Friday, November 30, 2012

Anticipation of Wonder

Two weeks from today, I will be standing at my mother's grave. I'm still wrapping my mind around this miraculous event, smiling every time I think about it. I'll be standing with my sister, whose idea it was to place the stone at last, thirty years after my mother's death. When I try to picture the moment, I see us holding hands, breathing, quietly sensing the energy. When the stone goes down, will there be a thump? Granite is heavy. Will they use a forklift or some other kind of huge machinery? Surely they will have to, don't you think? I wonder.

It's a funny thing about me, trying to imagine the energy of a moment that has not yet come into its fullness. I am not prescient, but I try anyway. Maybe we'll be laughing, or crying, or maybe we won't feel a thing in that moment, who knows? I don't and won't know until I'm there. It's fun to imagine.

I don't have to wonder what it will be like to spend so much time with my sister: it will be great. Also great: spending time with my dear friends in KC, walking around, taking pictures, driving through old neighborhoods, thinking about what used to be there.

Can't wait!

What a fabulous year I've had, what a healing, inspiring, and marvelous trip through 2012. Except for summer, which lasted too long and was way too hot, and the aggressive insanity of the stalker, this year will go down in the history of me as top notch.

Have I said recently how grateful I am for my good humor, good health and good fortune? For having work I truly love, for living in a charming, friendly community of good people, for my cozy nest at the base of the chateau? Have I? Must say it again: life is good and I am grateful.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Que sera sera

Will roses bloom through winter? I hope not. I love roses, but ... it's weird.

I was going to write today about channeling, about Edgar Cayce and his stable personality that allowed him to go very deeply into his mysticism without going crazy. I was going to write about Uncle Aleister Crowley whose personality was not perfectly balanced, hence channeling all that mystery made him extremely weird.

I was going to write about Dr. Helen Schucman, an atheist who nevertheless channeled the Course in Miracles, much to her embarrassment, apparently, since she didn't want anyone to know where it came from until after her death.

I was going to go on a bit about how everyone channels, how everyone loses a little bit or a whole lot in the translation of channeled material but is nevertheless utterly convinced that the way they have interpreted the information is correct.

But then the stalker showed up again today, left a note saying her "inner voices" told her to contact me.


She has been misinformed.

I thought she was gone; it has been many weeks since she tried to connect. This is classic stalker behavior; they never let go. For awhile today after the harassment, I contemplated the benefits of being pissed off or worried, or focusing on the extremely disturbed note and gift I received today. I believe she is schizophrenic. I was miffed that she was banging on the door in the middle of an otherwise very peaceful session of massage I was engaged in. It was so unfair to my client! I was discouraged that she's crazy enough to show up here at the chateau, no matter how many times I have clearly stated that I want her to stay away from me. I seriously considered stewing in my annoyance for the rest of the day.

But then I took a nice walk, I went to Whole Foods - one of my favorite self soothing activities. I brought home ingredients with which to make a nice supper. As I put away the groceries it came to me that being stalked is like a chronic illness. It's like an allergy that can never be totally resolved, or a perpetually sour stomach. I decided, as they say in the Course of Miracles, that I could see peace instead of being pissed off.

Maybe it was the eclipse or maybe I am truly on to better things, but I was able to put it aside, mostly. Of course I'm posting this, so it's obviously still on my mind, but it isn't bugging me. What is, is. OK.

Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The best years of my life

Life is good and I am grateful. I say it all the time. I feel it more now than ever in my rather long life. As a younger woman, I was always worried about something or another, and I do mean always. I lived in fear, sometimes acute fear, other times it was low-level, but it was there 24/7/365. When I think of my younger self, I always feel so sad for her. What an exhausting way to walk through life, good lord.

This is on my mind as I continue to think, meditate and pray in advance of the trip to Kansas City. A recognition of my happiness with life as it currently exists has welled up every day recently as I contemplate this ancestral pilgrimage I'm about to undertake.

My prayers reflect how strong I've become - spiritually, emotionally and physically. I'm really seeing how much courage it takes to dance with the energy of laying an ancestral head stone. When younger, I was so afraid, I was not brave enough to do this. But I am now! Oh man, no matter how humbling, how bewildering, I love getting older.

I've always been an old lady, just waiting to reach the age. Here I am at last. Cheers!

The trip to Kansas City looms large. It really does. But I can do it. I can't wait to do it. All I can say is wow.

Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.

Monday, November 26, 2012

In my household, we worshipped the God of Art.

My siblings and I have been remembering my mother as we prepare to lay the stone on her grave in a couple of weeks. It's interesting, the way that remembering some things brings up more memories. The Radiolab people describe memory as a creative process. Here's a link to the show. It's well work a listen, though: poor rats.

