Monday, April 30, 2012

Where's the maypole?

Today is the first day of the old pagan ritual we used to call Beltaine. It's the half-way point between spring equinox and summer solstice. This time of year was once celebrated with big bonfires, feasts, dancing around maypoles and lots of sex. At this time in spring, when the northern hemisphere is at its lushest and most fertile, the celebrations were intended to bring abundance to the land and the people. The people danced in shamanic alignment with the profusion of spring.

Beltaine is exactly six months before Halloween, arguably the two most powerful of the old holidays, for good reason. Agrarian societies in the old days couldn't pop over to the Whole Foods; if the crop was not abundant, they were screwed. So the time of planting as well as the time of harvest were crucial moments in the cycle. Of course we used to celebrate both. We still celebrate Samhain (Halloween), kind of.

Beltaine is one of the old celebrations we in contemporary America don't honor in some way. I think that's weird. Especially right now when our financial system is on the verge of collapse and we as a nation have fallen so far, a hearty, joyous Beltaine would really be an auspicious holiday to celebrate.

But as far as I can tell, folks will put on their dreary suits and faces tomorrow, march into the office. They are very dutiful and I admire the tenacity and focus it takes to work as hard as do the citizens of the District (in general). Also it makes me sad. We don't make space to be goofy and excessive, hence, we drink. Oh well.

The pics with today's post were taken yesterday afternoon at Lincoln Park. People were out and were relaxing in the green, but there was no joyful, unselfconscious celebration of fertility and creativity ongoing out there. I didn't even see any flirting. In terms of how one should behave at Beltaine, it was a pathetic show of restraint and maturity. Good lord.

Perhaps in Washington we are too busy to notice this turning point in the season. Who knows? In 21st century America, we are cut off from the agricultural cycle in every way. No wonder we don't tune in to the energy of the moment.

Right now I'm going to crank up the music and dance around until my clients arrive. I'll put a tealight on the floor and leap over it, to bless and purify my energy and the energy of all my relationships - family, friends, clients, the dead, my spirit guides, the mysterious ones, etc. Maybe I'll wear a flower in my hair. I will smile and laugh, because I definitely want to put it out to the universe that I would like an abundant harvest this year. Yes? I say YES!

Sigh. It's like swimming upstream here sometimes, I swear.

Happy Beltaine! May summer be beautiful and yield an abundance of joy and all good things for you and yours. L'chaim, y'all!

This person should be dirty dancing with someone. For heaven's sake!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I didn't sign up for this part!

I am psychic. I just am. You are too - some of us have more of a talent for it than others. Reading the subtle energies is an art. It takes practice, practice, practice. But even then sometimes we are so far off the mark, it's kind of funny - not that I keep score, by the way.

When I was beginning my studies in the Art, one day as I meditated I was suddenly struck by an urge to buy a yo-yo. I was learning to follow my intuition (as long as my urges were not destructive). There's no harm in a yo-yo, so I set out to get one. It was during a time when I guess yo-yo's were not popular. I had to hunt that sucker down. At last I found a store that carried them. At last I had my yo-yo. I sat with it, trying to divine its wisdom, partake of its great lessons, but I couldn't get a thing out of it. Finally in frustration I gave up, put it in a drawer and never thought of it again. But I found out subsequently that the day I hunted for a yo-yo was National Yo-Yo Day.

OK, I was tuned in to a wavelength, but was it necessary to know it was National Yo-Yo Day? You tell me. I would prefer to receive information that would save the planet or at least give me a hand up. But it seems this is not my talent. I can see energetic disruptions in clients, I can talk to the Cloud People and ghosts, I can dance with the planets but I never play the lotto because I know I could not perceive the correct numbers even if I stared into my crystal ball till my face turned blue and my eyeballs fell out. It is not my talent. When I mention to my spirit guides that it would be cool to win the lottery, they tell me it would be boring and destructive. Hmmm.

I mention this odd knack for divining completely irrelevant information because last night I asked for a dream to help illuminate something I'm working on with a friend. I dreamed that an exhibit of presidential underwear opened at the American History museum. All I remember in the dream was looking at the heavy, scratchy wool long johns George Washington wore during the famous crossing of the Delaware River. You know the painting? Ha.

Funny dream. Of course this is exactly what we do when we vet our elected officials. We poke around inside their underwear drawers to see what we can find hidden there.

But here's the thing. All day today I've been getting flashes of presidential underwear. Seriously, do I have to know this? TMI, y'all, T.M.I.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Let go or be dragged.

