Plans

“The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
For promised joy.”
Robert Burns from the poem “To A Mouse”

The month of October was to be a feeling and writing month. The plan was to sit on the beach several days each week and record the changes in the ocean, the beach and the feel of it all as Fall settled into the coast. The idea originated with my love of the book The Outermost House in which Henry Beaton chronicles a year on the beach of Cape Cod (in the year 1928).

And so I began the first week in October first on the public part of the beach and another day on the beach in the residential section. That second day was extraordinarily beautiful: lots of sun and wind. The ocean was roiling and the windsurfers exuberant. There was a change in tone as the air seemed fresher and a quiet sense of calm and peace seemed to underlay all.

That day a herring gull stayed near my beach chair for a long time (there was only one other gull in sight). First he was on the right, left for awhile and then planted himself on my left. As I often do with birds and animals I carried on a conversation about the beauty of it all and asking questions I am sure. It was a strange moment of connecting yet so natural.

And then October 9, 2016 arrived and with it Hurricane Matthew apparently out to humble weather forecasters. At about 6:15 AM I was sitting in the living room writing in my journal when there was a tremendous crash and the house shook. Initially I was unsure what happened but ran to my mother’s room to make sure she was all right which she was. I realized I heard dripping in the dining room and ran around to find a huge hole in the roof with a tree on top. It was still dark out so the full damage was not visible yet.

If I did not know before I clearly know now the meaning of going into a state of shock. But wonderful next door neighbors quickly responded and held my hand and reminded me what to do even as the hurricane continued. In a whirlwind of activity buckets appeared to catch the rain, a tree company got enough of the tree off so that a tarp could be put on the dining room roof. The insurance company responded and the wheels of “taking care of things” began to roll.

So here we are more than two months later, after the house was condemned for living, after 6 weeks in a hotel, “settled” in an apartment 5 minutes from the house. The feel of life is still strange and the amazing thing is realizing how many things I thought were ingrained habits are forgotten. Almost daily something comes to mind. For example I began doing the Donna Eden Daily Energy Routine (highly recommend this to start to the day) this past summer. One day last week it popped into my mind and I realized I forgot all about it. Working out at the gym is one constant that probably helps me maintain sanity.

For me it is as though a way of life was lost and the new way is in the creation stage. That new way may be internal, external or both and in time whatever it is will be revealed I suppose. My main feeling about life right now is I am in limbo. Of course we are also heading into winter the time of rest and renewal. Maybe I will manage to participate in that. But what I realize is that plans are nice but that is all they are: “plans”. There is no guarantee of completion or even initiation. Attachment to outcomes of plans adds stress as that old “need to be in control” kicks in.

What keeps me going now are the moments that show up through Grace: turning and seeing a sunset that takes my breath away; hearing the sounds of the ocean; hugging my daughter; experiencing the beauty of the sky and more. Will I still plan? Of course I will but I believe I may not do as much of it and will try to remember to release attachment when I do. Learning to trust in moments popping up is my focus though.

Are you a planner? What happens when your plans get upset. What moments have you experienced today that fill you with joy?

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The Barn

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INTRODUCTION: Several weeks ago I received a card from a friend that included one of her wonderful photographs on the front (She makes beautiful notecards that include her photos). Immediately it began to tell a story. So thank you Hope Taylor Epstein for the card and for sharing your talent as a photographer. And in deference to you there are no trolls in this story.