I woke up this morning remembering my mother's absolute devotion to the creative process. Perhaps the only thing about me she actually "got" was my art, such as it was. When I wanted to paint a floor to ceiling mural on the wall of my bedroom, she was all for it. She also approved of the world map I painted in the hall, my chalk drawings on the floor of the garage and the graffiti-like journal I kept on a wall in the garage. We had a hand crank pencil sharpener affixed to the wall outside the kitchen door. Every time I sharpened a pencil, I added a comment to the wall, always with date and time. After awhile I had to climb the ladder that lead to the attic, as I ran out of space to add more comments. My mother encouraged me to draw, paint, take photos and write. I'm very grateful for that encouragement, very.

My mother believed we should strive to be creative no matter what. It was like a crusade. She, too, engaged in bouts of creative expression, such as the year when she drew, with pastel chalk, a gigantic menorah on the ceiling of our living room. Every day of Hanukkah that year, she added a new candle. It was really dramatic and very big. She planned to paint the ceiling after Hanukkah, but as with many household maintenance projects, that didn't happen for a long time. We lived under the humongous menorah for years. I wonder if, after awhile, we didn't even notice it anymore, if we kind of forgot it was there. That I can not remember.

Except during my years in psychotherapy, I have not devoted much time to remembering my mother. Our relationship was fraught, hence the memories used to be painful. But these days I'm getting a kick out of the memories. I'm finding nooks and crannies in my mind full of old, moldering memories I put away a long time ago. I'm dusting off, polishing these old memories, organizing them such as I can. All of a sudden, I am treasuring the memories, even the "bad" memories (whatever that means).

It seems like just the right way to prepare for the trip to Kansas City.

The work of this eclipse cycle (not just for me) is directly related to the ancestors. I'm enjoying the work. My mother was such a character! Good lord.

Happy Monday. Shalom.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Outside the Eastern Market metro station

Plans for my upcoming trip to Kansas City are starting to fall into place, making it a little more real. I'm going! Wow.

The last time I was in an airplane was 2010. Earlier in life I was a rambling kind of gal, but these days I hate traveling. I love seeing places and people, but have such a gripe against travel by commercial airplane including of course the inevitably humiliating airport experience. I get terrible jet lag and feel disoriented no matter how I try to go with it or ignore it. My digestion is always a little off, I can't sleep - I suck as an adventurous traveler, good lord.

But some trips are worth all my petty discomforts with the process of getting from point A to point B. This is one of them. 

Life is good. I am deeply grateful. Shalom.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holy Daze

National Gallery of Art

I actually get the idea of rushing out, immediately after Thanksgiving, to buy gifts. It came to me in the shower this morning, why we would do that. Bless the Voice in the Shower! I know we are very greedy in my society, but there is an ancient, shamanic inspiration underneath our insane behavior at the holidays.

During the holidays, almost all traditional behaviors have a shamanic aspect, because the holidays are pagan. Oh my god they are so pagan! The Romans could not have done a better job with the over indulgence, the ramped up behaviors, the extravagance with which we make our way through the last few weeks before winter solstice. Of course the Romans were cognizant of why they were behaving this way. They knew and understood the interconnections among all things a lot better than we do. Before electric lights, everyone understood - at a visceral level - the cold and dark and long nights of winter. We really appreciated Brother Sun before the light bulb.

We still do the same old rituals, we enact the sacred dramas, because we are all shamans, even if we don't know it consciously.

In the case of the post Thanksgiving buying spree, it's all about the ritualistic act of making offerings. After we sacrifice the turkey, (a very ancient way of giving thanks for the harvest and asking for abundance through the winter), the next thing that needs to happen is for the participants to make offerings to Brother Sun, as a way of asking him to come back after solstice. It's classic shamanic ritual behavior, it surely is.

If we were still fully shamanic, we would put the gifts on a bonfire at winter solstice as the pagans of old would have, sending the offerings directly to Brother Sun. Instead we give them to each other. It's a minor technical difference, I think. The gifts should be received as enthusiastically as they are given in order for the sacred drama of winter solstice to work. Sadly, many Christmas gifts will end up stashed in closets already packed full of other stuff the receiver never wanted or needed, or will be "re-gifted." I love that phrase - some marketing genius came up with that, hey?

The idea behind ritual acts is always quite pure. Giving thanks, asking for abundance, making offerings in the hope that the cold, long, dark winter will not go on forever - all of these are noble gestures, yes? I say yes. Of course we take it way too far here in 21st century America. It's always like this at the end of empires.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanks but no thanks

I've got nothing to complain about. Yesterday was gorgeous: sparkling sunshine, a gentle breeze (just enough to keep the air from stagnating) and temps in the 50s and 60s. The bugs are gone, the leaves are still floating down ... it was beautiful.

