Saturday, 15 December 2012

What are you going to do to stop the next one?



Today's aching question: how can someone be compelled to shoot and kill a room full of five year olds?

In the land of "super-size me," it is no mystery that the founding framers' need to create the US Constitution's right to bear arms (so that people could kill their food for their daily bread and protect themselves from the odd grizzly--and, yes, possibly keep those slaves in line) has now morphed into: "Dude. Supersize me to an AK-47, or yep, add on two more, to go with that ammo pack."

Bigger.

Better.

Faster.  

Meaner.

And absolutely fear-based.

A centered person, secure in what they stand for, and at peace with who they are and the unpredictability involved in each move of this game called Life, is not compelled to pack (or hoard) heat for protection.

So all of you ranting about the fact that we need to control the "lunatics" and not guns?  An anxious, paranoid, angry personality is the prototype that would feel the need to daily pack heat or has that "just in case cache" to defend themselves from "the others."  

Many of them are your neighbors. 

Add to that a culmination of events in their life that fuels a healthy dose of anti-social characteristics, down right meanness, a vindictive mission and a hearty death wish and you have a recipe for the disaster like we've witnessed today.

Oh, but we need to keep the guns out of the hands of those big, bad criminals.  Yes, that's the gun-control answer.  

Is it?

These "criminals" that have committed such crimes are One Goh, a former nursing student who sprayed gunfire around a classroom killing seven people in 2007; Seung-Hui Cho, 23, Virginia Tech student who killed 32; Charles Carl Roberts, 32, a milk van driver who killed five girls; Jeffrey Weise, 17, who killed nine; Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan Kebold, the infamous Columbine killers who took 12 lives, which doesn't sound so much after today; Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, who killed five at a school in 1998; 14 year old Michael Carneal killed three and wounded five in 1997; shootings in movie cinemas . . .  and some young person that felt the need to take out a classroom of five year olds today.  The list will continue unless something changes.

See the common thread of crazy, lunatic, criminals with guns?

No.  

You don't.

What you see are mainly kids and adults who you would never, ever, pick out of a line up for the United States' biggest and baddest threats to society.

What you see are scared, frightened, depressed, paranoid, angry and suicidal people-- who decide to bring others down with them, to make some sort of statement.  Without a gun with the kick to achieve these powerful killings, they likely would have passed, without our knowledge, as another silent suicide.

With 88.8 guns to every 100 people in the United States, it is just too easy for someone to kill themselves and others with a gun. What is mind-blowing is that, I would venture to guess that 99+% of the people I associated with while I was in the US did not own guns.  

No, rest-of-the-world:  aside from the picture that statistic paints, not all US citizens are gun-toting.  

Where are they all?  

With a long, strong history of firearms, why would we be so naive to think guns would not proliferate and be easily accessible to our young people?  

Why wouldn't there be a faction of American citizens looking for more, bigger, and better like some do with cars or computers?

And New Zealand?  With your climbing suicide rate?  

Be warned.  

Thankfully your population is statistically a spec compared to the United States, but this common denominator of suicide is frightening.  

Suicide-murders happen because, very occasionally, when a person is despondent enough to kill themselves, their judgment button is a total fail and they decide to take others with them. 

And don't think copy-cats do not exist.  

Look at today. And all the attention this horrible, irrational act is receiving and how it will continue to be highlighted. 

Right now a depressed and angry soul is out there studying the coverage and looking up to the killer(s) and imagining their own "what if."

What are you going to do to stop them?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ninety years and counting . . .




For my beautiful mom 

Although I can't physically be with you on your 90th birthday, I want to thank you for living such a wonderfully long, healthy, loving and productive life.  







And for your love.

Thank you for role-modeling the epitome of what a mother should be . . . your unconditional acceptance has held me up and wrapped itself around me throughout my life.

Thank you for sharing your vivid memories of the Great Depression in the dustbowl of Oklahoma. You were able to illustrate how events in history and struggles in society can make or break a person. 

For the record: it made you.  

(And, in your honor, I fold this piece of used tin foil, neatly tucking it in the drawer to be summoned for its second coming.  Thank you for the gift of sensible frugality.) 

