September 30, 2008
by Neil Gaiman
Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never
Say "please" before you open the latch,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat
However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,
If it tells you that it is dirty,
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can,
ease its pain.
From the back garden you will be able to see the
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.
Once through the garden you will be in the
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She
may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle.
Inside it are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve
months sit about a fire,
warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where
you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-
man will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to
leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)
If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.
Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble from
one's lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.
Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped
to help you in their turn.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).
There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is
why it will not stand.
When you reach the little house, the place your
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden gate
you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.
September 29, 2008
Last week as I was riding into work there was a segment on the radio advertising a Cancer Support group. One of the women being interviewed had been a member of the support group for 4 years and cancer-free all of those 4 years.
She made a comment that as ugly and painful and intrusive as cancer can be that part of it is minimal compared to the lesson of love and acceptance that she experienced. She confessed that without being debilitated by cancer, which lowered her resistance, she would never have been in a place where she could have accepted the gestures of love and caring not just offered by friends but thrust on her by genuinely loving friends....."I'm coming over right now and washing your hair for you!"
I could hear the emotions rising in her, I could hear her throat tightening as she fought back tears.
Arriving at work, I unlocked the doors and prepared the offices for the day's work. I am an office manager at a health care clinic. As I checked patients in and out throughout the day the radio-woman's statement was always in my awareness. I noticed how some of our really ill patients were driven, driven, driven people. Their need to get some antibiotices in them and get their busy-selves back to the action was their utmost goal:
"Take a day off and rest? How can I?"
"but if I'm not there the world will forget to revovle?"
"Nothing will get done if I am not there!"
Now I am sure that if this blog was a mirror you could see your reflection and just as many of you are denying the reflection.
When we stop taking care of ourselves, when we detach ourselves from the rest of humanity...except that it is our responsibility to take care of humanity because, "heaven forbid, others should take care of themselves" our bodies yell..."STOP".
If we don't listen to the little tickle in our throats or the fact that our shoulders have migrated to a tight little condo about an inch below our ears than what choice does the body have but to kick our feet out from under us?
As I contemplate that minute or two of the radio broadcast my mind keeps asking the question, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could learn the lesson of accepting love and compassion and support without getting cancer?"
Is there a way to open our hearts to being loved without first having to be a victim of something? If allowing others to love us and help us when we are on our knees or flat on our back can make such an impact can you imagine how empowering it could be to accept those wonderful acts of genuine caring while we are strong and on our feet!
Last winter my friend Ingrid and I gathered our wits, our memories, our wisdom and our talents, our wishes and desires and dreams....spread them out across the dining room table and gave birth to the Pomegranate Project, Women Empowering Women Around The World. Our dream, to help women develop their own talents and skills, to educate them about the real history of women, to help women network and share their knowledge and experiences with each other.
An off-shoot of the Pomegranate Project was a class, Wandering By The Dark Of The Moon ~ A Daring Adventure Into The Enigma Called Woman. We begin the class in February of 2008. Many women showed up to the first class, some come whenever they can, one or two we never saw again, but those that commited to the class and have been there every dark moon and every full moon have grown in ways I cannot even dare to describe.
I've seen some eyes hooded and dulled by life's experiences sparkle again, I've seen postures change..."was she really that tall last year?" Some of the women have reached major professional goals, major changes in life long relationships, recommitting to making the personal changes to make those relationships thrive.
We have become friends and sisters. We support each other, nurture each other, kick each other's tushies if necessary (lovingly, of course). We have really grown together, we have learned to love each other, not just as individuals but as women, strong, gentle, nurturing, brave, empowered. We have learned to respect each other, and best of all, we didn't need to get cancer to do it.
Maybe the cure for cancer and all those other invasive ugly dis-eases is opening ourselves up to the inherent love in the universe!
Ingrid, Jane, Lyn, Roxie, Roxy, Yolan, Marcy, Cindy, Liz, Peg, Akaysha, Marie, Leslee, and all you other "Dark Moonies" I love you!
September 19, 2008
Today and for the past couple of weeks my emotions are overwhelmed. I feel like the witch in the Wizard of Oz must have felt when the house from No-Where fell on her, or how her sister felt when Dorothy threw the water on her and she melted away crying, "What a world....what a world..."