My day was quiet as I knew it would be. I completely caught up with my laundry, something that rarely happens since I have to wash so many sets of massage sheets all the time. I took a very long walk, enjoyed the shriveled landscape. I love winter - it's so peaceful. There's no buzzing, chirping, or mournful insect sound, no wailing. Only a few crows telling it like it is every now and then. In early winter, the wilting plant world is orange, gold and browns - and crunchy. That's the best part. Later in winter, everything is gray, but early winter is richly colorful.

After my walk I roasted a chicken (such a tiny sacrifice for the feast day, but right sized considering it was just me for dinner), had a salad, chicken, and a small slice of cranberry apple crisp. I am one with the apple desserts this year. After dinner I watched From Russia with Love. I have to admit, Sean Connery was an awesome James Bond. But I'm digging Pierce Brosnan as my fav these days.

Was the day special enough? I believe in rituals of appreciation for the harvest that are also meant to plant the seed of prosperity and abundance to take us through the winter, I do. But I have never really had a great Thanksgiving. It's interesting to think about.

Thanksgiving is always just a little weird for me, no matter how I spend the day. Oh well. It's over now. Onwards and upwards to solstice.

Happy full spectrum Friday. Shalom.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My mind is always the last to know

I love the word prescience. I love the way it sounds, what it means, and of course the fact that it's a compound word. Pre science. Oh yeah, what isn't to love about the word prescience?

You would think that with the Voice in the Shower, Grandpa and my cadre of spirit guides, plus an astral petting zoo of animal guides, I might show some talent for prescience. But I don't, not at all. I am very slow to understand what the hell is going on until I've had time to sit around thinking and meditating. Sometimes it takes years to really "get" what took place long ago. Prescient? I'm not even present!

In the moment, almost always in my life, I have no clue what is transpiring. I take it all in, and I do mean all. I am "sensitive - too sensitive" as my mother used to say. It's a blessing and a curse. One of the not great parts of being too sensitive is that I am often overwhelmed.

The other thing I do in the moment is bluff. I act like I understand what's happening. Oh the years of practice it took to learn how to make the right facial expressions, mutter "Yeah!" or "Oh no!" or whatever is expected in the moment. In fact my whole life is a lot like contact improv.

One thing I can always connect with in the moment is the energy and my emotional reactions. I can tell if I'm happy, energetic, fearful, or exhausted by what's going on. Understanding comes for me only after reflection - if it comes at all.

I'm trying to see around a corner in time right now, trying to imagine how it might be for me, in a couple of weeks, to be in Kansas City where I'll spend an ample chunk of time with my sister, stand on my mother's grave, meet up with good good friends I haven't seen in forever. I don't have a clue what it's going to be like, how it will look on the flip side. What I will say is I have a good feeling about the trip. It feels right, and even feels happy. Don't ask me to explain why.

One of my dear ones in Kansas City made some great suggestions, such as that I think about renting a hotel room for one of the nights I'm there. She understands very well how much I need my solitude. She also suggested I go see her massage therapist when I'm there. I truly can not imagine a better idea! Wow.

My animal and spirit guides will go with and I'm sure Grandfather Eagle and the dragons will hover nearby as they always do. The Voice in the Shower is everywhere, so I'll be guided well. Thank goodness for that.

Feeling a lot of gratitude today about this upcoming trip, for my ability to take part in the placing of a carved chunk of granite on my mother's grave at last. I have no idea how it will unfold, but I trust I will prevail. In certain ways I've worked years practicing for this moment. It's really big.

Feeling thankful is seasonally appropriate, it surely is!

Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Til death do us part?

When I got married, even though I knew in my heart of hearts it was wrong, a mistake, even a tragic mistake, I did it whole heartedly. I didn't trust him, I knew he was probably bipolar, deeply wounded, shut down and closed off. I never loved him with a passion, that's for sure. Even so, I meant to stay with him, no matter what. I thought he would take care of me, since he had money. But as it ended up, I took care of him. Oh my.

I soldiered through a few years bravely, or so I thought. Well, not so bravely since I had a two year affair as well as indulging myself in other liaisons as the opportunity arose. People have asked how it was he didn't know or even suspect my nefarious activities. We were not close in any way. I didn't even have to sneak around. Very sad.

When it became clear that I was not going to be able to stay in the marriage, he agreed to couples counseling. We spent many months in the office of one of the smartest, most upbeat, clear-headed and good-hearted therapists I've ever known (and I've seen plenty of them). Still, the marriage could not be saved. Finally we separated. Within less than a year we were legally divorced.

But the story does not end there, no. We stayed in touch for a number of years. Even after I moved to DC, any time I was in SF, we got together for a walk and talk. I even tried, a few years ago, to get back together with him. Why, oh why did I think that was a good idea? Of course it was a disaster, but at least I realized my folly sooner rather than later. Good lord. Since that ill conceived attempt, we are at last completely out of touch. I haven't heard from him in a few years and I'm good with that. What a relief.

