without that critical step – connection – there is no real end to the misery.

Need some ideas of what can connect you?

I have suggestions,
but the key is to do something mindfully,
meaning that you are present in the activity
rather than just trying to get through it or pass the time.

Connect to the moment.

Be present to the moment and clear in your intention.
If your intention is to connect with yourself,
then create something that releases your spirit onto a physical form – paper, clay, garden plot – even if just for your eyes only. Or move your body in a way that focuses your attention on how the air fills your lungs or the sun warms your face or each of your muscles pulls and releases. 
If your intention is to seek connection with others,
then be mindful during your interactions with others of feeling tenderness for each person. Dare to have deeply honest and meaningful conversations.
If your intention is to connect with the world around you,
then be present to the clouds, the grass, the birds.
If you intention is to seek connection with the great Mystery,
then let your mind soar into the space of your ancestors, the moment you came into being, or the source of all Love and Beauty.

You can connect by:

gardening, painting, writing, running, playing, volunteering at a senior living center, dancing, volunteering at an animal shelter, taking a slow walk in the forest as the trees graciously fill your lungs, performing your own water ballet in the deep end of the local pool, meditating, volunteering at a crisis nursery, praying, heart to heart talks with an old friend, heart to heart talks with a new friend, doing something for the sheer joy of it, reading a book that questions reality, watching a movie that shows you life through fresh eyes.

What works for you?

If this sounds overwhelming or you don’t know what will connect you and you don’t have the energy to find out –
then get the boost you need from medication, therapy –
and then take that next step towards
connecting yourself to what brings meaning to your life.

Appreciating the Darkness (Or Happy Holidays!)

I tend to be much more reflective during this time of the waning sun.

I journal, read through old journals, sort through old photos, paint, meditate, revisit favorite well-worn books, think about what I want to experience in the new year and so on.

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The moon from my front porch

In other words, I go deep – reminiscing, ruminating, then reformulating how I want to spend my time on this earth, in this body.

It’s part of living in the rhythm of the seasons, keeping in step with the encroaching darkness.

How do you keep in step with the rhythm of the seasons?

Back on Halloween, my friends and I came together to honor Death, the dead and the season of dying and letting go. We can’t hide from Death, so we might as well face it together, with wine and good food, sharing by candlelight and even a little shouting under the moon.

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My dining room on Halloween

Letting go was more than just a metaphor for me this Fall, as it was the time I had to let my daughter move into young adulthood and I adjusted to a newly empty nest. It was also when I accompanied a dear friend as she transitioned into hospice care.

Face it – we have no choice but to let go  – of youth, health, loved ones, certain ideas about ourselves and what we’re here to do, rigid plans – all of it has to go sooner or later.

Ashes to ashes and so on.

From a Halloween Puppet Festival
From a Halloween Puppet Festival

Halloween confronts death, and the Fall season with its falling leaves reminds us to let go of whatever is dying in our lives.

Then November comes, Thanksgiving in the USA, and we express our gratitude for whatever has remained.

This turkey is happy to be alive and on my car.
Grateful turkey

I let go as my daughter moved into her next stage of life and then on Thanksgiving she and I came together and celebrated our familiar, yet evolving relationship with the familiar foods and rituals of Thanksgivings past. It was nice.

Now Winter Solstice is approaching. The Holiday Season. The days are getting so dark and we are moving so far from the sun we fear we may never see it again.

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This darkness drives us a little mad, and many start to maniacally shop, throw holiday parties and do all they can to be merry, merry, merry.

Some, like me, settle into the darkness, appreciating how snow silences the outdoors, how the quiet turns me inward until I find that the whole universe is inside of myself – the history of the world lies in wait to be found deep inside of me.

Oh, I like to make a little merry too. I go to some parties. I buy gifts. I sing loud in the car to Elvis’ Merry Christmas, Baby. I put up a big, fat Frasier Fir and fill it with lights and beads. I get out the ornaments made by my daughter, from my own childhood, and from my grandmother’s tree. I bake gingerbread cake.

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I enjoy all of that. I like to put some light and sparkle into the darkness, and make it cozy with warm smells and familiar music.

But I also enjoy making plenty of time to settle into the darkness. Reminiscing, ruminating,  and reformulating. Going down deep where I can feel the Divine and appreciate that the Sun is always there, even when we can’t see it.

My daughter will move away and still be my daughter. My friend will leave her body and still be my friend. I know these things by going deep into the darkness where true faith, peace and calm are found.

The sun will take command of the sky again soon, but in the meantime, let’s appreciate the darkness and all that we can find there.

How do you appreciate this time of darkness?