Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Love of a Duck

Sometimes when I have not written for a long time, it can be hard to begin. There is much to say, stories to recount, emotions and revelations and illuminations to share. It's overwhelming to attempt a summary of all that has occurred from where I was to where I am now. Do I begin where I ended, do I try to share the bits of stories that have been floating around in my head for the last months? I'm afraid that doing so would require a post way longer than I am prepared to write (or you, dear reader, are prepared to read).  

So let's just forget all that's been; let's start here in this moment.

In this moment I am sitting on the couch, computer in lap, husband at work, kids asleep. The house is neither clean nor tidy, but I can ignore it. I am feeling inspired by my birthday present from my husband, a book of all of my Healing Feminine posts. There is indescribable satisfaction in the solid form of my creative energy, the heft of it so real in my hands, compared to the floating fluff out in the internet ether. I thumb through the pages, looking at photographs, finding posts I had forgotten I'd written. I am a little awestruck by all those words. Did they really come from me? Might there be a few more?

I just mentioned that my book was a birthday present. This is correct. I just celebrated my 30th birthday. Being 30 makes me feel both old and young. Old, because I have now entered a new decade, a decade that seemed pretty darn old not so long ago. Scrutinizing my face in the mirror, I notice the emerging lines (of laughter, of tears, of life), the visible dots of my pores. I try to use eye cream, but my skin rebels. I've always maintained that aging is a beautiful thing, that I will welcome the transformation of my body, but the truth is that only now am I catching a glimpse of the loss of youth. Which makes many of my friends laugh at me, and which takes me to my second point. That turning 30 also makes me feel young. Because I am still young, relatively. And my husband and the majority of my friends are older than me, so I remain the younger one. But no matter my age, I must say that I feel really good, especially on an emotional and spiritual level [physically, I do feel my age]. I like being 30. It feels sexy somehow, despite the signs that I am indeed getting older.
I had a fabulous birthday week. The grand finale was a night out dancing in Portland, surrounded by beloved friends and family. It was perfect. But there was a tradeoff for that good time, an ebb of tide to follow the flow. Tragedy is not usually foreseen, a lesson I have learned many times on our farm. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you in the dark of night, as quietly as an important task can slip the mind. We make mistakes, as we humans are apt to do, as did the human caring for the farm in our absence. Our ducks were not closed in their secure house at night, a mistake that could have, and has, passed by unnoticed, but which did not go unnoticed that night.

In the morning, one little duck was left alone, loudly lamenting the loss of her two friends. She still searches the yard, the garden, down by her pool, hoping that the others have just found some cozy place to curl up. I am afraid she will search in vain, for the other two are not napping, but have most likely filled the bellies of some hungry raccoons. I hope those raccoons were very, very grateful for their meal.

I, for one, felt the pain of loss deep in my center as soon as I heard the news. My ducks were more than just farmhands, patrolling for slugs and gifting us with eggs. Perhaps you think me silly to mourn my lost ducks. You might say they were just ducks, after all. Surely worse things had happened in the world that day. But every being has a spirit, and my spirit was connected to those ducks. I've had more mystical experiences with them than with almost any other animal on our farm. So laugh if you will, and I will just have compassion for you, poor thing who has never loved a duck.

Since this story of loss follows another story of loss, I am going to end with something beautiful. Picture this: it is a bitterly cold winter day, even as the sun shines down. I am sitting on our front porch, the only place where I can capture the warmth of golden light. Besides the chickens scratching around in the garden bed beside me, I am alone. Eyes closed, deep in peaceful meditation, I am suddenly inspired to Om. So I do, eyes remaining closed, love beaming out from my center. And when I've finished and opened my eyes, I see that the ducks have joined me. Standing in front of me, their backs to me, their heads turned as they gaze with wise eyes, they form a triangle. The white one is at the top, the black one to my left, brown one to my right. I see them and burst into tears. They stand guard, my angels in disguise, as I release heaving sob after heaving sob. Every time I stop, I see them and start crying all over again, until I'm done. Cleansed. Then they walk over to me and nibble my fingers with their gentle ducky bills.

Blessings to you, Iemanja and Yansa. I am so grateful to have known you.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

At Peace

If I were a singer, this would be my love song for Avalon [a little brown mare with a white blaze on her face, the attitude of a queen, and a heart for the children].

