Come forth into the light of things; let Nature be your teacher.

~ William Wordsworth

Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books.

Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.

~ Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

Friday, July 26, 2019

Spider Wisdom



Photo by Hans on pixabay
Spider has often shown up in my life as a reminder to weave words and worlds, to express myself in the way I love most. But recently Spider has taught me something else.

Ants love to come into my house. It may be because it’s hot and dry outside, and when my husband waters, it’s too wet. I’m not sure exactly why the ants come marching in. And I’m not a fan. They don’t listen to reason. They end up dead when they come in. I don’t like to kill them, but where there are a few, hundreds can follow if one bit of grease or drop of food isn’t noticed and cleaned up.

Where there are ants, there are spiders. It is mainly daddy long-legs that bless my home. They move awkwardly on their spindly legs unless they’re scurrying, which I rarely see them do. Mostly I see them wait patiently in a corner on their web. They wait for an ant to get caught in their weavings or when one walks by, they grab it. I thank them for catching ants. It’s why I leave them alone in their corners. There are probably a dozen in this large house right now.

With spiders there is no chase involved. They simply do the work of weaving a web and waiting. Mind you, they seem to choose areas frequented by what they want to catch. There does seem to be some planning involved. But once in the perfect place, there is only biding time to be done.

Being patient works. Within a day or two I see the empty husks of ants lying at the base of webs. The spiders are successful in their ability to feed themselves and they don’t expend a lot of energy doing it.

Life is about planning and taking action, but it also calls for more patience than many are willing to have.

This society is about making things happen. I get caught up in that sometimes. I just want to get that essay done and published. I want to make this coaching thing work. I want to take action and be done. But it doesn’t work that way.

We set our intentions. We weave our web of thought and belief. And we wait for inspiration to come our way. I’ve learned to write even as I wait. The writing is a kind of weaving that catches inspiration. But I’m not writing to get it done. I’m open to possibility and I let the words flow. Patience is needed for the first part of the writing process. Later we build and make.

Whatever intention we set, we must be patient. Patience is akin to being open. Patience is the gateway through which possibility enters. When we lose patience, we slam the door on possibility. It’s like a daddy long-legs spider trying to catch an ant by chasing it down. The spider can’t reach out and catch an ant while it’s running. It can’t jump on the ant. It would have to stop and the ant will outrun it. But by waiting patiently, the spider catches dozens of ants.

So, here I wait. Inspiration already hit yesterday when Spider’s wisdom came to me. Now I’m ready to catch more ideas. I trust they will come to me. I simply ask the right questions, set my intentions and wait.

What are you waiting for? Think about what you want. Ask “what if” questions. Ask to know what is rising up within. Believe in possibilities and then wait. The idea, the next step will come to you. But first, have patience. Keep the door open and the muse will fly in.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lessons from Lizards and Seasons


Photo of an earlier lizard visitation by Charles "Beautyseer" Elliott

Just in case I didn’t get it, another lizard scrambled up the side of the house and was making a racket outside my office window. Just a little earlier, there was one doing pushups in the driveway when we got back from our morning walk. It seems it’s time to pay attention.

Lizards symbolize regeneration and risk taking. I have new ideas I’m getting ready to implement. Lizard may be trying to tell me to keep going. It reminds me to take risks and know that I’m ready and even if things don’t work out, I can recover. I’ll take Lizard’s appearance as I sign of good fortune as well as an indication I need to take a moment and make sure I’m following my heart.

Spring, butterflies, wildflowers, wasps, lizards all remind me of the return and rebirth principles of life. Sometimes I get down and feel as though I’ve missed my chance. But, this season, these creatures remind me that all rises again. When we’re in the flow we can’t help but know all returns, all rises again. We need only look to the day and the cycle of the sun. Opportunities are never lost. Another chance always comes around. We simply make ourselves ready.  And when our opportunity comes back around, we begin again.

Those around me will tell you it seems I’m always beginning again. As I wrote that line a hummingbird came up to my window. It keeps coming by. Hummingbird’s ability to fly backwards can be seen as a reminder to step back and get a better perspective. Something Lizard is reminding me to do as well. Step back and take a look at why I’m always beginning. Of course, the joyous hummingbird could also be reminding me to look up and not brood over it.

So I’ll step back for a moment and wonder instead of ruminate. When I do, I see a pattern of stop and go, but I also see that each beginning was not a start from scratch. I don’t have to see it as always starting over but taking another step on the path. Spring comes around every year, but it’s not the same as the last. The trees have grown a little more. The creatures birthed last year are now giving birth. Through time and season we grow. We return a little wiser, a little stronger and a little more able. Like the sparrow on my balcony, singing its song, I’ll feel the breeze and leap into the flow, letting it take me where I want and need to go.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Feel the Wind. Feel the Rage.


Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Rage like wind blows through the land. It is powerful. It is mesmerizing. You only hope that when it’s over that the damage is minimal. But right now as it rages, you wonder.

The Santa Ana winds are blowing today. Out of the Northeast they race down my street, blowing the trees to bending and rattling the awning above my window.

I usually love the wind, the way it wakes me up and energizes me. That was the wind I grew up with, the cold, wet nor’easter or the wild stormy winds from the west. But here, the wildest winds come from the desert to the east and are warm and dry. They are unsettling. They make me anxious. They often increase the risk of fire in this arid land.

This country has become arid, unable to hold the moisture of compassion, the fluidity of uncertainty. Will the rage that is blowing now enflame us all?

The wild Santa Ana winds can wreak havoc. The damage they do may be a few downed trees or raging fires. But they also clear the air and make it easier to breathe as long as fire doesn’t rise.

