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Sanctuary

Bojangles cat under hanging flowers 22 MAY 2018One of my greatest joys in life has been that of providing loving, compassionate care to animals, mostly dogs and cats. Caring for a multitude of animals, including those with special needs, has brought me tremendous heartache along with expansive joy and I wouldn’t change a single moment. All of these marvelous beings gave  (and continue to give) to me far more than I ever gave to them. 

Since some nearly thirty years ago, when I first became involved with animal rescue efforts, my dream has been to create a place of sanctuary for the animals, even if limited to that of a personal home-haven. This has been both a spiritual and emotional calling, and a healing journey for me as well as for the animals. I believe this is why three stray cats showed up during the past twelve months — to remind me that wherever I am, I can offer a safe haven to those who are lost or in need of care. 

With this realization of purpose, I feel blessed to have moved to and live in a place where I can again provide sanctuary.

Home Sweet Home 14 May 2018

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May All Beings Be Happy

When I was attending the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, one of my favorite prayer mantras was this one … May All Beings Be Happy. I return to it often in my morning devotions and wanted to share this lovely version by Deva Premal and Miten with you. Blessings!

 

the edge

Bloodroot1

Bloodroot

Most people who encourage spiritual and psychological growth point to each of us finding our unique edge of discomfort … and then learning how to become at ease with and permeable to that experience. Not to deny it or hide from it. I’m in the centrifuge of that transformational space.

Another angle on this is understanding whether we see “difference” through the lens of threat or curiosity? Can we shift ourselves into curiosity?

In the most recent interview at On Being with Krista Tippett, Krista spoke with angel Kyodo williams who said, about the current phase of human evolution:

“We’re digesting the material of the misalignment. We’re digesting the material of how intolerable it is to be so intolerant. We’re digesting the material of 400, 500 years of historical context that we have decided to leave behind our heads, and we are choosing to turn over our shoulders and say: I must face this, because it is intolerable to live in any other way than a way that allows me to be in contact with my full, loving, human self.”

She continued on this topic of transition by saying that,

“There is something dying in our society, in our culture, and there’s something dying in us individually. And what is dying, I think, is the willingness to be in denial. And that is extraordinary. The willingness to be in denial is dying in a meaningful number of us, the tipping point. It’s always been happening, and when it happens in enough of us, in a short enough period of time at the same time, then you have a tipping point, and the culture begins to shift.”

All of which follows each of us to our own edge of growth, doesn’t it? How can we expand kindness, compassion, and love in ever-widening spirals and carpets of beauty?

Forsythia and Purple flowers on hill april 6 2018

the human need to be “the only one”

We of the human species are unique in many ways, different from other species in our form and ways of constructing the world around us. All the Beings who exist in the more-than-human world are unique as well, each in their own ways. We can observe a lot of our differences, from external appearance to actions. What we cannot do, however, is know what any other species is thinking, feeling, or believing. We make guesses but we cannot know. This is one area that troubles me deeply about human ego.

cats on the porchI read widely across many genres of fiction and non-fiction, yet find myself curious as to why humans have such a tendency to proclaim that we know what other Beings perceive and conceptualize from within their inter-related experiences of living. I have lived intimately with dogs and cats for most of my life; I can try to guess what one of the blessed beings is thinking, but I cannot know their thoughts. Even people who have psychic gifts still process what they believe they are receiving from an animal or other natural Being, but it may not be entirely valid because they receive through their own context and human nature. This anthropocentric arrogance puzzles and, yes, annoys me.

It’s really very simple. You cannot know what I think, feel, or believe unless I tell you in some way, usually through human language. You can hazard a guess, especially if you know me well, but even in conversation or through writing, we can conceal or reveal only what we wish someone else to know. Why, then, would we presume to know what another species may be able to think, feel, or believe?

And yet, this presumption spills over into dialogue among people who ought to know better. For instance, this morning, I was listening to a podcast where the interviewer said, as if there could be no doubt:

It’s only human beings that have this curiosity to understand, ‘What’s that up in the sky? How do we fit into that? Who are we? Where do we come from?’

