Triathloning

Triathloning (is that a word?) isn’t something that I ever really heard of until I hit my, ahem, forties. Tomorrow my partner and a dear friend will be taking part in the Olympic distance. This means swimming 0.9 miles, biking 24 miles and, last but not least, running 6.2 miles. You can catch Pat’s blog at http://journeytopoconoshalfironman.blogspot.com where you can read about her experiences in this athletic madness. I’ve been inspired by her determination, active participation in life and, mostly, ability to share when the training has been toothgnashing disappointing.

Today, I’ll try not to be annoying by asking her details repeatedly. I will pray that the clouds disperse for a sunny light blue sky. I will also watch every move she makes because her wild enjoyment in this has caught me by surprise and I plan to follow in her steps. A couple of weeks ago I began swimming after years of not jumping in the pool for serious laps. I’ve also taken my road bike out for a tune up. The store owner told me my bike was very nice and suggested I not leave it in the garage anymore. I continue to run my runs, one of my most favorite things in the world.

It’s nice to be witness to others’ happiness and I’m glad I’m conscious enough to share in it! To be continued…

Mortality Muse

 Lately I’ve tooled around with the idea of death-my own. There are many reasons why I would. Turning on the news brings images of horrendous devastation, in a month or so it will be the anniversary of my sister’s death and so on. I’ve also been a nurse for the last many, many years and have been at death’s bedside in some shape or form in what seems like always. I’ve had close one’s die, the earliest being my slightly older sister when I was eleven. The last was my mother’s, a little over a decade ago. I loved them dearly. With all the deaths I’ve encountered, I’ve leant myself to them in some way, physical, mental, emotional and, especially, spiritual.

I recently completed the Brooklyn Half-Marathon (13.1 miles of all of you non-runners). I finished exhausted. I’d over trained and didn’t enjoy it as I usually do. I told my partner that if I were ever to die running and she overheard someone mention that’s just how I would want it, that she should deny it for me. I told her that I’d much prefer to die propped on pillows autographing my published books for my fans. If by some chance I hadn’t been published and any one said that I hadn’t realized my dream, that she should argue that point too. One of the last editors that I sent my manuscript to may not have taken my book, but she took me under her wing. That was enough, I realized. Yes, I still want to be published the old-fashioned way, but I have received more with my rejections than I could ever have thought possible. As my brain streamed along the points I want clarified after my death, I decided I wanted my children to know that there is no third sibling, half or otherwise lurking about waiting to cash in on their meager inheritance. They could feel free to fight over paying my debts as much as they want to, together!

I realize that my death anxiety comes from a lack of control and powerlessness of how things will be. Not, I see, in the future, but in my past. I’m not so worried about whether I have to hang out at St. Peter’s gate until I come up with a good joke. If I’m in pain, I trust that some good doctor or nurse will load me with analgesics until I float. Whether my death is sudden or slow, I believe that with the support I have, that somehow I will persevere until I cross to the other side. I’ve decided not to worry about meeting my mother at the pearly gates and that she will complain that I spent too much money I things I didn’t need. Or that my sister might say, “You shouldn’t have done that when you were fifteen, thank the heavens I was your guardian angel and got you out of that scrape.”

Since I have no idea what my last day will be like, I am choosing to live until I die. I say that with the humor and love and deep appreciation for all those who have gone before me, in fear, in grace and acceptance. I have faith that I will be taken care of and the petty thoughts that consume me will be put to rest. I keep all of those who are in the pain of experiencing the death of their loved ones, anticipated or otherwise, in my heart. I pray for all of those who are in the process of crossing over and are in the pain of leaving the ones they love behind. This topic is so much bigger than a thought, a phrase, or a paragraph. For some reason I’ve been moved to address it and I have. For me, living means taking action an sharing what is important to me. I have so much love for so many people, that I want them to know that I am happy, have no regrets and wish them as full and as useful a life as I’ve had up until now. I hope I can read this blog in thirty or forty years and remember how I felt and what I was thinking today. If not, today is enough.