And thank you for making peanut butter on saltine crackers taste like heaven amidst hearing how you went hungry as a child, survived on beans for many a meal, and still grew up to love them.

Thank you for always answering when repeatedly asked, "tell me about the olden days." Time after time--and I know you didn't always want to do it--you shared a vivid memory.  

A small girl wearing a dress, riding bareback on the back of a horse and arriving to school with bloody legs, rubbed raw from the friction of the coarse horse hair-- physically ill from the experience.   And the sweet teacher that took care of you.  I could vividly imagine the scene in my mind's eye.  

Picking cotton until your tiny fingers bled, smart enough to know: no cotton, no food.  

Listening to the play by play of your life, connecting the dots of where it led you in your living, has inspired the passion and respect I have for folks' unique stories.

Thank you for encouraging me to live big.  Pushing me out of the house as a teenager to stay with friends or take trips-- letting me know it was okay to get away and live life. 

Willing me to have no fear, even though you saw yourself, at times, limited by fear. 

Thank you for being by my side during pregnancies and parenting babies and sleepless nights that came for a variety of reasons.  You were and are my best friend that knew the deepest, darkest secrets and struggles before anyone else.
Thank you for still being by my side.  

Weighing out pros and cons of making this huge move to New Zealand, you spoke of people who stay in a holding pattern waiting for a parent (or someone) to die and how morbid that was . . . and with pluck that seems to creep up every year of your life, you stated, "I'm healthy, I could live another fifteen or twenty years.  You would wait until your 70 to start living a dream?"  

In that one conversation you gave me the gift of knowing this risk was okay. And hearing your enthusiasm about our adventures during our lengthy phone conversations, and your continuing affirmation of our choice, is a gift.

Thank you for being everything you have been to my children.  As you know, they absolutely adore you.  And hearing your genuine adoration for them makes me want to sing at the top of my off-tune-lungs about the circle of life. To see those I gave birth to, in awe of the woman that gave birth to me: priceless.



Thanks for being the sane and loving parent when anger and unpredictability defined the childhood that felt like it would never end. You raised me-- as a human and out of despair--then pushed me out of the nest and willed me to fly.
You are right.  
We are always together.  
We will always be together.  
Seas may separate us. 
Love holds us tight.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays.
You are always in my heart.

**********











Monday, 26 November 2012

Sugar-Buzz

For the first time, since my arrival in the Northland of New Zealand, I spent a weekend in a nest of, what I call, "woo-woo women." Woo-woo? you ask. As one of my old friends coined it many years ago: crystal seeking, tofu eating, woo-woo women. But I would now add to that: holistic hearts; loving lights; creative compassion . . . the list goes on.

Never before relating to the term sugar buzz in reference to the over-consumption of sweets, I now find myself flying with my own private sugar buzz. And this photo is my little reminder of the weekend. She is my alter-ego that tells me: you are good enough just the way you are; go for it, take a risk; create, you do it wonderfully; reinvent yourself NOW.

Our high priestess of the weekend was the wonder-full Jane Cunningham of Whangarei, New Zealand. The workshop was called Choosing True over Nice. Jane is offering it as an e-course soon at a very reasonable price. Give yourself the holiday gift of nurturing, explorative, creative time for yourself. Time to remember the gift you really are, while having fun exploring the nooks and crannies that are you. Learn more about her e-course here: http://player.vimeo.com/video/53245763?badge=0

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Gay, Straight. Black, White. Love, Hate. Religion + Politics in America



Gazing over the sea from New Zealand, while trying to maintain some detachment from America's election process, has brought forth observations that illustrate the old adage: "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch."  

Elections bring forth many examples of how prostelytizing the talk rather than "walking the walk" can send folks running from the messenger.  That said, I want to make it clear that I love being around Christians and folks of other religious traditions that preach their message by walking the walk--being a living, breathing example--and I am fortunate to know many.

Many observers have commented on the intermingling of religion and politics and how un-right that feels, and since the taste is still in my mouth, I'm doing what I do, spitting it out on paper:
                                                           
It's important to remember that most everyone gets that it's God that is the authority . . . not you.

Please don't expect that anyone will want to get to know "your" God, if you consistently use verbiage about what "Your God" is doing or thinking, or who they are damning to hell.

