Welcome to the Hearth

Welcome to the Hearth

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Catching Dreams together

One of the emerging themes for me this past year has been the power of the dream and the dream carrier. Without the dream to move us forward we would forever stay stuck and never grow to our greatest potential. Many times nightmares, one of the many dreams we would rather not look at, tend to be the most powerful dreams for moving us forward. It is what we fear most that shows us our greatest strength, in the end.

To celebrate the power of activating new dreams and visions for ourselves and our world, I was inspired to create dreaming bowls.

Dreams and visioning have long been a way that great ideas and projects have become a reality in our lives. The dream starts as a longing or seed Idea that wants to be born in us and wants to become a reality for a greater good in our world. Some dreams take their time becoming manifest and need a place of incubation within us. Having a place to hold our emerging dream helps make the dream feel more real because it seems to occupy space outside of us. Thus, the dreaming bowl was created. I have found that the very act of creating the dreaming bowl project and making them available to others has sparked more dreams being manifest.

Around the Winter Solstice each year I make a series of luminarias, little lanterns that hold a candle. I have shared about this project in an earlier post. I found myself making some of the luminarias that also have become dreaming bowls. This is a combination of the dreaming bowl and the luminaria. Each dreaming bowl has a different saying on it about carrying the dreams we have. I never know what dream saying will emerge but just let the Spirit inspire me. On one such dreaming bowl/luminaria came the words: "You are here to birth your dreams...Push now!" This is just what I see happening in the lives of those of you who have joined the Hearthtalk circle. Not because you joined this circle but, because now, by your joining, I get to visit your blogs and see how you are pushing to birth your dreams. You are the ones who have "put your feet on the road to greatness." Not the kind of greatness we may hear about on the nightly news, but the quiet way you reach for the stars in your own lives. I am so grateful for the dreams you carry and the way you ignite new dreams and visions in me. It is awesome to sit around this Hearth with you.You may not realize this, but it shapes the next projects I create. Our world is blessed by the dreams unfolding in all of us and the way we are catching dreams together.Thank You for your lives!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Putting it in perspective....

This is just what I needed! A dear friend of mine sent me a bunch of pictures taken from the Hubble Telescope as a way of wishing me a blessed Solstice. I'm sure you can goggle this to get an address for seeing more of these awesome and breath taking visions of the many mind boggling ways the Creator likes to play, dance, shimmer and dazzle us. There is this wonderful quote in one of the Sufi mystical writings, though I don't know the reference for it, that goes something like this: "I was alone and longed to be known and so I created the Universe." Wow! Having a mere glimpse of the bigger reality out beyond my little sphere of influence and concerns always puts it all into perspective for me.

The other day I was listening to a news clip in which some woman from Iowa was being interviewed about her concerns as they related to the many presidential hopefuls making a last ditch effort to persuade voters before the primaries. She said: " I'm just not willing to have any more of my tax dollars going to pay for someone Else's child to have a hot breakfast before school each day..." I could not believe that kind of stingy thinking still goes on in this world. Of course that thought alone ( about the stingy thinking) was a bit judgemental on my part, but while I'm at it, I suppose that same concern would not also extend to the farmers in her state who are getting farm subsidies to grow corn. Then I got into a small snit about how pervasive corn by-products (they call it the cornification of America) are within our way of life. These are the little Ninja thoughts that can pop out of no where and push me off kilter. One sneaky thought can lead into another and before I know it I'm on a roll. So, when I opened up my e-mail and found these wonderful pictures, it was a great way to just let the awesomeness of these photos take my breath away. As I contemplate the wonder of the vastness and glory out beyond the little point of light that is our world, I am grateful there is something beyond my petty little concerns that the Creator is ever tending to. Let this be our response to this moment: Glory be and Be the Glory!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh, the stories we tell ourselves......!