She decided to take a walk on that beautiful sunny Fall day and gave a sigh of wonder at how blessed she was to experience the clear, crisp air of Maine. There was no destination just a slow meandering journey down a country road. At one point a barn came into view in the distance and something pulled her toward it. As she got closer she saw it was not particularly large and was showing its age. A double window captured her attention, but as she moved toward it someone or something began to speak.
As you see I am weathered with age now. But for many years I stood here as protector and shelter for tractors and other farm equipment, tools and barn cats. The sun, the wind, the rain and snow are a part of me now and are reflected in my boards and windows. For some reason I am no longer used except by field mice and other creatures. Life breathes me you see for wood is always alive and radiating energy. Step closer and look through my windows – look as the sun shines through striking the floor.
At this point she wondered what was going on. Was she dreaming, or imagining? Where was the sound coming from that filled her mind? But she could not resist stepping up to look through the old window. The glass appeared dirty and dark except for a scrap of something whitish in one corner. Maybe an old rag she thought. As her eyes adjusted she began to see a shaft of light shining in the middle of the dirt floor. And then what appeared to be a movie of sorts began to play before her eyes.
A young boy played on the dirt floor laughing as a cat rolled in the dirt. A young man climbed up on a tractor and began backing it out of the barn while whistling. As she stood wide-eyed and disbelieving the scenes continued to flow and change. A young woman drove a car into the barn and stepped out all bundled in coat and hat. As she opened the car door a black dog jumped out and walked by her side. The car had snow all over it. Then a cat chased a mouse round and round until the mouse finally escaped into a hole in the wall. Finally an old man stood in the light slowly turning around as if taking it all in. Then the film stopped and all that remained was a shaft of light.
She wondered what it all meant. Did she fall asleep standing up and dream? How could any of it be real? Slowly she touched the window sill feeling the solid unevenness of the worn wood. A strong sensation flowed through her body and she knew on some level it was all real but still questioned. Is time just a construct of man? Did some connection with the barn bump her to a “no time zone” where all is one and everything occurs simultaneously? So many questions arose.
Taking a deep breath she continued her walk knowing she had much to ponder. If this experience was real and some sort of gift what was she meant to do with it. Maybe it was a reminder of the flow of life and the Oneness of all. Or maybe it was just for fun and enjoyment-a parting of the curtain of time. Was she going to have more of these experiences or was it just a dream?

Perfection and Blame

Those who know me probably agree that in a good portion of my adult life I have been a perfectionist or perfectionism has influenced my decisions at times (I know my daughter and son-in-law agree). I mean I can spot a minuscule crumb on the floor from twenty feet away and must get it up. It is as though I cannot help myself as sad as that sounds🙄. Being a perfectionist makes me happy in many areas of my life but it has also led me to give up at times on creative ventures or adventures because I could not get it perfect.

This need for perfection I know drives some folks crazy so I always blamed it on being raised by a perfectionist mother. Oh it is so nice and easy to blame someone else. The other evening my mom and I were eating dinner. For some reason she brought up the fact that even as a young child my bed had to be made up perfectly with all my dolls lined up on it a certain way and nobody better touch it. My initial reaction was that cannot be true when in my heart I knew it probably was although I conveniently forgot about it. The truth is I probably came into this lifetime with perfection as a part of me.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do not see it as a bad thing if tempered with a hefty dose of reality and forgiveness. But this post is not really about that. It is about conveniently blaming someone else for traits we somehow see as bad or negative in our personalities. How embarrassing to realize this. But it was also amusing to picture the 4 year old me already declaring my perfectionism and need to control. Thank goodness I can laugh about it (for the most part). And I also realize that blaming keeps me from fully honoring and loving all of me including idiosyncrasies.

Are the aspects of your personality you discredit or blame on someone else? Are you willing to consider taking ownership? Even more important can you honor and love all of yourself and have a sense of humor about it?

Let me know if there are other stories about aspects of life you want to read.

The Move Part 2

I heard nothing about the sale of my home for several weeks. However, some belief within me saw it moving forward and I let my family know about the possibility. I felt a calling to Virginia Beach even after my so easily dismissing it as not the place for me to be. What a reversal in thinking. I talked with my mom about moving my things into storage for a time and living with her while I decided where I might want to settle. She was pleased with this idea but concerned about my not having “my things”. My thinking was that the biggest adjustment would be living with someone else. But what amazed me the most was the peace surrounding the decision to return to a place I really never saw myself living again after leaving for college. But there was the ocean waiting for me. In some ways it was very amusing.