The day was falling rain, like tears from the sky. I looked out and for a moment doubted my decision to go riding, but only for a moment [I am a fifth generation Oregonian, after all. Rain does not scare me.] Stepping out into the gray afternoon, the cool air invigorating and refreshing my spirit after the lulling warmth of the wood stove, I collected that which I needed: a few apples, a halter, a brush and a riding pad. Out in the field, I called for Harold. He and the sheep were hunkered down by the edge of the forest, seeking protection from the driving rain. He raised his head when I called, galloping over with an anticipatory neigh. I would like to say he was excited to see me, but really it was for the apples he knew I had.

My beautiful Harold is normally white, dappling to gray in the summer. Today he was not white. He was an orangish yellow, the color of the clay earth of our hills. He looked around and neighed again,  his whole body shaking, his apples finished. The clay on his coat was not from rolling on the muddy ground; his shade was the color of grief. He had been lying on Avalon's grave.

Our beloved Avalon, buried deep in that clay of the earth, in a hole so big it had to be dug by a backhoe. I had stood there while bucketfulls of soil began covering her still body, and I had cried. A bouquet of ferns and forest plants lay on her mane, carrying with them my love and gratitude for all that she had been. In the field on the other side of the hill, Harold ran up and down the fence line, tearing the soft earth with his pounding hooves. Carving out his path of grief.

Today he is calmer, though he still calls for her, as if she might be out there somewhere, hidden perhaps in the curvature of the hills. The rain softly continues, and I brush rivers of mud off Harold's back. I put on his pad and halter, then look for assistance in getting onto his tall back. I settle for a slope in the hill, which gives me just enough of an advantage to make the leap, though not at all gracefully.

I guide him towards the gate at the other end of the field. We make it only a short distance before Harold lets it be known that he is in no mood for a ride. He turns, rearing up when I urge him in the other direction. I quickly realize that this is going to be a fight [and one I probably won't win], so I slide off his back with the intention of leading him out of the field, where I can remount and try again. (Sometimes fields are just too open and full of possibility. One needs a path for clearer direction). Only when I attempt to lead him do I realize how the trauma of Avalon's death has affected him, as he pins his ears back in fierce warning. Back off, he says, and leave me alone.

I stand my ground, trying again to lead him. He threatens to bite. The distance to the gate looms large.

I then turn my palm towards his chest and send out a prayer, thanking the universe as I begin to channel Reiki energy into the angry horse beside me. When his ears flicker forward, I guide him again towards the gate. He doesn't exactly have a smile on his face, but at least we are flowing in the right direction. Leaving the field, I use the gate to assist my leap onto Harold's back. We follow the gravel road up past my parents' house and into the woods.

It is no wonder that Harold is traumatized. He was shut in our small barn as Avalon lay beside him, thrashing and kicking in the agony of colic. Did she cry out for him in her last hours? Did he call for help as his beloved friend lay dying? I think he did. As I went to bed that night, I thought I heard a strange sound coming from the direction of the barn. To my deep regret and sorrow, I chose the comfort of my bed over an investigation into the dark, cold night. I had no idea what would await me in the morning.

As Harold and I make our way up the trail in the woods, branches obscure our path. They splash their collections of raindrops into my face as we ride by, flowing like tears down my cheeks. Harold is full of touchy, barely contained energy, and I marvel that I, so miniscule in my strength as compared to his, have control over this magnificent beast. Arching his neck, he prances like the Azteca he is,  descendant of royal bloodlines. My King Harold. The fact that he is part of my family is a blessing I'll never take for granted. And as painful as it is to admit, there was an undercurrent of emotion in that river of emotions coursing through my body the morning I opened the barn door to find Avalon stiff upon the ground amid the chaos of her death. As I knelt to hold her head in my hands, my wails rising and falling from a deep and ancient place of grief, I did feel a current of something. Something like relief. Relief that it wasn't Harold.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, though the reason for this is not yet clear. Harold wants to run, but I don't let him, not yet. Keeping him collected, we neck archingly feet prancingly practically galloping in place make our way up a steep, muddy slope. Hitting an old logging road gone soft with moss, I let Harold take his head. The energy beneath me that had been delicately held suddenly releases. We are flying through the trees. The rain is like tears upon our faces.

