Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Friend’s Visit

At the beginning of January, one of my forever best friends came from Oregon to Southern California to visit his mom, who is ill and may be preparing to transition. The distance makes it hard to be as available as he’d like to be, but he’s wonderful about keeping communication flowing with his dad and brothers and family. I pray for his mother and the family, that they all be blessed with grace and peace during this sacred time.

This friend, Paul, is a deeply spiritual soul, connected to earth, the elements and Divine in a wonderful way. I treasure his friendship and I treasure the easy way we can talk with one another. We’ve been friends for over 35 years and spent much of our 20s seeing each other nearly every day, forming a very close bond with our small group of friends. When we’re young and still forming, those deep friendships we make during that time became part of our formation. Who I am is partly due to his and our other friends’ influence. We all vacationed together, celebrated together, grew together, shared a whole lot of time and laughter together. It was an amazing time we shared!

During his visit, Paul couch-surfed a couple of nights at my place. It was wonderful to have him here! Since he’s like family, it felt very comfortable to just let him do whatever he needed to do while I went to yoga, church and to my company holiday party. (I did feel kind of bad, though, that I was in the midst of a bad fibro flare, hurting pretty badly.)

Paul is an artist, too, and teacher. He’s studied shamanism extensively and creates beautiful smudge fans, rattles and other instruments to use in ceremony. (You can see some of his original handcrafted work at his website: He also takes custom orders.)

smudge fan sage sweetgrassWhile he was here, he had his stuff neatly set aside out of the way, except for a silver box that sat on the island. I didn’t want to be nosy, so I never peeked in the box, until the 2nd day when he asked me if I’d opened it yet. It was a gift for me! So exciting! He’s always amazingly thoughtful with his gifts; previously I’ve received a turtle rattle, owl feathers, sage, a mix CD, hawk feathers and other thoughtful, caring gifts. I opened the box and pulled back the red cloth inside. Paul had made a CD for me and had brought me a DVD (The Big Kahuna). But I especially loved these gifts: an abalone shell to be used for smudging, various sages, sweet grass and resin incenses. He also made an amazing smudge fan! It has owl feathers, peacock feathers, leathers and amethyst stones. Amethyst is my birthstone (February) and amethyst is also known as a healing crystal, which was great, too, since I was in pain. It’s a piece that I will treasure all my llife!

His work as an artist is just so amazing; Paul puts in so much detail, energy, love and blessing into every piece he does. I’m hugely honored with these gifts. The fan is sitting on a shelf in my living space where I can enjoy it and think of our friendship. Love you, Paul!

smudge fan detail

The feathers are so beautiful.  

smudge fan amethysts

The end of the handle holds another large piece of amethyst surrounded by smaller stones.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Trumpeter on the Beach

curling wave

After my (now ex) husband left our daughter and me in 1980, I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach. I was so lost, so betrayed, so filled with grief. How could the rest of the world continue on when I was hurting so much? How could people smile and laugh and go on as if my heart wasn’t shattered into pieces?

So I sat on the beach, watching the waves move in and out, trying to get my bearings again. The waves always came to shore and then always pulled back, ever constant. Watching the waves and seeing the world continue on was a salve to my broken spirit.

As I sat there crying one wintry day, a man walked slowly up the shoreline toward me, passed me and then stopped a few feet away. I noticed then that he held a trumpet in his hand. Putting it to his lips, he played that trumpet, the music carrying into the air, over the waves, into my soul. Listening to his music, my heart calmed, my spirit was washed and cleared and I felt a Divine sense of release. I felt my body relax as my eyes closed and I surrendered myself to the moment …a holy moment that shifted my soul and gave me peace. His song finished, the man continued his walk up the beach without a word or a glance at me.

I was in awe at what had just happened. I believe in angel visitations, which, to me, are either people who are divinely guided by their angel guides or who are actual angels manifesting on earth. I didn’t ponder too much over which one my trumpeter was, but I was thankful for his gift to me, a lonely girl crying on an empty beach.

All these years, I’ve remembered that day and the trumpeter on the beach. I always knew it was real, but was it a divinely guided person or an angel? And then I read this story earlier this week, about a man named Andrew Arnold, a body surfer who was known to play his trumpet at the beach where I sat that day in 1980. May your reward be great in heaven, Mr. Arnold. I’ve never forgotten you.,0,5652113.story

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gramma’s Home Again

Saturday was All Souls Day. Saturday was the day that Gramma’s body died and she was released from her earthly bonds to return home again, just as she’s been wanting to for awhile. She was born on October 3, 1915, so at 98 years old, she has an awful lot of family and friends who were already there ready to greet her with open arms, loving kisses and cheers of joy.