After several weeks I was contacted by the realtor and an appointment set for the realtor and her client’s son to see my house. It was a pleasant experience with the son taking pictures to send to his mother. Later I was contacted about pursuing the sale and another appointment with the realtor was set. I asked my daughter to sit in since she has a background as a legal assistant. The meeting went well and at the realtors suggestion I decided to represent and complete the sale “by owner.” Before the contract was completed and signed the daughter-in-law walked through the house and agreed with her husband it was perfect for his mother.

In quick succession the contract was signed and inspection done. There were only a few things identified during the inspection that needed to be corrected and a general contractor was hired. A closing date was set that was about 4 months after the first contact. I had sold my house without putting in on the market. I found a wonderful mover and with the support of my daughter got the packing done as well as shedding “stuff” I no longer needed. For me it was all due to getting out of my own way and being willing to flow with the Universal process.

And I need to say a word about the exceptional real estate agent. From the instant we met there was a heart connection. Yes, she is a business woman and protected her client’s interests. However, she clearly saw the synchronicity of what was occurring and open about knowing there is energy and flow beyond what we see with our five senses. But I should not be surprised that I attracted that type of person to this process. I am ever grateful to her and her positive assistance.

So moving day came. The movers loaded and delivered some bedroom furniture to my daughter that I did not want to keep or put in storage (it was actually hers before she moved and got married). I spent the last night in the Richmond area at her home. It was an emotional experience to drive off the next morning but reminded myself I would only be a couple hours away. In many ways a new chapter began in both our lives.

The drive to my new city went smoothly; I met the movers at the storage facility and the unloading went smoothly also. The next day the legal assistant for the closing called to let me know it was complete and my money was to be wired the next Monday after the sale was recorded.

Part of the reason for doing these two posts is a friend commented that I just completed a major life transition and she is interested in learning how I made the move with such ease and grace. I think my first reaction was to laugh as I did not see it as a major life transition and am not sure that I do now😉. But I do agree that for the most part it definitely flowed with ease and grace. The main reason is I was willing to let my heart speak and inform my mind rather than allow the chatter of the mind to throw me off what I was feeling. Had I let my stubborn belief that I did not belong in Virginia Beach whether or not my beloved ocean was there I probably would be unhappy still trying to figure out where I am to be. What an incredible gift my parents gave me moving to Virginia Beach when I was 15 and giving me my first glimpse and connection to the marvelous ocean. Also, the fact that I was not so attached to my house made it easier to leave it. I loved it and was grateful for the peace and beauty it gave me. However, I just never really get attached to the places I live (maybe that will be different if I ever live right on the ocean). Could it be that the fact that I moved several times growing up be a positive there instead of the negative it seemed at the time. And the fact that I clearly rejoice in an opportunity to be of service to my mother adds to the grace of the process. Will I stay here forever? I do not know but celebrate the present and look forward to all the experiences waiting for me here.

Are you currently experiencing any life transitions? If so how do you describe the process? Do you have questions about a way you can flow more easily in your life? Send a comment or question if you want to get a dialogue going around any of this.

The Move Part 1

For over a year I experienced thoughts about selling my house but I did not reach a decision as I was unsure it was what I really wanted to do. My mind went the route of telling me I was being irresponsible and even un-American not wanting a real estate investment and after all this was part of the American Dream and on an on. In fact it played the “you need to be grateful for what you have” card as part of this process.

During this time I was led to work on a project to possibly identify an area on the the Atlantic Coast that was calling my name as a place to live. This project involved sitting quietly and feeling or imagining myself in different areas. I really skipped the Virginia coast. In North Carolina I landed on the Outer Banks where I spent many years visiting twice a year but not for the past few years. My assessment was that I was complete with what I learned there which in essence gave me the opportunity to realize my affinity for the ocean and awakened my passion for growing spiritually or actually remembering who I really am.

Next in my visioning I moved down to South Carolina and landed in the Charleston area. I spent time several years ago in Folly Beach where I learned some interesting things about myself and a past life influence. Again I did not feel strongly about returning. Then I landed in Florida and the Gulf Coast side. I spent quite a bit of time in the area of Sarasota, Siesta Key, Venice, Punta Gorda area. As part of this practice of feeling into geographical areas I learned much about the Gulf Coast and realized a strong connection to sea turtles to add to my already strong connection to pelicans. I was sure Florida was the spot for my next adventure.