Harold runs until he's done running, then we slow to a trot, then walk. He still moves quickly because he knows we've rounded the loop towards home, but the built-up energy from earlier is gone. We both feel clear and light, washed clean from the rain, purified by the crisp mountain air. Something was released when Harold hit the apex of his gallop, that wide open point of connection when we soar. Perhaps Avalon had been flying along beside us, perhaps she had continued upwards as we had continued onwards. What I do know for sure is that Harold and I had journeyed together, and we were coming out the other side with healing. The fields of home became visible through the trees.

Rest in peace, sweet grumpy queenly Avalon. You were deeply loved and will be remembered with gratitude. May your spirit fly high.


Thursday, October 10, 2013


1. The Fall Garden
     You can never pin a garden down as being this or that. The moment you name it, it changes yet again. Growth, death, rebirth; the garden is never the same from one moment to the next. The fall garden, for instance, is different in September than in October, and November's a new story still.
     This past weekend, blessings of sunny, beautiful weather energized me to play goddess in the direction of the garden's transformation. Wild overgrowth that was, just a few weeks ago, green and vibrantly blooming, had turned frost-kissed and brown. Now the earth, once engulfed by a wild tangle of vegetation, has been cleared, expectant rows ready for a new cycle of creation. My ongoing canvas. As the energy begins its downward flow into the earth for winter's rest, I'm already looking ahead to the next growing season as I plant cover crops, garlic, and overwintering onions. The garden never ends. It simply transforms from one incarnation to the next.

2. I Will Be Turning 30
     At the beginning of the new year, I will enter the next decade of my life. I have never been very attached to age, but I must admit that 30 feels big: the official ending of one phase, the beginning of another. A landmark in the ongoing transformation of my Self. When I look at the 20 year old me and the me I am now, I laugh with wonder at the journey that has brought me here. On how many continents have my feet felt the earth, in how many languages have I said I love you? On how many beaches have I slept, under how many waterfalls have I swam? In how many arms have I danced, with how many sisters have I circled? How many places have I called home, how many gardens have I tended? And how did that girl, that me of once upon a time, travel so far that she found herself back in the woods and fields where she first started, no longer a girl, but a woman, a wife, a mother?
How many transformations have brought me closer to my soul, and how many more are to come? I remember once, back when I was a teenager, wondering how I could possibly mature and evolve beyond the point where I was at. Oh sweet girl. She had no idea.

3. Frida Kahlo
     Before I came inside to write, I was out caring for my extended family - the chickens, ducks, horses and goats: changing water, filling feeders, cleaning out old straw, laying down fresh beds. It is work I very much enjoy, out surrounded by beauty and God's creation. When I came back into the house, my old jeans were covered in mud and bits of straw, my hair frizzy from falling rain. I was in no shape to write.
     There is little I find more satisfying than changing into comfy clothes and making a cup of tea after working out in the cold and rain. But today, in order to write, I couldn't simply change into sweat pants and a tee shirt. Oh no. I needed a skirt, a pretty shirt, big earrings. A necklace and some rings. I smoothed my hair and braided it into two long braids. Looking in the mirror, I felt the inspiration of Frida Kahlo blessing me with a kiss.
     I have always loved Frida and her wild self-expression. Prints of her artwork adorn our home, while postcards of photographs capturing the beauty of her essence inhabit sacred spaces. My children also connect with her through a book of theirs called simply, Frida. Frida tells the story of her life through the magic and imagination she inspires. The book, written in Spanish, ends with these words:

Frida no imita el estilo de nadie. Sus pinturas son Ășnicas. En los museos, cuando las personas ven sus cuadros, se echan a llorar, suspiran o sonrĂ­en. Y es que Frida convierte su dolor en algo maravilloso. Es como un milago. 
(Frida does not imitate anybody's style. Her paintings are unique. In the museums, when people see her paintings, they start to cry, sigh, or smile. And it's because Frida transforms her pain into something marvelous. It's like a miracle.)