I imagine there were a few “hallelujahs!” and amens in the mix, too. Gramma loved to go to a nearby Baptist church where the sermons were passionate and the congregation filled with joyful hallelujahs. When she couldn’t drive any longer, she had to switch to another church that she could walk to. She told me that it was nice but, leaning in conspiratorially, that it “wan’t as nice as the other one. They’re much quieter.” She preferred her church to be loud and boisterous!

Elizabeth Sears was a tiny little thing, with a head of red hair and sparkling blue eyes. She had a flirty, fun way about her; a twinkly, happy, we’re-all-gonna-have-a-great-time kind of way. If you met her, you loved her. She was utterly and profoundly irresistible. For the last two months as she was in hospice care at home, her neighbors all visited and asked about her. Everyone loved “Mrs. Sears.”

She was a farm girl and darned proud of it, too. She grew up in Kansas and had that hardy Midwestern attitude, never complaining but just moving through life’s challenges as they came up. If problems came up, she didn’t waste time on complaints; she simply worked on a solution.

When I visited the last few years, we’d have coffee and talk. She had such wonderful stories to share about her life, about being married four times, about leaving her first husband and taking her two daughters to California to make a new life. Gramma worked during the war as a “Rosie the Riveter.” She was very proud to be able to buy her house and said that she was finally home and would never leave it. She never did.
  100310 Grandma openings gifts 3
Her storytelling is legendary in the family. She was always smiling as she shared her memories. Gramma’s entire being would light up and she’d chuckle delightedly about funny little things that happened. I loved that part, her lighting up with delight. Her delight was utterly infectious and you found yourself drawn into her smile and personality and that light that she radiated, glowing with happiness around her, an aura of colorful vibrancy.

The last few years, when we’d talk, she’d tell me that she’d lived a very good, long life and she would be happy to go home to God any time. She’d tilt her head and shrug her shoulders and say that she didn’t know why God kept her here, but she’d smile and say that it’s up to Him and she was fine with that. Another time when I visited, she pulled down the neck of her turtleneck and showed me her neck, saying how she just didn’t like the wrinkles that she had there now. Then she simply pulled up her turtleneck again and kept on telling her stories. Another time, she showed me how her fingers on her right hand had curled due to arthritis, making it hard to grasp her garden clippers. Gramma told me that she found that she could uncurl them just enough with her other hand to put the clippers in her right hand and once she had them in her hand, she could clip away! She just never wasted any time feeling disappointed in anything in life.

I could tell Gramma stories all day. I loved her beyond and beyond. She was actually my ex-husband’s Gramma, but I loved her the instant I met her and she loved me. When my husband and I had our daughter Amber and made her a great-grandmother, she gained a new nickname: Great G. After I divorced, nothing changed between her and I; we were still family to one another. We corresponded, I visited, she always always sent gifts to my daughter (her great-granddaughter) for holidays and birthdays, I sent her pics of Amber growing up through the years. When my daughter had her daughters, I told her we had to go visit Great G so they could all meet since Great G was now a great-great grandmother.

And now Great G is dancing in heaven, just as she’s been wanting. I’m so happy for her joy and for the reward of heaven for her. I’m happy to have had her in my life and look forward to being reunited once again when I’m called home, too. I expect she’ll greet me with a hearty “hallelujah!” I love you, Gramma!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ebbs and flows …

090113 flowers for moms birthday cemeteryLife has its ebbs and flows, its highs and lows, its challenges and its joys. The calm, everyday times are often followed by times where we struggle a bit and grow through the learning of how to deal with those struggles.

It's been an emotional couple of weeks. Mom’s birthday was August 28 so I took flowers to the cemetery and I sat there quietly with my prayers and my memories. Her cute smile when she was up to something funny, her boundless energy, her enthusiasm and her endless encouragement. So much that we learned from her. Cooking wasn’t one of them on my part. My sweet Mom just had no patience when it came to teaching me how to cook and most tries would end up with her telling me to “go out in the yard and help your Dad.” So, I learned how to garden instead. Haha!