When a hurricane is tracking up the gulf or in the Caribbean, I'm glued to the Weather Channel (such as I can access it since I don't own a TV.) Likewise, when something big is ongoing in the sky beyond the weather, I obsessively read the essays and forecasts written by every astrologer I trust. This weekend, last week and during the weeks upcoming through June, the planets are in a showdown, occulting each other, squaring off. These configurations are transformational. Those who are currently able to avoid personal and collective reinvention must have some spell going for them. In general in the Reyaverse, everyone's got his or her nose to the grindstone of change. Good lord. The pressure is intense.

Hence I've been thinking, dancing shamanically, bumbling and stumbling at times, but doing my very best to keep up with the energy. It's rather exhausting but also kind of thrilling. A period of intense transformation is vivifying, cleansing. The old skin drops away to reveal the new. Yes we will be tender for awhile, but that's ok. Yes? I say yes. As a black water dragon, a year like this is good fun. But I'm not as wordy as usual. That's probably a good thing, hey?

I love the Zen aphorism I used as the blog title. Hell yeah. Sometimes being dragged along for a few blocks seems like a good idea, but I'm trying, with societal issues as well as the tiny, mundane, everyday situations, to notice but let go, keep moving. My mantra is all about granting everyone the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. This includes me, by the way.

Why not? Have a happy weekend, y'all. Shalom.

American History museum. That red transistor radio? I think we had one when I was a teenager! So weird to see it in a museum!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


When I need a break from DC, it always helps to get up into the ancient mountains, to hang out with the wild Potomac River (and all the other rivers, too of course). There is so much potent, wild magic up there. Whew! The only other place I've been that feels as crazy-making wild is Wales. I know there are other tracts all over this beautiful planet that feel edgy, gorgeous, awesome and slightly dangerous, but I have never put my feet down in those places. I'm called, over and over again, up to the Shenandoah, along the Potomac. That land beckons.

Though - it isn't just the land that calls me. ("Just?") I'm drawn to Civil War battlefields like a moth to the flame. During my first few years in DC, I spent a lot of time walking the battlefields, reading about the Civil War, trying my shamanic best to bring healing to these haunted places by listening, doing ritual and praying. The work was interesting. I learned a lot but I tried to do too much too fast and as a result made myself crazy. Reya vs. the Civil War? Ha. It's no contest.

Though I feel the pull much of the time, I haven't stepped foot on a Civil War battlefield in many years. I still read, study, and think about that terrible time in our history, but I avoid the battlefields. It's prudent, especially as I grow older because the energy there is so intense even those who could give a rat's ass about the art of listening to subtle energies can feel the ghosts. Ask anyone who has ever visited these places. It's palpable. You can imagine the effect of these energies on me!

I get a bit drunk on the energy, disoriented and/or goofy. Sometimes I glaze over, feel spacey or fearful, like a deer in the headlights. So much is going on, I am sometimes dazzled, sometimes bewildered. When I try to eat, everything tastes moldy. It is so weird! Though quite entertaining, it isn't healthy.

Ah, but the ghosts got me on Tuesday! Civil War - 1, Reya - 0. Again. Sigh.

They got to my friend, too. The second we arrived in Harpers Ferry she began saying she was craving bar-b-que. "We HAVE to get bar-b-que - right now!" she kept saying. This friend is a very careful eater. She rarely eats meat, is a yogi, has a sensitive stomach so she chooses what she eats mindfully. I should have seen it, but I was already so far into the spin of energy, I did not have the presence of mind to say, "You? You really want bar-b-que?" We ate smoked, bar-b-qued pork sandwiches and a mountain of fries. This is SO unlike my friend. She asked for more bar-b-que sauce, even. Imagine the most dainty eater you know chowing down on smoked pork? Huh?? It should have struck me as weird, but it seemed perfectly natural, the way the oddest things are normal in dreams.

After that, I could not eat anything. I had no appetite whatsoever until the Sufi acupuncturist treated me yesterday. It's not like I'm in any danger of starving to death, but still it's not healthy to be disconnected from appetite. Yikes. They got me but good!

The fact that, "by mistake" we drove directly through the Antietam battlefield on our way out of town, right past the cemetery, should have alerted me to the fact that I was, in my own unconscious way, doing my dance once again with the fallen soldiers. But it was more than 24 hours after I returned before it dawned on me what had happened.

Good Lord. My mind is always the last to know!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You can not grasp the river

The shale outcropping above the confluence radiates an undeniable presence. It feels like a great guardian overlooking the mayhem of the convergence.

Harpers Ferry is a very strange place energetically. It makes perfect sense that John Brown went nuts and started the Civil War right there at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.

The energy was so powerful that my friend and I found ourselves reluctant to stay more than about an hour or so. It was a cleansing energy, but not gentle. It was more like energetic dermabrasion. Whew!