I have done rituals of release, I have lectured myself repeatedly, I have prayed to be at last free of my marriage. We divorced 17 years ago! And yet, I still dream about him and in the dreams we are married. Sometimes I still refer to him as "my husband," rather than "my ex" or something more suitable. It's really quite discouraging. Will I never be able to let go? Is there something I have missed, or is the phrase "I do" binding - at least internally - into perpetuity? For heaven's sake! What gives?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Sacrificial Turkey

Thanksgiving is such a pagan fete, it really is. Centered around the sacrifice of a very particular animal - the humble turkey - which we then brine-roast-fry-steam-spatchcock or whatever, we gather with large groups of family and friends, and feast on the sacrifice. It's a ritual of abundance, a harvest feast identical to the ancient feasts of pre-civilized times. Or ... wait ... are we civilized? You tell me.

When I worked for Whole Foods, Thanksgiving week was a nightmare for all of us engaged in stocking and ringing up the obscene amount of food that was purchased. It was the biggest week of the year for WF, so we did our best to rise to the occasion. Because I was in catering, my job during Thanksgiving week included long stints in the refrigerated trucks behind the store, stacked from roof to floor with freshly killed turkeys, sorting through them so as to provide the right sized turkey for each customer . Even worse than freezing my ass off in a truck full of dead turkeys was the job of carrying the turkeys to the counter where the customers picked them up. Turkeys are heavy and even in a bag, hard to gracefully handle. Even worse than that was working at the counter facing the customers who were frazzled and hence irritable. Those people, good lord. They complained if the turkey was half a pound too heavy for god's sake. We politely explained that there was no way to make a turkey gain only a certain number of pounds during its happy life frolicking on the free range. It took considerable self control to refrain from saying things we might later regret.

Everyone should work in retail for a couple of years, just to see. Good lord.

One year at Whole Foods, I learned to say "Kill them all," in every language spoken by the staff, which included Spanish, French, Woloff, Filipino and Nepalese. In so doing, I made it possible to say, to any fellow employee as needed, Kill them all in their native language. It never failed to lighten the mood.

It took years after I left Whole Foods to come into a place of balance about Thanksgiving. Last year I even hosted a party of six here at the chateau. I ordered a "heritage" (aka not bred to be so heavy in the breast that it can barely walk), free range turkey from Whole Foods. When I picked it up, I smiled broadly and was patient - just because. I learned that the common denominator among all Thanksgiving recipes is butter. It was fun.

This year my plans fell through due to a death in the family - not my family, the family who invited me. I'm left now to my own devices and feeling ironically sad that I won't take part in our national, over the top ritual of abundance. Poor little Reya. Can you hear the tiny violins playing?

I will roast a chicken, have a nice dinner. Earlier that day I have a date with Anna Karenina. Even when I was at Whole Foods, when I detested Thanksgiving, it was a day of abundance. This year it will be much quieter. That's ok, right? 


Saturday, November 17, 2012


I say it all the time, that this period in history feels so much like the sixties. It really does.

One of my FB friends posted a picture of a billboard she saw near Westminster, Maryland, a shockingly racist depiction of Obama mooning and giving the finger to America. His bottom, as depicted, is super black. A rat next to him calls him daddy. It is not only weird, but ugly, offensive as all get out, and probably within the fifth amendment rights of the person who put it up.

One way that this time period reverbs with an energy similar to the sixties is the stark re-emergence of the civil rights movements, not only for people of color, but for women and gay people, too. We were supposed to have gotten over all that racist crap, right? Check the image above ... whoa. We are far from it, though to be fair, we're much better than we used to be - I mean - Obama was elected president twice, something that would have been unthinkable during the sixties. But we still have far to go.

I keep thinking about the "rape guys" as a friend of mine refers to all those idiots who believe pregnancy can't result from "legitimate" rape or that it's god's will if a raped woman becomes pregnant. Good lord, who are these people and how can any of them sit on the Congressional Science committee? Wow. Their high profile appearance during the campaign was an eye opener. We're allegedly all equal now, right? Hmmm ... not quite!

During the sixties, the old paradigm of American society cracked, shattered, and fell. It was exciting and frightening, just like now.

Yep. This time period is so like the sixties. It feels like anything could happen, that time/space is in a state of hyper flux. It's all to the good; I mean, that kind of flux helps us evolve out of our old patterns even though it's hardly pleasant to see how deeply held are our phobias.

It's exciting. But I miss the sex. I miss the drugs. And I miss the rock 'n roll!


Friday, November 16, 2012


On election day I watched a James Bond movie, one of my planned distractions for that day because I did NOT want to get all worked up listening to the pundits yackyackyack about who was winning. Do I need that kind of stress in my life? No I do not.