However, I got distracted by life happenings and left that exploration. I did not stop thinking about it being time to sell my house and figured In the Spring a decision would come. In quiet time I turned it over to God and the Universe saying I was tired of thinking about it, so I surrendered it to them.

Right after the first of this year I arrived home to find a typed note on my door. It was from a realtor explaining she had a client interested in living in the area but there was nothing currently for sale. She requested I call her if I was interested in selling my home. My first reaction was incredulity. Was this a scam. Then I think I looked up and said out loud is this a sign? I checked out the realtor and firm and discovered they were reputable and called her. I left a message and then I waited about a week.

When she called the explanation was that a client was moving from Florida to be near family and my style townhome was what she wanted. The realtor put letters on the doors of several homes. I explained I was considering putting my home on the market in the Spring and was willing to entertain selling it. I told her she was welcome to come and look at the house. The plan was she would get back with me to schedule a time. Several weeks went by and I heard nothing. I went inside to my center and set an intention to wait and accept that this might not work out. But I did know selling the house was a right decision.

See Part 2 next for how the flow continued.

Are you in the midst of making a decision? How are you guided?

The Afghan

During the recent snow storm here in Virginia I was sitting drinking coffee and reading with a warm afghan over my lap. I started thinking about the afghan and its origins which led me to family ties and other musings. My father’s sister knit it probably between thirty and forty years ago. It was given to my mother and at some time passed on to me. For many years it was draped over the back of my sofa and used as a comfy perch for Mystic the cat. I now use it on winter mornings as I sit in my favorite chair.

This afghan is rows of different shades of blue with white mixed in to it. I am not a knitter (although I have made several half hearted attempts to learn and just never got it), but I can guess that knit and purl stitches create the wave like effect. Some rows are closely knit and others appear looser but it all works together to not only provide warmth and comfort but a pleasing complete pattern.

The aunt who knit this was not someone I saw often when growing up as her husband was in the Army and they lived in different states. My memories of her are of a warm, practical woman with a wonderful laugh who enjoyed her family and friends. When we visited her she treated us with love and was able to make even children feel respected and acknowledged as individual personalities.

What is all this pondering over an afghan? I am not a person who is much attached to things (or so I think😊). In fact I need a home as uncluttered as possible and often say I could easily live in the simplicity of a Japanese style home. However I am very appreciative of what I have. But I was surprised at my seeming “attachment” to this object. And I am beginning to see that the meaning for me is on several levels.

First, it is connection to family. Something that brings smiles to my face and loving memories not only of her and her family but of my father and grandmother. It reminds me of the heritage I have of strong women and men. Some bonds are tight or close and some loose with family members but all are connected and a part of who I am. Ultimately the afghan is connected to the Creator who provided the talent and interest in its creation and another reminder to me to appreciate the connections of love in my life. It helps me to be aware when I discount “stuff” lovingly given to me by family and friends that in truth keep the presence of Love always before me. And I have been graced with some beautiful extraordinary handcrafted gifts.

Oh I still will never have an over abundance of things and prefer open uncluttered living spaces. But I am learning to honor those gifts that raise me up in the love through which they are given. What a wonder that such kindness flows through life.

What “stuff” or “things” in your life hold special meaning for you? Why are they special? If there is nothing, why is that? Does it define your experience in life? Are there gifts you have given to others that have special meaning?

Relationship to the Natural World

Until the last five years or so I lived from my mind and emotions most of the time. Since learning to live more from my heart all my senses have opened more fully to the brilliance of our natural world. The sky, the clouds, trees, the ocean and so much more are in technicolor for me most of the time. The gift of the Earth takes my breath away often.

It is interesting when I look back on the last few years to see how my opening to the Universe brought more wonderful opportunities to connect with nature. I traveled in the mountains of Virginia as part of my job when I was working as a trainer. Traveling all times of year allowed me to see them in their coats of many colors. I even rejoiced when seeing cattle and sheep negotiating the hillsides. The month I spent in Maine last year allowed me to connect to both the beauty of hills and the ocean in a quiet, joyful way. There really are no words to describe how the experiences there confirmed the freedom of my heart.

