Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there are Signs. New Snow Moon.

Signs.  Signs Everywhere are signs. Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

Well, to be honest...No. No, I can't.  At least not shamanically.

Case in point, I drove to Rochester to see my daughter, shop, and visit. 
Oh, yes, AND to meet with a realtor about moving to the area.  As I drive, a gorgeous red tail hawk flies along side my car for about 300 feet.  It catches my attention and from that moment on the drive was full of hawk sightings. I have never seen a hawk along this 5 hour drive before and I've been making the drive (or passengering) for over twenty trips.  But this trip...HAWK. Hawk. HAWK. Hawk. haWk. HawK....hawk.

I get it I whisper to the universe, calling my husband to mention the sightings and as HAWK would have it, the Buddhist sees one fly by his car as he speaks with me.  Ah! Light bulb! A sign!!!  HAWK. HAWK. HAWK. But what does it mean?

The Buddhist digs in our books upon his return home and comes up with a meaning along these lines:
"Hawk energy means you should take notice to details and know when to be patient and when to act without reserve" patient or act without reserve?  Well, isn't that just contradictory?  
This the main dilemma when working with animal totems and animal signs.  It is never as simple as seeing a bear and realizing that you need to sit at a particular drug store counter, be discovered and live happily ever after.  NOPE. nope. nope. Animal energies and totems are always about greater context and more importantly, your own intuition. Yeah, intuition. That gut feeling.  Your third eye.  The sixth chakra.  Ajna.

Because in the end, the animals aren't in control of our destiny.  Only we are.  
more on intuition as the moon waxes

Monday, January 25, 2016

I keep focusing on my left ear; Full Wolf Moon

I keep focusing on my left ear...  

This thought has been tumbling around in my skull like my husband's jeans in the dryer.  

Thump. Thump. Thump. 

The thought just keeps landing and spinning and landing and spinning and (yes, you guessed it) landing again.  

Thump. Thump. Thump.

It all began when I skimmed through Brandon Stanton's "Humans of New York Stories".  The work is a journal of sorts with photographs of humans and a quote of what they spoke to the author.  This particular quote accompanied a photo of a young girl.

    "For the longest time I was focused on being deaf in my left ear that I almost forgot my other ear was perfectly fine."

And that is what I've been doing too; focusing on what is not working for me instead of what is. Instead of taking stock of how everything is fine. Better than fine.  Perfectly fine.

Thump. Thump. Thump.  

I have been agitating against situations that are as foolish as don quixote fighting the windmill.  I have been wasting energy on why certain things just aren't coming together as expected.  I have been lamenting some health issues.  I have been wondering why I can't achieve what seems in reach. I have been focused on my left ear.

But not today- 

Today I remembered that my right ear is functioning perfectly fine.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pungent Existence, AKA Life Stinks: the waning Blue Moon

The drums and bass of Umphrey's McGee vibrate melodically through my headphones, but it is no match for the buzz of the cicadas and bellowing of the bullfrogs. The day is warm, but not yet gawd awful New Jersey steamy as I power walk along the towpath.  I note that my fellow canal enthusiasts are friendly; waves and smiles abound on this beautiful morning. A breeze caresses my skin causing me to close my eyes momentarily in bliss.

Then it drifts towards me, a foul odor of unknown origin.  I furrow my brow, tighten my lips. Instinctively, my body defends itself from this pungent assault.  I search for the source as my mind deciphers the data from my nose. Fish. Decay. Mold. Algae. I note the millfoil gathered atop the water as my ears hone on a large bull frog.   The canal always goes green in the heat and I assume the musty smell is the canal itself or perhaps the Millstone River that runs to the right of me.  The odor passes (or I pass through it) and I am once again enjoying the walk.

Then it drifts, more fervent and I spy a dead mole.  Perhaps the accidental drop of a flying hawk, the mole looks lie its sleeping BUT it smells like what it is: DEAD.  Anubis nods. DEAD.

My thoughts drift to the evening before when the Game Warden, AKA the buddhist, AKA my spouse rushed to close our bedroom window because one of our more secretive domain residents, a skunk, had left us with tearing eyes and mouths tasting musk.

A thought enters my mind: Life truly does stink.

Not in the 'oh poor me, why can't I catch a break way'; but truly olfactory.  Many of our bodily functions are a bit rank to put it politely.  But it is life- doing what life does- which is to evolve and change.  None of us are flowers, but they say you should stop and smell the roses.  My advice is to stop and smell death.  An olfactory alarm that time is ticking.  