The film I watched, Live and Let Die from 1977, was pure camp. James Bond in a leisure suit? It boggles the mind. I adore Roger Moore's classy, ironic way of playing Bond, in spite of his sideburns. He couldn't help it - it was a very unfortunate era in style.

I love James Bond movies, all of them for different reasons. I love all the actors who have played the role, too. Last night I watched Die Another Day, with Pierce Brosnan as Bond. What a difference from the late 70s films - the Bond "girls" are suddenly three dimensional characters with talent, courage and passion (as opposed to the blow up sex dolls of earlier films). Halle Berry is fantastic in that movie. Wow. And Pierce is an excellent Bond. He plays it straight - and it works!

In so many ways those films function as societal barometers of the moment in time when they were filmed. In 1994, it was Halle Berry coming up out of the sea in slow-mo, revealing every curve. Fast forward to a few years ago - hmmm - in the remake of Casino Royale, it's Daniel Craig emerging from the sea, all glistening and beautiful. Wow.

Watching these James Bond movies has made me a little wistful for the heroine of last year's NaNoWriMo spy novel. Her name is Vega and she's a genius but unfortunately she can not tell a lie because everyone can read her expressive face. She was a great protagonist and I loved my book title.

But I remember too clearly how addictive it was, writing like that. I am backing slowly away from the keyboard even now, lest I get sucked back into whatever it was that happened to me last November. Though fun, it wasn't good for me and the results were horrendous. End of story.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


The cleaning frenzy continued this morning after a dream last night about living with my parents in a very cluttered house. In the dream my father was supposed to give me a lift somewhere, but kept getting distracted. I was trying to clean up, but the anonymous dream people followed me all over the three story house, messing up my neatly stacked piles almost as soon as I had organized them, mindlessly throwing pizza crusts on the floor and such. At the end of the dream I saw that my father had gone to sleep on the couch. I was looking for his car keys when I woke up. It was very frustrating.

I hadn't been awake ten minutes when I found myself pulling everything out of the bedroom closet. Everything. At the height of the frenzy, there was so much stuff on the bedroom floor I literally could not get out of the room, hence once begun, the project had to be completed.

One of the astrologers I like says eclipses function like rifts in time/space. I am intrigued by her definition, though it doesn't always feel like that during an eclipse to me. But yesterday's eclipse definitely was rift-like. By cleaning the closet today, I in some way am simultaneously cleaning up a piece of my relationship with my parents, still cluttered several decades after their deaths. At least this is how it felt to me. The storm they called Sandy also felt like a temporal shape shifter, a wormhole slowly spinning up the coast.

The closet is clean and organized. It's lovely! It makes that stupid dream worthwhile. Shalom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome, new moon

The oaks on Eighth Street are just about to bury the street in leaves.

Yesterday's eclipse was powerful. Did you feel it? I bet you did even if it didn't register consciously. I was inspired to launch into a cleaning frenzy, an ideal activity at any dark moon, but especially during a solar eclipse. Out with the old to make room for the new is a big part of what yesterday's eclipse was all about.

I love to clean house anyway, hence yesterday, in order to dance in shamanic alignment with the Scorpionic eclipse energy, I found it necessary to go deeper than the usual chateau maintenance, setting my sites on areas I usually ignore. I pulled everything out from under my bed, sorted through the shoes I love - correction: loved - even though they always hurt my feet, a bunch of books that had no bookshelf to call their own (one of which I've been searching for), and several old, funky, ugly blankets I was keeping for ... the apocalypse? You tell me why I've been saving them, I can't explain it.

After the bout of cleaning I got out and about. Along the way, I bought replacements for lots of old, no longer functional household odds and ends, such as the crusty old shower curtain liner. You can only wash those things so many times before they become tattered and sad as well as no longer waterproof. The shower curtain liner? Gone. Also gone, the coffee grinder I bought as I prepared to leave my marriage almost twenty years ago. I remember telling my therapist about the new grinder which was, for some reason, emblematic of the dramatic step I was about to take. I told her, "I don't know what my new life will look like, but one thing I know for sure: there will be coffee." Indeed there has been.

The old grinder was way past its expiration date, but still barely lumbering along. The new one is great! I had no idea coffee could be so quickly and effectively ground. All hail the passing of the old!

Funny how getting rid of the old grinder felt momentous. Ah, how much I adore the cheap thrills of life!

By dancing in alignment with the eclipse, I honor the cyclic nature of our universe. The eclipse will resonate, but it's over now. All is well, onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Best Years of My Life

I saw an old friend over the weekend, someone with whom I was very close except that about 17 years ago we kind of lost touch and haven't seen each other since. It wasn't a hostile parting of the ways by any means. We lived in different cities, she married and had kids while I was deeply immersed in my life as a priestess and witch. Our lives veered off in wildly different directions. And the years went by, you know?