In and of itself, the term "My God" implies others are not special enough to have a relationship with yours.  And take note, "my God" is most typically used when making a point that is disrespecting someone, something, or others' beliefs.

Many of the folks you are preaching to have figured out that God is everyone's God and that God even loves those that choose not to believe. 

And by presenting yourself as the authority on God's motivations, when it is absolutely clear that you are doing so to make your own political or moral convictions known and coerce others, you bring your direct-line-to-God-relationship in question.

And God does answer to differing names and religious traditions, because God is of love.

When you make your religious point for arguments-- against others--you are starting a war.  Knowingly and with intent.  A seed of hate and discord and ugliness is sent out into the Universe. The Bible has many teachings that can be interpreted in myriad ways to make myriad points, but to spend energy doing that to encourage despise of others' lifestyles or choices or political practices belies the essence of what Christianity, or any other religious tradition, needs to be teaching: love.

Of everyone.

Nowhere do these Commandments exist:

   Bear witness to others in an arrogant manner that claims that you are right and others are wrong.
   Use My name to get your way and coerce others to vote or think or wallow in disgust as you do.
   Pick and choose scripture and skew it in a way that makes me a vengeful God while minimizing my messages of love. Oh, and ignore those bizarre passages because you are the authority and know what I would want covered and preached to the world.
   Shame others for not thinking the way you do and let them know that your relationship with Me is better than theirs.
   Speak of Me and for Me in the midst of claiming despise for factions and actions of people unlike yourself, because I do not want people to live in harmony.
   Claim to know who I would vote for in one of your stupid elections.
   Oh, and unfriend people who don't think like you, but call yourself a Christian while you are doing it.
   And about Deuteronomy 21:18-21 where I have inferred that all stubborn and rebellious sons that don't obey their parents or are drunkards or gluttons be stoned to death . . .  ?  Now come on-- you knew I didn't want you to kill your kids--I give thee permission to Use. Your. Brain.  And heart.
                                                           

You get how endless this list could be, right? 

Come on folks.  Make Your God proud. 

Don't have Him up there conjuring ways to send you to time out for using your power for evil and not good.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And no, in no way am I insinuating that the little child's name is Obama.

But one thing I know for sure is that it is all about love.  Not pity, not despise, not even "I hate their actions but not the person."

It is about a love bigger and broader, and an understanding and compassion far beyond our comprehension, and if we attempt to be guided and live by that love each and every day, we will be one step closer to The Truth.

Amen.

Blessed Be.

Namaste.

Addendum: Within minutes of writing this, I had a telephone conversation with my 90 year old amazing mother who lives in the states.  She told me an unbelievable story.  One of her church friends, of almost 40 years, called her the day after the election and asked her how she felt.  Mom simply replied, "relieved." And with that her "Christian" friend went on a tirade about how evil the President of the United States of America is, how any Christian in their right mind would never vote for him.  And this went on and on.  This "Christian" verbally abused my 90 year old mother who has lived her entire life "walking the walk." To hear the hurt in her voice, her sense of betrayal, her dismay in someone's behavior that professes Christianity. . . unbelievable. Just after I wrote this piece, minutes before talking to my mom, I thought: there, I got it out of my system, maybe I won't publish it.  You see, I think people that believe in the power of Love go out of their way not to offend others . . . even the haters.  I read this to my mom and she was comforted by these words.  She couldn't believe that I had just written it, "this just illustrates how telepathically you and I communicate." She asked me to publish it.  This one is for her . . .

Monday, 29 October 2012

mindfulness, one hairpin curve at a time


One of the characteristics of New Zealanders that I admire is their genuine appreciation of the natural beauty, and the general lifestyle, surrounding them.  Repeatedly, I have heard Kiwis proclaim how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful and safe environment.

Do awe-inspiriing scenes of nature render a population more mindful?  And appreciative?

Stopping and appreciating the view, or combing the sea for dolphin or orca, or looking out from your boat or kayak for outcroppings of rocks and sand bars, negotiating rocky terrain, driving in the rain, coping with unpredictable weather changes, minding the winding, hairpin curves and no-shoulder mountainous roads . . .  do these type of day to day exercises that require total concentration have a global effect on a societies ability to center on the moment at hand?