I've been really brooding over this entry, trying to decide if I dare bring up the subject. (I have been told almost from the beginning of my life as a nun:" You're not what we expected, you're not what people outside will be expecting; you're going to blow a few minds...but you are just what we need right now. What a breath of fresh air!") So, I guess it should come as no surprise to some when I say that the whole Christmas story, be it the Santa Clause version or the Away in the Manger version, just doesn't work for me and hasn't for about the last 15 years. Do I believe in Jesus? Yes. Is the Christ the Center of my life? Yes. Am I committed to the Church's mission of encouraging, affirming and working towards the full development of the human person? Yes to all of this. It's the stories we tell ourselves about how it all came about and mostly the way we have woven this elaborate tapestry that is coming unraveled for me. Suffice it to say, many scripture scholars and educated, thinking people of the 21th century would say that the so called virgin birth, wise men, angels and shepherds congregating around a humble stable on December 25th 2000 years ago is probably just a story. Though I firmly believe there is a Santa Clause and have been blessed over the years by the lavishness of this much loved Christmas Spirit, decorating my house for this season or even the shop where I sell my work, in the traditional symbols of a North American Christmas is just plain not working. It's been years since I have had a traditional Christmas tree. The Nativity set has been appropriately parked on one of my library shelves and stays up 365 days of the year. What do I do about this season of the year while the rest of the world goes crazy decorating for Christmas almost seconds after Halloween is over? As you may have noticed, there is a decidedly weighted theme in my blog entries: It's all about the LIGHT.

About this time of the year, approaching the Winter Solstice and darkest time of the year, I spend about a week creating Luminarias: little containers that hold a candle. They often have dancing figures, spirals and stars cut out of them. This is the story I tell myself and others:

Divine Creator knew well in the making of Sun and Moon and the casting of their seasonal waxing and waning, that there would be a period of increasing darkness that would cause the people to lose heart and huddle in fear. Divine Creator sent forth messengers of Light in the guise of strangers, humble and plain, to uplift the people and bring them hope.

It was said that anyone who welcomed such a messenger would be blessed with prosperity and all good gifts. A custom developed among the people to place lanterns and lights in the windows and along the path to the door as a sign of welcome to these great Beings of Light.

This is one such sign of welcome and blessing. May this luminaria honor and inspire the Messenger of Light within and all around you! O shine, shine, shine O radiant Image of The Divine!

It is not that Christmas can't be Christmas. The simple stories we tell ourselves may have been easier to wrap our minds around in years gone by when we were children and our world was a lot simpler. But, once there is an awakening to the More of it, These stories, sweet as they may be, are just not enough. I have asked people not to give me any gifts because I feel I have too much stuff. Each year I look for new ways to express the dawning light within and the gracious hospitality I believe I am especially called to tend to at this time of year. It is certainly a time of hope and a time to unwrap the many surprises life gives me. What I have enjoyed most as I share with people my thoughts and feelings about Christmas, is hearing how others are also weaving the tapestry anew with fresh symbols and ideas and special food recipes that help to extend the warmth and hospitality of celebration of Emmanuel, God with us! I look forward to your insights and inspirations.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Of Moons and Mirrors

One of the gifts of darkness is that it makes us long for the light. The physical darkness is never more a reminder that we are beings of light who merely take time out to rest when darkness falls than when we move into the season of winter. At times on my blog I have shared that I have been able to communicate with a dear friend who passed away some years back. I have faithfully recorded her communications with me and wondered if you’d like to read some thoughts she has shared about the importance of the light.