Palabras- El Fuego

Lighting candles and Tiki torches this afternoon, I was dismayed at the poor quality matches that barely burned. I lit one after another- a bit frustrated, until finally my task was done. Afterwards, I spent the afternoon with dear friends, all loved for the special beings that they are.  We had a very delicious barbecue, sat together and told stories of things important and humorous. We shared titles of books deemed intriguing. Toward the latter part of the evening I excused myself to pull the card from the oracle belonging to Graciella, la Gitana. I could feel her very business-like, she wore glasses and I felt as though she’s been writing in the ethers again. I smudged, centered and asking her the message for today, we pulled the Fuego card- the fire.

 El Fuego

Image: Very simply- the image is of fire. If one gazes into the fire images can be seen.

Words:  The dance lives in the fire. Look deeply to discern the spirit and sacred of life. Listen to the hiss, feel the heat. Observe the embers and the worlds they show you. Do not be afraid and offer to it the respect it has earned from the beginning.

Read: Tonight, in this fire, I discerned elves, dogs and rabbits. These images change, apparently, since I’ve never seen them in the card until tonight. The representations of these images bring forth illusion, magic, loyalty and fear, anticipation and fertility in the creative realm. There is truly magic in the air. You are the creator of your world and the turns that your destiny takes. Yes, there is some truth to the notion of a predestined future but there is nothing that cannot be changed by taking action and accepting the responsibility of your life. This card is about the passion that is but a small flicker of fire within when we are born. What we do with this life force remains to be seen, experienced and most importantly, acknowledged. Awaiting the words of another to free us or to open the door to our many worlds unknown can result in our fires staying turned down on low and never rising, giving heat to who we are meant to be and can be in our lifetimes. Take some time, make a fire, whether it be in your meditation or in your fire pit, go ahead, allow the fire to burn away what keeps you back from smoldering as the fiery, passionate person you are. This is not to be done with fear or with a lack of sensibility. Do it with purpose. Embrace who you really are and love who you find within the deep recesses of your being, who you may never have encountered before.

Palabras-Spiral

The Spiral

It’s late evening and I’ve just come in from a short walk with my partner and dogs. We are planning for a small celebration next weekend. Getting bogged down in the details, I realize that I want to enjoy myself and those who will take part. I always do, eventually, but to get from here to there means allowing myself to see the bigger picture and not get caught up in too many of the small details. I sat and centered, preparing to pull the card with Graciella, la Gitana. I look forward to her message. We pulled the Spiral Card together.

Image: The image is that of a tambourine. It has colorful ribbons hanging from its perimeter. They are blowing in the breeze. Two of the ribbons are intertwined- the shape is reminiscent of a strand of DNA. Because of the position of the tambourine in the corner of the card, it may also be taken for the sun with its rays streaming out from it.

Words: Climb up the double helix of the spiral. Know you have been in similar situations before. The current one is merely reminiscent of the ones experienced in the past. This is not a repeat performance. What you have learned previously, whether in the current life, or past, should hold you in good stead.

 Read: This reading is heartening. While this is a general message that Graciella shares with all readers and writers, it is one that is personally pleasurable for me. Just earlier, I’d made a statement about doing the same thing, expecting different results, basically.  In my heart, I truly didn’t believe it at the time, but said it anyway. It was a default statement, something I say when things don’t seem to be going my way or how I believe they should be. It didn’t ring true and I forgot that I made the statement a few minutes later. In pulling this card, I’m reminded of how throughout eternities and during just this lifetime it seems we are faced with similar situations and don’t really see the progress we’ve made or the differences in a situation unless we really take a closer scrutiny of it.  The other message is that the image of the tambourine tells us to enjoy, celebrate and experience the music in our lives. Music can be heard and felt in so many different ways. The patterns are there, just as in the double helix, which may seem to be repeated but are never quite experienced in the same way. Graciella says open your eyes, enjoy what’s going on-there are many things to be grateful for-it’s up to you to experience them.