Yes, it is easier to "be in the moment" when there is so much natural beauty surrounding you in any given moment.  The real challenge is to be mindfully centered when a we find ourselves in a situation that creates an ideal setting for the mind to roam.

Beauty lies in wait to be found.  Even in the midst of what, at first glance, our mind tells us is ugly or undesirable.  It is our job, in that moment, to find beauty.

And when, try as hard as we might, we cannot find the awe?

Stay with the breath and acknowledge every detail of what presents itself . . . and try acceptance.

Or work towards meaningful change of that which you cannot accept.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

on the road and back again

Time moves on and we have entered New Zealand's spring-- the season of rebirth.

Flowers are blooming.  Grass is thickening.  Leaves are returning on once barren trees.  A distinctive warmth begins to seep into the breezes.  Smiling, in response, warms the heart.

Currently we have had our oldest daughter and her partner here and, once again, went exploring in the the Far North.  Every time we go I find more natural beauty and culture that leaves me awed.

Whananaki South

Whananaki South
our own Ngunguru beach climbing apparatus
blooms were out on our trip to Waitangi

our local alpalca hill with windblown tree
a little neighbourhood ride
three specs on right are the kids riding bikes on 90 mile beach
our beached friend at Ahipara succumbed to his abandonment and exhaustion
he had us at sweet eye contact
we were sad had had to cross over
backyard monkeys with our bananas that have since gone to muffins
Omapare
Buddy on our local beach walk


a Whanagarei Art Museum MUST SEE exhibit.  Mind. Blowing.

Soon I will report in with some Far North finds.  Most of the time, I am so in awe of 90 mile beach that Ahipara always has my vote, but this time, there was something very special about the Hokianga that tugged at my heart. As we exhale and regroup from our trip to Ahipara, Kaitaia, Cape Reinga, Rawene and Omapare, we prepare to send out family off to their new life in Australia.  

Life moves on.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Northland, New Zealand Winter for Dummies- abridged

video
Winters in the Northland of New Zealand consist, at worst, of scattered chilly and rainy days reminiscent of midwest of US's early spring.  At very worst, there may be a stretch of several days of said weather a few times during the NZ winter.  Many of the photos I've posted are beautiful, sunny winter photos, so to be fair, I wanted to show you, in this video snippet, a bit of the blah.  And with that, I am not complaining that it is bad at all.

Temperatures indoors are more of the winter shock for me than the outdoor conditions.  Insulation and central heating are rarities because of the temperate climate, so if you attend a function in a cavernous old building, that is when you need to wear your heaviest winter gear.  How it happens I do not know, but the temperature indoors will chill to the bone, while outside it will feel uncharacteristically, er, not freezing.

A, my eight year old, has yet to wear a coat after fifteen New Zealand months.  In fact, shoes are a rarity. Crocs are the flavor most appealing because they can be thrown off easily.  As we walk to the bus stop, I no longer ramble on about how the commuters cruising through our great metropolis (pun) will be shocked that a cloaked and shod mom accompanies her bare legged, bare armed and bare foot son-- oh the scorn.

I joke with my Kiwi friends that they only wear cute coats and boots so they can vary their wardrobe, not for need of warmth.  Some chuckle and agree-- but some immigrants speak of acclimatizing after a couple of years and actually feeling more cold in the winter, which will be an experiment only involving me.  My husband has a gene strain that produces immunity to the cold.  I believe my husband and son will continue to wear the same attire all year long; they rarely wore coats in the (literally) freezing weather of the US.

Sunshine is the beauty of the New Zealand winters: when you get it, which is frequent, it will heat you to the bone and give your spirit a glow.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

love, loss and long distance


Moving your life to the other side of the planet is not for the faint of heart during the best of times. Add crisis- real or perceived- into the picture and the emotional dynamics change completely.  THAT is the stuff the abyss from which I am emerging is made.

An email was sent to me a few weeks ago informing me my cousin had taken his life . . . in Oklahoma, United States. The information was on the heels of heartache and intense online discussion with friends in our Springfield, Illinois community theatre family who had lost a dear and respected peer to suicide the day prior.  