She says:
This is our quest at this time: Moving the Light forward. It will be more challenging as we move into the time of the year when the physical light is lessening, but it is also increasing within. It’s all about the Light! and you are slowly but surely realizing that Light is the most important of all realities. Not just the Light your eyes can discern, but the hidden light you can sense. There are codes embedded within every sub-atomic particle that show the Light in all the myriad of forms it can be manifest. Those codes of light are in you, too! Once activated through consciousness shifts… that’s right consciousness!... Once activated, you are never the same. Anything that has been activated can never go back...it must go forward. And, if enough of anything becomes conscious, it makes the whole conscious! And you are a part of this light code activation going on. You are an activator. The light, the physical light in your world is a conveyor of information, so when you are exposed to this light, you are “hooked up” to an information stream and you are in constant communication with this main conduit. When the light lessens, at seasonal changes, you can feel the lessening of the flow and almost feel bereft and panicked. Especially at times that you need reassurance. The light is as necessary as oxygen! No wonder the Angels and other sentient beings stop and watch the coming and the going of the light each day. It‘s as if they were peering into the face of God... All union takes place there. In other words, there is a knowing, that all we know and love is contained there in an eternal wholeness. Each and every star in the heavens is an expression of the sacredness, the sacred dimension of the Light and the Source of All Light, the ultimate Source of all that is... I am referring to Creator, here.... All reflections of light, like moons and mirrors are sacred. They are models of who we are. When the light shines on us, we reflect such back and out into our reality. The moon is the great teacher of who we can be and who we are. (This is why Mother Mary and everything feminine is connected with the moon. She was and is such a great mirror of the Divine.) Think of Creator as the sun shining powerfully and brightly and fiercely at times, and we the light catchers, the moon circling endlessly reflecting the glory! That dream you had many years ago, K, of the brilliant Disk of Light over the water and the even more brilliant figure standing within, standing out in high contrast, this was a gift of a glimpse of our reality over here, so you would know what it was like and what you are moving toward. You are being drawn each moment ever nearer, like a moth to the light, K. Stand in this great light and dance there too, Heaven is where you stand, K. What more can I say...C:)

So, just that little bit inspires me to think about all the ways that I can acknowledge the importance of light and the Source of Light in my world and in myself. Instead of falling into the same pattern of getting all the Christmas things out and putting up the tree, in lock step with the rest of America because that’s what I’m supposed to do at this time of year, I am making a conscious choice of what symbols speak to me. I like the idea of mirrors and moons as sacred. I think I’ll do something more with using a mirror or a moon symbol when I decorate this year. (I may have to pay a special visit to my favorite moon blog and her candle store.)

This being the feast of the Immaculate Conception will be a good time to connect with something more powerful about Mother Mary... not so much the image the Church would like us to focus on, which for many of us nuns makes us want to distance ourselves from the unreal woman on the pedestal. This thought about the moon connection and the mirror, one who shines back to the beholder, the Divine Beloved. Do you realize the implications for all of us looking into that mirror? (Okay, material for yet another blog entry in the future, I'm sure.)

This whole thing about the sun makes me more committed to do a bit more sun bathing this next summer. Not so much for the tan but for the light activation that is going on I never thought about before. And, then there is moon bathing and gazing more at the moon. Maybe looking directly at the moon is the way we can connect with the information being “downloaded” from the sun by making eye contact with the light through reflection. Hmmm there’ll be more, later so stay tuned.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to survive the storms of life.

Wow! What a ride! I don’t mean to make light of one of the most serious storms in the last 11 years, possibly for some, the last 30 years, but, now that the power is back on and I am connected again with the rest of the world, I realize just how bad it was. For the last 4 days I have stayed huddled next to the woodstove and my greyhound Toby, riding out a doozie of a storm. I live on the edge of the Pacific Ocean near a place called Cape Foulweather. Winds were fierce here, clocked at 100 + MPH. I understand the weather station in Astoria simply just blew away! I was prepared with oil lamps, a wind-up radio and a cell phone, (though I can’t ever get reception in or around my house. I’d have to go down on the road below me to make a call.) Afterwards, most of the neighborhood got its power back except for about 3 of us connected to the old Otter Crest Loop Rd. During the storm, which lasted for 2 long, dark days, all I could really do is pray and watch the world blow by. Many evergreen trees surround my house. What I noticed is that not a one of them faltered, though, they took the brunt of the wind. Their secret to survival through, I’m sure, many such storm, has been the way they interlocked their branches and held each other, like a chorus line of dancing women. I felt myself, at times, join and become one with the swaying, as if to gain some courage and strength in the face of the awesome power the wind served up relentlessly for 2 full days. By the third day of having no electricity, the food in the refrigerator was getting “blinky” and I had to toss it. Thankfully, the neighbors who had lights helped me rig up an extension chord from their house, up the hill to mine so I could, at least save the food in the freezer. As I sat for a 4th dark night next to my wood stove I found the gratitude flowing for all the ways I was cared for. I had spent some of the day out and about and saw all the ways that people, like those faithful trees, had arms interlocked supporting one another to recover from the nightmare. When I was actually able to see the scope of the storm when electricity and cable were restored, it made me realize how good the world really is. Despite the chaos our species can serve up, most of us don’t loose it and go on a shooting rampage, we reach out and connect. We lock arms and move forward into the light. This seems to be a theme that continues to engage me. I see all around me the will and the hope to go forward and to “put our feet on the road to greatness during this great time of Grace.” Often when I visit other blog sites that you, my visitors to this blog have also created, I read about the storms in your lives and the miracle moments you all help to bring about by the simple choosing to not be defeated. I can see clearly why, (even though some of the Angels scratch their heads wondering what the Creator sees in us human,) God is so very fond of us.

