Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

Cold night.
Cold, endless night.
Filled with anticipation I venture out.
Anticipation that fills my heart with the hope of things to come.
Snow crackling 'neath my feet. Bright Moon blessing my way.
Cold night.
Cold, endless night.
The path not clear and yet I am walking.
Anticipation that fills my heart with the hope of things to come.
Wind placing sharp kisses on my cheek. Wise Owl calls the way.
Cold night.
Cold, endless night.
Growing, faintly I begin to see.
Anticipation that fills my heart with the hope of things to come.
The sun reborn, growing ever brighter. The Light guides my way.
Night cannot endure forever.

~Village Wise Woman

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where is G-d?

I am in pain, much like most of the United States is in pain. It is of a surety that every parent hugged their dear children tighter yesterday. My heart exploded from the heart ache and tears flowed this morning for the parents who lost children and all the families and friends affected. Life will simply never be the same for them. Never. And there are no answers. None to satisfy at least.

And then I see this. An offering of, I imagine, a very well meaning person trying to make a statement.

I have to be honest and tell you how much I dislike this saying every time I have seen it. I dislike it with a passion and anger that makes me feel like I want to scream at the person quoting it and shake my fists at the  heavens. There are many levels of absurdity to me in this statement  but I am going to simply rant about what I see.

Regardless of whether G-d is 'allowed' in schools or not,  to have Him saying violence occurs because He is not allowed in, strikes me as a ridiculous excuse not to mention a heartless attempt at agenda. G-d either is omnipotent, or He isn't. If there is to be belief and faith it cannot be contingent upon whether the public schools allow or disallow prayer. To state that such things occur because He is not allowed in the schools via prayer or what have you, is to state there are limits to His power and influence.

I should think that G-d is far greater than laws and limitations of said laws. People who believe should not be using this as a response or excuse for such violent atrocities. It by no means comforts and it simply isn't the truth. G-d is indeed allowed in schools in as much as there are children who believe in every school in the United States. Moreover, I am sure there were many children and adults praying that day. Praying, pleading, and begging for help from above.

I am in no way saying I have an answer, for surely I do not and nightmarish events such as what has recently occurred shake me to the depth of my soul. I have no answers. I do have lots of questions. Regardless, I cannot and will not accept such a simplistic statement as an excuse.

I therefore offer a paraphrase of the words of the shiva house. A meager offering of words in the face of such tragedy, but it is written with the love in my heart: May G-d comfort the families of Sandy Hook elementary among all the mourners of the United States. May they receive healing and may somehow, some way, some light come from this darkness. I do not know how this can or will happen. Again I have no answers. But this is the stuff of faith. It may seem senseless and perhaps even pointless but at times like these, all we seem to have.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chanukah Thoughts

There are times when the darkness surrounding me seems all too much. When I dare to watch or read the news I become more than convinced that we are going to hell in a hand basket complete with rocket boosters. As far as the media and, it appears, the majority opinion is concerned, it is completely hopeless. Couple that with all the apocalyptic movies, the sensationalism of Mayan 2012 and of course let us not forget the zombie apocalypse, I am not sure why we all aren't  curled up in a fetal position in the corner rocking frantically waiting for the end to finish us.

I think of darkness. Dark moonless nights. Late nights in Maine where there is no ambient light and the copious stars in the sky give me a feeling of being swallowed up completely. Even there, when the porch light is out, it is not utterly dark.

I think of myself. When the dark cloud of despair covers me like a heavy, uncomfortable blanket threatening to suffocate me between my sobs. Even then, when all seems lost, it is not utterly dark.

Because all is not as it seems. The lies around us, although overwhelming and even at times debilitating, are just that, lies. Lies of the media. Lies of sensationalism. Lies that we even tell ourselves. I am not saying that the darkness doesn't exist, of course it does. But it is most certainly not as bad as the lies we seem all too eager to embrace. Even the darkness that dwells within each one of us is most assuredly not as bleak as we berate ourselves for.

How can I be so sure?