Do not a waste a single moment.

Monday, June 8, 2015

DOMAIN: the late Full Strawberry Moon or perhaps the early New Buck Moon

The pool water is rippling wrong; I notice as I glance out the window amid removing clothes from the dryer.  I've seen this before and it doesn't bode well for some small critter.  Usually a mouse, occasionally a frog or rabbit, the poor animal cannot find a way out of the prison that is our in-ground pool.  I venture out bravely hoping that whatever is in the water will be alive and not a RAT.  Please, oh please.  Let it not be a RAT.

The water ripples have stopped and to my surprise what is before me is a baby groundhog. He is tired, resting his head above the water on the pool steps.  I make some size and weight calculations and realize that I cannot get him out alone without the risk of hurting him or him hurting me.  I dial the Buddhist- my phone reads "ICE" as I dial, my label for his number- "In Case of Emergency".

He answers and I ask how soon he can be home.  My voice gives away my urgency and he asks why and I answer "because there is a live groundhog in the pool."

I suppose that is not something I have ever uttered before and as such, my spouse alters course and arrives home in minutes.  He looks, surmises, leaves, and then returns with a shovel. A second later the very wet and tired little critter is out.  But something is not right as the critter just lays there splayed out all wrong. It's breathing but just looking at us.  Some motherly part of me is touched and I want to swaddle the little fella, rock him gently to groundhog sweet dreams of clover and flowers, Maybe even sing a little groundhog lullaby...but then I notice my Black-eye Susans have been mowed down and I am sure the culprit is our little almost-drowned pal.  

I SIGH.  Because Black-eye Susans (rudbeckia hirta for you Latin lovers) are my favorite flower. The flowers want to live.  Yet, this little animal wants to live.  AND they both want to live HERE. 

AND so do I.  Yet, I did not ask the inhabitants of the acre I "own" if I could move in 16 years ago,   I simply moved in to the empty nest (house) and took over domain.  Ooops! pardon me kind readers while I correct what is the very essence of a lie.  I took over "domain"! hehehe! As if!!  As if I could control the birds, the bees, the rabbits, the mice, the spiders, the bats, the weeds, the flowers and this poor little fella who slipped into the wrong kind of water hole.

It is all in conflict.  Me. Groundhog. Flowers. Birds, Frogs, Bunnies, Fox. Yet, it is as it should be. Compassion is present and my "ICE", my spouse, shifts seamlessly into a game warden and fetches fresh garden lettuce and a space heater (YES- a space heater) to dry and warm up our little critter. And I look on in awe as the Buddhist really is an ICE.  

An hour later, the groundhog has fled back to his home...the same home as mine and I acknowledge that I am going to need to learn how to share because this isn't a yard, it is nature preserve

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hylia versicolor

Twilight is fading and the birds are settling down.  The Buddhist and I are sitting on the patio, enjoying libations when we hear a sound.  We both stop speaking, hold our breath and the silence is pierced again. A shrill sort of vibrato...first to the left of us and an answer call to the right of us.

The Buddhist and I instantly exchange glances.  His lips are tight, almost in a smile, but more like a smirk. I know what he is thinking but my facial expressions do not reflect his thoughts.

I feel my eyes bulging open and my lips are in more of an "oh" shape as if I am thinking "Oh shit"... which in fact I am...
because they are back after a two year absence...
the unwelcome, hot tub loving, stick to my sliding door, FREAK me OUT creature of my nightmares...
the dreaded Hylia versicolor.

AKA Gray Tree Frog.
AKA Bren's hot tub pals
AKA reason Bren nearly drowns in two feet of water in her hot tub

The Buddhist is trying hard to not show it, but I know he is finding this amusing.  He says what we are both thinking "That was a Tree Frog, wasn't it?"  I nod but the answer is really that it was TWO Tree Frogs. As in plural. More than one. A tribe of sorts. An INVASION.

And they are corralling us, cutting off escape, ready to HOP on me, and destroy any semblance of my ego as I scream "get it off me! get it off me!" at the top of my lungs while I spin around furiously until I finally trip over a chair leg and fall.

My hubby is smiling outwardly now, as if he just read my mind.  He knows me too well after so many years. He can be so annoying.