Really? Is that true? Maybe, maybe not. We have no way of knowing. Unless and until humans are able to converse with other Beings, we will never know. Let’s try not to keep putting ourselves in that special construct of creation that revolves around “it’s only human beings that [fill in the blank].” Let’s acknowledge our unknowing. Instead of saying “only human beings have [X]” let’s remove the “only” and allow our human qualities to express themselves on their own merit.

The Divine created all Life, all Beings, and only She knows the unseen landscape of each Being’s mind, soul, and spirit.

naked crooked tree early spring 2018

Obscured View

The view of the sky from our Tree House is always obscured, unless I go outside and look directly overhead. When dormant, the naked trees paint a scattered foreground pattern upon the azure sky-canvas. While others may desire a clear view, I enjoy the natural complexity of my daily vista. After all, Life is a joyful tangled experience of intricacy as well, isn’t it?

Widget sunbathing 14 mar 2018 ARTISTO

No Longer Forgotten

Maybe this is partially the reason that I felt so compelled to explore further and further into my family’s roots, so that the ancestors would no longer be forgotten but instead honored.

“The dead remain part of the human community. We can call on them for guidance, inspiration, and support. They become ancestors who guide and protect their line … and provide help in acquiring skills they may have had.” ~ Starhawk

There are many Grandmothers in my lineage, named and unnamed, that I intend to call into presence for remembering and healing our relationship. One line is that of Clarisy Jane Maddy of Tennessee, my third great-grandmother, back to her great-grandmother Ann Morris (married Maddy, then Parsons) of West Virginia, who in her elder years was a healer called “Granny Parsons” and deeper back into time from her.

Clarisy Jane Maddy

Clarisy Jane Maddy

 

My Birth-Species

I’ve been wanting to write about what I comprehend as one’s Birth-Species. How does that affect our lives when we understand that maybe our previous life incarnation was as a different species than our current human one? How does it relate to our ancestors in other species? To our human ancestors? If we feel closer to our Foster-Species or Adoptive-Parent-Species, than to our human species, how can ancestral dialogue heal these strange (or maybe not so strange) dichotomies?

Grandma Old PhotoAs I research and explore my human ancestors, near and distant — i.e., my Birth-Species — through family history records and genealogical tracings, I feel a multitude of emotions coursing through me — from elation to shame, from fascination to aversion. How do I heal this connection to those people in my bloodline, my body-line?

Yesterday, I listened to an audio recording with Dr. Daniel Foor of Ancestral Medicine, a guest on the limited-time-access interview series titled “Remembering the Truth of Who We Are.” Of all the marvelous people and topics within this series, I felt the strongest resonance with what Dr. Foor was saying about connecting with and healing our spiritual relationships with our ancestors … probably because I’ve been immersed these past two years in writing a family history and genealogy book.

I found myself asking whether Ancestral Medicine and its healing work address some of the discomforts I’ve felt regarding my Birth-Species and my life? Could it help a tendency toward misanthropy? Will it open new insights about feeling closer to more-than-human animals than to other humans? Can it build bridges within families? Could it heal the blame-shame cycle around human atrocities like genocide and slavery? Will it offer a new perspective for those who feel our Birth-Species doesn’t resonate with our Soul? Can it provide a fresh lens upon meeting our ancestors with the intention of compassion instead of avoiding humans because that feels so anthropocentric and separate from the whole of life that is Gaia and our Biosphere? Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 11.20.30 AM

As I listened, I realized that Dr. Foor offered some of the guidance I’ve been seeking in connecting with my human ancestors. I’ve been a seeker on a spiritual earth-path for more than three decades, but only recently realized that the chasm between me and my Birth-Species ancestors is a block to my further growth and evolution … and, thus, a block to healing self and others. I’ve ordered his book Ancestral Medicine. You can find some of his free talks HERE.

May we all be at Peace.