Enter Chanukah. Each night we add one more candle. Each night gradually bringing more light into the world. Gently, gradually and quietly we begin to dispel the darkness. All that from one single candle and voila, the darkness is no more. Small and little. Seems to be a recurring theme in Chanukah. Small Maccabee army defeating the great Greek army complete with elephants. One small jar of oil lasting eight days. One little light lighting all eight candles. One small and little light.

As I sit with my menorah and gaze at it's beauty, the warmth of it's light instills me with the reminder that all is never as it seems, particularly if what seems is permeated with darkness. The light within me, however small at times it may be, is still a light and that small light is all it takes to dispel the darkness.

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

All in the Day of the Life

You ever have one of those days?

No, not one of those days, one of those perfect I-am-in-my-element-and-know-who-I-am days.

For some time I have been a bit sad about the fact that, although I love my job as a preschool teacher, I felt it prevented me from doing all the other cool stuff I am supposed to be doing. You know, all that Village Wise Woman-y stuff. And since I need an income, having not yet invested in my vardo so I can take it on the road, I need a job that generates said income.

It reminded me of when I was a young mother and I could not so all those 'things' I wanted to do because I was raising my children, you know things like reading books, going to the bathroom by myself and the like.

Always missing out. Not that I would have changed it for the world, but why couldn't I have my cake and eat it too. And why can't I now?

Well, the obvious answer is I can. And the fact is, I do. This past Sunday reminded me of this truth.

It was that kind of a day, that I previously mentioned. It was a day started at 4:30am (my favorite time of the day) filled with laundry, clean rooms, yoga , belly dance, and ended at Red Tent where I facilitated a baby blessing, created a tree of life henna on the expectant mama and shared in the sweet sisterhood of the Red Tent. I truly felt I was living my life, the life I am supposed to lead. It's how I feel when I run off in the middle of the night to attend a birth. It's so exciting and fulfills me in such a way I cannot explain! I drove home and wondered why every day couldn't be like this day.

The next day I woke up, said modah ani and began my day. Still feeling high from the previous day, my heart was filled with gratitude and I wondered what this particular day would have in store. I continued with this path of gratitude and was grateful for all that came my way. The warm shawl I placed on my shoulders, my loyal pets following me around the house and of course my early morning coffee.This gratitude began to create a realization within me that all of my days are days filled with that Village Wise Woman-y stuff. The stuff of crying children and comforting hugs. Of dishes and trying to find a cure for my dog's tumor. Of text messages and early morning chats. Of journals and blogs. All of it, every last seemingly mundane, gotta do it moment, is a moment of me living my life the way I am supposed to be living it. Every moment of every day I am  fulfilling my mission on this planet. I am of the village and my village is all of you, whatever it is or however my connection to you is. This thought causes me great joy and fills my heart with tremendous satisfaction.

So with these thoughts in mind, I ask you dear reader/friend/sister, to look at your own life and find the places where you are manifesting and living your dreams.Where are you fulfilling your life's mission? This particular part of the journey you are on is there to teach and reveal it to you. Find all that you are grateful for and see if it doesn't help you begin to realize that all is happening now and set into motion now for you to live your heart's

Blessings and joy in the journey!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

When Less is Truly More and Turns into a December Challenge

I. love. coffee.

Mind you, it's not just a mere get myself into wake-up mode and move kinda love. No, it's more of a "I worship at your altar, oh goddess caffeina" kinda love. I enjoying the ritual of preparing the coffee and I eagerly await the first glub-glubs of the brewing process. When I begin to hear the gentle trickle of the coffee entering the urn, my excitement increases knowing soon I shall be partaking of the holy elixir. Eagerly I pour a cup adding just a pinch of sugar and cream so as not to disturb the wonderful bitterness of my first morning mug. Breathing it all in I drink...and I drink...and I drank until the coffee seemed to no longer be my friendly goddess but more of a annoying lover who certainly tasted lovely and dark at first but then began to slowly grow more and more bitter and eventually became an upset in my stomach.

Oh, the joys of a sensitive stomach.

So, what's a girl to do? I really and truly enjoy coffee. I tried tea, chai and other hot beverages but none could replace my true love. At least not in the morning. I did cut out coffee during the day, only occasionally having an afternoon cup.