     For some reason I always have to hold back tears when I read those words. If my children were to notice and ask me why I was crying, I would have to say because it's beautiful. 
     I have recently discovered an author I've fallen in love with, Alice Hoffman. I just finished reading her book The Foretelling, which is actually for young adults, but still thoroughly enjoyable for an old mama like me. (For an incredible journey into her writing, read The Dovekeepers. It's going down as one of my favorite books of all time).  The first line of The Foretelling is this:

I was born out of sorrow, so my mother named me Rain.

     The story continues with Rain, Queen-to-be of an ancient tribe of Amazonian women. It is a coming-of-age story, a story of spiritual quest as Rain seeks to bring peace to her people during a time of war and bloodshed. Towards the end of the book, Rain tells us this:

As for me, I was ready to return as the Queen. I had made something out of my sorrow. I had stitched it together with a rope made of hair from the tail of my mare; I had used bones of my grandmothers and my mother and my sister as needles. I chanted my gratitude all the way home. Thank you to my sister the bear, to my sister-horse, to the goddess above us, thank you for letting me be who I am, for letting me ride into whatever fortune we made together. Thank you for letting me be Rain and no one else.
It was the ending of something. It was the beginning of something.

4. Miracles  
     On many accounts we are living in a time of sorrow. Chaos and upheaval appear to reign. But from that chaos something new is born; we can, with the power of the feminine, transform our sorrow into the healing of our planet. A miracle for sure, but miracles are within reach.
     This is the end of something; it is also the beginning. We can begin with ourselves. Let's change out of our comfy clothes and put on that which speaks to our Soul. Looking in the mirror, we can honor all that came before us and, with gratitude, choose to create something different. We can look to the Earth for guidance, pulling our energy inwards to nourish ourselves as She does, releasing what's no longer needed as we prepare for rebirth. Transformation: let's tend the seeds of our new vision. This life is ours to create.    


Thursday, September 26, 2013


I am sitting in a cafe, alone. A box full of toys waits expectantly for the touch of small hands, but this morning they will wait in vain. My children are not with me. I sip my tea, cooled to the perfect temperature, and enjoy the relaxed peace of a childless moment. My children are both in school.

First day of school
Let me say that again, savoring each word as it parts from my lips: my children are both in school. A blessing long anticipated. Four mornings a week, I leave them in the excellent care and nurturing love of their two teachers, one of whom was my teacher when I was a small girl, attending the same little Montessori school. I drop them off, after many hugs and kisses, and as I get in the car to head off to my three hours of peace, there is a distinct feeling of joy in my heart.

Now don't get me wrong - I love my children with an intensity all mothers understand. Being in their presence brings joy to my soul and wonder to my world... most of the time. I would be lying if I said I never longed to sip my tea in quiet, never desired a moment to work uninterrupted by my sweet babies' need for attention (babies? To me, always. But my oh my are they getting big now. I look at the sleek lines of my son's face, more and more chiseled as is his father's, and I wonder where those plump baby cheeks ran off to.) Having time to myself a few mornings a week gives me the opportunity to do something for myself, to renew and rebalance, or at least just go grocery shopping in peace.

Which brings me back to this cafe and this cup of tea, almost gone. Here I sit, myself and my words, and is it to unhumble to say that I am inspiring myself? It has been a long, long time since I sat to write. Since June 28, apparently, which was when I wrote my last post. And in that post, I believe I said this:

"I think about possible posts and how one day I would like to write them. I think every day, I will sit down and write. But I don't. How can I, when there is so much to do? Since the Solstice [summer], however, my Self has cried out to myself: write! Woman, write. Even if they are not the detailed essays I sometimes produce, I must share this channel of my soul. So yes, I will try to keep posting. Even if they come slowly, slowly they will come."

It has been almost three months since I wrote those words. The story that now appears with each tap of my fingertips is indeed slow to come. In fact, I wasn't even sure if there would be another story - I was beginning to think that life was too full to fit in the writing of a blog. But now, my tea is gone. If I swirl the dredges in the bottom of my cup, will it show me my future? Will it reflect back to me the desires of my soul, the satisfaction and pure joy I feel at this moment, in this cafe, with my cup of empty tea, as the words find form where once it was blank? Is it arrogant of me to admit that when I read my last two posts, they brought tears to my eyes? I can admit this because I know the words are not solely mine, and I give credit where credit is due: when I enter into this space of writing, I am but a conduit through which Spirit may flow. I will keep writing this blog, I know this now for certain. My eyes fill with tears because the words connect me to the Divine source within.