Friday, November 30, 2007

There's stars in your bones!

One of the ways that I am shifting in my awareness is what some are calling the New Cosmology. This is a way of explaining the story of the Universe and our place in it. It boils down to the fact that the very elements that make up the periodic table and our physical reality, our bodies and such, started out in space eons ago. These very elements, the scientists believe, make up the stars. In the whole creation of our planet, the collision of these stardust particles is now in our bones and in every fiber of our being. My friend on the other side puts it this way:
“…But, then, this moment is it, K. The rest is a dream, really, a theory about reality. Now is real. Be in the now with all your heart. Be a shinning star in the now moment. In fact, K, it would be a good exercise and project to concentrate on creating a whole line of stars in your studio. Attach your wonderful words to why you have stars and why you should be conscious of all the hidden stars in your world. Stars are everywhere. Don’t wait to get hit on the head before you see the stars, K. I mean it. The very ground you walk on is made of stars and stardust. The very water and air that surrounds you, stars; ice and snow, stars; the very vapors in your breath… STARS! If you could experience the stars that you create by your very breath and the way we see you from our perspective…well, it’s very “trippy” and awesome to behold, trust me! You will begin to see more and more of what I mean. In the mean time, know that there really are stars in your bones... And, K, they are ever a reminder that you are vast and your blessings to our world and yours are vast. (yes, your very presence in body does affect our world, too.) Being aware of the awesomeness and incredible beauty that is now, K, this is what I am talking about. You need to just be amazed by the miracle of you and your world, that’s all. Think about this as you step out into your world each day, you starbringer, you awesome maker of infinity! For, that is what you think of when you look out into the night sky on the coast, where you can still see infinity of stars.”

What a great idea! I am going to set up my creating work in the studio today and just make clay stars. Hmmm… this could be fun to have a day of seeing stars. Who knows what being in the now moment might turn out to be. Let’s all make a pact, that today, what ever we do; we will just be in the now to the best of our ability. Resist the distractions, just take each now moment as it comes and tend to it with focus. May all you starbringers out there who often come to this hearth, have an experience of being awash in the magic of stardust

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On the “Down” days….

Ever have one of those days when things are just going badly? It seems like nothing is cooperating with you? This is when I ponder this little piece from my friend who speaks with me from the other side and take heart:

“The whole of creation has been waiting for you to finally put your feet on the road to greatness. They, the creatures of the universe, both great and small, have been the harbingers of this great time of Grace. There is a multitude of whales out in the ocean that inspire and call you to greatness. They do far more for the transformation of this world than the mere migration in which they appear to be engaged. You will one day come to know what heroes these have been in the maintaining of the balance of power on your world. You have no idea how important the trees and the Eagles, the Whales and the plankton are to the balance and peace of your world. As I have said before not even the smallest microbe or the greatest Redwood is just there for decoration. They all play an important role in keeping the whole picture balanced. And, they have to because the “wild card” is loose. That is we humans with our free will program, K. In these days of great change, anything could happen. What will we humans really choose to do with this miracle place? We in Spirit stand ready to serve and help and encourage where we can, K...choose the Light, choose Love, choose peace. Heaven and Earth depend on you....C:)”

It seems that all I really have to do on those days is not try harder, but just keep on keeping on with the ordinary things. I just have to choose to go forward into the next moment, knowing that all of creation has conspired to be there for me and with me moving forward holding the place of balance. There is no need to come unglued, pull a tantrum, give up or shut down. This is a great time of Grace and I, in my littleness am part of it’s unfolding. This is the brilliant part of who we are: that in the face of struggle, we don’t give up but just keep going. We have hope that just over the rise is something better and that we are committed to getting there because we are made of the stuff that prevails, and becomes the excellence we seek in all things.