Ah, there is the rub! I was not drinking cups of coffee. I was drinking mugs and not even standard 12 oz. size mugs, they were more like 16 oz. sizes. If you consider that the coffee makers of today are still based on the old 6 oz. size coffee cup and I was using a 12-16oz mug, I was drinking twice the amount of coffee I probably should have been. And unfortunately, that became painfully obvious on occasion. I began to think about the 6 oz. measurement and what a coffee cup actually was. I started to look through my cabinents and discovered that among my many tea cups I owned two actual coffee cups.
This is a tea cup. Note the wide top that tapers to a narrow bottom and small handle designed to accommodate simply a finger. Stock picture of the Royal Albert tea set I have. (PS. If my children are reading this feel free to add to the collection you started for me. :-)  ) 

These are coffee cups. Note the higher, vertical sides, not as wide mouth and larger handle to accommodate two fingers.After making my discovery I wondered at the possibilities of being able to still enjoy my beloved coffee but with less of it.  I decided to employ my newly found coffee cups and to retire the mega-sized mugs. (Not entirely mind you. I still indulge in my mega doses of chamomile, mint or ginger tea ) I began to realize that, in this case, less was most definitely more. I began to find myself relaxing into my smaller cup, savoring it even more than I did before. I did not guzzle my coffee because, I was only allowing myself two of these petite indulgences. It has become quite enjoyable, not to mention the fact my tummy is much happier and I am no longer on uber-hyper drive.

I wonder, my dear friends if the same isn't true in most cases. Doesn't it seem to make sense that if we only had a small quality amount of most things we would appreciate it and savor it more? Isn't it better to own one amazing and warm coat than ten flimsy, albeit cute coats? I follow this with shoes. I own less and less these days, having moved far from my Imelda Marcos days, and have about 4 pairs of shoes that make me and my feet very happy. Mind you, I pay good money for them, but the quality is worth it. They last me each about three years and so in the long run they are far cheaper than buying 4 pairs of $20 shoes. What about in the case of food? Could this idea of less is more help in the cases of food addictions or compulsions? What if we honored and loved ourselves so much that we only gave ourselves the absolute best that we could afford. For some of us, that may not be much, but what if it was the best. Consider this, even if you cannot buy the finest, organic, free range, free trade food, you could create a meal placing it lovingly on a plate, and then carrying it over to your table/altar you place it upon a napkin or place mat. Light a candle for that matter! Imagine the possibilities of that love affair! Slowly eating your food. Tasting it. Yes, I do believe less is very much more in this case. 

Considering my own words I think I shall put my money where my mouth is and begin my own "less is more" challenge. Throughout this month of December, where the world seems hell bent on buying and consuming, I shall begin a practice of less is more. For me this will be small practices. Eating smaller amounts of food on small plates. Eating slower and paying attention. Spending less time on social media sites, and more time here sharing with you. I am not completely sure how this work it's way out to be quite honest, but hey, if we learn even a little bit, than that will indeed be more than what we had. And yes, you read that correctly, I did say we. If you are so inclined, join me this month. Make a comment and share what you are choosing to do and what your experiences are. You can always post on my facebook page or here on the blog, or you can even email me! But do let me know if you are going to join me. I'd love to know I have company on the journey. 


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Sacred Domesticity

You could chalk it up to the stars I was born under. Cancerian/Moonchildren are known to love their homes dearly, though some could call it a simlple, albeit minor case of agoraphobia. I myself just relish the warm and snug feeling of my home. One would imagine that as much as I love my home, homemaking would be my easiest and finest joy. Well, it When I was younger it was not, not by a long shot. In my early days of motherhood I lacked the skills and the balance to raise children and keep a tidy home. Since I could not do both, I focused on raising my children because as the poem goes:

"The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep."

That was my story then. And it made sense, but there were many times thankfully where I could get my house in order, especially as my children grew older. But truth be told, I never reached the level of 'domestic goddess'. Oh, without a doubt I wanted to, but work outside the home and/or the stresses of life could overwhelm me in such a way that I would become paralyzed by the mere thought of dusting. My heart would ache and my mind become depressed when my home would be in disarray.  Try as I might, I could not find my rhythm. I tried every housekeeping tip I could find, read all the time management books, I even attempted to follow the wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday...rhythm but to no avail. 