Maybe it is time to rage like the wind, to call on Santa Ana, the mother of Mary, the grandmother of Jesus. We could use a powerful mother and grandmother right about now. She has long been the patron saint of my family. We went on pilgrimage to her shrine in Quebec every year to ask for healing for my brother. And he was healed. He never exhibited the worst symptoms of his condition.

Rage ignites us. We feel it because something is terribly wrong. We can no longer let ourselves or others be harmed. We can no longer allow the Earth to be damaged. She has her own rage and it knows no mercy. The raw power of Nature has been unleashed on Earth and within the women. The unheralded cry of the banshee whips through us, through the land, through the construct we live under.

Feel the wind, feel the rage. Let it clear the air. Let it blow through and let it make your eyes water. Let’s turn this storm into one of tears. Let our rage rise, let our passions be roused so it may reveal the compassion that is waiting just behind the pain. The wailing of the banshee need not herald our deaths and the death of the planet. It can be a cry to take down the destructive construct of patriarchy and our interior walls of hate and shame.

The wind continues to rattle and rouse everything on my street. My rage continues to rattle my heart and rouse my soul. But the tears are what will prevent the all-consuming fire and bring healing. And when they flow my world works again. Eyes and heart wide open we can face what we’ve become and know it is not who we are. We are ever becoming even as an eternal flame, steady and strong, burns at our center.

In the wails of the banshee I hear her heart sing, “You are wind. You are fire. You are earth. You are water. You are One. Don’t try to contain anything. Let it flow. You always dance on the edge of creation. When you take your next step, who will you be?”

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Longing for Nature

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash


I scroll through pictures on Instagram and Facebook and love the green spaces and sparkling waters my friends share. I find myself longing to step into these photographs and feel the breeze, smell the green and hear the water lap at a sandy shore.

Though there are trees and bushes in my yard, I long for wild places where the trees speak to one another of places and times beyond my short life. Where the whole community of trees, plants, critters and rocks know themselves as one entity, place as organism. I grow weary of our human focused world. Too many of us don’t know we are one with everything that the whole Earth and all upon it is one being of many beings working together to move us into an ever greater understanding of who and what we are. And we are Life itself.

Sometimes I sit in my backyard and close my eyes and know even here all is one. The trees speak to one another and if I sit long enough and listen, I find I’ve become a part of the conversation for their presence has embraced me and soothed my angst.

Still I long for wild places until I realize those wild places live within me. I’m not just one with nature, I am Nature. My longing stems from my forgetting. It’s time to re-member myself, gather the fragments of my consciousness and realize and realign with Oneness. Those photographs become the images I’m already standing in. Even now as I sit here and type this a stream is running through my mind and the birds are singing in my heart. I am rooted and I am free to fly in the clouds. I’ve been gathered and I’ve been set free.

Friday, July 27, 2018

It’s Time to Uproot the Pain of the Past to Allow for New Growth




The sky is full of wisdom today. This lunar eclipse during a full moon will turn the milky white face of the moon blood red. And that’s not the only thing going on. To learn more about the astrology of this time, read Jennifer Racioppi’s blog.

With many planets going retrograde along with the eclipse, Nature is reminding us of the importance of looking back in order to move forward. It’s a message that has been with me lately. I recently wrote about being told by a Mourning Dove it was time to move forward. You can read it here.

This eclipse cycle that is ending is a 19 year one. Nineteen years ago I moved to Southern California from Nova Scotia. I completely uprooted my life. The beginnings of that change started showing up in 1998 with a crow flying behind me and brushing my hair with its wing. One relationship was ending and another just about to begin.

I pulled out my journal to ruminate over these past 19 years. There have been many insights and much growth. The new relationship has brought me closer and closer to the past in order for it to be healed. What I really learned was that I brought the past with me. I didn’t leave it behind in Nova Scotia. It wasn’t time to let it go yet. I needed to carry it nearly 4000 miles so I could wait for it to fully surface with the help of this new relationship. And boy, has it risen. It has made things difficult at times, but I’ve learned a lot.

Nature here in California has been a part of my healing over the past 19 years as well. The Giant Sequoias taught me that in the present the past is ever with us. As much as I want to uproot it fully, I can’t. What I can do is remove the stunted growth to allow new growth, new life to prosper. It’s perfect that today, the stump removal team came and removed the stump out front. The stump had grown branches, but it was never going to be a tall, strong tree again. Now something new can be planted.

The desert has also taught me something. I learned that even when it seems as though there is no life, if you look close, you’ll find an abundance of it. Even in our most distraught days, there is still life within us. It also taught me years of drought doesn’t mean death. It will rain again, and when it does, a field of flowers will bloom as far as the eye can see. Our driest time creatively doesn’t mean the end of our ability to create. We just need patience and perhaps the juice of life for ideas to bloom.

And there have been many more moments when Nature led me to a greater understanding. It has helped me carry the past to this point as has my relationship. But now, it’s time to let the pain of the past go. It can only stunt my growth.

Again, I stand on the precipice of change. The distant shore is still hard to see, but I’m beginning to make out some shapes. I light a candle under the Blood Moon and gently lay it on a tiny boat. I recall all I wish to release and launch the boat, let it drift out to sea. I bless all I have learned as I watch it disappear.

I turn to the shore in the distance. It is 19 years away. I step into the boat built by the last 19 years and set sail in a new direction. I don’t quite know yet what it will look like when I land. It’s a long ways away. But I will let the vision that is beginning to rise guide me each day, each week, each month, each year. I know my experiences along the way will shape the vessel and the vision, and this will bring me to exactly where I need to be.