Gramma had surgery and hasn't been doing w082413 Gramma and meell since then (she'll be 98 on 10/3); her body's healing but she's talking to angels and saying she wants to go home. (I should clarify that she’s my ex’s Gramma but we remained family nonetheless and I love her as if she was my own blood.) Before the surgery, she lived on her own and did everything for herself. Now she's confined to a bed at home and hospice is helping. Before her surgery, I took a pic of us. I wish it showed how pretty her blue eyes are. She’s always entertained us with wonderful stories of her youth. She doesn’t tell us stories right now.

My dad's birthday was Wednesday; he still hasn't spoken to us in over a year. I sent him a box of See's chocolates, as I always do for holidays and special occasions with a card saying I love him and miss him. I tried calling him, knowing it was futile because they have caller ID and don’t answer the phone. I always let my cousins know when his birthday approaches so they can send him a birthday card if they’d like. I still do that. I still love the Dad that we used to have in our lives.

One of my best friends has been caring for her dad for the last six months (battling cancer); he passed away Wednesday night. Her loving selflessness in caring for him was such a tribute to the relationship they shared. She’d drive a couple of hours to spend several days with him, then drive back home for several days, repeating that routine week in and week out. He was a good man and she would do anything for him and did. He will be missed by many. My heart is so sad for my friend.

Sometimes you just have to sit down and have a good cry for the sorrow in the world and the grief that our loved ones have to bear. One of my mantras is “Receive what you are given.” When we have to receive sorrow, we have to accept it and deal with it. Find the lessons, cry a bit, feel the depth of the emotions that you feel and not shove any of it away. And then we re-balance and look up at the stars and give thanks for a roof over our head and food in the cupboard. Simple gratitude for the abundant blessings in life.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Our infinite, divine nature

I hope you’ll indulge me another post regarding my journey through this 21-day meditation challenge ( This is from yesterday’s meditation: ocean sunrise a beach cottage

In today’s meditation we will reflect on the beautiful truth that we are already whole. We were created by universal intelligence as a complete expression of love, wisdom, and happiness. If we feel like something is missing, it is because we are seeing through the eyes of our ego-mind, which has a limited perspective of our infinite, divine nature. 

With the realization that we already have everything we need and desire, we give up the exhausting search to find that person or situation or achievement to make us feel whole. We stop waiting for someone to complete us and open to the love that is right here, right now, in our own heart.  And, from that boundless well of spirit, we are free to share the deepest experience of love with the people in our lives.

Do you fully believe that we are already whole, that in our truest essence nothing is missing, nothing is wrong or in need or in need of fixing? Do you believe that you are a complete expression of love, wisdom and happiness? Through years of study, practice and learning, I do believe these things … most of the time. I believe in my wholeness and trust that I am loved as I am, unconditionally. I feel that my truest essence is love and that we are all interconnected at our truest essence, the Divine within.

Ah, but the ego-mind does sort of get in the way and say “Wait! You have to live in the ‘real’ world. Everything just isn’t hunky dory in the real world. People get sick, people suffer, the world is polluted. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.” But is that the “real” world? Some think it’s just an illusion and our real world is the Love within us. The ego has its uses, but it doesn’t trust, it is suspicious, it is cautious and careful. How often have we worried and been anxious about something, only to have everything turn out well in the end, and usually not just well but better than expected? After a few times of being in a similar situation, we start to trust with our inner being: “Yes, I’ve been here before and it turned out well. I trust it will be well again.” That’s growth, that’s learning, that’s remembering the lessons we are given.

In today’s meditation, one phrase really stood out to me. It expresses our oneness, our reliance on all parts of the whole being well and expresses the Love within. It’s something that I can practice asking in my heart in my encounters with others:

How can I contribute to your peace and well-being?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remember that you are Love

A couple of my friends have messaged me on Facebook, concerned since I haven’t been posting. That was really nice and they were so understanding of my needing a break. It’s gotten easier with each day to not comment or post. I feel that I’m much more in control of what I’m consuming and being more selective.

Before this break, I was a glutton, consuming anything and everything that popped up on my page; when I was done with that, I’d go to the ticker and start consuming there, too. Shameful to admit, but true. I’d click a link to an article or video and start reading or watching, usually mindlessly until something in my head clicked and I realized that I wasn’t really interested in the content (too negative, too snarky, not an interest of mine, I didn’t know or care about the people in the post, etc.). I’ve always been this way about consuming content. I’ve always read magazines and catalogs from cover to cover, not flipping around through the pages, like others do. My brothers and I were constantly reading, whether it was the cereal box at breakfast, books under the covers with a flashlight at night, signs, posters, album liner notes, newspapers – if it had words, we were reading it.