One of my traits that led me to my work was a deep empathic bond with people. When they hurt, I hurt or at least I can, at some level, feel and understand their pain.  Hearing details of my cousin's life and suffering cut me deeply.  And I know the acute loss brought up grief issues of leaving my country, my home, my family, my friends . . . add catching every virus that has traveled up and down the east coast of New Zealand for the past four months and there was a bit of wallowing going on.  But you know what?  I'd rather wallow and feel and grieve and honor someone's spirit, that is now more at peace, than emotionally suppress myself and suffer the after-effect of stifled difficult emotions later.

I have slithered out the other side.  Many untimely deaths have shocked friends lately and I envision these souls surrounded by light and love and the realization that the world was a better place for gracing us with their presence. 

Imagining my homeland, my loved ones and our virtual connection and sending them light, positive energy and love every day continues to bridge my physical gap to them.  Nothing can sever my emotional ties and that concept was highlighted during these times of profound loss. 

My brothers made the trip south to my cousin's memorial service.  I was asked to write something.  I couldn't find many words--it was just too hard--but David Foster Wallace, an author that killed himself, apparently had the words that provided comfort and helped answer the never-ending question of "why."  I share those with you now.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” ― David Foster Wallace

Monday, 23 July 2012

Drip-Ponder-Drip




Writing in a cave, I am.  The drip drip drip of the excessive moisture seeps from the soaked cement roof.  Puddles accumulate around my feet. Dampness hits bone. 

Healthy environment?  Probably not.  But this is a timely conversation to have.

Time management in my writing has been the topic of ongoing internal debate.  So much so that I'm sure it is just another piece of my procrastinating the revision of my book.  While I am pondering how to manage my time, I am not revising.

I believe the exercise of having my writer's desk in this funky artist commune-of-sorts has ironically illustrated that I do not and should not have to pay money to do my art when all it takes is sitting at a desk or table.  No easels, no paints, no fumes.

Since entering this art/writing space, I have also become more integrated into our little community- Ngunguru, New Zealand.  Suddenly, like-minded women are at every turn, outgoing and kind.

I have a lovely meditation group I go to with lovely people.  I've met the co-editor of our little local newsie print The Coastie, and have had my photo placed in it and have written a piece for them. I've met a lovely raku pottery artist who I keep running into, my neighbor and horse-riding buddy, as well as, another neighbor extraordinaire who is also an exquisite massage therapist, (How did we get so lucky?), other parents . . . the list grows weekly.

So even though I share space with a kindred soul, we aren't there working simultaneously, and I know we are going to be friends no matter. With gas costing over eight USD gallon, it seems a bit silly to be driving away from my nest to write and paying even a small amount of rent.

I shall further ponder my dilemma to the rhythm of the drip drip drip.  And get to the writing.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wet




The below message from Daily Om brought back a very visceral memory of an experience I had off the shore of Anna Maria Island, Florida and goes down as one of the most pleasant water experiences of my life.  I am not the most confident swimmer so any zen experience in water would be memorable.

On this particular day, the Florida sun beat down hot, but not skin blistering.  For some reason the surf was virtually still so I eased into the water waist deep feeling as if I had landed in nature's hot tub.  I eased onto my back, arms outstretched to my side, floating like a crucified corpse.  The warmth and salt of the water enveloped me and at once I felt as if I was being embraced and gently rocked by the entire Earth.  There was an acute awareness of how the salt was rendering my floating effortless.  My ears were submerged; the muffled swoosh swoosh was my lullaby.  The typical wave-slaps that cause me to sputter and spew never arrived and it felt as though I could stay in that space forever.  I chose to make it a meditative moment, regulating my breathing--my own body-sound contributing to the muffled orchestra--visualizing and appreciating the ocean-caress.  That day I found it hard to leave the water realizing that I might never find her arms so warm and protective and supportive again in my lifetime.
(of course, later, the human brain kicked in and I wondered how many poor souls had been lulled out too far and lost after being hypnotized by such a calm sea vixen; more confident water lovers would have found it very difficult to leave. hence the need to keep meditating, to press the erase button on my fear-based thinking)

Water is life and meditating with water can create a profound experience.