"Maybe this year, the Tree Frogs won't like the hot tub." he voices with a banter that we both immediately identify as wishful thinking.

"Maybe." I add, willing it to be so, "Maybe."

If you have an interest in what the call of the bedeviling Gray Tree Frog sounds like, give this a click:
Freakish Tree Frog Call

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hopscotch; a new year under the waning Wolf Moon

By all appearances, I am a productive adult.  But I've got a secret.  An old secret. 

Deep down, I am just a wounded child looking for a friend to play hopscotch with.  

I bite my lip and watch from the sidelines as children who don't look much different from me but somehow are "different" play and laugh together.  I want to join them but my inner child is so very cautious, so very careful to not show any emotion that I have constructed a calculated facade.  I'm both protected and trapped by my clever ruse to fool people into thinking I'm indifferent.  From pain felt ages ago, I developed a dispassionate mask.  

Yet, look behind the curtain, and there is a small girl, a very passionate and creative girl, trying hard not to cry because she can't figure out why she is not the right kind of girl. She's not the girl that gets included. She's not the girl who gets invited to parties. She's not the girl who gets to play hopscotch.  And even if she was invited to, she might defer because no one has taught her how. Another chance to get laughed at. Another opportunity for others to see how she is not the right kind of "different".

But you feel it too, right?  This isn't simply the story of my childhood.  It is the story of all of us. We are adults hiding our wounded inner children.  The wounds come in many sizes and colors.
Not smart enough.  
Not pretty enough. 
Not thin enough. 
Not athletic enough. 
Not strong enough.  
Not bold enough.  
Not good enough.  Yes, so very very not good enough...

But we are good enough.  Each of us is unique and capable of great things, beautiful things- but it takes dropping the mask, showing our inner need to connect, laugh and play. It requires giving the inner child a hug and telling her/him  that TODAY is different. TODAY we can play hopscotch. TODAY we are good enough. All we need to do is smile and politely join in.  

Imagine a world where everyone is included. Imagine a world where everyone believes in their talents. Imagine a world where we don't spend the lion share of our energy hiding and shielding. How stunningly brilliant would that be??

I've found a good sized stone and you've got some chalk...
Will you play hopscotch with me?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eyebrows; End of the Harvest Moon...

I look at my reflection.  All I see are eyebrows. Not the birthmark that normally consumes my gaze, or the chicken pock scar near my mouth, or the sledding scar poorly stitched along my jaw. No. Just eyebrows

There! See them? Dark slants of hair arching from the bridge of my nose. They are so OBVIOUS.

I sigh and examine them closer.  Just a slightly different color and the white ones that were giving away my true age are gone.  Dyed.  Brown.  Not the brown my eyebrows had been, but some hairdresser shade of brown to match my hairdresser shade of brown hair. 

Brown but not my brown.  I blink and stare some more.  They are painfully obvious.  

The Buddhist arrives home and I wait for him to comment on my abhorrent eyebrows.  

"I like your hair", he says matter of fact, as he dives into the fridge looking for food.  

"But don't you notice anything else?" I ask.  He blinks.  He looks.  He blinks some more. He knows he supposed to notice something but he can't find any difference but my hair cut. He stares some more wondering what will happen if he never sees it, when I cut him off from further blinking.
"My eyebrows!!" I exclaim, frustrated that he cannot see how weirdly OBVIOUS they are.

"Oh yeah. They look good too." he adds.  

I shake my head in disbelief.  "No. They are weird. Like really big or out of proportion or something..."  I stare at my reflection.  EYEBROWS stare back.

He laughs "No. They look the same.  Your hair is darker though."  

I look at the reflection and notice how much darker my hair is.  Whoa.  It's almost black in some of the low lights.  Huh.  I stare some more.  The eyebrows recede and BLACK taunts me.  I stare more, losing all my features to black strands of hair.  BLACK.  Wow.  That black is really OBVIOUS.

Then a thought hits me.  What good is having vision if it is so willing to be persuaded by our insecurities?  Can any of us look in the mirror and see our true reflection?  Or is it always the assemblage of our various beliefs about ourselves?  AND where else is our vision skewed by our predispositions?  Are we capable of objective vision at all??

I look in the mirror and for a second see all the light and goodness that I embody. I smile, but in a flash, it is gone, replaced by a middle aged woman with oddly dark hair and brown eyebrows.  
But at least she is smiling...