Thursday, September 11, 2014

Leaving this Winter

Her little boy awoke from a nightmare and came to her crying. He said, "I dreamed that I rescued a little owl from underneath the diving board of a pool. It felt warm and I thought it would be okay, but some man grabbed a mic and said, we need to let this poor little owl leave this winter and go where she needs to go".

She had to fight back tears at the uncanny message of his dream. She knows who the owl is, and the long winter that has been slowly killing her, but she will never leave without her son.

She kissed her boy and walked him back to his bed.   "It's just a dream", she said softly. Then she walked downstairs and sat in the dark and cried.


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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A Flash of Bright Wings

That night they decided to salute the last day of summer with ice cream. Still quite sore from surgery, her gait was slow and cautious. Upon reaching the parlor, a little boy appeared out of nowhere and held open the door for her.

She smiled looking into his eyes and said, "you are extraordinary, thank you so much".

He smiled then disappeared. She looked around and it reminded
her of one of those stop action film sequences wherein nothing else is moving except for the two main characters and when the action starts again, everyone in the scene is completely oblivious to what occurred right under their noses. It was kind of like that with this. Her husband and son walked through the door without so much as a glance at the boy holding it. The hoard at the counter continued their unconscious dance of nudging and shuffling.

As she braved the line with her family, perusing the flavors, a woman nearly backed right into her. She quickly placed her hand over her incision to brace for impact, but the little boy appeared again and stretched his arm between them.

Suddenly she had a flashback to another time, a time before seat belts and car seats. She was a tiny girl taking a drive with her beloved aunt. The car in front stopped short and her aunt instantly reached out her arm to protect her - a gesture instinctual in some and nearly absent in others.

"You are my protector", she said to the boy with a smile, "thank you, my knight".

The boy smiled big then disappeared again.

She has a habit of wondering. She wonders about a lot of things, and in this particular moment she is wondering why everyone around her, including her family, are completely oblivious to what is happening - and yet this little boy is keenly aware, completely tuned in as though it was his job to look after her.

Her husband paid the cashier and took a lick from his cone. She handed her son his ice cream cone then the three of them followed the bustle toward the exit. Just then, the door swung open wide and was held there. Behind the door was the little knight, his body suspended at a 60 degree angle to counter the weight of the heavy door. He smiled gesturing for her to proceed.

"You are truly an extraordinary soul", she said to the boy, "thank you again".

He smiled then disappeared.

In her mind she imagined herself in a meeting. A meeting of souls before they took bodies. They are discussing the lessons they wish to learn on earth.

A voice says, "and one day you will be recovering from will be quite sore, but no one around you will notice..."

Suddenly a small voice chimes in.

"I will notice", he said.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Fairystone Park

"Every fairy take his gait.
And each several chamber bless.
Through this palace with sweet peace.
And the owner of it blessed.
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away. Make no stay.
Meet me all by break of day." -William Shakesperare

S has deemed this place magical.  I couldn't agree more.  We spent the weekend in a cozy 76 year old log cabin, with wood floors,  plank doors, a stone fireplace and a few modern conveniences.  The air within and without the cabin smelled heavily of woodsmoke and adventure.  The land is a nearly 5,000 acre haven from noise and light pollution.

"The quiet is loud", he said.

"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in...."(WS)

We could hear the frogs croaking while I sipped my coffee and watched a slug make its way across the mossy log rail that lined the stone porch facing the lake.

Occasionally he would spot a circle of mushrooms and squeal, "Fairy Rings!"

We made a big pot of vegetarian chili for dinner and S'mores for dessert and the atmosphere of this enchanting place made it more delicious than ever.

In the end, his dream came true...he found his fairy stones.

After his hard work searching for the mysterious stones, he took a plunge in the beautiful lake.

Just as we returned to our cabin, the sky took an unexpected turn when an intense rainstorm blew in and obscured the lake in a shroud of white.  It was like standing behind a waterfall.  We read some of the entries in the cabin journal and inked in our own musings before packing our bags for our morning check-out.

It was a wonderful weekend.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Homeward Bound

Taking the scenic route home...

Not stopping there...

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Friday, August 22, 2014


Off to see what she can see...