I have a very special fondness for river confluences. I love standing at the end of Hain's Point here in DC where the Anacostia and Potomac rivers converge. There is a quiet power there, a sense of unity for two rivers that seem (to me at least) to long for each other. When I stand there and sense the energy what I feel is that it's so RIGHT for the rivers to join. Yesterday at Harpers Ferry the confluence felt more like a battle. There was chaos and destruction where the rivers came together, a sense of clashing and bashing more than anything like unity or wholeness. It's interesting to think about.

The confluence definitely sucks all the energy out of the town proper, or the part of the town we saw anyway. There were some cool historic buildings that have been carefully preserved, but the energy was frozen, stuck. It was kind of weird. I do recommend, for those visiting Harpers Ferry, a trip to Hannah's bar-b-que by the Amtrak stop. Oh man that sandwich was so good!

Very cool house and ghost house. This was between Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown.

After being battered for awhile by the energy in Harpers Ferry, we hopped back in the car and drove twenty minutes to Shepherdstown, a very lovely, charming, historic college town. There we checked out all the little shops, walked, drank coffee. Sweet. I bought a beautiful crystal that was "seeded by the Lemurian people," the woman at the shop told me with a straight face. And people think I'm weird!

On the way out of Shepherdstown, not on purpose, we passed through the Antietam battlefield, drove right past the cemetery. Of course I was on edge as I always am when encountering the energy of Civil War battlefields. My friend, who is a shaman just like you and me, said it felt like a strong wind was bearing down on her car. She felt she had to push harder on the gas peddle to get through it.

It was a fabulous day trip. I feel clean, restored in the way I always am after a visit to my beloved Appalachian mountains. I have to remember to get OUT OF TOWN periodically. When I don't get out, I am the worse for it. Must remember!

Happy Wednesday. Shalom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I am smiling.

This was so cool - part of the Earth Day celebrations on the National Mall. It's made from old maps.

In a little while I'll take a shower, have breakfast. After that a friend will swing by to pick me up. We're going to Harpers Ferry, W. Virginia. Ahhh, just what the doctor ordered! We'll have lunch, take the historic walking tour, go crystal shopping. Does that or does that not sound like the very best kind of day in the world? It does to me.

The weather is great. After two days of soft chilly rain, the sky is a sparkling blue. The trees look refreshed and even the gaudy azaleas seem softly pretty. The high in DC will be around 60. I'm thinking it will be somewhat cooler in Harpers Ferry, and too I'm sure that land is a few weeks behind us in terms of the progress of the season. I'm charging my camera battery even as I type this. Oh man do I need a day outside the District! Oh man.

I loved the rain and savored what was probably the last very chilly night of the season. Today is a perfect day, arriving right on time for my day trip to Harpers Ferry. I wonder why I'm here sometimes, I mean what's in it for me? Then later on, I wonder why I wonder so much. The landscape here supports me, the weather gods bless me when I need it most, like today: not too hot, not too cold, plenty of sunshine. I'm not saying I'll never move away from DC - that would be a ridiculous proclamation considering my history - but I am a part of the landscape after all these years. It's the Potomac River flowing through my veins, hell yeah. My skeleton, once composed of Franciscan melange, is now rather column-like: marble, sandstone, granite. For now, I belong here. So be it! I just need a day out of town!

Life is good, plentiful, abundant. I am grateful. Shalom.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Whether we want to or not, we dance with the planets

Tour bus reflection, columned buildings all around.

Buckle your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen! The planets are dancing in very rare configurations for the next two weeks. Though the sky has been going haywire for a couple of years already, what's coming up is the kind of planetary dance that packs a serious wallop. What I glean from my favorite astrologers is that life is likely to feel very intense, as if something karmic is unfolding - which is absolutely true, actually, on a societal level.

How many self-soothing behaviors do you have in your tool belt? Best pull out everything you've got, dust off those tools, and get to soothing, please!

At least this is how I plan to meet the exact square of Pluto and Uranus, and the Pluto eclipses, as well as the solar eclipses coming up in June. While my brothers and sisters in the sky square off against and occult each other, I'm going to make mac and cheese, sleep late, drink lots of water. I'm going to breathe my shamanic ass off, you'd better believe it! I will grant others the benefit of the doubt whenever I can, cut those who might annoy me plenty of slack.