It was of course wonderful to see her and have a chance to catch up somewhat. I love the noble truth that deep heart connections do not weaken over time. We were back in the swing of our friendship within two seconds of seeing each other.

One thing that keeps coming to me since our meeting is how much happier I am than the last time I saw her, or when I initially met her, many years prior to that. These are the best years of my life.

Getting older suits me. I was very awkward as a young woman, completely incapable of managing the energy or the hormones. I was rather like a character in a Woody Allen movie: smart, very neurotic, always on the make. Oh the trouble I've created for myself! All I can say, in retrospect, is: wow.

Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not exactly mainstream


I've been a little worried about the holidays this year. It's ironic that only in the past several years have I learned to actually like the holidays, yet here I was, ready to face the big holidays, T-day and Christmas, alone again.

Poor little Reya. Can you hear the tiny violins playing? Ha.

What I figured out this morning is that my holiday season this year is going rogue. My holidays will take place between Dec 13-17, the days I'll be in Kansas City. There are so many people I'm going to see with whom I've been friends forever and love with all my heart. They are kin.

There will be feasting and toasting, catching up, story telling, music listening, movie watching, walking around taking pictures and fun. I will connect with living kin, also stand on my mother's grave and get some seriously quality time with my sister. Oh yeah, my KC trip is going to be Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled up into a long weekend.

Just as with the standard holidays, it will be great, also exhausting especially for an introvert such as myself. I'm making a note this morning that I will need a couple of days off work when I come home to DC, to recover.

Christmas lights on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. I will get to see these and take pics. Very excited.

Of course I will observe T-day and Christmas here. For T-day I'm thinking: James Bond movies. I've been really into the Roger Moore era lately in which James Bond wears leisure suits, black people all have 'fros and call white people honkeys and the women are honestly nothing more than blow up sex toys, even if they're supposed to be brilliant spies or scientists. It's so kitchy - and such a wonderful reminder of how far our society has evolved since the mid 1970s. Good lord.

On Christmas I'm going to the movies with friends, then maybe I'll sneak a Hugh Grant movie onto the ipad, just to be traditional.

The holidays will be great this year. I'm really looking forward to them. Shalom.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

How we lost my mother's grave


Don't worry, we found it - my mother's grave. How we lost it is a long story that begins in 1983, hence I will spare you the details. Anyway, we thought she was buried in one cemetery, but it turns out she's in another place, a much prettier cemetery by the way.

My sisters and I are going to, at last, thirty years after her death, place a stone on her grave. Sometimes these things take longer than expected. There are good reasons why we didn't do it back then, equally great reasons to do it now. I love my family.

I'll be heading to Kansas City in mid-December to see the stone put in place, or (if it isn't ready yet or too cold) to at least be there at the grave where I will whole-heartedly pay tribute to a complicated, magnetic person of pure heart and passionate spirit: my mother. The stone will be simple, carved with her name, the dates of her birth and death, and the word Shalom. (That part wasn't even my idea. Cool, hey?)

What a crazy year this is and has been. What a wild ride. Wow.

Shalom, y'all. Enjoy Sunday.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am done with hair color. That is all.


The basis of my decision to let my gray hair grow out (after 30 years of dying it), was the fact that I realized I didn't want to pretend to be young until I could pretend no longer. To suddenly be old was not an attractive idea, and as for that thing of lying about your age, or being flattered when someone thinks you're younger? Forget that. What a horrible way to live, having to keep up a youthful pretense all the time. I decided to take it one step at a time, to be with the aging.

It was a process, growing out my gray hair. There were highlights and lowlights and faders and developers. It took so many chemicals my hair was like straw for most of a year. Finally, my hair guy cut off the last of the color. I was in shock, but quickly got used to it. It was a good decision, a kindness I did for myself, a step on the path of being with my aging, rather than fighting against it.

It was right after high school I began coloring my hair, which is not a bad thing if you ask me. It's artful. I've had every color of hair from platinum blond to superman black, both of which looked awful on me. I did best with auburns, reds, and shades of brunette. During the 1980s my hair was hennaed - a process that creates a very intense eggplant type of color. Once I dyed my hair purple. It looked really good, I swear it did. I had highlights, streaks, layers of color. I did it all, year in and year out.

In a sense, my years of hair coloring are a perfect metaphor for the pursuits of early and middle adulthood - to go all out, try everything, experiment. In early adulthood, youth in combination with hormones provides plenty of juice to go for it on every level, including with regards to hair color. Why the hell not?

Growing older, there's no choice but to take things down a notch or two. Time becomes so precious. All those hours I used to spend at the salon I am now keeping for myself, thank you. Life is so different now than it was when I was 40. It's interesting to think about.