Friday, November 23, 2007

To see as Creator sees: Awesome!

special thanks to Sr. Barbara DeBoo for the use of this beautiful photo

Recently I had a conversation with someone about reality and specifically war. (I never spend much time chit-chatting) This person’s assessment of the situation was that there would always be war because “Mankind” is basically flawed and sinful. Wow! What a starting point to walk out into your day with. See, I have always taken a different view and that is: The Creator loved the whole of creation into existence and sees everything at all times as basically good and love able, as awesome, in fact. If you start there, the possibilities only get better and better.

As this is the season of giving thanks and looking to celebrate Goodness incarnate and to do this by feasting and gift-giving, I further pondered what I am grateful for and want to celebrate. There are the usual things like food, shelter, a job, friends and family, my education and talents, my incredible community, but the one thing I really want to focus on this year is all the ways that we humans rise to the occasion believing in the “more” that we are and can be. Even when it is not so obvious, we believe we can be more. Over and over again I have witnessed as I travel through life and even through cyber-space the many ways our species excels just because we can and believe we can. As I visit your blog sites and read your offerings I am struck by how often you choose the higher road in your daily lives. Even though it is a bad day for you or there are challenges you’d rather not have, you don’t choose to curl up in a fetal position and face the wall, you just go forward and look to the light and the good and you discover how very awesome you are through it all. I’m with you. I, too, would rather go forward, focusing on the highest good and when someone gives me the one finger salute in traffic because I am not moving fast enough for him, I just draw a heart around him as he passes by. I am grateful I, and others of our human family choose most often to see as the Creator sees, believing in the goodness that is our starting point. I could focus on what is not working because it is all around me, but once again it comes down to my focus. I choose to focus on Awesome within and all around. Are you with me on this today?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Songs In My Heart

Some of you may think I’ve been missing in action, but actually, just “away from my desk.” (It was a bit tricky in this little town I’m staying in finding Wi Fi.) I’ve been spending these past few days taking care of my father, who had a stroke many years ago and has been recently moved “home” to my brother’s house. This home used to belong to my parents. Since the move, my brother and family decided to go ahead with their plans and take a week’s trip to Hawaii for some R & R. I said I would take their place on the home front and look after dad. Since one whole side of dad’s body is paralyzed, he needs help with just about everything, and I mean everything! It gives me a whole new way to ponder the question of: what is the sound of one hand clapping?” That isn’t even the half of it.

We have had some wonderful times of remembering. I related one of my memories to him the other day about the time we lived in Japan. I was about 7 years old then. He took my two brothers and I out for an adventure and ended up buying a harmonica for each of the boys and for me a rather elaborate but useless (to me) parasol. I was in a “snit” because I thought a harmonica was far more interesting. I always thought boys had far more interesting and freeing kinds of toys and clothes and activities that they were encouraged to do. To me, wearing a dress was the most impractical garment ever created. They always got dirty and torn when you climbed rocks and trees. (You should have seen the challenges we had when we wore the full nun’s habits in “the old days.” Many a time while riding a bike my long skirt would get hopelessly caught up in the gears. I'd have to stop and actually step out of my dress to free myself. But, that is another story.)

Anyway, after he heard my thoughts about it, he carefully rolled his wheelchair over to a shelf where he kept his magic box of treasures. He took out 3 harmonicas and told me about how after his stroke; special people in his life gave him harmonicas since he could no longer play the guitar. I asked him if he ever played them and he said: “ no, all the many years of smoking pretty much trashed my lungs so I just have to keep the songs in my heart. I want you to have these when I’m gone so you can keep my songs singing.”

It just goes to show you, what ever we may think is limiting to us, like dresses and girl-type socialization customs, nun’s habits, not enough money, a less than stellar social life or even old tapes playing in our heads or coping mechanisms that keep us stuck, what is really freeing is always an inside job and the heart is where we keep the songs that keep the music of our lives alive. This is my take away gift being in this awesome soul’s presence, and the gift I share with any of you out there reading this. You and I have the Songs of the Heart to carry us through and to help us find our greatness despite our perceived limits. They are probably bubbling up in that River of Grace that flows through and flows through and flows through all our limits. I can hear your songs joining mine now. Anytime my limits keep me stuck, I can always sing the songs in my heart and find my way home....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A River of Grace Flows Through you....