Sparkling Blogs

There are some blogs that shimmer, others dazzle with great shine

Words that captivate attention, creativity sublime

Sentences meander to a place of ingenuity

Stories that are told deserve a place in history

Take me there with your intuitive pizzazz

I will put my trust in your writing razzmatazz

Keep blogging for all it’s worth

There’s a place for your blog on this wide, vast Earth

 In other words, I just realized I love blogging. Anyone who’s kept up with my blog already knows that it’s been a love, hate, what should I wear to the ball, sort of feeling for me. I spoke to a friend who’s been bike riding and she said, “When I was on my twenty-fifth mile, something clicked. I knew that I could ride fifty miles and enjoy it!” That’s how I’ve felt about blogging all week. Blogging has made me reach, down deep. It’s like stretching into a barrel, as far as you can go and, still, you have to elongate your fingers just a little further to pick something that you care about. The prized pickle!

 Writing is the yang of blogging while reading is the yin. Taking the time to read others’ blogs is a discipline. Another friend mentioned, “You produce content, you can’t spend too much of your time reading.” Well, I’ve been spending more and more time reading others’ blogs. I’m happy to be part of a community of bloggers. It’s a balancing act but well worth it.

I like getting lost in the tales of bees and bollywood, vampires and expectations unmet; art and culture that I would never come in contact with were it not for the town of blog. When I first began to write, seriously, I don’t mean in the first grade, I put my arm over my page and hid what I wrote. I also became afraid to read- something that I’ve loved to do all of my life. If someone else’s work seemed more creative than mine I sometimes sulked, seethed, and resented their talent. I initially balked at the suggestion to blog but I put pen to paper anyway. By continuing to write and share and stretch, I can now enjoy the depth and the simplicity of others’ creativity.

 Becoming acquainted with how others set up blog sites, keep their focus and share what’s important to them in their part of the universe has been liberating. It’s brought my existence closer to people that I would never otherwise know live on the planet. I continue to hack away at my novel and come up for air to share words, situations, and themes that are important to me. I’ve created closer relationships with others just like me, who breathe, eat, drink, and are consumed with the written and spoken word. And I love it!

Palabras- El Tonto

Just returning from a pool where I swam for a little less than an hour, I walked home with my partner. We spoke about plans to swim in the lake and the anxiety that entailed. Whether it’s fish swimming between one’s feet or the absolute darkness one encounters there are many details to attend to when one is swimming far from shore. I sat down and centered, prepared my usual ritual for the card to be pulled by Graciella, la Gitana. As I shuffled the cards, Graciellacame through tonight with a quill pen in hand. I knew that in the ethers she has been writing. For a moment I thought I would pull the writer’s card but no, she had other things in mind. As I felt her energy channel through me we pulled a card and came up with El Tonto. Now what does she mean by pulling this card?!

El Tonto

Image: The image is that of a male who is sitting at the side of a lake. He is wearing a hat and tux with a bow tie. His sleeves are rolled up. The man’s arm dangles into the edge of the lake. There seems to be a box in the water. He does not see it since his face is turned towards the woods. Behind him, a few yards away, stands a long eared rabbit on its hind legs.

Words: Wanting things to happen quickly. Believing that what easily comes is easily kept. Prepare the soil. Nurture the roots. The flowers will not bloom or worse yet, burst once without the beauty of a single petal thereafter. Water with tears if you must.

Read: The words that are used to describe the card seem to be quite descriptive of what’s at hand here. Of course, Graciella holding her pen and wearing black framed glasses in her image are indicative of her representation of being a writer. For those of us who write this applies, as well as to all creative persons who are working steadfastly and tirelessly at their craft. It’s so tempting to want to have a published book, a screen play in the top ten at the box office- just fill in the blank and name whatever your creation happens to be. Who wouldn’t want to be at the top without having put much work into it? I’m sure most of us think we’d be happy but that wouldn’t last very long. If we don’t do the work we may, heavens forbid, be one hit ‘wonders’. We end up ‘wondering’ what the heck happened and why the thing we were so excited about ended up being just a flash in the pan! Keep your eye on the prize but to make the most of your fertility, continue to till the soil, revise and refine, let the object settle before moving it about. It will all be worth it, Graciella promises you that!

Until next week!

Talking animals?

“He thinks that animals give him direction, you know, tell him right from wrong,” she said as she rolled her eyes.

This was a typical water cooler conversation. I didn’t say it out loud, but I thought – ‘Hey, I believe that animals give messages too.’ I’m the psych and he’s the client and we are apparently on the same page with this one. 