Anthony, my husband, loves to watch Youtube videos of American Idol and X Factor, shows that offer common people with uncommon musical talents a chance at making it big. When Anthony finds a really good one, he shares it with me. I love watching people who look quite ordinary, who are nervous and unsure in front of thousands of viewers, transform into exquisite beauty as they share their fabulous gifts. When these people sing, it is pure Spirit shining through. And that is the beauty of everyone's talent, wherever it may lie. Those places where we shine are portals for divinity to enter this earth. None of us are ordinary - we are all beautiful and complicated beings of creation, each with our own unique expression. I will keep writing this blog, for this is my forum to shine extraordinarily. This is where I speak with my Spirit voice.

(P.S. if you have never watched X Factor, or even if you have, please watch this video. This woman brought shivers to my arms and tears to my eyes. She is simply and beautifully amazing.)

As often happens with my writing, this post has turned out to be completely different from what I had originally planned. I had planned to ease back into this blog with a post about the garden, the beautiful, vivacious, overflowing garden. Hence the title of this post: abundance. This is such an abundant time of year, it cannot even be contained. Our entryway is filled with boxes and baskets: potatoes and onions, plums and pears, drying sunflowers and garlic braids. The refrigerator is filled with zucchini, beans, corn, cucumbers, and pickled cabbage, the freezer with frozen berries and harvested chickens. I rearrange baskets of eggs and bowls of tomatoes to make room at the table. And this is only what we have stored in the house: the garden still grows as if hoarding for a famine. The summer crops continue to produce, while the fall crops of kale, chard, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, winter squash, and brussels sprouts will continue to feed us through the end of the year. As I try to manage the blessings of this abundance, I gently transform overwhelming feelings into gratitude.

Feeling overwhelmed is a common occurrence for me. Back at the Winter Solstice, when I could barely contain the exhausted and panicked feelings within me, I pledged to release the experience of being overwhelmed. But releasing patterns as engrained as those does not happen overnight. I release them, only to feel overwhelmed again. But each time I get better, each time I find it easier to let go of the story of what I *need*/*should* be doing and focus instead on experiencing that which my soul desires. Exhale and release, inhale and welcome my blessings. Exhale and ground my energy into the earth, inhale and embrace gratitude. Exhale unrealistic expectations, inhale the beauty of the present.

The gift of life is the gift of creating our own experiences. In every moment we have the opportunity of choice - perhaps we cannot choose the exact circumstances of our experiences, but we have absolute choice as to how we respond. Every moment is an opportunity for us to choose the expression of our Highest Self [and I repeat, go watch Sam Bailey sing her heart out].

Abundance, gratitude, love. This is what I choose to experience.


Friday, June 28, 2013


The Summer Solstice took me by surprise.

As in, I was not expecting to feel what I felt on this day. I knew the solstice was coming of course, knew the exact day and time and phase of the moon (almost full). But I did not expect to be birthed into a higher understanding of life on that day.

Yes I know, that was deep. Obviously the Solstice was a very powerful experience for me. But before I go on, let me say one thing: I love writing this blog. The words materialize inside of me, desiring release. I think about possible posts and how one day I would like to write them. I think every day, I will sit down and write. But I don't. How can I, when there is so much to do? Since the Solstice, however, my Self has cried out to myself: write! Woman, write. Even if they are not the detailed essays I sometimes produce, I must share this channel of my soul. So yes, I will try to keep posting. Even if they come slowly, slowly they will come.

So now, back to the Solstice. What a lovely time of year - the damp and cool and vivid green of spring lingers, but the plants grow with the energy of summer. I was just looking at my last post, written about a month ago, and the pictures of the garden amazed me. How bare, how little everything was! What a beautiful, glowing green and blooming purple Eden it is now. The process of life so joyously exquisite in the quiet, long light of late evening. Deep gratitude.

In the days, possibly even weeks, leading up to the Solstice, I wasn't feeling especially great. Not sick - physically I was fine - but drained, unmotivated, low energy. Kind of grumpy. After my experience at the Winter Solstice, I should have known something was coming. But I did not. 