For nearly 20 years I have been making clay hearts with encouraging words on them. They started out as a one time project, (I thought) for a group of women in a hospital recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. I and my friend, Judith were asked to come in and do the "Higher Power" talk. We decided to bring clay hearts with words of inspiration and encouragement written on them as a way of giving these women a tangible sign of hope they could hang onto in early recovery. To my surprise, they caught on and now, people won't let me stop making them. Because I focus so much on these hearts, I can't go anywhere without finding heartshaped rocks, heartshaped bird dropping, heartshaped clouds, you name it. I often go to the beach near where I live on the Oregon Coast and my favorite thing to do is look for heartshaped rocks. They are everywhere. Even tourist who are disbelieving when I tell them what I am looking for, also find them once they start looking. One day as I was listening to a message from my friend on the other side, who died of a brain tumor 5 years ago, she said: " A river of grace flows through you..." This struck me, because so often I just move along in life thinking of myself as rather ordinary, just being me. She didn't point this out to me to single me out and puff me up, but just to let me know that this is how I and all of us are regarded by The Creator, the angels and all of creation. Apparently this is a known fact on the otherside that everyone agrees upon. A river of grace flows through me and you, through all of us and all of every part of our reality. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way when I look out and see what seems like a world going to hell in a handbasket and being guided there by a bunch of idiots. You see, in order to be able to find the heart shaped rocks, you have to be looking for them. In order to experience the river of grace flowing though, I have to be focused on that reality. I wonder what else I might be missing when I am misfocused..... hmmmm

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Burning Bush... It's all about the Light!

It's odd how sometimes when "death" is about to occur, there seems to be a burst of light or a glow that increases first. In a few days, this tree will lose this beautiful fire burst and move into a quietude, a death of sorts. I couldn't resist reflecting on the burst of light I saw today as I passed by this tree and quickly took this picture, because the wind could start up and tomorrow, this could all be gone. All the many months of faithfully responding to the gift of light that this tree has tended to, storing up the light and making food to nurture herself and the world around her, without a thought about 401 k s and putting aside for the kids college fund. She has just quietly open her arms and been receptive to the gift of light.

When my friend, Cindy, was in her last year of life, waiting for her brain tumor to take her quietly in sleep I noticed something extraordinary about her appearance: her skin seemed to have a glow about it. With each day it became more and more transparent and a light seemed to emanate from her. It was then that I started making lanterns out of clay with a dancing figure. Each night I would light one in her bedroom, thinking, that if she should awaken in the middle of the night she would see this and it would cheer her on to move more fully toward the light I knew she would eventually see as she swung to the other side on the same gossamer thread of grace she had come in on some 52 years earlier. I guess, I aspire, too, as this tree, my friend Cindy and all of creation does to catch the light. There are many times that the lure of drama or the loud monkey mind or the dark ninja thoughts can creep in and distract me from the real work of being a Light-Magnet. When my friend made her transition and she and I learned to communicate she told me that the best way to describe what she is like now is like liquid light. " When you are over there you are a "solid" but, over here is is more like liquid light. Don't forget to focus big time on the light, K, it's all about the light!"

I am grateful that we are returning to standard time this weekend. It is just another reminder that in someway, we are trying to make the best use of the light. It is less about doing something to time and more about the light, for me. Maybe this is another reason for the sacredness of this time of year and all the celebrations we are preparing for. It's all about the light!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve... more Sacred than we know...