My first teacher of astrology told me the planets don't DO anything TO us. She found that language completely inaccurate. I didn't know what she meant, but I'm getting it now at last. As consciousness evolved in our species over hundreds of thousands, probably millions of years, we gazed at the night sky. We watched the movements of the wanderers (that's what "planet" means - did you know?) We took note of the way the sky configures itself in winter, spring, summer and fall. Gradually, over time, we took meaning from these configurations and from the dance of the planets on the backdrop of stars. Human consciousness is inseparable from the dance of the planets. The way we think was forged in conjunction with the sky and the seasons.

That we dance in alignment with the movements of the planets and stars is something I'm sure of. How we describe what's going on is a different story. I know not many people interpret the cosmic dance as accurately as some of us might like. Astrology, my great teacher explained, is a lifelong art to learn. You can't study for two years and think you "get" it. Astrology has to sink into the bones and blood, deep into the brainstem as it did for our ancestors. That can't happen in a few years, even for those who study assiduously. We moderns are quite impatient, though, hence we try to interpret, to articulate the energy as soon as we begin studying. Some are better than others. I have a feeling ancient astrologers were much more precise, in part because they understood it takes time to learn the art.

We are cyclic beings living in a cyclic universe. As above, so below. Buckle up, y'all. Safety first!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I didn't mean to whine in the last post. Seriously I do wonder sometimes if I will end my days here. I am very much an odd duck in the beautiful, powerful, unbalanced city of Washington DC. Nevertheless, in my community I am accepted and appreciated. I do not take that for granted.

It's a little bit lonely, but perhaps this theme is a part of my life story and I should embrace it. I was the black sheep in my family growing up, also in school. When I was 23 I left Kansas City to become a stranger in the very strange land of the Pacific Northwest. That landscape never felt right to me. As I began to adjust, I moved again, and again, and again. Lord I have been a ramblin' woman, repeatedly placing myself in unfamiliar situations.

Perhaps being The Other, as it were, is the way I roll. I never thought about it that way. Here on East Capitol Street I stick out like a sore thumb, shaking my rain stick, talking to the cloud people, listening to the rustle of the leaves, laughing at the silly ghosts. Yes I am a few chips short of a fish dinner in the eyes of the people who live here, perhaps, but I believe I am well received by the well-to-do, high achieving, whip smart denizens of Capitol Hill. They sprint past the chateau after a 12 hour work day because they have to stay in shape, they must stay sharp. They're plugged in to NPR, or talking on the phone. They wave and smile while I'm dancing in shamanic alignment with the rosemary bush.

Ha. Well, perhaps I will end my days in Washington DC. My spirit guides say you never know what's going to happen. For today, I'm putting this topic on ice. Life is good and I am grateful even if I whine occasionally. Shalom.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mums the word

There are just about as many people willing to accept the idea of shamanship here as anywhere else in the U.S. - probably. But here in buttoned down Washington DC, it's best if we shamans practice behind the veil. It's OK to be a shaman, but not so ok to admit it publicly.

If I lived in Taos or Boulder, Madison, Austin, Savannah, Charlottesville, Seattle, L.A., New York, or any one of those little towns in upstate New York, etc., it wouldn't be hard to locate a community of like minded folks with which to share and learn. I could shout it from the mountaintops, "I AM SHAMAN!!!!" No one would care.

But here in Washington DC we keep these things on the down low. We are very subterranean, as befits a swamp. I guess!

All this begs the question of why I continue, year after year, to live, move and park my butt in Washington DC.

When I question my spirit guides about this, they are kind. They pat me on the back (such as spirit guides are able). Then, inevitably, one of them will whisper in my ear, "Reya! You're exactly where you're supposed to be!"

OK. But sometimes I wonder!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flu-like symptoms

I'm a bit under the weather today. I parked myself on the sofa, spent the day there, reading mostly.

I didn't clean.
I didn't cook.
I didn't work (had to cancel some clients).
I didn't walk around.
I didn't take any pictures which was OK since it was lightly raining off and on.

But I guess no matter what, I blog. So be it. Shalom.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My mother loved science and science fiction, too. She loved thinking about space travel and warp speed and beneficent beings from other planets. I remember when we were kids and were still able to see stars and the Milky Way from our suburban Kansas City backyard, she would have us lie on the grass, gaze at the sky. She would talk about the movements of the planets, how fast the earth spins and twirls around the sun, about how many years it takes the light of distant stars to reach us. Her voice was sure and steady and she would go on and on while we kids lay there totally transfixed by the beauty above us, lulled by the sound of her voice. She took us on many a trance journey to outer space. Carl Sagan himself could not have done a better job! There were times when I found myself holding tight to the grass, as if I might suddenly fly off, onwards and upwards to the stars.

My mother would have LOVED this morning, on the national mall, watching the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery. I thought of her often, standing in the dust, surrounded by a bunch of highly convivial folks who, like me, really wanted to see this thing that has been coming and going from earth to space for 27 years, piggy-backed on a 747. We cheered as the shuttle circled the mall. We smiled. We took a million pictures.