The Winter Solstice, for me, was much anticipated. I knew it would bring about deep spiritual transformation, and that it did. I did not expect the same for its summer counterpart. 

The morning of the Summer Solstice, I woke up with cramps, dull, achy, and constant. This happens to me around the full moon, as my body cycles in her rhythm and releases those little eggs of my creative being. I can tell how powerful a full moon is by the intensity of my cramps, and I knew this moon was very, very powerful. Full moon on the Solstice, powerful indeed. 

By the time the kids were asleep and I was finishing up my evening chores, the cramps intensified to the point of no walking. I lay down in the grass, late setting sun shining his last rays upon me, and I surrendered to the waves of pain washing over me. I feel like I'm in labor, I thought to myself. Looking up through the tree above me, neon green with the deep blue beyond, distant hills glowing gold, I had the sudden realization that I was in labor. Giving birth to mySelf. Birthing in the energy of release, of evolution, of healing; a rebirth in the continuing cycle of spiritual transformation that has been occurring since the Winter Solstice. As I lay on the Earth, cradled in her embrace, I gave birth to a higher understanding of myself. 

Since that solstice experience, I have felt different. Slower, more relaxed, joyful, full of peace. Reconnected to Spirit after a very, very busy spring. My perspective, always expanding, now perceives a deeper understanding of my truth. Continuing on with the work of this year, old patterns were released- unsupportive patterns passed down from generation to generation, passed on from experiences of lives lived long ago: patterns of scarcity, anxiety, anger, control, fear. Patterns no longer needed in my Being. I release you with a kiss. 

While living the daily routines of life, it is easy to forget that we are in the midst of transformation: the feminine is rising, the masculine is healing. Coming into balance. I see this healing in the faces of the mothers holding hands in Turkey as they protect their protesting children from violent forces. I see it in the strength of my friends as they bravely leave unhealthy relationships to create a truer life for themselves and their children. I see it in my family as we learn to communicate and connect on a deeper level. I see a vision, and it is beautiful. I see the blossoming of my garden reflected in the universal stars. 

I invite you to open your eyes and birth your Truth into the world.


{this post is dedicated to Alisha, Megan and Kerry - your strength and beauty are an inspiration}

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wise Earth

I'm not sure if this post will ever get written. It will take many days for sure.

This is not because I have infinite words to express (although the expression of the earth is infinitely wise), but because I have suddenly found myself the head mistress of a true blue farm. And it's spring time, and the days are long, and outside is so much more enticing than inside, and my garden wants me and my animals need me and my children desire all my attention and everyone needs to be fed and maybe a dish or two washed and the laundry's been sitting there for a week and the woods are oh so lovely this time of year. And then it's time for bed.

Does that make any sense? Probably not. But just keep reading, because I'm drinking my first cup of yerba mate in a month (since before my cleanse) and it'll kick in in a few minutes, and I'll start spouting the enchanted poetry of my soul.

I hear my poetry best in the evenings. Evenings are one of my favorite times of day. The light lasts so long, I'm able to get in some blessed garden time once the kids are curled up in bed, faces angelic with the serenity of sleep. If it's been cloudy during the day, or rainy, or windy (as it is apt to get up here on our hill), it is usually clear by evening time, and the garden glows with the last rays of the sun. It is quiet but for the singing birds, and nobody is there to divert my attention from the lovely earth. As I sit, hands in the soil, gardening questions on my mind, the earth shares her wisdom and suddenly I know what must be done.

1. The soil up here in our sweet little coastal range is generally full of clay. There are a few sections of my garden where the soil is like butter, but most of it is heavy and dense. It takes a long time to dry out, and if dug too soon, turns into clay rocks when the sun shines. This lesson I learned well this year, as lovely March and April weather got my garden hands itching. In my eagerness to plant as soon as possible, I worked the earth too soon, and gradually my plants were growing out of hard, cracked earth. Where was the butter? Thankfully the earth's wisdom came to my rescue, telling me to break up the surface soil (with a trowel and my hands, strong hands) and mulch.