My silver/gray/metallic hair, as it turns out, is the coolest natural color I have ever had. Before I was allowed to color my hair, it was somewhere between mousy brown and dishwater blond. I'm glad I had fun with my dull, dreary early adulthood hair by coloring the hell out of it. On the verge of age sixty, I'm glad to let go of that pursuit for the duration. Onwards and upwards.

Growing older is somewhat harrowing, but so rich an experience. Early old age is good, I am grateful. Shalom.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Be who you are. Everyone else is taken."

Shalom. It was Oscar Wilde I quoted in the post title.

A few years ago I spent a lot of time apologizing for heinous behavior. It was rough at the end of my career as a priestess and witch; magic did not bring out in the best in me. I was an insane bitch, after which I left the practices and community. After that, I became a river of apologies.

Some apologies were accepted, some were not. It didn't really matter either way. What mattered to me was offering the apology. It was profoundly healing on so many levels. When people behave badly yet are unable or unwilling to acknowledge, apologize and learn from the experience, or are completely unaware of what has taken place, the remnants of the bad behavior hang around for a long time, like a stinky cloud surrounding them. Richard Nixon walked around in that stinky cloud to his dying day (for instance).

Apologies, when sincerely offered, clear the stink almost instantly. It's so healing, I can't recommend it enough. My devotion to apologizing after I've been an ass, followed by learning from the experience, frees me and the people to whom I apologize, if this is what they want. Those who can't accept apologies are still bound to the stinky cloud somehow. Don't ask me how or why, because it isn't their fault I was a jerk.

I got into a habit of apologizing during that time. It felt so good. True, too, it culled the number of uncomfortable conversations I had to engage in. The quicker I apologized, the sooner my relationships were "normal" again. No matter the disagreement, small or large, I took it on. It was all my fault, and that was OK with me. So weird; the apologizing decayed over time, went from being sincere and heartfelt to my automatic response to conflict. It turned into controlling behavior. It started out so noble, how the hell did that happen? Hmm. As with everything, the Tao of Goldilocks rings true. Eventually I decided to stop apologizing all the time. I decided I should only apologize when it was truly merited by my behavior.

Next I decided to stop feeling ashamed. One thing leads to another, you know. Over time, I let go of my nagging concerns about the shape of my body, focusing on my health instead. I let go of the shame I carried about relationships and experience in my past. I began to speak my mind more, and simultaneously, I became a much nicer person. It's interesting to think about.

When I was in Virginia Beach, it came to me that it's time for me to stop apologizing all the time for being a shaman. For heaven's sake. I'm not the first, nor the last, to have spirit guides and animals, to have ongoing relationships with stones, feathers, plants, the cloud people and so on. I'm going to cease and desist with my tendency to forewarn readers here when I feel like writing about my shamanism, i.e. "This is going to be a weird one," etc.

No one has to believe me when I write about my shamanic journeys and experiences. I'm not here to convince anyone of anything. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

What I do is harmless to everyone - what am I so embarrassed about? Good lord. I am over it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Bless America

The inner circle of the walking labyrinth at A.R.E.

We are anything but a united states. We are split, at least among the popular vote, right smack dab down the middle. I read in the Washington Post that Obama won by four tenths of a percent in the popular count. It's sobering to think about, difficult to imagine how to bring the country together. People blame Congress for stalling out all the time, but in a sense, it is a perfect reflection of our voting citizenry. No one is to blame, it just is what it is, a huge, rich, entitled country full of disagreement, disgruntlement and anger.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason we are so heavily militarized is due to the inner conflicts of America's oversoul. Ya think?

The other thing I've heard blamed for our divisive political situation is the two party system. But if we had lots of parties, how would that help? Each of us might better be able to vote for someone with whom we fully agree. That would feel good. It wouldn't bring the country together, though - would it? Seems like it would serve only to create more fractures in our alleged unity. We're going to have to learn the art of compromise, give and take, the dance of yin and yang - with each other, definitely - but also with our elected officials. They will never do everything "right," right? How can they?

Washingtonians, lined up for morning coffee after a late night.

In order to fulfill the job description, American presidents can't please all the people all of the time. Everyone must be somewhat disappointed. Otherwise, the he or she sitting in the Oval Office is only acting as president to his/her constituency, not to all.

There isn't really a happy answer, is there? Compromise is bitter, especially in the blood sport of politics.

Washingtonians are nose-to-the-grindstone people. We are a "get back to work" sort of city. But today we're smiling as we race to the subway.

91.4% of us voted for Obama. I love DC! These are my people.


A shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Retreat to The Hospital of Enlightenment

The sea and sky were silver and gold yesterday morning. Excellent crepusculars, too.