One of the things I particularly enjoyed doing after I did finally have my home clean and in order was to light candles and sometimes incense.  I would sit satisfied in the  soft light, breathing in the heady aromas and feel the pride of a job well done.  I came to realize this was a signal to me of my ritual of cleaning. I began to wonder if I reversed the process, would I attain the same results. I began to light candles before  I would clean, even if I was just doing dishes. I would pause for a second and think or say aloud, "I am going to clean my home." I found I had the motivation now to do it, and even more than motivation I felt a sacredness now to my work. It was more than just house cleaning, it felt like I was creating a sacred space, and that space was my home. 

Last evening, I washed the play silks my students enjoy in the classroom. They had finished line drying and I folded them to take them back to school. But as I folded and looked at the wrinkled, careless fabric I decided to iron them. I pulled out the iron and before I set my hand to the task, I lit a candle. I began to iron each silk and as I watch the heat from the iron magically remove every wrinkle I thought of my students and found myself directing energy and love to them and to my classroom. I found myself praying for my own life, hoping the wrinkles of my life will be smoothed out gently (and on low heat). I realized once again the sacredness and spirituality of the simple, day to day, domestic duties. 

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Full Moon+Tu b'shvat= She Who Dances With Trees

The Moon was oh so full and low in the sky when I noticed her last night. Appropriately enough,I saw here through stretching limbs of confused winter trees. Confused because many here are beginning to bud because of our very mild winter. Trees and plants beginning to wake up before their time could prove to be problematic since there is still at least 6-8 weeks of winter left and the possibilities of a harsh snowstorm are still likely. How sad it would be to lose those first buds, flowers or fruits. I began to consider today's holiday of Tu b'shvat, the New Year of Trees, and what this early awakening metaphor could mean.

People are often compared to trees and it was this comparison that caused me to think on this further. There are those of us, many of us, who may be trying to bud and bloom before we are quite ready. Or perhaps we are putting pressure on another to bud and bloom before his or her time. Every tree has their fruit according to their kind and according to their time. The sweetest and most enjoyable fruit is reaped when their fruit is ripe and the season is full. Otherwise, you are left with hard, tasteless or worse yet, bitter fruit.

Look at yourself. Are you pruning your branches too harshly? Are you cutting back that which you despise too cruelly? It's true, we do need to work on ourselves and we are always working to prune back the dead limbs so that the living may come forth. But there is such a thing as too much pruning or not pruning at the proper time. Pruning lavender in February instead of April proved devastating for me as I ending up killing a beloved lavender plant not so many years ago. Think on this, my friends.

Then look at your garden of family and friends. Is your well meaning advice simply more pruning to a tree who has already been quite brutalized? Have you carefully examined them to see if they need fertilizing and sunshine instead of more rain? Perhaps you are meant to provide shade or a filter of light for a young sapling so as not to expose it to the glaring sun before it's time. Gentle, compassionate caretakers tend to bring forth greater harvests than those who aggressive attack the landscape with harsh chemicals and pesticides. It may take longer, but the harvest gleaned will be worth the work and wait!

May we all celebrate this New Year of Trees by celebrating the Tree of Life within each and every one of us! May we grow in our proper time, not too early and too late. May we all bear fruit sweet, ripe and full! May we prune when necessary and may we flourish as a tree planted by the riverside!

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Wordless Wednesday, Snow

We've only had one layering of snow this winter.

The holly bushes looked so lovely blanketed in white.

Winter Dreams of peace.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peaceful Hypnobirth

I love an empowering birth story and I particularly love it when I know the mother. A dear friend of mine and fellow child birth advocate recently birthed her third hypno-baby. Yep, three successful hypnobirths! Obviously this is not fluke of nature, Hypnobirth simply works! After the second one she became a Hypnobirth Educator. What a gift she is giving to the community women! Reading her baby's birth story thrilled me and reminded me once again how important it is for all of us to tell and share our stories. Inspiration, wisdom and empowerment are what it is to be gained. We no longer gather at the well to share our stories but at least we have email, right? After reading her story and mulling it over and decided to ask if I could share it here. She said yes, because she too wants to encourage and empower you with her story. So consider this our well, the well of this particular village and read on to hear this empowered woman's story. Drink deeply and let it empower your heart!