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Look is Not Enough

"Although I wish I could, I cannot give you a real world filled with knights, goblins, dragons, witches, fairies, frogs that turn into princes, animals that talk, magic spells and mysterious islands where dreams come true. In the past, people believed the real world was like that, and because they believed, so it was." - Charles F. Greiner

Today I learned that one of my beloved high school teachers died. When I think of him, I think of the teacher Robin Williams played in Dead Poet Society, one of my favorite films. I took two of his classes way back then, creative writing and film study. Both changed my life, not because of the classes themselves, but because of the man who taught the classes.

How fortunate I was at such a tender age to be taught that to feel deeply is to attend life's "feast" and that finding a way to express it is to preserve the memory and testify that we were not only present, but truly aware of the banquet. He said, "To look is not enough, the unexpressed act is not fully complete an experience we must find a way to express it."

O Captain. My Captain.

When Robin William took his life, I stood on my chair in mournful protest. Today I stand on my dining room table in remembrance of the gracious man who lit the candle by which I dine.

His son Keith shared this message from his father...

"He also asked me to remind you that he led a full and rich life, and that your presence in it contributed immeasurably to his happiness. Finally, he wanted you to know, deep in your heart, that very nearby there's another magnificent room graced by a splendid table where the feast continues."

These words are emblazoned on my heart...

"There is a poem by Victor Hugo that ends with these words: I'll soon leave in the middle of the feast, but the world will lose nothing of its size and glory.

I think that's mostly true, but it may not be the whole truth. What matters is the feast. We have all been invited. A few, in their ignorance, refuse the invitation. Others, in their ignorance, get up in the middle of the feast and never return.

 Most, however, remain at the festive table. Their lives are rich with life's joy and life's sorrow. They laugh with all of their laughter and cry with all of their tears. To be at the feast is to experience life fully. When it is their time to turn down an empty glass and go their solitary way, they do so graciously and give thanks for having been invited. Some of the guests try to capture special moments, make an attempt to preserve those experiences, both large and small, when they were truly alive, intensely aware, passionately involved. In these efforts, they preserve, if not the feast itself, at least its memory. They leave evidence to testify that they were in attendance and that they, indeed, attended."

(More favorite words from a man who lived it fully.)

Sir, I will miss your presence at earth's festive table, please save me a seat beside you at the next one.

For Charles F. Greiner who left the feast 8/20/14 at 3:47pm.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Far Inside

"and the prayer you said, and the tears you shed
and the memory you held and the realization
that in this silence you no longer had to keep
your eyes and ears averted from the place
that could save you, that you had been given
the strength to let go of the thirsty dust laden
pilgrim-self that brought you here, walking
with her bent back, her bowed head
and her careful explanations…"

Excerpt from “THE WELL”
From Pilgrim: Poems by David Whyte

Sometimes when I dive into the well of his words it feels as though I am reading a letter written to me from a far away friend who has known me my whole life, who knows me better than anyone.

( image collaboration with e.imel )


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Monday, August 11, 2014

But I with mournful tread

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning...
- Walt Whitman

No words, but a palpable emptiness


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Open Both Arms

TILICHO LAKE by David Whyte

In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.

Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.

Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow

the true shape of your own face.


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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

534 Miles

I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul remembering my good friends.

- William Shakespeare


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Friday, August 01, 2014


What you seek is seeking you. - Rumi

One sacred object traded for another. 

Something made by my two hands.  (and 8 tiny legs)

Something made by her two hands. 

I love my life.


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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Core Strength

You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.”  - Rumi


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

These Two

I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough. - Whitman


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The Moment When

The moment when your doctor says, "we think you may have an incarcerated umbilical hernia so we are sending you to the ER for a scan and possible surgery tonight". And in your mind you say, " just because it seems so doesn't make it so".  And then the moment when this becomes your mantra.

The moment when the ER doc says, " well you have a hernia BUT your intestines are still intact and only adipose tissue leaked out which is the best possible scenario BUT you still need surgery".

And the moment when the nurse says, "You can leave now".

and you say, "That's a beautiful thing".

and he says, "You're a beautiful thing",.

The moment you laughed holding your abdomen saying, "I thank you from the bottom of my hernia".

Bionic Bellybutton scheduled for August 28th... 

And then moment I can get back into cobra pose.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Words You Speak

The words you speak become the house you live in.  - Hafiz

She likes to embody certain words...

so she grabbed some fabric paint and Sharpies and made herself some shirts...


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

From Out the Dark Door of the Secret Earth

Yet under
reason burns brighter fire, which the bones
have always preferred...

