Welcome to the Hearth
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I'm pretty pretty sure this is a Thanksgiving Cactus rather than a Christmas or even Easter Cactus. I never really learned the difference. No matter what it's official kind, I am in awe and gratitude every time I look through the window of my studio gift shop. It must really like it there because it blooms continuously. People are always stopping to comment. Sometimes it is awash with blossoms and other times, like now, it seems to be gearing up to show off again. It is like the plant becomes a burning bush! Something I've talked about before in a very early post. The way I look at it: every time you see a burning bush is a sign The Holy One is very near. It is an invitation to take off your shoes and enter the sacred space with a new awareness. It is always a good idea to be paying attention to the messages you get while you are in this state of new awareness. You never know when the voice of God is sounding. Will you hear words spoken in a deep voice of authority. I doubt it, but there will probably be some sort of shimmer and dazzle involved. It's a frequency thing, I think. It is possible that the shimmer could come from an outer awareness but, it is more likely to strike a chord deep within. You know the feeling I'm sure. It is a state of heart and mind that you wish you could stay in forever. For me, it was just a simple act, really, of walking past the window on my way to something else and being so taken with the awesome glory of this little plant mounting up another hosanna shower of blossoms, that it made me do a double take and stop and say what I imagine The Holy One says every time we walk by: "O My God! Awesome!What a Great Idea I Had With That One! On those days when we are tempted to think in "little" terms about ourselves, it just may be that, in the eyes of the Creator, we too, are a Burning Bush! Believe it! P.S. There are some of you who post a comment in the form of a question and since I don't have your e-mail address (penny) it may seem like I'm ignoring you because I don't answer you. In "view my profile," I think there is an "e-mail" link where you can e-mail me so I can answer you.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
One of my all time favorite things to do is to make blessing bowls. Many years ago when I would sit down to throw a bowl I would find myself imagining the people who would use these bowls at family dinners, potlucks, or for their own quiet meal, be it the morning bowl of Cheerios, the midnight snack of Ramen soup or a bowl of popcorn as they watch a movie on TV. My mind and heart always surrounded each lump of clay with kind thoughts and blessings. One day someone suggested I write the blessing on the bowl. At first I inscribed them on the bottom of the bowl, but, lately, I have taken to writing them around the rim. I don't come to the session with a note pad of blessings already composed I copy on to the rims, rather I come with a quiet, listening mind and heart and let Spirit "dictate" the blessing. I don't even stop to read what is written, I just continue on until every one is finished. It is only after the glaze firing when I am taking them out of the kiln that I stop and read them. It's as if I am reading them for the first time. I often wonder as I read: "Who writes this stuff, anyway?" Blessings like: "Blessings come from every in and out breath that you take, endlessly and abundantly blessing the world around you as you move forward, so there is no need to run!" Or this one: "The world is full of those who are waiting, when they could be blessing!" or "Where will the blessings start if not from the one that is hidden inside of you?" It blows me away, every time I open the kiln. There are just not enough moments in the day to be eating salad or chili or whatever in order to try out all the blessing bowls that strike me as the one I want to keep and use for myself. I once had a customer that decided the bowl I was eating my lunch out of was the one she wanted to buy. She didn't even care that I had been eating my daily salad out of it for the past year. She was not going to leave until I agreed to sell it to her. I said:" would you at least let me wash it first, before I sell it to you?" Do I understand that? I don't even stop and question such things any more. It's that I am willing to stop and let blessings flow into my work and out into the world into the lives of people who are ready to receive them, that seems to matter to Spirit. It doesn't stop there because those who catch the idea, go forward and share the blessings with others. There is one customer that buys a whole bunch of blessing bowls at a time and has me send them to him. He trusts me to send the colors and blessings that are right for him. Then, when he entertains, many lucky friends of his leave his home with their very own blessing bowl.
Some have thought only priests or holy people could bless, until they realized in this simple way how the world glows and swells with their thoughts of blessing. They realize that whatever they may being doing in their life with their energy can also be full of blessing for others. As you fold the family laundry or mow the lawn, you can send out blessings. We are always sending out energy, let's do it intentionally.
So, here's the invitation: March 1st is my birthday and on my birthday I traditionally give gifts to others rather than receive them. (My friend, who communicates with me from the "other side" says: "This is so appropriate for you because the day you were born the world receive a great gift! And, this is true of everyone born into your world.")