Just letting you know I am so blessed for the wonderful birth of our baby who was my third HypnoBirth- and the best birth I have ever experienced!After being up all night with my sick four-yr-old, labor began on Saturday morning with a bloody show and surges soon followed. I went right into the surge breath while timing each one. They were 12 minutes apart and then within 2 hours went to 6 minutes apart. I thought for sure this baby would be coming out by noon. I decided to eat breakfast and then take a nap to make up for the missed sleep from the previous night. I am not sure if I slept through most of the surges but the ones I woke up for were 20 minutes apart. Maybe this was going to take longer than I expected...

Well, by lunchtime I felt a constipated feeling and didn't really feel like eating. I decided to go back to bed and before long the surges began again, around 1:30pm. I was doing the surge breath and I read the affirmations found in the handout "Dear Little Baby." I felt most comfortable standing and doing hip swiveling, something my HypnoMoms know from the video "Birth As We Know it." My mother was massaging my back doing the "v"s when all of a sudden I felt a little pop and felt a little fluid rush out. I ran to the toilette, letting everything release and let go as I continued to do the hip swivels and surge breathing. I thought maybe this was my water breaking, but wasn't sure since the fluid had quickly stopped flowing. My mother was saying the birth companion's prompts from the sheet and my husband was timing the surges and I continued to labor on the toilette. By 3pm I said maybe we should go to the hospital, but I really wasn't sure I needed to go. The surges where a little intense but nothing I couldn't handle and in between them I felt like a regular person, laughing and joking around with my family. The only thing was, there wasn't much time in between each surge. They were lasting 1.5 minutes and 2.5 minutes apart!

My husband, mother and I quickly put some things together and went into the car to the Hospital. As we were driving there I kept saying the lovely affirmations, visualizing the rosebud opening and just letting my body be as loose as I could. When we got to triage I was sure my water had broken and when they checked me I was 8cm opened! The doctor said there wouldn't be much time. The birthing suite was beautiful, lights were dimmed just as we had asked and everybody was talking softly. I had an amazing nurse who believed in natural birth and said she would be with me for the remainder of my labor. It was 4:10pm by now. I felt pressure on my lower back as I was nearing completion and the nurse assisted me with hip squeezes. A little after 5 they told me I should push and when I did, they said, "There he is... he's looking at you, pick your head up!" I didn't believe them so I kept being in my zone but then everybody in the room said, "He's waving at you, pick your head up and look." I did and there he was, half way out of my body, calmly looking at me, his eyes wide open with one hand over his head giving me an introductory "Hello." I received my baby from my own body at 5:07pm on December 17th.

What a calm and loving environment it was. Mizmor litodah! My husband and I are so grateful for the many blessings in this journey! I hope this is encouragement or inspiration for anyone working on goals through positive affirmations and visualizations. I had been visualizing and affirming my dream birth for several months and thank G-d every thing I asked for came true! Keep on your own journeys and have faith that your wellspring of abundance will shower down too.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Red Tent Temple

Each New Moon for the past 10 months I have helped to erect a Red Tent Temple in the Philadelphia area. It is a traveling Red Tent, visiting the home of any sister who would like to make that space for the Temple. We have red fabric draped everywhere to give a physical manifestation to the Red Tent. There is often music softly playing in the background and a low hum of conversation. Often you will see a sisters sharing hearts in the kitchen, enjoying soup or other nosh that someone has brought to share. Other times you may notice another sister quietly coloring a mandala or reading a book. And other times you may just see her sitting on the floor with her head thrown back and her eyes closed simply feeling the peace the permeates the Tent.
The Red Tent is a drop in which helps to maintain the relaxed feeling and openness of the Temple. Women are free to come and go during the time the Red Tent is open. Later the women are called to an informal circle and Ritual begins. That ritual too is an organic creation of whatever the need may be for the month. Sometimes it's a time of sharing New Moon intentions. Other times a sister may share a poem or story of her own or one that has touched her. There have been sisters who have brought a song to share or a drum to lead us. There have also been times when tears have flowed and hearts were laid bare and broken. At other times there have been no words and all that is offered is a gentle touch or love filled eyes. And of course there have been many times of laughter and silly, joyous sharing.