I'm sure if you google "space shuttle DC monuments" you will find at least 10,000 pics. It was a sight to see! I did snap a few shots but mostly what I did was stare and cheer. The flyby was at 1500 feet. It was so close I felt I could reach up and touch it. I opened my eyes wide and took it in.

It was rather thrilling. Very nice!


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Real Thing

Everybody's a shaman. Everyone senses, at some level, the flows of energy in which we live and move around every day. Everyone responds in his or her unique way to those flows which is why at the supermarket when you suddenly get an urge to go stand in line, everyone else in the store does the same thing. Or you're out walking around. You think, "I'm going for coffee." There's no line at the espresso bar but 2 seconds after you order, 20 people have lined up behind you. They had the same thought, responded to the same shift in the energetic flows. Check it out. You know what I'm saying is true. That's how astrology works. The huge beings who share our solar system move forwards and backwards, wax and wane. We dance in shamanic alignment with them, going retrograde occasionally, and such.

Dancing in shamanic alignment with the flows of energy within and without is the birthright of every human being. We do it whether or not we're in a mood to admit it, which makes every one of us a shaman.

There are different stripes of shaman, though. If you google "shaman definition" you'll see a bunch of different ideas. There are those of us who dance, and then there are those of us who mediate between the world of spirit and the world of humans. I fall into that second category. Every healer is also a mediator, every healer tries to wedge themselves between the cause of suffering and the person suffering. I'm speaking energetically of course.

Anyway I'm thinking about it because I have had the craziest shamanic week! Good lord. Here's a true story from this week. I went to see the Sufi acupuncturist on one of his last days in the office space he has occupied for six years. On the way into the building I noticed something smelled good but I didn't give it much thought. When I walked in the office, the first thing I noticed is that everything was off the walls and out of the space except for the bare necessities - a couple of chairs in the reception area and a folding table, laptop, a phone. That was it. The Sufi acupuncturist was standing in reception when I breezed in. He turned to me and said, "Oh! You're wearing (some Chinese word)." I was confused. He said, "It's the scent in Chinese medicine that cleanses energy." I said, "I'm not wearing any scent." He took a step closer and sniffed me, nodded, then said, "But you can smell it, right?" I could! It was that good smell from the sidewalk. I said, "I noticed it smelled nice outside." He then went to the door to his office, leaned out into the hallway and smelled, shook his head slowly. I said, "It smelled nice outside but not in the building."

When he explained that the scent is used for cleansing, I remarked that it was the perfect energy for him in his office on one of his last days there. And then we commenced with my session.

Stuff like this happens to me all the time, but sometimes it still astonishes me. A smell hitches a ride with me into the acupuncturist's office? How can that be? Where did the smell come from? How did it recognize me? How did it wrap itself around me? I will never know.

I could go on and on about my shamanic week, but you get the picture. Emboldened by recent experiences, I've been dancing around with the allegedly powerful rainstick, sadly to no effect. It is hot and dry in DC; it's supposed to reach 90 F. today. Yes indeed I am a shaman and yes of course I will do my part to bring rain, but it isn't up to me, is it?

May your day be magical in wonderful ways. Shalom.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grist for the Mill

Everybody has one; a wound that cuts deep. It's something that's not possible to cure, yet isn't serious enough to be fatal. Dealing with these wounds is a part of every human life. I'm not sure how to refer to this phenomena. I wonder if there is an official name for it. It can be anything - a physical limitation or incapacity, or lifelong ailment - inherited or whatever, some problem with the mind/heart, i.e. mental illness. It can involve circumstances in the environment of the individual, a history of trauma of one kind or another, heartbreak, loss, success. It's hard to pin down where it will come up, but at the end of the day what I see is that everyone has a wound they struggle with throughout their lives, never triumphing over it but neither are they defeated.

In the best of circumstances, it's from working with the essential core wound that people become wise, kind, compassionate, patient. These issues work on us as we work on them, polishing, grinding us down sometimes, making us smarter if we pay attention. We are such powerful beings, sometimes I wonder if hardship and humbling is necessary in order for us to pay attention. Is suffering necessary for the gathering of wisdom? You tell me, I have no idea.

One thing is for sure - it's universal, this idea of a wound that will not heal, will not kill. Of course I love the King Arthur version of this myth, the story of the Fisher King. I could name several from other times and places. Poor Chiron, for instance. One of my favorite versions is a tale told about Shiva from the Hindu myth cycle. A terrible demon pours poison onto the earth. It is so toxic, it could kill every living creature. Shiva, knowing that swallowing the poison will kill him, nevertheless drinks the toxic brew, holding it in his throat without swallowing, for ETERNITY, saving himself and the world. In this state they say he sits in peaceful meditation until the end of Kaliyuga.