I love Virginia Beach.

Besides the Atlantic Ocean and all the usual beach town light heartedness, the city resonates with the heavy presence of the Navy, also with the energy of the huge shipping ports nearby such as Newport News and Norfolk. The Navy and port energy is palpable and impossible to ignore since Navy jets streak overhead on a regular basis, and huge shipping vessels move slowly past, out at sea but clearly visible from the boardwalk.

Virginia Beach is just south of the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The joining of large bodies of water generates tremendous amounts of energy, making it impossible to settle down. Even the air can't hold still. There's always wind coming through the Golden Gate, too. The feeling is very powerful; almost scary.

The early English settlements of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown lie just northwest of Virginia Beach. The English sailed up the bay in vessels with the coolest names: Susan Constant, God Speed and Discovery, until a ship went aground, a clear sign that it was time to stop, drop anchor and make themselves at home. I think that's how they made the decision to stop. That was in 1607, a really long time ago. Trying to imagine what it was like for them boggles the mind. Equally mind boggling is how potent the energy of those settlements still is. Wow.

Everything above makes Virginia Beach molto bitchin, in my book anyway (being, as I am, a shaman of place), but the reason I go as often as possible is because Virginia Beach is where Edgar Cayce moved in 1925 to open his Hospital of Enlightenment.

What a great name for a hospital.

Whenever I can, I take continuing education classes at the Cayce/Reilly School of Massotherapy. The first time I went, in 2009, class was held in the building that was once the Hospital of Enlightenment. This year we worked in the building next to the old hospital, recently renovated to house the school.

I think Edgar Cayce must have been a really nice guy, you know, pure hearted. The school and in fact the entire campus of the A.R.E. radiate what some people would call "a positive vibe." The energy in and around the site is calm and clear as a bell, peaceful. The campus is on a hill. From the Hospital of Enlightenment, you can see the ocean glittering a few blocks away. There's a huge Chartres style, eleven circuit walking labyrinth with two beautifull mosaic dolphins in the center, posed tail to head in the shape of a yin/yang. Adjacent to the labyrinth, in front of the hospital, is a meditation garden, also a path made from different kinds of stone. A barefoot walk on the path becomes a reflexology treatment. Can you say fabulous? I always do, every time I'm there.

I'm going to post on Chateau Seven about the class itself. It's enough to say here that I came away from the class enriched, inspired, and with a tool belt full of new techniques for my work. What's not to love about that?

This is "Norwegian Lady." A Norwegian ship, "Dictator," crashed there in 1891. The community came together to help. After that, Moss, Norway and Virginia Beach adopted each other as sister cities. There's a "Norwegian Lady" in Moss, Norway, too.

A dear friend went with me this time around, which turned what would otherwise have been a wonderful working weekend into an adventure and a blast.

I didn't think, when I registered for this class (months ago) about how perfectly timed a restorative retreat would be just prior to the election. I feel renewed and inspired, ready to work today with good cheer and calm. I have already voted, so that's done. Whew!

Mr. Cayce, thank you so much for your lifetime's work. I don't know much about you, but I certainly benefit from the fruits of your labors. I think you were a good guy, and the real thing. Thanks!

Onwards, now, through the energy of election day. I plan to keep calm and carry on. Shalom.

Once upon a time, at a beach in Mendocino County, California, while very stoned, it came to me that all seagulls are named "Randy." That was ages ago, but the idea still resonates. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lesson learned


What a weird week. Coming up on election day this time around was already harrowing and stress inducing, but then we had to endure the hurricanoreaster too? Good lord. Timing is everything.

I made a big mistake by posting on FB about the similarity between those who say "God is punishing us with this storm because of __________" and "We created the storm through global warming." You would not believe the blowback I got from that. It was like all of a sudden I had gone over to the dark side. Some folks responded as if my values and personality had completely changed, as if I had become, all at once, in favor of pipelines and heavy carbon footprints and wasteful, expensive living.


At first I was miffed. I kept sticking my toe into the swirling waters, thinking that those who got so worked up would eventually remember it was ME talking, not some oil industry lobbyist, but no - even posing the question, suggesting that maybe we ought not assume we're responsible for something that huge and complicated - was like throwing grease on a raging fire. After three attempts to post what I thought was an interesting idea, I realized it was way too flammable and removed all mention of my curiosity from Facebook. I want to write more about it, but I'm waiting until after the election - even here on the blog - to post further thoughts on the matter.

Oh yeah. In addition, I'm getting the heck outta Dodge this weekend, heading out in the morning to Virginia Beach to take a Jin Shin Do class. A friend is coming with; we're staying at a cozy B&B and should have a lovely, relaxing weekend.

I wonder if you can imagine how grateful I am to be getting away from the DC energy field just prior to election day. Can you? Of course you can!