What a world. My heart aches for our world and for the children in this world. We see the shooting and bombing on the news and the internet. We hear that this country or that dictator in lands far away are doing horrendous things. We ask ourselves why the Russians are attacking Georgia; why do we have to send our young men and women to Afghanistan to kill or be killed, when will the the war in Irag be over....didn't we "WIN" that war years ago? Why can't the Muslims get along with the Jews or the Christians....Why is there so much terrorism in all "those other lands so far away"? Thank God we live in America....oh wait...America.
America. Isn't that the place where the nation is divided in half, Democrats and Republicans, conservative and liberals. Isn't that the place where for the past 18 months the nations next leaders and their cronies have been pointing their fingers, and calling each other names, speading lies and half truths, ridiculing each other and spreading hate, hate, hate?
How can I vote this year? Who could I vote for? How can I honor the winner in this nasty game as my leader when I know 3 year olds who are more well-behaved and respectful? What hope is there for the world when America, the land of the free, can't play well with each other?
Where are we that we can't see what a wonderful and exciting time this could have been that the playing field was leveled this year! Shouldn't we be celebrating that this new century brought out young and old, black and white, men and women? Shouldn't we be thinking that we are in a world of hurt and asking, "how can we come together, to work as a team, to cooperate and raise the bar?" Instead we are blaming each other "...he did it...nah-uh, he did it first....well he made me...."
I want a president that I can respect, I want a president that honors the people he leads and the people she needs to work with. I want a president who can stand up in front of the people and tell me the truth. I live in America and I am tired of the crap and the hate and the sensationalism.
I want to be told what you are going to do and try to do and how you are going to try to do it. Stop digging bigger holes, and for goodness sake, stop telling the world how stupid we are and what crooks the other team is....the other team might be the winner and then what!
If America is still the Go-to nation, the role model of how life should be, then, by all means, "stop the world, I want to get off."
September 09, 2008
Paulo Coelho....don't you just love him!
In this little masterpeice he writes, "Respect your soul, don't keep repeating, "I'm going to make it. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to grow, stretch along the horizon, and touch the sky!" ( I am not sure if the quote is completely accurate but you get the idea)
If you concentrate so tightly on making it you end up at the summit the very same person who started the climb......
How many times I have done this exact thing. I have been so intent on climbing the mountain.....whatever the mountain is at the time.....that I forget to look out at the view, to smell the pine and listen to the wind....feel the rock in my shoe and take the time to remove it....the journey has become lost for the sake of the summit. Then I am there, right at the top....planting that little Toni-flag in the peak and wondering what's missing.....
Have you ever committed that sin against your soul? Forsaken the journey for the destination? Can the goal ever be as sweet as it can be if you have missed the details of the climb?
...and just because the mountain is there do you have to take a linear, do-or-die path straight up to the summit or is it equally respectful to your soul to wander around the mountain, climb a tree or two, make a new path, introduce yourself to the flora and fauna and ask how their day has been?
Who knows, once you've talked to an first-growth Sequoia, a granite boulder that was traveling since the ice age and a lizard or two, maybe the summit is not as tempting and your soul just wants to walk down to the river and swim.
September 07, 2008
What is satyagraha? It is a philosophy from India which means to do anything, give anything, sacrifice anything, to pursue what is right without harming another and to do this without regard for self.
Do you have the strength of character for satyagraha? I often wonder that about myself. I definitely have my values and principles and my list of things that start with,
"Well, I would never......."
But, would I? Do I?
I am a woman who has lived a blessed and gifted life. Many of the things I say I would never do, I say them because I have never been challenged by those circumstances. When you look at challenges from a distance they always seem to be constructed of black and white blocks but the closer you get to those challenges the blacks and whites fade to shades of grey.
Ghandi, a man who really introduced Satyagraha to the world at-large, a proponent of "passive resistance" and non-violence and was actually awarded a Nobel Peace prize was a great poser and coward it seems to me. He talked big in the world of men and politics but beat the women in his life. How does one live with those conflicts?
In the light of day with the world watching he taught one thing but behind closed doors he was a different person....
I pray for the strength of authentic satyagraha and that Father/Mother/God never test me.