Bloody hell, that Shiva is something else, hey? Whoa.

I'm realizing, about this latest bout with my personal fisher king wound, that acceptance and soothing is the best option at this point in life. I've worked valiantly to heal this thing completely since young adulthood. I'm so glad I tried so hard. You wouldn't believe how many years I spent exploring it in therapy. I have a very thorough understanding of it, but, it's still there. It's essential, it's in my blood and bones. I am ready at long last to stop trying to work through it. Instead I will endeavor to make space for it, so it doesn't encumber me during the decade of my 60s. It's a worthy goal!

Does the above sound negative? I'm not feeling that at all. I'm practicing patience with myself, also receiving a LOT of acupuncture, dreaming and drawing on the ipad. Is it helping? Well - ask my brainstem, please. My mind has no idea. That's probably for the best! Shalom.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I just realized today is Friday the 13th. Oh my ... my mind is always the last to know!

As usual for me, it was a lovely day that included some work with a beautifully pregnant client, a session with a student and a more prolonged walk this afternoon than I thought I could manage. People are out there choking on the oak pollen but I'm holding steady. Not wishing to look a prize horse in the mouth, all I want to say is thank God! My recipe this year includes a LOT of acupuncture. It really makes a difference, at least for me.

I've been quiet lately. Wish I could say that's because I've been deep in philosophical ponderings. I've been kind of ... blank, I guess is the right word. Things are cooking within, but it's down there somewhere in the Marianna trenches of the Reyaverse that I'm doing my pondering. It is not intellectual, it is not the kind of contemplation that tickles the mind. It's deep and profoundly mysterious.

In the midst a bad green dust day this week I closed the windows, cranked up the "Angus and Julia Stone" station on Pandora, and did some spring cleaning. The overstuffed rocker that was one of my favorite pieces of furniture ever, the chair that eventually became Jake's bed and then moldered in my bedroom after he died, finally went out to the sidewalk. In its heyday that chair was the best. But it got worn down, as furniture does, and then when Jake occupied it, he trashed it completely. Nevertheless, it was scooped up almost immediately when placed on the sidewalk, of course. Onwards and upwards!

I read somewhere that when the Mona Lisa was being exhibited in Japan, people lined up at the Louvre to look at the place on the wall where, for a brief time, it wasn't. Every time I walk in the bedroom I look at the place where the overstuffed rocker that was Jake's bed isn't.

This is kind of where I've been for a few days, staring at the places where something isn't.

Today some of the exotic fruits that can only arise after a barren season have made themselves conscious. For instance, I figured out how astrology works. I am very happy to finally get it - that the planets are not doing anything TO us. My first teacher of astrology said that all the time. Now I know what she meant. Cool. And that's not the only thing I figured out!

I guess a fallow period is a good thing, hey? Shabbat shalom, y'all. Peace.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blame it on the Planets

Are you holding steady this week? According to the astrologers I know, it could be a rather strenuous week, but so far, I'm hanging in with the energy. I guess I should be prepared to duck and cover, but so far, so good.

Here's what one of them said yesterday:

Pluto goes retrograde today and Mars is about to station direct. The planets of power (Pluto), and passion (Mars) demand our courage as they initiate us into change. Stare fear in the face and invoke courage as you ride the waves of this rocky week.

Good lord! This is from someone I would characterize as a 'feel good' astrologer.

Maybe all the emotional struggling I've been engaged with of late (around my relationship with my mother) has strengthened me for this week, or rendered me unable to sense the energy. Or maybe the planets aren't going to be as demanding as they're supposed to be. Who knows? One of my ongoing life mottos revolves around finding a way to blame the planets whenever things aren't going the way I wish they were. The planets are large beings who could give a rat's ass about our opinions of them, at least this is true in the Reyaverse.

I hope your week is unfolding smoothly. May the commotion overhead settle down. Mars and Pluto: shake hands and make nice, please! Shalom.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Snow Day

The oak pollen is flying fast and furious through Washington DC. Brother Wind is pushing the pollen into every crack and crevice which, I suppose, is the point. But much of the green dust is airborne since it has been way too dry in DC lately. Ah-choo!!

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I would have tossed myself into the fray even though I am severely allergic to oak pollen. I would have been outside, walking around, taking pictures, sneezing, blowing my nose endlessly, cursing the trees, or conversely, begging for mercy in the midst of their springtime orgy. Ignoring the truth of cause and effect, once upon a time I would have made myself sick as a dog on a day like this. I used to be so cruel to myself.

