Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice!

The Power of the Pause

On this high point of the wheel of the year, I feel connected to the ancients.  They built sacred sites all over the world -- stone circles and pyramids -- that frame the sunrise on this day that celebrates the return of the light.      


The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, honors the incremental return of light as the days begin to lengthen. Solstice derives from Latin, sol (sun) and sistere (stand still).  Ancient star gazers studied the movement of heavenly bodies in relation to one another and knew that every year, on or around the 21st of December, the path of the sun (as it appears to us on Earth) stops before reversing direction.  The sun stands still.

Not only are we ending a seasonal cycle and welcoming winter, we're also ending an annual cycle and ushering in what I'm calling the Celestial New Year.  In my practice, in keeping with the rhythms of nature, the new year begins today.

Last year's winter solstice  marked the end of a 5, 125 year cycle -- the end of a world age, according to the Mayans.  AND (stay with me!) 12.21.12 also marked the end of a 26,000 year cycle called the precession of the equinoxes.  The Mayan calendar reflects these epochal cycles within cycles and makes us wonder how our ancestors tracked this knowledge over countless generations of sky watching.

What does all this mean to us?  Only five generations in the last 26,000 years have experienced the shift of world ages. We [are] the sixth!* 

Gives you pause, right?

Solstices have been ritually celebrated since time out of mind because we intuitively appreciate their potent energy. We feel the power of the pause. The choices we make when one cycle ends and another is poised to begin are charged with the momentum of the universe!

So on this sacred day let's follow the teaching of the sun.  Be still and reflect on your intentions for the coming year. Write them down, stating them clearly for all the forces at work today.  Why not infuse your dreams and desires with the sweeping momentum of the grand design unfolding around us?

  • Where in your life do you wish to change direction? 
  • What can you allow to go dormant? 
  • What's germinating deep within? 
  • What dark aspect of your life are you willing to let go? 
  • What do you want to shine more light on? Devote more energy to? 

Attune to the tides of time -- the ebb of darkness and the flow of light.  When we do this, we slip into the wisdom-ways of our ancient ancestors. We encircle an inner fire, gaze at the stars, honor the waxing and waning of the moon.

We behold one another, and our place in the whole of Creation, in a new light.

Such is the power of the pause.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Encountering Dementia and the Power of Now

Last Monday evening our meditation circle gathered once again.  Phyllis, who has returned from the beach, is warmly welcomed with a round of hugs. Soon we are settled.

We take a couple of moments to sit and breathe, initiating the transition from busy, everyday mind to meditative mind.  We listen to Eckhart Tolle, speaking with his soft German accent, as he introduces us to The Power Of Now.

The reading is sharply poignant after visiting my father-in-law last night.  This dear man appears to be succumbing to dementia.  In his mind, work-related pressures from many years ago are entangled with what he believes his deceased wife is doing to spite him. As his jumbled narrative unwinds, we strain to find a thread we can follow.  

What was it Tolle said about being overtaken by our thoughts?

The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly.  If used wrongly, it becomes very destructive.  It's not so much that you use your mind wrongly; you usually don't use it at all, it  uses you.  The instrument has taken you over.  It's almost as if you are possessed without knowing it, and  so you take the possessing entity to be yourself.

He's not talking about our aging parents.  He's talking about us!

After listening, we don't have much to say.  Everyone seems to realize the extent to which we've been taken over by our run-away thoughts.  We chuckle when he says, "Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful condition, but since we all suffer from it, we think it's normal." (!)

After seeing my father-in-law, the humor sinks like a stone into a mucky-bottomed pond.  

So we practice engaging the witness. We imagine sitting on the shore, inviting familiar emotions to wash over us and noting our habitual response to say, sadness. We invite the feeling, noticing how it feels in our bodies. My sadness feels like a damp quilt pressing on my my heart, sodden.  A pull in my throat, presaging tears.

To our surprise we find we can handle the physical sensation!  Then, we witness the tendency of our minds to take it one step further -- to embellish with a (very engaging) story or to assign blame (that SOB!). We discover first-hand that it's our thoughts about the sadness that escalate anxiety.

We experiment -- allowing our feelings and observing what the mind wants to throw onto the ash heap in my throat.  The thinker wants to re-ignite the old grievance, the familiar story, the incessant (poor me) monologue.  We practice containing the sadness in the glowing orange bowl in our low bellies.   And then we let it roll out to sea on the next wave.

Ah, the witness offers relief.  Eckhart says,

The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity -- the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity.  The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.  You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.  You also realize that all the things that truly matter -- beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace -- arise from beyond the mind.  You begin to awaken.