Our bodies are over fifty percent water, so it makes sense that human beings have always considered water to be a sacred source of life and healing. It is literally half of who we are, and well over half of the earth‚s surface is water. Water cleanses and hydrates, contains and produces nourishment, and when we enter it, holds us in an embrace that leaves no part of us untouched. Meditating with water can be a powerful way of aligning ourselves more fully with this support system that makes life both possible and pleasurable on so many levels.

We may wish to conduct our meditation while in physical contact with a body of water, whether in the intimacy of our bathtub or the vast container of an ocean. We might float on our backs in a swimming pool or sit with just our feet submerged in a pond or creek. On the other hand, we may simply close our eyes and choose a location based on our imagination. Whatever we choose, we can begin by closing our eyes and listening to our breathing. At the same time, we tune in to the particular music of the water we have chosen˜the loud rushing of a river or waterfall, or the surreal silence of the world beneath the surface of the ocean. We might consider how the type of water we choose reflects what we seek˜the peace beneath the hectic surface of life, the cleansing power of a river racing through a canyon, or the mood lifting, melodic bubbling of a lively creek.

As we move between awareness of our breath and awareness of the water in which we find ourselves, we can begin to release the things we no longer need into the rushing river, or release ourselves completely into the water‚s embrace as we float, in our minds, in the watery womb of an ocean or a lake. When you feel you are ready to return to more solid ground, ease your body back onto earth, in your mind or in reality, and lie flat on your back, allowing the water to bead and roll off your skin, soaking the earth and evaporating into the air, leaving you cleansed, healed, and renewed.




Friday, 15 June 2012

it takes a closer look

I am fixated with using my iPhone to take photos of the beauty around me in New Zealand.  When I share them, they are not altered.  Every day I see so much natural art around me; I am totally attending the church of Mother Earth since my arrival to the Northland.

My journey here has been one of learning to trust that on any day, at any given time, I am right where I need to be.  I float through some days, having minimal interaction with other humans.  Other days, I am fully immersed in learning and experiencing new relationships and this rich culture.  

To be in a country that is working to reestablish their connection, respect, and power structure with the indigenous Maori population is healing after seeing the plight of the Native American and lack of ownership and respect America has allowed their indigenous ones.  My family of origin is from Oklahoma and Texas;  having  started my life there, living there as a young adult, and having had Native Americans in our family, we have learned from our relatives and our time in these culturally rich areas.  Cousins nest in a small town called Apache.  But it was in New Zealand, on the Maori channel, that I happened upon an amazing documentary on Native American Chiefs, the likes of nothing I saw or learned growing up in America. Oh that every indigenous people's ancestors could see their families rising from the tortured ashes.  

I've spoken of the Koru before HERE and how the spiral has been a symbol that has followed me throughout my life; I had not previous knowledge of its significance in New Zealand.  Everytime I happen upon one in nature, it speaks to my soul.  When we explored our new house for the first time I was so pleasantly surprised to see two Koru imbedded in our sidewalk.

Yesterday walking on the beach I glanced down and saw the typical scene:

sand on beach


Zooming in, I found this Koru, once again, in nature.  Note the grains of sand.  Each stand alone.  Each unique.

gift in sand on beach


we must stop, look, and listen to truly see
topic visited very briefly HERE

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Curve Balls Part Deux



Okay.  Let's talk curve balls, shall we?


My seven year old and I decide to take the miniature horse, Ringo, (age 6 months) and the puppy, Buddy, (age 16 weeks) for a walk on the beach at low tide- approximately 5:00 pm.


Rocky, the big horse that is in the photo on my blog, and who is my soulmate, had to be left behind.  With Dad gone there was no way I could take Rocky and the seven year old and the puppy and the miniature for a stroll on the beach.


As we amble away, reluctantly of course, because Ringo doesn't really want to separate from "dad," I observe that Rocky is having some major separation issues- per usual and typical horse behavior.  Rocky is prancing, bucking and whinnying as if he is asking us to PLEASE reconsider and bring his "herd" back to him, miniature though it may be.


Our walking menagerie makes it to the beach and we have a nice half hour session of "this is what we do when we walk on the beach" (preschool teacher voice in place) with the babies of the family.