We move into a time of year, that I have to say, has been so full of commercialization that I have increasing problems wanting to celebrate. Not only do the department stores and other sellers of holiday "stuff" jump the gun by reminding us with their displays to buy, buy, buy, but they can't even wait until one festive event is finished or even arrived before the decorations are up for the next. I think the problem is that we have all become disconnected from the reason we celebrate and observe the various feasts in the first place. Take Halloween for example. In ancient times when people were much more connected with Tara, a more personal name for our Earth, they developed feasts and festivals to show gratitude and to celebrate the life force given to them by the Creator. Samhain was the mid way point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It was a time of the realization that there would be a great diminishing of the light and with it, Tara's life force and her sources of sustainance . This was more important because they didn't have electricity, so they missed it more that we do now. There is much more to the reasons for the season, but, what I take away from it for myself is to be more mindful of the light's decreasing and an invitation to do more to increase the light from within. It is also a time to try and conserve or reserve some of my own life force flow so that I can last through until Spring, when Tara will share more of her energy with her children. As the light lessens in my outer world, I am more conscious that I am the carrier of a Light Source within. I am always looking for ways to take the next few months of sacred feasts and rework them for myself. I know the world around me may be stuck in following the prompts of the shopping malls and media, which makes me want all the more to rebel and celebrate in more meaningful ways. This is a time when the veil between the worlds is very thin. It is a time, that as we turn inward,( something the darkness invites us to do) our loved ones who have crossed to the other side can converse more easily with us and can inspire our actions. For me, that will mean creating a different set of rituals and observances. What about any of you out there? What are you thinking as we move into "The Holidays?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hunger of Eve all over again...

It seems that church-going or attending some kind of sacred observance is consistenly low in the U.S. I find that many of my closest friends no longer find going to church, (even though it may be considered mandatory to be a member of some denominations,)life giving or helpful. Does this mean people are less spiritual,less connected with a Higher Power? My take on it is that we have grown in our understanding of God and the church practices have not caught up with our longings, so people have pretty much struck out on a personal journey to find ways to celebrate the Sacred in their lives. An awesome peek into how this may be playing out for some is one woman I know who keeps the zenamusings blog. She first started sharing My Sacred Life: an entry a day for a whole month, and now shares My Sacred Sunday. A long list of women and some men who read her blog have jumped on board to do the same thing on their blogs.

What strikes me about all this is what a leavening force this is in our world. As usual, it is women, always so intimately involved with bread and the making of bread, whose lives are a leavening agent in our world. The world over, woman have been concerned with the task of feeding their families. So, finding ways to feed our spiritual hunger is like a revisiting of the hunger of Eve all over again...We hunger for true spiritual food and go out looking for it, or more accurately, we begin to create it for ourselves.

What feeds you spiritually now a days?What is Sacred for you? For me, I've taken a whole new look at food preparation as a sacred act. It is a priestess kind of thing. This is not really a new thing, women have been priestesses around the food preparation thing since the time of the Goddess. Has anyone out there ever noticed how much kneading bread feels similar to how breasts feel? It is probably not a coincidence that a loaf of bread and breasts not only resemble one another, but they are really for the same purpose: A source of sustenance and nurture. Food, and bread in particular as a source of Divine gift, blessing and sustenance is a well known symbol in some mainstream religious rituals. Somehow, the way it is played out is just so stale and lifeless.Exploring the Sacred together would be a great adventure. What is your "church" these days? Inquiring minds want to know.....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Hearth

A metaphor central to the work of women is the hearth, which has long been the gathering place of people around the world. It is a place of nurturing, healing, community, sanctuary and warmth. The sacred stories that connected people with the Divine Mystery called God, Sophia, Holy Wisdom, Creator,Great Spirit and many other names were told around the hearth. The hearth was and is a power place for women. Hearthtalks is a gathering place for women who are drawn here to rest, be inspired, give support, and nurture to one another.

Recent studies on women have shown that they are less likely to deal with stress in a flight or fright response, but are more likely to get together with a group of women friends. "When the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and
encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Bio behavioral Health at Penn State University.

The purpose of this blog, then, is to have a gathering of women at our virtual hearth, where we can talk together. I am not an expert at blogs. I know others of you who will stop by will have many suggestions and comments. You will have blogs of your own that we will all want to visit. If this is a helpful experience, it will have a life of its own. Hearthtalks takes its name from a very successful program that the organization, Sophia Center, I helped create and continue to nurture used to have regularly in real time around the table at our Center. Since we don't have the space for such a gathering at our present location, maybe a virtual gathering will work, too. Many women got their power back around that table by soaking up the inspiration, words of wisdom and much much more from other women which whom they shared. Are you ready to talk? There is more to come.....