My inner witness is smiling at how Spirit arranged my week.  Tolle's prescient words on Monday provide a context for my experience with my father in law on Wednesday.  I notice how my mind needs some frame of reference, someplace to categorize this new distress.

Out beyond the mind, beyond that need, in that vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, my larger self floats on a wave of compassion.  Faced once again with the great mystery of being, I choose trust.

All are welcome to join our meditation circle when we meet next on Monday, October 21, 2013.  The fee is $10.  Find details under Workshops above.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harvest Moon Meditation

Lighting Your Inner Lantern

I sit this morning with a steaming mug of tea.  Must be Fall!

Our meditation circle reconvened this week after summer hiatus.  We are blessed with new faces. As I light the candles, I feel the warmth of being back together.

After getting re-acquainted, we lower the lights and play Marina Rayes' Liquid Silk, native flutes weaving through the sounds of nature.  It's perfect for conjuring the Spirit of the Earth.

We anchor ourselves to the warm womb of Mother Earth, progressively releasing accumulated tension. Allowing gravity to settle our bodies and minds. Drawing vitality up through our energetic roots, we inhabit our bodies with fresh awareness.

I feel a little rusty.  Did I forget this or that?  Is everyone comfortable?  How many of us are still struggling to get out of our heads, smile.

Soon my voice ceases and we are left with the music.

The woodwind flute, lending a voice to longing.

The echoing notes of the loon on a misty morning.

The call of the owl through the forest hush.

A stream splashing over stones.

So soothing for our (formerly frayed) nerves.

As we sink in more deeply, the roof seems to sail away into the moonlit sky, leaving us exposed to the late summer whispers of nightfall.  The trees cast long shadows, back-lit by the fat harvest moon.

The Great Mother herself  is weaving  us into communion.  Like winding yarn into a ball, she encircles us in strands of red, orange and yellow light -- over, around, and underneath us. 

The energy of the group, re-ignited.

Such is the way when we recede into silence.   Tethered to the ground of our being, our awareness opens, shining like the brilliant moonlight spilling across lawns and ledges.  May this inner lantern shine for us as the nights lengthen and the year wanes.

All are welcome to join us next Monday evening, September 23.  Details can be found under Workshops above.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Storm Rolling In

I find myself in solitude on the first evening of September.  Dusk gathers early.  Yellow leaves drift onto the lawn.  Melancholy nibbles at the edges of my awareness.

I put aside what I'm doing and decide to do the work,  as Byron Katie calls it,  on the disintegration of what was once a cherished sisterhood.   I pull out her book, Loving What Is, open up a word document, and sink in ... to my bruised heart.

That's when the inner storm starts brewing.

My discontent spills out, sprawling across the screen like a swollen stream overrunning it's edges. As my fingers fly over the keyboard, anger rumbles like distant thunder.  A decidedly cool front moves in, a rush that rips dying attachments from their moorings and tosses them in a tumult.  Relief comes in the outpouring. It blows through, and in it's wake there's a quiet sense of calm. 

Next morning, as I step out for my walk, the metallic sky portends rain.  I smile at the familiar synchronicity of as within so without.  Before long, I've found the rhythm that opens the pathways to other realms.  I become a bridge for the Spirits of Earth and Sky to traverse and heal. It's a two way exchange, where I offer my healing gifts to them and they graciously return the favor.

As this connection takes hold, a geyser, a surging fountain of energy, swirls up through my being, dislodging energetic debris.  I yield to the flow, the up-welling of cleansing and clearing.  All the stuff I hide from myself -- anger, sadness, frustration, the dreaded judgment, excuses, procrastination, laziness, failure, self sabotage and vulnerability -- wheel out into the spacious open sky of awareness, like Dorothy's house uprooted from the plains of Kansas.

Why hide all this?  It's my humanity. Shared with everyone else on the planet.

A fresh perspective from the  eye of the storm.

Rumbling thunder brings me back to earth.   A literal storm is upon us!

Needles of rain slant across the sidewalk. I pick up the pace, feeling exponentially lighter.

I stop at the dock, snug under my umbrella, only vaguely concerned that it's spider-like skeleton is aluminum. The pond is eerily deserted.

Scanning the shore, I spot her -- a beautiful lone heron. The bare branch she stands on extends low over the water like a graceful arm, whose open hand offers her footing. A tableau of balance and ease.

My husband calls to check on my whereabouts.  I don't tell him that I'm on the dock in the rain, taking lessons from this heron.