Upon our return, the minute I see Rocky, I am stunned by a blaze of bright red.  For a moment my mind says, "is that a piece of red material on him?"  Within a nano-second reality hits, and I realize what I am seeing is a huge, fresh, gaping shoulder wound which, upon closer inspection, shows far too much muscle and fascia and inner workings of a horse than any blind eye should ever see.


I must admit that part of my initial irrational response harkened back to the many old American Western movies I had been raised on.  You know the ones.  The horse limps.  The Cowboy pulls out the gun and puts the poor lame one out of his misery.


I'm brought back to reality with my seven year old's chants of, "We'll never leave him alone again . . . We'll never leave him alone."


Fast forward to four hours later- which is now.  The vet, who had to be over the age of fourteen but didn't look it,  made an emergency visit.  She pondered whether Rocky should be stitched or if the huge flap of skin should be cut off and the enormous wound left to heal from the inside out; the latter won upon consultation with her senior large animal vet.


I cannot complain one iota about Dr. Youngest of All aka Sarah.  We are sisters now.  She explained every single decision she made and drug she injected while my horse-crazy-new-neighbor and I played assistant trying to keep the extremely drunk half ton beast (who thinks he is my baby) from jumping in our laps (i.e. killing us), holding flash lights and bags of drugs high enough to be gravity fed with the large dosage needed to inject my Rocky numb.


Drunk, staggering half ton dudes have a magical way of producing major rushes of adrenalin in their caretakers.


Exhale.


Rocky will be okay.  Ends up horses are really resilient and with a mega shot of antibiotics Rocky's six inch by ten inch wound should eventually close up on its own.  I have anti-inflammatory meds to give him daily and I think my baby will be getting lots of carrots and apples as well.


In the mean time, while my partner is gone, which is literally as if my right arm is missing, my new neighborhood reached out and put their arms around me.  First a fine young man came to our support and then later delivered a huge freshly smoked fish to my kitchen for us to have when our work was done.  "This is what we do here, we take care of each other."  It's the second smoked fish from two different families we've received in four short weeks.  My horse-sista neighbor played nurse and support person as if we'd known each other for years rather than weeks.  Other neighbors brought warm homemade pumpkin soup, apple juice and a flashlight.


That is community.


I live on Kakariki Street ("Green" in Maori), and yes, I must agree with my neighbors, this may be the best street in New Zealand.


It appears that I couldn't ask for better back-ups when the curve balls fly.

Curve Balls


Life is synonymous with "unpredictability."

I am constantly and humbly reminded that it is impossible to accurately predict how our own inner peace, balance, structure, routine and health will lie on a day to day basis-- let alone how others close to us are fairing on their daily life journeys.

Recently we have had major reminders of how fragile the delicate web of life and relationships can be and watching, not only our own reactions to these changes, but how others react, has been one more of life's interesting lessons.

Everyday humans receive tragic news about themselves or others, experience illness or injury, difficulties in the home or workplace.  That unpredictability is the essence of what forms our lives.

Although it can feel like a beautifully orchestrated piece of music when we have periods that run smoothly, almost effortlessly, life will remind us not to get too comfortable, to expect unpredictability.  That doesn't mean to have an anxious view of what may happen to you or others, it's a simple reminder to let go of the illusion that EVERYthing will run smoothly day after day.

Create a nurturing nest.  Have a back-up plan that allows you to feel grounded and centered when the  proverbial sh*t hits the fan.  Maybe it is your meditation practice or just some nice and easy deep breathing.  Maybe it is certain soothing music that helps to center you or aromatherapy that can help keep you in a healthy here and now.  If you don't have that nest to fall back on, find some joy in creating that practice or space for yourself.

Practice gratitude.  For every day that does go by smoothly and free of negative surprises, stop and tell the Universe a simple thank you.

Stay in the moment.  Anytime you find yourself predicting negativity may be around the corner- let that be your cue to STOP and return to the moment.

This moment is all that is real and true.


This moment is the only thing we know for sure.


We lose the here and now if we let our minds play games with perceived stressors. 


Stop. 


Breathe.


Look around you.

You are not negativity.


You are not stress.


Your are fundamentally pure love and light.


Just. Be. There.