Women who have begun their moon time (menstruation) are welcome at the Red Tent and we have had sisters as young as 15 attend. The ages of the women there seem fairly irrelevant as wisdom seems to be gleaned and shared with little regard to how many years you have been on the planet. We all have much to give and in the safety of the Red Tent all the sisters young and older are free to speak and share. And the Red Tent is a very safe place. Each sister is loved, accepted and free. There are no rules and there is no limit to what can or cannot be shared. Each one of us accepts upon herself the Sacred Trust of the other's heart and maintains the sacred space for her sister, knowing and trusting that she will do the same.

My part in the Red Tent is simply the contact person, the soup maker and the keeper of the red box of fabric, colored pencils, markers, sketch pads and other such sundries that all add to the sweet experience of the Red Tent. I help to maintain the space but those who attend are the ones who make the energy and sisterhood happen. Each Red Tent has it's own identity and mission. In the beginning I would worry about what to do or what would happen, but I soon realized that the Divine was indeed present and each gathering was an organic and free flowing event. With each New Moon I look forward to this gathering with the community of women that has formed and continues to grow because of it. We have even given birth to a sister Red Tent in Lancaster county which is maintained by another sister Wise Woman.
As we come upon the one year anniversary of the Red Tent, I stand in awe of it. What began in my living room with the impetus and energy of several 20something year old friends, still stands a year later traveling from home to home, through the devotion and quite honestly need, of the community of women at large. We have discovered how dearly we need this time together, to gather, dance and sing. We have discovered how dearly we need this time to love and share with each other. And we have realized that regardless of what may be happening in our lives, the Red Tent Temple will be up and the space will be maintained because it is just that important. You may not be able to make it this New Moon or even next one, but know, She will be there waiting to welcome you into Her Womb of Sisterhood and Divine love. If you care to bring a gift to the altar, bring your heart and bring your dreams...oh and chocolate is always good too.

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A love letter, to you

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open." ~Martha Graham
Martha Graham spoke these words from her Dancer’s heart. You are a unique expression of the Divine. A facet, if you will, of the Diamond of Divinity’s love for the world. You were born as a gift to the planet and the human race and it is your responsibility to express that gift. By being you, a free and wild human being, you gift the world with that Love. Your work is not to figure it out, or to encumber yourself with a label or persona, your work is to simply be you. You in all of your imperfect and wild beauty! The wildness of your self shines a light that is yours and yours alone. Consider the wild flower that insists on pushing herself through the cold suffocating concrete of a city sidewalk. She lifts her face up valiantly to the sun and allows her beauty to bless all who take the time who notice her. Does that seem too daunting a task, dear one? Do not let fear, an illusion, prevent you. The world is but an illusion because as the wildflower teaches us, even the ‘reality’ of cement did not stop her from blooming and sharing her light. You hard work is to be you, to burst through the cracks and be your true and authentic self. Search your heart and begin to see your own beauty. Do not judge yourself, that is not your job. Do not compare yourself, that is not truth. Find the wildness of your soul and begin to move! Begin to lift your face to the sun and dance your life, dance your Divinity and be the gift of love you were created to be.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Musical Monday-Peace

As a believer and a contributor to The (peaceful) Revolution, I was looking for preschool songs of peace to share with my children. I discovered this lovely gem written by two teachers form Scotland, Jan and Randy Prichard.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Musical Monday Part 2-In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King

Beats Antique pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, "Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."

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Musical Monday- Tribal Belly Dance

Today's Musical Monday post contains tribal belly dance, or what I like to think of as my sanity maintainer. Truly, it matters not what kind of week I've had, or if I'm not feeling quite so dancey before I get there, the moment I walk into class and see my sisters I am well. The music starts and life just got a heck of a lot better.