A spiritual tool I cut my teeth on was Jamie Sams’ Medicine Cards.  These cards act as an oracle rather than as a tarot. They can be used in different type of spreads and they were the first cards that I used as a divination instrument.  Each animal depicted in the deck may describe a characteristic or way of being. I used them all the time, learning what animals were actually my allies. I read about the ones that were hanging around to help me out and what characteristics of myself that I needed to be wary of and which to value. Living in the city when I was getting acquainted with the ways of animals, from birds, to mammals, to fish, to insects, you name it, I realized that I could communicate with a moose despite the fact I was sitting in a kitchen in New York City.

When I heard that the client believed that he can communicate with animals, I thought, the first thing these folks need is to broaden their horizons; the second is to find out about the spiritual and cultural belief systems that frame his life. There are so many different systems that it’s virtually impossible to know the details of all of them. We may have expertise in some things but not everything. This gentleman’s thinking may be distorted in a psychiatric context or quite canny in a spiritual one. The situation needs more exploration, education and acceptance. I’d be happy to chat about it with him and others who are excited about the idea of communicating with animals.

I know for myself that when I drive and a certain bird careens near my car that I need to be on the alert. Deer may be crossing at dusk; an SUV may be throttling for all its worth at me or someone may be too buzzed to pay attention to that stop sign. It’s all happened. I know when I see a blue jay fly near me that it’s a time to honor that fierceness that’s within me. I only know this because of the years I’ve spent sitting with the Medicine Cards or Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak , meditating and by developing relationships with the real animals that come my way. I’ve dealt with buck, bears, buzzards, snakes and skunks in the woods behind our house. Each one has brought a special message to me that I’ve had to examine myself about in terms of its meaning. The dream world brings me close to other animals that I am not in contact with during the day- yet are other important communicators.

There is so much to share about and learn and I am open to what you think about this! Tell me who you listen to and who warns you of danger coming down the road, I’d love to know!

Palabras- Caridad

 I am feeling great today; in fact, I’ve just finished a twelve mile run in preparation for a half marathon I will be doing in two weeks. Today is also Mother’s Day. There are so many messages of love everywhere we turn. I had a conversation this morning about celebrating Mother’s Day and the expectations of that as opposed to showing one’s love every day, holiday or not. I prefer the latter. So with lots of thoughts tumbling in my brain I smudged and centered and asked Graciella, my Gitana, what her message is for us today. I didn’t want my opinions to get mixed up in this at all. The first thing I felt was Graciella’s unbounded love for me. I had the image of her taking a lacy type of necklace and putting it around my neck as a Mother’s Day gift. She said she did it because she wanted to, that simple. This gift from the ethers I will cherish in my heart. I’m sure when I wear it there may be a few who will actually see it. This is divine! Graciella pulled the card and I wanted to cry. It was the Caridad card. What love there is today!

Caridad

Image: There is the image of a pair of hands that are opened. They hold a beautiful flower. On the wrists are bracelets. One is a simple bangle; the other two are more ornate. There is an object at the side. It is difficult to decipher what it is.

Words: Charity, the sweetness of giving without expectation of reward because the gain is in the giving. Providing service for others is the stepping stone for liberation of the self.

Read: Opening one’s heart to give and receive love may be a challenging feat for many. I see the object to the side of the depicted hands today as some sort of a piñata. During the well awaited piñata opening at a party, there is the blinded batterer who hammers away attempting to gain candies and toys, in this case, analogous to love. The usually beautifully decorated piñata is, with luck, opened up but cast aside in a harsh way, in fact, as a throw away in order for the partygoers to ravage the sweetness that is within. Giving and receiving a kindness, a service and love can be done in a much more compassionate and kind way. We don’t have to destroy in order to receive what we think will be good for us. We don’t have to scurry on our knees, pushing others aside for the sweetness of life, such as the candies from a piñata. Be thoughtful in your thoughts and in your words. The hand you give with is the hand with which you receive. Be gentle with others in each action, listen to the way you speak and hear the messages that you are given. Discern to see if the love you seek is really there. If you are feeling like the discarded piñata then contemplate on the actions you can take to change your situation. Remember, we can’t change others-only ourselves. In this world of tumultuous change, hardship and often, violence, we can be the arrow tips that strike with love, compassion and peace, for ourselves and those around us.