Would you be willing to celebrate with me by doing something to bless your world in a special way that day? Have fun with it. It may be blowing bubbles out over the balcony to those below, or making cookies and sharing with your workmates. Let the "muses of blessing" inspire you, because, I have come to believe our greatest work is always to bless, and bless and bless.
Friday, February 15, 2008
My sister sent me an e-mail with this picture attached. A rare occurrence to some, this perfect little valentine hearted puppy was born in Japan, it turns out. However, I am happy to say, I have my own valentine boy, Toby the greyhound, at home and every time I lean down to hug him I see his heart shaped brindle valentine patch! Miracles of nature; they are every where. We are only able to find and recognize them because endless Miracles resides always and forever inside of us too!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
For the last 19 years I have been making clay hearts. They were created 19 years ago for a little group of women who were in a special treatment program for women who needed to deal with their alcohol and drug addictions and a friend of mine and I, who had just founded our non profit, Sophia Center, were asked to go in and do the Higher Power talk. I knew that there was no way in early recovery, that the women would remember anything we said, so being a clay artist, I wanted to give them a small token made of clay that would be a tangeable sign of hope and healing from Higher Power that they could connect with well after we were gone. My friend suggested we make them heart-shaped and the Hearthstones were born. That was 19 years ago. Back then, I didn't realize I would be making little valentines from God for the next 2 decades! I have no idea how many thousands, millions, maybe, I have made or have gotten others to help me make over the years. What I do know, however, is that it is a labor of love I cherish everyday. It is an honor and a blessing to have this job. There have been some years when I have actually had a few employees make them for and with me, but, for the most part it is my daily work. I have had many, many people tell me the stories of how they came to have one or who they have shared theirs with. I never realized when I made that first batch that it would be a career for me to make, well, "valentines from God." Some of the stories bring tears to my eyes. I know why they are so powerful, too. Each and every one is prayed over as it is transformed from a big chunk of clay into a lovely and simple clay heart. In the first 10 years when our center was located in the old laundry building at Marylhurst, we had what we called "Hearthtalks" where ordinary women and sometimes men sat around the table sharing their lives with one another. While we talked we smoothed the sharp edges of the freshly cut and stamped hearts, while they were still unfired and a bit like leather. It was like an old fashioned quilting bee of sorts. Someone always brought snacks and we usually had someone lead the discussion so there was some flow to our sharing. While we worked, each woman loved the little stack of hearts she was smoothing, silently intending that whoever ended up with her hearts would be blessed with what ever they most needed at the moment. This has been the nearly 20 year intent behind these magical little clay hearts. They are out there, too. People would call me and say that they went for a walk in some state park near where they lived and left hearthstones along the way in hopes that the right person would find a much needed surprise in their path. Many have found their way into the knapsacks of combat soldiers as a reminder that they are loved, no matter what. I like to think that this work is "seeding the consciousness of the future" as well, because some of them will endure and future generations will unearth them at just the right moment in their life. My hope is that it will come true, as the first little group of women wished, that if we just kept making them and sending them out, that someday everyone on the planet would have one in their pocket. We shall see, I know I will do my best to fulfill that mandate.I have had much help, both seen and unseen to do just that. Happy Valentine's Day!