I remember a day like today, a couple of years ago, when I plummeted into anaphylaxis. I staggered into the fire station at Eastern Market, barely able to croak "Call 911." Firemen are excellent - they immediately said "We ARE 911." They gave me some Benadryl and watched me closely as the symptoms lessened. Thank god for firemen! Thank god for Benadryl. It's not good for you, but if you have allergies, it can save your life. Someone told me recently that if you chew the pill, make sure it gets under the tongue, it will be absorbed more quickly.

Today will be a "snow day." I will do some spring cleaning, watch movies on netflix, that sort of thing. I will watch the oak trees waving in the wind outside my tightly closed windows. In this way I will do a kindness for myself, protect myself. Oh yeah.

Happy snow day, y'all!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Escape from DC

I don't travel much probably because I am not good at it. I detest airports and travel by flight, the jargon (stow your personal belongings, etc.), the inevitable humiliation at security checkpoints. Once I arrive at my destination, I am bewildered, jet lagged. I feel disoriented - not in a good way. A friend says it's important to put your feet on unfamiliar ground, but it takes me about a year to touch down anywhere I am, hence in a travel situation I never quite get my bearings. I'm exhausted but can't sleep, my stomach goes sour, I dislike living out of a suitcase. I could go on but you get the idea.

But I love day trips by car, bus or train out of DC. Yesterday some friends and I sped out of the city, drove north into the charming and picturesque Maryland countryside. We looked at antiques, drank coffee, took a walk across an old iron bridge, listened to the chatter and song of the Little Patuxent river. It was a glorious escape from the usual routines.

In a couple of weeks another friend and I are going to spend the day in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, a magical and historical place. I'm hoping for good weather so we can explore the town in comfort but even if it rains all day I'll be happy to spend some hours away from the jaw-clenching vibe of DC.

I am an urban person, never more comfortable than here in the chateau in wonderful Capitol Hill, DC, but oh man it is so great to go fast in a car sometimes, leave it all behind. A series of modest trips out of the city, those that do not involve crossing time zones or airline jargon, is what I look forward to this summer.

There are people far away I would love to see, too. Maybe I'll take one flight sometime this year to one of the places where my beloveds live. Maybe. I did not step onto an airplane at any time in 2011. It was such a great year!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Next year in Jerusalem, y'all

It's Good Friday and at sundown, Passover begins. The sacred dramas that describe the springtime theme of death/rebirth are unfolding! Some years I observe Easter as I did last year when I attended a service in Polish with a Polish friend. Whoa. That was an eye opener! Some years I attend a Seder, take in the seasonal theme through the story of the exodus.

This year I'm working on Easter, also all day today. I will focus on the death of spasmed muscles and rebirth of relaxation as I knead, smooth and stretch the bodies of my clients.

It's not the worst way to observe the holiday weekend, is it? Happy whatever you celebrate, and happy weekend to those who celebrate neither of these holidays.

May we put down our burdens, leave behind our enslavements, may it be so! Shalom.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pass over

Easter week tends to be strenuous psychically and spiritually. This year is no exception. The ancient themes of springtime surrender followed by redemption, aka death and rebirth, loom large in the Reyaverse. Of course I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to feel unnerved at this moment in spring.

Today I'm thinking about how the story of Jesus on the cross is a grisly depiction of letting go, the idea that has been much on my mind of late. Another ultimate depiction is the story of Passover in which the Jews leave behind the lives they've lived for 400 years. I know it was slavery, but they were accustomed to it, they knew what to expect. Beyond Egypt was nothing but the desert. Who would willingly go forth into the sand, rock and penetrating sunlight with no idea what would happen next? The ten plagues were, in my opinion, not just to convince Pharaoh to release his grip on the Jews, but for the Jews themselves, to kick their asses out of the old routine. We humans hang on tight sometimes. It takes convincing to get us to change.

I love this old video, watch it every year. It's so silly.

One of my enslavements is the habit of worrying about everything. Spirit of Eagle has encouraged me to open my clenched fists. let go of this habit which reflects my ingrained distrust and showcases how superstitious I am. If I don't worry, something bad will happen? At some level, I believe this. For heaven's sake.

May I leave behind (for the most part) my inclination to worry this year as I cross the desert! May I be willing to let go without the added inducement of plagues. May I be graceful, may I be unenslaved, may it be so.