May you walk in beauty!

Got Fish?

Most mornings when I arrive at work I drop my bag in a drawer, turn on the computer and take a clear empty bowl to a nearby sink. After I fill it with clear water I bring it back to my office and set it on the short file cabinet. Every once in a while a client will ask me, “Hey, Doc, got fish?”

I’m a water woman. I’m made of about 60 percent of water, love to drink it, play in it and clear my energy with it. Not only do I deal with others’ watery emotions all day long, I also do my best to manage mine.  The bowl of water that sits on the cabinet does a lot for me and for anyone who sits in the room with me. Some would say it’s a feng shui thing. I’ve read that water can bring prosperity and wealth. The reason I use it is because it helps keep the energy in my room clear, picking up anything that really doesn’t belong in there, that will bring imbalance. One of my spiritual teachers told me that it brings negative ions into the room and that’s exactly what we want. Just think of the feeling in a room when a window is open and there is a gentle rain coming down outside. There is much spiritual activity that goes on during those times. We receive spiritual messages easily as the rain conducts and facilitates the exchange of energy.

Many times when I’m sitting with clients it’s important for me to determine whether they’re dealing with more of a spiritual issue than a mental health or emotional one. They are very similar in some ways. I take a glance at my water and allow my vision to soften and read the water and take in what it has to say. That’s called scrying. Sometimes I see images in the water and at other times the presence of tiny bubbles throughout the bowl tells me that I am dealing with a spiritual issue. I guess I can say that water helps with the diagnosing and treatment of the problem.

In any event, on the days I haven’t filled my small bowl with water I feel a distinct heaviness in the room. There’s a stagnant feel to the atmosphere and I just feel absolutely wiggly until I can leave and smudge myself properly. I owe the people who sit with me a clean and clear environment. They come for peace of mind and balance of spirit. There are many small ways that can help to make that happen and water just happens to be one of them. Whenever someone asks me whether there’s a fish somewhere in the bowl, I just smile and tell them that the bowl of water is to keep the energy in the room clear. That usually suffices.

Oh, and by the way, I am planning to add fish to my family of pets but these will be kept in their very own aquarium.

Palabras- El Viento

There are many things to tend to on a Sunday evening. These typical tasks and errands almost took me away from pulling from this oracle as I’ve promised to do on a weekly basis for Graciella, la Gitana. As I shuffled the cards, Graciella came through in a most flirtatious and vivacious form. Now that I think of it she was actually wearing a feather in her hair. That is something I haven’t experienced before. It is fitting that she would pull the winds card for this reading tonight.

El Viento

Image: The image is of a female standing in a windstorm. Her face is not visible because her hair is blowing in front of her face. She is standing on what appears to be sand dunes. The dress she wears is sleeveless and has a plunging neckline. Her frothy white crinoline undergarment peeps out as her skirt is also blowing high in the fierce wind

Words: Welcome to the winds of change. They will always embrace you when it is time to change direction. They may be turbulent as in a hurricane or calm. They will not wait for you. Take this time to walk and feel the wind on your body. Let the winds play in your hair. Allow them to clear away any confusion you may experience.

 Read: Imagine that Graciella would be wearing a feather in her hair and then pull the Viento- winds card!  I take the image of the figure to be standing on a beach.  I’ve never seen that before when pulling this card, the dunes always seemed to be connected to the desert. This woman standing on the beach is obviously ill-prepared in her dress. It would be appropriate as an earlier century dress worn by a woman who would most likely be strolling on the boardwalk, hoping her beau would win a large kewpie doll for her to bring home. The setting for innocence is here but there is unexpected change that is occurring. Complete the things that you would like to see done that you’ve not taken the time to do. There are always those tasks that get swept aside because something seemingly more important begs attention. Put things in their places, have your papers in order. You will be charged with taking care of things that require quickness from you and you will not have time to dilly-dally about.  I am prodded to remind you that the female figure represents the characteristics of the feminine. Take just a moment to introspect, make a short list and get to those important things that you’ve just been meaning to do. When the changes come you will take comfort in the fact that you can move along with openness of heart and mind.