She's poised over the pond, upon the open hand of God. While her watery reflection wavers, the great blue heron waits out the storm.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Holy Trinities?

Everything seems to be happening in threes.

Recently I came across a basket of stones collected from here and there -- beaches, river banks, the edge of a stream. One is triangular, it stands up on it's own.  So I placed in on an end table with some other treasures.

Then my daughter and her love go to visit my parents in the Adirondacks.  I ask her to bring some stones if they hike up to the falls.  I have a photo of the last time we climbed there, years ago -- my mother, my two daughters, my sister, and her two girls.  Three generations of women with the falls cascading behind us.

So Meredith returns with, yes -- another triangle.  It's a larger wedge; it also stands up on one side.

Now I encounter a trio on my morning walk.  As I approach the pond, a heron takes flight.  Off she goes across the water, out of sight beyond the rushes. Seeing this, another heron alights as well.  They are both the same color as the pond -- gray green -- and would be indiscernable from their surroundings if not for the movement of their wings.

Then these two beauties reappear, with a third  in tow.  This one is smaller.  All three flying low over the pond, each set of wingtips seeming to touch it's reflection on the water.

Pondering all these threes, I realize  this has  happened in the window of the recent Star of David planetary alignment. Astrological charts of the constellation reveal the intersecting triangles. The downward-pointing triangle, shaped like a chalice, represents the feminine, while it's upward-pointing opposite, shaped like a blade, represents the masculine.

So what's up with all these triangles?

Might they portend a new paradigm? A new holy trinity?

Instead of the Father, Son and ephemeral Holy Ghost, perhaps the alignment of stars in the heavens invites us to resurrect the feminine principle -- the Goddess -- and restore her to her rightful place in the creation energies.

Father, mother, child.  Hasn't it always been so?

The potent union of these two life-giving aspects of creation yields wholeness, integration and balance.  We find our power when we blend masculine strength and feminine wisdom. Thus a new consciousness is born -- one that embraces the gifts of both halves of our divine inheritance.

Don't you feel her stirring, the Goddess?

Arranging triangles beneath our feet and across the heavens, inviting us to mine the meaning of threes upon threes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kindling the Fire of the Sacred Feminine

Our meditation circle gathers.  We take turns, reporting how we've been since last week.  Each woman's experience is received with a nod, a knowing smile, laughter.

Kathy, only 54, is undergoing hip replacement surgery this week. So instead of our usual sharing after meditation, I suggest that  we quietly make our way  to the adjacent sun room and give Kathy a healing.  Anticipating their, I wouldn't know what to do, I suggest simply placing hands and intending the most benevolent  outcome for our sister of the circle.

They're intrigued.  And willing.

As I chime the end of our meditation, everyone moves silently into place -- Kathy on the table, the rest of us encircling her.  I indicate where each one may place her hands and   murmur an invocation. The women can tune in or tune me out, per their own guidance.

And then the magic begins.

Mary, another trained healer posted at the right hip, whispers to Kathy's body, thanking the worn-out hip for it's service, alerting the surrounding muscles and tendons that the hip will be removed and replaced. She invites the entire area to accept the new hip, acknowledging the wisdom of the body to knit itself back together -- cell and soft tissue, bone and blood -- each part is invited to assist in the healing of the whole.

I rest my palms on the back of each healer's heart, supporting them in getting acquainted with their innate power to nurture in this way.  The energy being generated is visceral, pulsing in waves beneath our hands.

My sense is that Kathy is relinquishing the old -- and embracing a new way of walking in the world.

Moving forward will no longer be fraught with pain.

Pushing will be balanced with allowing.

Exertion will be balanced with rest and repletion.

The feminine aspects of her being will  rise up to balance her masculine aspects.  The inner feminine strengths of intuitive knowing, receiving and surrender will temper the inner masculine strengths of logical analysis, giving and asserting. 

These parts of herself will inform each other, yielding a greater wisdom than either side can accomplish on it's own.

The marriage of these polarities transcends either/or, becoming both/and.

All of this feels larger that one woman's journey. The air shimmers, reminding us --  as within, so without.

This what the shift of ages portends.

The Piscean Age, the patriarchy of the last 2000 years, has been one of conquest.  As we recover the lost  sacred feminine, duality gives way to unity, competition evolves into cooperation, and survival of the fittest becomes recognition of the One Being that we are. When the sacred masculine and feminine energies merge, a new age is born.

Withdrawing our hands, everyone is glowing with awe.  Kathy's hip pain is gone; she hugs each of her healers in gratitude. Each healer has been initiated -- her connection with the vast field of universal intelligence confirmed.