It's not even Passover yet but I'm on it. Shalom.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Old friends

Life is change, right? That's what they say. In Chinese medicine it is believed that change is so intrinsic to being human, if nothing changes, disease will result. It's interesting to think about. People who sit around all day become lethargic and unable to move even if they decide to do so. Neuroscientists believe if we think the same thoughts, follow the same routes and do the same work every day, our brains will lose plasticity. Neuroscientists are on board now with Chinese medicine. That makes me smile.

Some people make changes because they can't sit still for five minutes. I'm talking about a hefty percentage of the relentless go-getters and ambitious citizens of the District. I know DC isn't the only place where people get into a loop of go-go-go. Impatience is a sign of anxiety. It's not balanced and is not what the neuroscientists are talking about.

I'm a creature of habit and yet I tilt into change, at least I did earlier in life. Not so much an adventurer, I think one of the reasons I was always moving to a new city or starting a new career or shifting relationships when I was younger is because I didn't have an ability to tolerate sameness. I learned tolerance and resilience rather late in life. I might never have learned at all! Thank goodness for psychotherapy, life experience, meditation every day - and who knows what else!

I'm thinking about it this morning because I had dinner last night with an old friend. We met in 1980 and have been friends ever since. Last night we were reflecting on all the different phases of our friendship. We are not exactly compatible for many reasons that are no one's fault. Those incompatabilities used to create a lot of friction between us. Over time, the sharp edges have mellowed. At last we've settled into a benevolent tolerance of each other's quirks that makes a deep friendship possible. I have no doubt we will be friends until the day we die.

He is not my closest friend, I should say, and we have not harbored romantic feelings for each other for decades. We have a comfortable, radical acceptance of our heart connection in spite of our differences. Earlier in life I would not have been able to comprehend this kind of connection. It is yet one more aspect of aging that I appreciate.

Have a wonderful Wednesday. Shalom.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

One foot in front of the other

That's the Library of Congress behind the tree.

The green dust is flying. I should be miserable with allergies, but somehow, I'm not, at least not yet. I'm well aware that part of my spring pattern is the thought, Maybe this year it won't be so bad. That thought precedes the pollinating oaks and grasses. Oh the oaks! We get along all year except during their spring orgy at which time they lay me low, historically anyway. Maybe this year it won't be so bad. Ya think?

Until I get miserable (IF I get miserable) I'll be spending lengthy chunks of each day outside, walking around. The weather is much more March-like this week than it was all winder. It's windy and cooler as it should be. The animal of my body appreciates appropriate weather. I find it reassuring that I must put on a jacket to be comfortable. This is right and proper since once summer settles over the swamp, I will wear as little as I can get away with (which may I say is not as easy as when I was younger.)

When Jake died, I worried I would lose touch with the world outside my front door, that I would avoid walking as I did before he came into my life. It has been almost three years since he passed. If anything, I am spending more time walking than I did during his last year. He was so fragile, he really couldn't walk far and I couldn't bear to take long hikes without him. I am very grateful that my many years with that dog set me in a pattern of walking every day.

There are many things on my mind, too many things! I'll get out there now, walk with my thoughts, walk through my thoughts, maybe learn something I don't already know, one of my favorite activities.


Monday, April 2, 2012

What's true?

It was fated that you would find the truth.
Now, tracing your way as if in a dream,
past where the sea meets the sky,
you slowly fade from the world in your fragile boat.
How calm are the water and the moon!
And how calm the fishes and dragons at the sound
of your chanting.
Always the eye watches just beyond the horizon
to the guiding light of your simple lantern.

--Ch'ien Ch'i

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You can't take it with you

It occurred to me this morning as I was allegedly meditating that the practice of releasing my grip is one way in which I can get ready for what must eventually happen, you know: death. That is indeed the ultimate unclencher of fists, hey?

My mother used to say that during the first half of life, we acquire stuff, spend the last half giving it all away. I didn't have a clue what she was talking about at the time, but I get it now. I love getting rid of stuff; I'm the opposite of a hoarder. Good lord must I always be so contrarian?

I sifted through more boxes of photos last night. Every picture that meant nothing to me went promptly into the recycle bin. Ahh, what a great feeling, letting go. What I was imagining last night is that by the time I'm old and my life force begins to fade, I will own so few items that it won't take anyone that long to clean up after me when I pass. I have no kids, partner, not even a pet to whom I might pass on the few items of worth I own. Might as well make it easy for whomever gets stuck tying up the loose ends.

Today I realized that the practice of unclenching my fists will also help my spirit rise up and out of my body when that time arrives. In my heart of hearts I think I'm going to live on quite a ways into old age. There's no rush to let go of material and emotional and spiritual stuff, but oh my it feels so good. Ahhhhnwards and upwards.

One of the last things I'll get rid of, most likely, is my camera.