2. I have a new game plan. Last year I played around a bit with no dig gardening, and I'm going to try it again. We have a large patch of ground that will be home to corn and squash. Anthony rototilled it up for me, but the resulting soil does not inspire images of abundance. I mulched it with straw to retain moisture, with the intention of removing the straw at planting time. But one night, as I sat in my garden under the gaze of the new moon, the earth spoke to me. I understood. My clay soil wants top soil built upon it. Lots and lots and lots of top soil. And thanks to the chickens, ducks, and horses, I have plenty of poopy straw just waiting to break down into beautiful composted soil. So, my corn patch: I'm going to leave the straw in place. I'm going to spread a layer of horse manure [mixed with straw] over the top of it, followed by a layer of mostly decomposed compost, followed by a layer of soil (which we did have to buy). Into that soil my seeds will be planted, and as their roots grow, they will find rich layers of organic matter to nourish them to glorious maturity.

3. Gardening is a constant lesson of finding balance. Of patience, of faith. Of loosening control. Of listening. I love the courageous sunflowers and nasturtiums and cosmos and bachelor buttons and sweet peas that spring up wherever their soul desires, in this bed or that corner or the middle of the path. I leave them where they sprout, grateful for their blessings. Flowers are as important to me as the food I grow, and they appease the creative fires inside me. Fresh bouquets are a fountain of joy.

4. In prior times of my life, art was one of my main creative passions. The open pages of my journal eagerly accepted my voracious creativity as I collaged, painted, and wrote. It is a rare day that I create art like that any more, as my life exuberantly fills with other endeavors. More and more I am seeing that my garden is my canvas, and my creativity flourishes as flowers from the earth. Especially as the fenced field this garden once was develops into a more defined space, I am able to apply my energy ever more creatively.

5. The enchanted poetry of my soul flows best at night, when my world reduces down to me and the earth on my hands. The words flow through my mind like water in a river ["everything is governed by rule of one thing leads to another. We can't really place blame, 'cause blame is much too messy. Some was bound to get on you, when you were trying to put it on me." Sorry - old Ani Difranco song that I recently rediscovered and am re- in love with.) If only someone were listening in on my brain and transcribing those graceful words for me, I would produce brilliant posts every day. But instead, I enjoy them in solitude, pausing to look at the golden blue gray light of the clouds and the setting sun. I look back down at my hands and the earth speaks to me.

6. She tells me secrets about myself. She reminds me of my ancient being and ways of living that feed my soul. She nourishes me. She is faithful, she is generous, she is abundant blessings.

7. I am almost finished with a new garden bed. It is totally awesome, I must admit. And I made it as I planned to above in point #2, although it is not in the corn patch. And never again will I attempt digging out our clay soil. Oh no baby, I build right on top. Everyone is very happy (the plants, the earth, me). And the children are happy. They love using their shovels, filling wheelbarrows, climbing dirt mountains, digging holes, and generally getting dirty and being silly. And I have sweet satisfaction in my creative heart.

8. My life is full to the brim, and fuller it will get. I learn how to balance the barely contained chaos. I flow with the earth and the moon and my body and my family and learn to live my joy. I see my personal journey mirrored in the cosmos: the healing of feminine energy, the balance of the masculine. Receiving the energy of the Universe, I feed it back down to the earth. The Earth: her wisdom resides under my fingernails, permanently fixed in the crevices of my hands. I hold her close to my heart. I heed her words.

9.  May your hands dig deep in the earth. May you listen closely and heed the sage words of our Mother. May we all receive her blessings, opening to her healing ways. May we live in harmonious balance.


Saturday, May 4, 2013


This morning begins my second-to-last day of my three week cleanse (for details on how I'm cleansing, please read this post). In all honesty, I am feeling great.

Although there have been times of feeling less-than-amazing, this cleanse has not been particularly difficult (except for the first couple of caffeine-free days). Changing my diet to a sweets-free/grain-free/ dairy-free/caffeine-free way of eating has been surprisingly easy. The cravings I thought would come have not [although I have had some impulses to eat the rice I was serving my children]. I haven't even missed my favorite nighttime snack [toast with lots of butter, almond butter, honey and cinnamon. It's been replaced with an apple and a spoonful of almond butter. Also delicious.]