Later, at Kathy's request, I let the ladies know the outcome of the surgery.  It took less time than expected.  She was walking within an hour of leaving the recovery room.  By day two, she had graduated from the walker to an aluminum cane.  Kathy never rated her pain level (on a scale of 1-10) at more than 5. She requires no physical therapy.

Such is the power of intention when women gather. There's something primal in the ritual of tending to one facing an ordeal, summoning up one's presence in service to another.  The sacred feminine is born in moments like these, when healing power leaps to life like flames kindled by light and love -- illuminating an inner sanctum that has been too long dark.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Dreams will not be thwarted,

Faith will be rewarded

Our meditation circle  gathered on Monday evening, a blustery night.  The women came in, along with the gusting wind, ready for some peace.  Each one related daily difficulties -- the death of a loved one, a troublesome diagnosis,  being surrounded by negativity. 

Our inner journey that night had an unusual destination:  the sacred space of the heart.  To satisfy our minds, I gave a preview of the trip.  This is an opportunity to anticipate obstacles and ask questions so that once we get started, we can let go of all that and enter into the creative, imaginal realm, where intuition takes over and sacred magic transpires.

Now for the real thing.  Everyone settles in comfortably.  After the usual progressive relaxation, we connect with the earth, the sacred feminine aspect of creation.  Next we open to connect with the night sky, the divine father creator of All That Is.  Then we invite these energies to mingle in our heart chakra, knowing ourselves as a divine child of divine parents -- a holy trinity.

This earth/sky connection is familiar to the group.  We feel ourselves as bridges for  gentle, powerful, opposing energies to flow through -- male and female, giving and receiving, acting and waiting, yang and yin.  Together, they make us whole.

Yet we have not ventured into the heart itself.  And here we are, on the threshold.  Gently, using the visualization I had laid out earlier, we set the intention (prayed) that any obstacle to entering be removed, permitting each woman to enter her own sacred heart space.

Then, like a ghost gliding through a wall, each one made her way into her physical heart.  Most found it dark.  I was guiding them with excerpts from Drunvalo Melchizedek's Living in the Heart:  How to Enter into the Sacred Space of the Heart.  Per his instructions, I said, "Let there be light."  Each woman was gifted with an experience of her inner sanctum, her chamber of creation.

Now we enjoy silence for 15 minutes --  potent time to explore inner worlds.  This is my opportunity to offer healing to each one, if only briefly.  Some ladies are lying on the floor, one is perched on the hearth by the fire, others sit cross legged or on the couch.  I visit each one, placing my hands you-know-where.

To my amazement, every single woman's heart chakra is open and flowing, spinning with strength and tenderness.  If the heart was quiet at first, it blossomed in the grace that filled the room.  As I went from heart to heart, the word entrainment came to mind. An invisible, yet tangible, momentum was fueling our experience.  

So this morning I look up the word  "entrain:  to draw in and transport by the flow...."  Yes, the power of the group enhanced our individual experiences.  We somehow brought each other along for quite a ride.  And even though this definition describes how women's inner wisdom is contagious, I like my pocket dictionary definition too.  It simply says, "to board a train." I smile, thinking of Springsteen's lyrics from Land of Hope and Dreams:  Dreams will not be thwarted, faith will be rewarded, on this train."  

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Last Saturday morning we woke up to the thinnest coating of snow.  It's only 13 degrees outside but I  bundle up and go for a walk.  As I round the corner, the sidewalk is unmarred by footprints; it's a snow-white carpet, scattered with sparks of green and blue, orange and yellow.

It must be the angle of the sun coming up over the rooftops, fracturing the snow crystals into tiny rainbows, strewn not just on the pavement but across frozen lawns as well.

So I blaze a trail on this pristine path, joining other footprints as I round the corner onto Two Rod. I wonder about this pair of footprints; perhaps they belong to Joan and Roseanne, neighbors who are usually finishing their walk as I'm starting out.  Or, could they be Joe and Alica?  No, these are women's sneaker tracks etched in the snow.

As I traverse my usual route, I wonder about the souls of the soles I encounter.  So many patterns, I give them names -- horseshoe heel, windowpane, fish bone, Nike ninja, herringbone, starburst.  So even though I'm walking alone, I feel as though I have company, these snowy sojourners who have come before me. I glance over my shoulder to see  my footprints mingled with theirs and sense an odd unity, a strange melding of time and space, like dimensions colliding.