This past fall I did an experiment using my imagination in “feeling” from my heart into the southern East Coast states on the ocean the ocean side. Maybe later I will write a blog on that experience but it was incredible in what was revealed to me and I ended up focusing on the Gulf Coast of Florida from Sarasota south and the Merritt Island section on the east coast of Florida near the Space Center. At Christmas my brother gave me a book about the living beaches of Florida and I am fascinated by life in the ocean and on the beaches. I am blessed to have experienced the beaches in Virginia Beach, VA, Outer Banks of NC, Folly beach, SC near Charleston and the Gulf Coast beaches in the Venice, FL area. In my travels and experiences with all these beaches I began to open my heart connection to the ocean and now recognize my soul frequency match with it and how we support each other. And just as an aside I have again learned the truth of the saying “Never say never” as I have come to appreciate Florida a place I said I would never live😊. But oh the ocean there is marvelous.

In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring predicting environmental disaster based on the use of pesticides. She focused on birds but we have seen the impact was much greater. Many of you may be old enough to remember the Keep America Beautiful campaign of the 70’s and the tv ad showing an Indian canoeing down a pristine river that turns to being polluted, etc (it is on YouTube). The ad ends with the man looking at the mess and a tear rolls down his cheek. Jacques Cousteau tried to educate us about the wonders of the oceans and the importance of taking care of them.

Where are we now with all this. We did pay attention to this early teachers. Today we have many conservation groups working toward preserving the land, the seas, and all the creatures who live here. Certainly since Rachel Carson’s book progress has been made. Some pesticides are banned and many of us are more aware of our responsibility to the Earth. Many of us no longer blindly believe what big corporations tell us. For this post I am going to just mention a few impacts on the ocean from our disregard for it. Tons of plastic and other materials are dumped from ships into the ocean. People either leave items on the beach or blatantly throw them in the ocean. In the book Florida’s Living Beaches by Blair and Dawn Witherington (2007) the authors state: “About 85% of small loggerhead sea turtles washed ashore in Florida have ingested plastics.” We all have probably seen studies about how our lighting up the beaches with our need to live on them can have disastrous results when sea turtle hatchlings get confused and head away from the ocean. Thank heavens for the volunteers who sit vigils waiting to help them on their way. I could go on and on but most of us know how full of waste our oceans and seas and rivers are due to our negligence or unwillingness to take action for solutions.

I admit to being a tree hugger now (in the literal sense) and in fact encourage us to teach our children to hug trees and understand how they give us so much. We all have a place in this natural world. Some came here to support the advancement of humanity. Some came to work actively in conservation of our natural resources. Some came to teach us about our spirituality and other came to experience human life and through that experience advance themselves as well as others. I know I am here to love and show how we are the peace and hope we seek. I am also coming to believe now that my purpose is connected to the ocean and the creatures that live it. This may be as a support to me with a frequency that resonates in my soul while I create near it or a more active conservation. I am saddened by so much of humanity disregarding anything other than self and living as though everything is not interconnected. We are told 50-75% of a human body is water.We came from water. We cannot survive without it. It is my prayer we can begin to understand and live from a place that appreciates and supports the rivers, streams and oceans that support us. For me there is such excitement in learning more about shells and plants as well as creatures of the seas and the beaches. At this time of my life there is such joy in clearly seeing the majesty from a depth of my soul different from how I saw the natural world previously.

We humans are so incredibly intelligent with a spiritual core that knows Truth. We just need to allow it to rise up before us. Thankfully many are now working diligently to not only preserve the natural world but see it and us thrive. But there are still many that disregard any responsibility for living what I consider responsibly and lovingly. My prayer is that more and more people will wake up and realize living in harmony with the Earth increases the joy of living for all.

I end with a wonderful quote from Rumi:
“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to Earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”

How do you see your relationship with the Earth and our natural world? Is there anything you want to change or expand in that relationship. How do you see this fitting in with your day to day living?