I think the ease of this cleanse has been the result of several factors. First and foremost, I was just really ready for this. I've known since fall that Yasmina would wean over the winter and that I would cleanse this spring [you don't want to cleanse, thus releasing toxins into your breast milk, when you are breastfeeding]. And since the fall, I have been undergoing my own evolution, gaining insights on myself and striving to release ways that no longer serve me. It is a constant dance, this evolution of being, but with this cleanse I have found the physical release of old and unneeded energy. Habits I found impossible to break a month ago have easily slid out of me. I feel rested, renewed, and in touch with the power of my own energy in a way I've never felt before.

One of the best rewirings that has happened during this cleanse is my new priority on resting. During the first week, I would often feel very tired and fuzzy-headed [which are normal signs of toxins leaving the body]. Pre-cleanse, that would have been my sign to brew a cup of yerba mate and push through. Now, instead of fueling myself with caffeine, I lay down for a few minutes or just sit and relax [what a concept!] I am now making it through the day without those feelings of sleepiness and cloudiness. I am listening to my body. In the evenings, when I am tired, I relax for a little bit and go to bed early [previously, evenings were my get-things-done time]. Now I have more energy during the day to accomplish what I need to [and what I'm not able to accomplish, I'm better about letting go until the next day].  I think this is possibly the first time in five years [since having children, that is] that I feel well-rested.

Another vital reason this cleanse has worked for me is that I am cleansing, not fasting. Although I am careful to stop eating when I am comfortably full, I in no way deny myself nourishment. And what I eat is undoubtably deliciously satisfying. I'm eating plenty of protein (nuts, seeds, grass-fed meat, fish, eggs), although I have found I'm naturally eating less meat that before. I still have my beloved butter, plus delicious coconut oil and olive oil to help my veggies taste rich and satisfying (and did you know that the saturated fat in butter and coconut oil is essential for absorbing calcium and the fat-soluble vitamins [vit. A, D, E, K]?) And I have found that I really prefer to eat extra vegetables rather than a grain (rice, bread, etc.) with my meals. Another thing that is probably left out of most cleanses is salt, and rightly so because most salt is refined of minerals and full of additives (aluminum compounds, dextrose, bleaching agents. This information comes from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon). Here we use an unrefined, natural sea salt that is full of minerals and very nourishing. No need to be stingy with it.

In case you are curious what one of my cleansing meals looks like, here is a sample of the possibilities:
  • grilled grass-fed pork chops; spring onions, garlic, little broccoli shoots, baby greens (kale, pac choi, spinach) and fresh oregano sauteed in butter and salt; "rainbow salad": grated carrot, sliced radish and celery, with dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt
  • grass-fed hamburger patty topped with guacamole; sauteed broccoli, spring greens, spring onions, and garlic
  • sauteed onions, garlic, sweet potato, broccoli, and carrots. Towards the end, add a touch of broth and ume plum vinegar. When done, stir in a can of sardines (or other fish) and chopped parsley
  • sardines (or other fish) on a bed of lettuce, watercress, parsley, and cilantro, with pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of salt
  • one or two eggs gently fried in butter with sauteed garlic, mushrooms, and kale, garnished with chopped radishes and sliced avocado
  • add carrots, parsnip, and collard greens to a pot of cooked black eyed peas [with a splash of ume plum vinegar] to make a soup. Add sauteed onions and garlic. Puree part of the soup and mix back into the pot. Garnish with any or all of the following: pickled red cabbage, avocado, chopped parsley, grated carrots
  • cooked red lentils with spinach, garlic and a splash of apple cider vinegar, topped with an egg and avocado (I like this one for breakfast)
  • smoothies: coconut milk, banana, kiwi, frozen peaches, spirulina; or two bananas, kiwi, frozen blueberries and frozen cranberries, spirulina
As you can see, I've been eating deliciously well during this cleanse. Cutting out grains has inspired me to be more creative in the kitchen, and I've discovered many combinations that are becoming staples in our home. I am finding new ways of eating [and living] that serve me much better than my ways of old. This does not mean than in a few days time, when my three weeks are over, I will never eat a piece of bread again. Of course I will. But I've discovered that I don't need my daily toast with breakfast. I've discovered that when I'm needing a little treat, a spoonful of almond butter satisfies me just as much as something sweet. I've [re]discovered ways of nourishing myself truly and deeply. And I am feeling damn good [did I mention those eight hours of sleep??]. 

May our blessings continue on.