Friday, February 8, 2008
I couldn't resist writing about this one: There I was taking a little time at the end of the day, sitting in front of the wood stove. I had settled deep into an evening meditation. The process is called ascension, and, like most meditation techniques, is all about a one point focus. There is a similar process called Centering Prayer, if you are familiar with that. Anyway, I was deep into this state of quietude. I was in that place some call wakeful sleep, where you're in a deep resting state much like sleep, but you are totally aware at the same time of sounds or sensations around you. The awareness of these things is much like peripheral vision. You are not focused there but just aware that things are going on in the background. One might even say you are in a state of witnessing. Okay, so there I was, when, as clear as a bell, I see in my mind's eye what appeared like a cell phone screen and odd looking symbols, numbers, spirals and other unknown language. The witness in me seemed to smile and instantly know that this was a confirmation of a "download" process, communication from beyond the 3-D dimension. How clever of the Higher Self part of me to send a text message of sorts! I know on some other level that this is going on, even during a Mercury Retrograde when communication is typically screwed up, this message got through loud and clear. What did these odd symbols mean? I have no idea. That was not the point of that brief glimpse, but just a bit of a "wink" from Spirit, confirming that much is going on in the many dimensions. In some ways it seemed to make more sense to me than when I switch on the news for a brief look and see that yet two or three more ordinary people have gone off the deep end and are shooting up the world around them. Looking into the momentary blink of Spirit's message somehow made more sense to me, that despite the seeming chaos in the 3-D world, great and awesome things are happening beyond the veil on our behalf. There may be other such confirmations that many of you are also experiencing right now. It would be fun to hear how Spirit is moving the Spiral in your lives.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The few times I get sick, of late, have been very insightful times for me. During the course of most days, I try to be aware of many different levels of life and not just the solid, day to day part. There are times, though, that there is so much going on in the many other dimensions we exist in that wants my attention and taking a sick day is the way The Holy Spirit, my word for guidance at the highest level, wants me to pay attention, mark and inwardly digest so I can translate it through my work. I really don't feel all that miserable. I just couldn't talk because of all the clearing of my throat stuff. I sense it is about finding new ways to say or express or even that what I say and express may be about more than I know. Anyway, one of the things that happens and alerts me to the fact that this is not a physical event but about something beyond is that all my senses pick up an intensity. The one that is most affected is my sight. I swear, everything is glowing and moving in slow motion, and it is facinating to notice. It's as if someone has highly cleaned and polished everything. It sparkles! That's when I know that we all are experiencing a major "upgrade to our programs." I don't know how else to explain this but to use those terms. When I listen to people talking about their experiences of life at the moment and look around at what is happening in our world, there seems to be such a stirring up of the pot, so to speak. Some of the most horrendous things are going on in the world now, besides all the strange or dramatic weather patterns,the war and genocide, ordinary people are "going off the deep end."The financial picture seems to be tanking and people are getting nervous or just plain scared. Dispite this, there are also some of the most awesome miracles going on at the same time. There is actually a huge sense of hope stirring somewhere, somehow, do you feel it? As I was driving to work today the words kept playing in my head like a t- shirt logo: Spiral up! Followed by "Reach into the Spiral!"
What does it mean? It is about the same thing that has been coming through in my other blog entries; it seems to mean modulation of frequencies. (come to think of it, that spiral design has been showing up in my clay work a lot.) Though there is plenty that would make us fearful and hopeless, that wants to polarize us, that wants to drag us DOWN, we are invited in whatever way we can to spiral up to the Higher Frequencies. Angel Music is what my friend on the other side calls it. In fact, she once called snow a form of Angel Music. There has been a lot of snow falling out here in the Pacific Northwest of late. I think it is all those billions of little icy stars; perfect geometric patterns of light everywhere! I believe, somehow that the language of The Divine is Music, another form of Sacred Geometry. We can either wail or we can sing.This Language of the Divine is the kind of singing you don't need to have a working voice to do because it is HeartSong Music. Thank you for joining the song. I felt all of your kind and healing energy, each and everyone of you. Didn't you just love the little healing recipies coming through? Thanks to all you awesome healers out there. (Miss R, I knew I could count on you.) Let's Spiral up the Song of the Heart and heal our world from the core of Mother Earth clear out the the Center of the Galaxy! I invite you to reach into the spiral together, because together we can!
Saturday, February 2, 2008
At first I was fighting a cold, now I am actively entertaining It! So, I am taking an extra day of rest. A wonderful self-care for such times is the lemon. Not only will I be drinking lots of fluids but many lemon juice "toddies:" To 8 oz. of boiling water, the juice of one lemon, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper and honey to sweeten. Another remedy for my dry chapped hands, due to clay work is what I call "Sarah's Lemon juice hand bath and annointing beauty treatment." To one generous tablespoon of sugar in the palm of your hand, you add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. Vigoursly rub your hands with this preparation both back and front until the mixture becomes creamy and sticky all at the same time. It also feels a bit oily. The smell is heavenly and you find you want to start licking your hands! Rinse in warm water and apply a really awesome hand lotion of your choice. The way your hands feel afterwards is like baby skin! Highly recommended for feet too. I have several books I'll be delving into and a cozy woodstove fire to snuggle near. Toby, my greyhound, has taken it upon himself to see that I have an ample supply of dog bisquits. He has access to a box nearby and thinks this is the best way to heal from any malady. I will also be open to any and all of your prayer support and healing energies aimed in my direction. Blessings!