This FB break coupled with the 21-day meditation challenge has helped me to acknowledge my gluttonous tendencies and has helped me to determine to be more selective. The themes of each day in the challenge have been very insightful, especially as I journal afterward.

A few days ago, the mantra of the day was “I see through the eyes of my soul.” To paraphrase, it focused on seeing everything through the eyes of love and seeing that we are all connected at the soul level, expressions of the Divine, who is Love. The ego easily gets caught up in the struggle for control and approval and the need to be right. But when we relate through eyes of love and with a heart of love, we experience the expansion of love, joy, compassion, and harmony.

Isn’t that beautiful to think of in that way? Instead of being aggressive or snarky or judgmental of one another, we can choose in each moment to see through the eyes of our souls, our souls that are divinely connected to one another and to all that is. Our bodies are temporary vessels only; our soul is where we should be living and remembering who we truly are. Namaste.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Switching Gears

HB pier beautiful dayI started another 21-day meditation challenge with the Chopra Meditation Center. I’ve done a couple of these before and really enjoy making them the start of my day. If you’ve wanted to try meditation, I think this is a good way to start. The format is simple: a centering thought is presented (today’s is “I am love. I am eternal. I am spirit.”), Deepak says a few words, we’re given a mantra to use to keep us focused during meditation and then some music plays while we meditate. Very simple.

As part of this 21-day challenge, I’ve also stopped commenting and posting on Facebook. I still read to keep up with friends, but that’s it. I'd found that too much FB was affecting me. I live alone and used FB to connect and share kind words, interesting articles and such, the kinds of things we’d share with spouses or family, neither of which I have with me on a daily basis. People seem to enjoy what I post and some have told me in person that their day has been lifted or they’ve learned something helpful. But I was finding that what I was reading in some posts and comments was disturbing me more and more, Too much bickering, name-calling, profanity. Too much negative energy and low-vibration comments. Too many people being taken advantage of with “Like bait” (posts with cuddly animals or wounded soldiers or “Like if you hate cancer” – posts that are designed to get well-intentioned people to click Like; scammers make money off these). Too many gullible people reposting hoaxes and generating outrage; too any “shocking video of … !!!”. I’ll admit to even being disappointed at the lack of people’s ability to put together simple sentences, use punctuation and spell. I’ve been more disappointed in people’s lack of critical thinking skills, falling for various scams, or commenting without thinking things through. Just a lot of negative energy that I was just really too tired to consume any longer. (Interesting observation: Those who comment on George Takei’s posts tend to be better thinkers and writers, folks who aren’t prone to writing with multiple exclamation marks like a squealing teenage girl.)

Besides all the negative energy, I was just wasting too much time on FB, time that I’d really rather spend riding my bike in the summer sunshine, playing my piano, taking walks, decorating my home. (I have a list of projects, Always do.) I found myself online, reading and refreshing the page multiple times to see if anything new had come in during the last few seconds. I wasn’t getting anything done and I knew I had to stop. 

In this article, UCLA’s Dr, Peter Whybrow says that “The computer is electronic cocaine for many people. Our brains are wired for finding immediate reward.” Novelty is the immediate reward, which is why we have trouble stopping.

The first few days of my FB hiatus, I found myself reflexively moving to comment. Throughout my day, when I’d find something interesting to share, I’d want to go to FB to post, but stopped myself. The world kept revolving without my pithy remarks on FB. I’ve found myself spending a lot more time doing more high-value activities (like finally posting on my blog and working more on a book that I’m editing for a client) and being less consumed with others’ negativity and low-vibration energy. I’ve been reading interesting articles on LinkedIn, reading more books. (I’m consumed with The Storyteller currently.) I actually started my hiatus a few days before the meditation challenge, but I plan to continue until the end of the 21-day challenge. It’s been pretty easy and I’m finding a lot of satisfaction in switching gears. I’m enjoying my summer more. I hope you’re enjoying yours, too.


PS. I saw Trevor’s mom on the 4th of July. She takes things day by day; some days better, some days worse. She gave her son the great gift of knowledge and courage during his fight.