I make my way as usual to the reservoir.  Here at the dock the snowy crystal coating at my feet remains untouched.  Farther out, the wind has swept the ice clear.  A trio of geese huddle out there, looking taller than usual on their webbed feet.

I don't sit down because if I do, I'll get chilly.  I survey the winter pond. Backyards are exposed, branches are bare, shore stones are edged in ice.  And it's so still.   The silence is vast, hovering over the frozen lake.

I gaze at the handful of prisms scattered on the ice at my feet.  The surface of the pond is three of four feet below the dock I'm standing on.  My focus softens and the sparks of light seem to rise up and fill the air in front of me.  Tiny flecks of green, blue, pink, orange and gold float in the space around me.  This seems  to be an embodiment of grace -- the field of grace that grants access to realms beyond reason.

For me, insight often comes in images.  And this image makes the elusive concept of grace leap to life.  As I turn toward home, I thank the Great Mother in her winter raiment, for rustling her gown and leaving sacred sequins in her wake, seed pearls of wisdom for my healers handbook.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cold Moon Visitor

The other night, as usual, I went around the house closing up.  When I turn off the last light and close my laptop here at the kitchen table, the stars are visible out the back slider. I usually open the door and gaze for a moment or two, but this night the sky is so open and clear, I make my way through the dark house, pull on a jacket, and step outside.

The moon is just past the half, illuminating the crusty snow, the bones of the gazebo, the sentinel trees.  Branches overhead intertwine and entangle, yet the stars peek through.  I'm looking for Orion's Belt -- the three stars in a row that point to one of the brightest stars in the winter sky, Sirius.  Each step on the ice-encrusted pavers interrupts the night's quiet.

There they are, three points of light, recognizable amid the jumble of winter constellations whose names I don't know. Orion is the mythological  hunter.  It seems we are all hunting for something in deep winter.

Standing on the frozen ground looking up at the heavens orients me somehow.  It banishes anxieties, large and small.  And there have been some large ones.  The death of my husband's mother.  Starting a new job.  Under the stars, perspective enlarges and stresses take their place in the order of things. Breathing in the frigid air feels like inhaling eternity.

As I walk back to the porch, my echoing foot steps disturb an owl!  I look over my shoulder to see him flying in utter silence, white wings gliding.  He settles himself on a craggy branch.  He is marveling at how little I know about his territory -- the dark night, the frigid winter, the sprawling stars.

The owl teaches us to abide these mysteries. He possesses silent wisdom, vision in the night.  Nocturnal omens like these are charged with the import of dreams. Some underground river of knowing unfreezes and begins to yield it's secrets.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cold Moon Meditation

Give Yourself the Gift of Serenity in 2013 

Join us for our Winter-into-Spring meditation series on Monday evenings, January 28 through March 18, from 7 - 8:30 pm.  This will take us through the first quarter of the wheel of the year.

Each evening will offer instruction to facilitate ease of meditation.  I will present chakra dynamics, showing how these influence your health, overall sense of well-being, and relationships.   In addition, we will explore other tools for getting in touch with your inner wisdom, whether it be aligning with the rhythms of nature, using oracle cards, or discovering your spirit guides.

Using guided imagery, I will lead the group into meditation, with increasing silence as the group decides. We will vary the background music from week to week so you can find what works best for you.  Each meditation is designed to calm, center and ground you within your being in order to contact your divine essence. We will become increasingly comfortable residing in stillness and silence.

The atmosphere is open and relaxed; wear comfortable clothing and bring a cushion or two.  Photos of our beautiful meditation space are available here on the blog -- please browse to view the space and get acquainted with me. Invite a friend or two for these evenings of deep nurturance.

The fee for the eight week series is $80, payable on the first evening, unless other arrangements have been made. To reserve a spot, you may comment below, leave a message at or call 860-563-5682.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Give Yourself the Gift of Meditation in 2013

In the very near future, I'll be posting specifics about our upcoming  meditation circle. I plan to resume on Monday evenings at 7 pm until approximately 8:30.  If you are interested in joining us, save that space on your calendar.

We will most likely begin on Monday, January 28th.  I'm not sure about content but will firm up ideas and let you know what to expect in the coming weeks.  Let me know if there's something in particular that you're struggling with or interested in learning more about.  In any event, there will be a guided meditation every week, with increasing amounts of silence as the group becomes comfortable.

Please invite anyone you think might benefit from this calming practice.  The charge will be $10 per evening and I may extend the number of meetings to 10.  So the fee for the series would be $100.

Looking forward to co-creating a sacred breathing space for us all as we enter this blessed new year.