It is the light at the center of every cell.
It is what sent the snake coiling and flowing forward...

- Mary Oliver

I saw a mala at the Rubin made entirely of snake spine and was completely smitten.  A few weeks later I found the skeleton of a tiny snake protruding from the ground and unearthed it.  I named her, Eve.  I made myself a wrist mala.  I made some other talismans from the spine and sent them off to far away friends.



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What He Said...

His words sent a seismic YES from my core up through all the layers of my body...


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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saints Bowing in Mountains

Do you know how beautiful you are?

I think not, my dear.

For as you talk...
I see great parades with wildly colorful bands
Streaming from your mind and heart,
Carrying wonderful and secret messages
To every corner of this world.

I see saints bowing in the mountains
Hundreds of miles away
To the wonder of sounds
That break into light
From your most common words.

Speak to me of your mother,
Your cousins and your friends.

Tell me of squirrels and birds you know.
Awaken your legion of nightingales—
Let them soar wild and free in the sky...

Do you know how beautiful you are?

I think not, my dear,

Yet Hafiz
Could set you upon a Stage
And worship you forever!


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Friday, July 25, 2014

This Blessed Summer

Swimming and sleepovers and giant dosas...


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple Joys

Delicious fried green tomatoes, ecstatic lindy hop, psychedelic ocular migraine, this milky light, a surprise visit from faraway family.

She dreams of a warm lake, and moonlight, and skinny-dipping, and a bonfire. She remembers that night she drove to the lake with a handful of friends where they flung their clothing on the shore and plunged into the water like their lives depended on it. And when the laughter subsided, how the crickets sang louder and the silver streak of the moon reached across the surface of the lake until it touched each one of them. And then there was a reverence, like a baptism... and they began to sing...

"Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world"

She wants this again, another baptism of moonlight and lake and skin and laughter and singing, and swimming and fire.


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Sip of Sky

She's in the garden at dawn, taking notes. She once met a bluejay who could mimic a hawk. This morning she met a Raven who could mimic a duck. "Now I've seen everything", she said, "or not". Suddenly it began to sprinkle. She wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and held her coffee mug up to catch the rain. She took a sip of sky and said, "thank you".

Some days ago,  a Giant Leopard Moth came to her front porch and died there so she saved the creature's body.  This morning a Tiger Moth was in the same spot, resting...waiting to chase moonbeams.  It seems to be the summer of the winged big cats!

Every soul is a teacher.
Every soul is a student.


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Friday, July 18, 2014

Godspeed, Nicole!

I bless the day your voice reached my ear. Godspeed, fire spirit, godspeed!

Earth My Body from Nicole Sangsuree Barrett on Vimeo.

Earth my body,
Water my blood,
Air my breath
and Fire my spirit

I like to sing to the earth
I like to hold her
She likes to sing to me
She likes to hold me

I carry fistfuls of leaves
I make love to the breeze
I carry fistfuls of bones
I trust they will lead me home

I carry grief on my wings
I know why caged bird sing
Through many turns of this moon
My women have suffered wounds

But my grandmother's with me
Close your eyes can't you see
And my children are here
The rose, the Crow and Deer

I am surrounded by light
The light of stories
I need to quiet my mind
I need to listen

We are surrounded by light
The light of stories
We need to quiet my mind
We need to listen

Earth my body,
Water my blood,
Air my breath
and fire my spirit


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Song of Summer

“Your self is sacred; be true to it.” - Paul Brunton (A Message from Arunachala)
"There is no right way or wrong way", her teacher said softly, "there is only the have to trust that you are the way". Suddenly, she felt herself expand into the spaciousness of those words. When she awakens each morning thereafter, she takes a deep breath and exhales a long, quiet "thank you", then slowly places her feet on the floor. 
"I'm just a soul in a human-suit", she thinks to herself, "no more, no less".  She remembers tripping over tree roots in the moonlight, and the way the rocks wiggled beneath her feet while crossing the stream. And the fireflies in the tall grass, the way they floated there so silent, so full of light.  She counts these things as blessings and keeps a list in her mind.  They are her buoys:
  • The patina of her homegrown blueberries 
  • Summer peach pizza with balsamic reduction
  • Ukeleles
  • Swimming pools
  • The wings of the Giant Leopard Moth
  • Wheels and the wind in our hair


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