If I am not dancing, another sure fire way to put a smile on my face is seeing these lovely ladies. Along with my own troupe Tribal Spirit, they are one of my top ten favorite troupes. Wild Card Belly Dance! I go absolutely fan-girl crazy over them! Their smiles, their skills, their transitions, the absolute joy of their dance and fun they are so obviously having assures a smile on my face and sets my heart aright every time!

Have a peak yourself and see what I am talking about!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, ISee Philly

Walking down 4th street on a break and I discover glints of light on an otherwise gloomy alley

Closer I venture to the building that turns into a stationary disco ball of sorts.

Beauty is hidden everywhere in Philly

Even masterpieces lurk in dark alleys and side streets.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012's Pep talk...or how I have finally accepted the Renaissance Woman I am

(Caveat: this is a stream of consciousness kind of post. In other words, I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go. You have been forewarned.)

I want to write and yet I find myself staring blankly at the keyboard.

Oh, I occasionally reach for the mouse and then before I know it, here a click there a click and I have found myself in distraction-land. Being a metaphor lady I am currently searching for the lesson in this. It is too simple to say I am easily distracted. It is too easy to blame it on lack of inspiration or the absence of old fashioned stick-to-it-tive-ness. Well, my friends it may be simple and easy, but facts are facts , I am too easily distracted, particularly when there is a task that I deeply desire to do.

One would think that if you want to do something you would simply do it. Not so, not so at all. It seems to me that simply wanting to do something is not enough. Deep desire does not seem to be enough. There must be something more that is the impetus that gets my feet moving, my hands typing, myheart creating.


Deeply felt passion.

You must find your passion and tap into that. Passion is the life force that moves you. Passion is the energy that finds its way from your heart and into your hands, feet, and voice, whatever it is you need to get moving. It will happen when you discover your passion. Your passion will not fail you. But like most fires it must be tended to. You must keep feeding it; even it is bits of kindling here and there.

You see, true passion never dies.


I know that may seem to be a ridiculous claim, never being a long time and all. But I tell you it is true. If you are truly passionate about a particular thing, it will endure even if you find the need to bank the fire for a while.

At least, this is what it seems to be for me.

I have several things I am passionate about. But wait, didn't I just write "You must find your passion (singular) and tap into that."? Can you really have more than one honest and true Passion. Can you divide your attention thus?

I have found it is quite acceptable for me to be polyamorous in this situation. In the past I tried to narrow my passion down to some singular love. At different points in my life, I have tried to be exclusively devoted to herbs, to childbirth, to art, poetry, fiber arts or dance. I tried because I thought I must stop this Jill of all trades nonsense and attempt to become an expert in something. But to be monogamous in my passions simply does not work for me.

Enter the Renaissance Woman.

Photo by Gar Travis/

The common term Renaissance (wo)man is used to describe a person who is well educated or who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields

Does that really fit? Does it even matter?

In a way, it does because it gives me comfort in my way of thinking about myself. It allows me to cut myself some slack. The fact that I know a little about a whole hell of a lot suits me. I never really have claimed the title expert, but that is okay really. What does being an expert even mean?

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.

Ok, so I am never gonna be the One. I look at my many teachers and I think to myself, “Man, she is cool. Wow, I wish I could be as cool as her.” Yeah, silly I know. A woman my age thinking things like that. Doesn’t programming suck?

Straight A's, Super Woman, Saint, all cursed epithets I have worn in my life.

Consider this part of my deprogramming.

I am me.

Me in my imperfections.

Me in my perfections.

I will never be Rachel Brice. I will never be Susun Weed. I will never be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, or Tasha Tudor, or Emma Goldman and any of the many woman who I think are so damn cool.

I am simply the lady, who talks to plants, tells stories, plays with children, picks away at her mandolin, spins pretty decent yarn, and dances her heart out. I am the one jamming to my IPod on the El, skipping through leaves on South Street. I am the one who talks to every dog, smiles at most every human and still cries at every birth. I am the one who will listen and cry with you, stranger though you may be. Dream interpreter, believer in humanity, lover of the earth, and I can even shoot whiskey.

Weird and wonderful.

And you know what? I’m pretty damn cool.

Note: Guess what? This is you too. Just replace your name, your likes, your heroes and there you have it. You. A pretty damn cool human being who rocks this world!

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