Posts Tagged ‘life’

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The Wheel

July 16, 2009

Wheel

I pulled a tarot card first thing this morning.  It was the Wheel of Fortune.  All in all this is a very good card.  It means that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard or how little we’ve worked, some things just happen with no apparent reason, and they are to our benefit.  So today, I’m lucky, or so the cards would have me believe. 

I’m not a pessimist, but I’ve been thinking about this Wheel of Fortune.  It represents luck, but nothing about the card excludes bad luck or even mediocre luck.   A tarot website that I consulted, even suggested that this card is about karma, as in  “what goes around, comes around.”  Can that even be considered luck?

So now that I’ve been pondering on this card for nearly 6 hours, I’ve figured a few things out.  First, we’re lucky  for the majority of our waking hours.  We’re even lucky when we’re sleeping.   Many people die in their sleep every night; I didn’t last night, so I guess that makes me lucky. 

The candle I left burning while I went out this morning didn’t burn the house down.  I didn’t get hit by a truck while I was riding my bike to do some shopping.  I have sufficient physical fitness to ride a bicycle several miles.  No one stole the bike while I was in the store in spite of not using the lock to secure the bike.  

The convenience store was giving away free fruit smoothies.  I was able to ride my bike while carrying the smoothie.  There was no bad news in my mailbox.  I mislaid my cellphone, but found it quickly.  It looks like rain, but the sun is still shining.  A bee stung me 2 days ago, but I have anti-itch medicine to counteract the venom. 

My marriage is secure.  I have wonderful children.  My parents just celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Friends surround me.  I’m gainfully employed.  I have the summer off from work.  The tomatoes are starting to ripen.

So what is it that makes today luckier than other days?  Should I be on the lookout for that one big lucky event?  Should I buy a lottery ticket?

Or should I be content with the knowledge that on any given day, all of us are lucky to still be here?

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Tree Sitting

June 16, 2009

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
 
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
 
A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
 
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
 
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 
 
Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918

 

I found myself sitting in a tree today.  It’s not like I woke suddenly to discover that I was in the tree; it was a conscious act, I chose to climb the tree.  I’m glad I did.

Life has taken me to some new and exciting places these past few months.  Some of the locations are spiritual, accessible only through meditation, while others have been physical places, some of which I never dreamed I would find myself. 

Reading tarot cards at a Biker festival was a bit of surprise for me.  The whole experience took me out of my normal realm and dropped me in the midst of a community and culture with which I have had little exposure.  On top of being a stranger in a strange land, I was doing a strange thing:  promoting myself as a psychic reader and performing readings using my relatively new tarot deck.  I was amazed at what was coming from within, and from the reactions of the clients who sat down for a reading, I’m guessing my readings were accurate. 

So this morning, I sat down to do some more reading about psychic development, and do some meditation.  It’s one of those sunny, warm, late spring days (solstice is still 5 days away) and I have all the time to sit and read.  Alternating between reading and meditation, and keeping my glass full of iced tea, I took the time to explore my own life, and experiment with some new ideas. 

The experiment is how I ended up in the tree.  All of the reading I’ve been doing about psychic development stresses a connection to the earth.  The earth is a vehicle for both positive and negative energy, and it nourishes the soul.  One of the exercises directed me to ground myself by emptying all my energy into the earth, then allowing myself to be filled again with all of the life-giving energy that the earth has to offer.  It was at that point that I felt I should climb up the tree.  So, I did it. 

Trees are incredibly alive.  I certainly knew that I’d find plenty of insects, birds and the evidence of their presence.  I was not prepared for how fully vibrant and moving it would be to sit in that tree.  It was moving, literally and emotionally.  As I meditated, clearing my mind of all else and concentrating on one particular issue I am having, I could feel the life of the tree.  It swayed, it moved, it vibrated.  I could feel all of that life supporting me, and moving me with it.  I could the strength and vitality of the tree, and witnessed the flexibility of the strong branches.  The thin supple twigs at the far reaches of the tree seemed just as strong as the slowly moving thick trunk.    Through it all, I could feel the spirit of that tree, honoring my own humble meditation, holding me up, giving me strength as I asked the Supreme Being of the universe to help me. 

The spirit of the Green Man blessed me today.  My soul is better for it, my life has been enriched, just because I did some tree sitting.

 

Thank you, Green Man.

Green Man

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Storyteller

May 26, 2009

You know these guys.  You somehow get dragged into a tent at a festival, or the school sends home a notice asking you to bring your child to school for an evening of storytelling.  You prepare yourself for an hour of some old guy in bib overalls, telling endless stories that end abruptly and make no sense.  Perhaps it’s a woman in a long calico dress who lived on a commune in the 1960’s, and she breaks out an autoharp to sing a song about spinning wool, but either way, you feel like you’re in for a real snoozefest. 

In this case, I needed to pick up some credits for Pennsylvania’s Act 48 continuing education requirement for teachers, and this storyteller was hosted by a local elementary school.  All I had to do was show up, listen to a few stories, and collect my 1 hour credit. 

Unfortunately, I was drawn in.  This guy was good, perhaps too good.  I had to give him credit, he was in corduroy pants and suspenders instead of bib overalls.  His first story was not only enough to hold my attention, I found myself imagining what this 8 foot tall hairy woman would look like.  I wondered how this “regular man” could leave the child he had with the hairy woman, and I certainly couldn’t imagine how he could leave his son, no matter how ugly the kid was.  

So when the storyteller asked us to close our eyes and go on a journey, I did so quite willingly.  Why not?  I’ve been practicing some meditation lately, and I figured this story could be like a guided meditation.  We were directed to walk into the woods.  As we made our way through the forest, we were told to follow the path to the big tree up ahead, our family tree.  Our next instruction was to take a close look at it, feel the bark, look down at the roots, gaze up through the branches into the sunlight. 

Our storyteller asked us to do what seemed to be impossible, but it was afterall, just in our minds.  We entered the tree.  We were doing this collectively, a group, in the school cafeteria, but at this point, the story, and the experience became very personal.  I’d even describe it as sensual and intimate without being sexual.  A tree is an awesome living thing, and to be in the tree, our own family tree, is a deeply personal experience.  

“Go down to the roots, and if you see an animal there, greet them; listen to what they have to say.”   I saw a skunk, which made me laugh a little, but I heard him say what a great honor it is to live in this tree, and that I was a special part of the life of the tree.  I travelled to the highest branches and met a robin there.  The robin told me that the branches of this tree have given me the ability to soar.  I thanked both the skunk and the robin and returned to the trunk. 

Our guide asked us to leave the tree and start back on the pathway to our real world.  We rubbed our hands together, perhaps to awaken our minds to our present reality.  Then we wiped our faces to open our eyes and leave behind that great family tree we discovered in our imaginations. 

Storyteller, where did you take me this evening?  I’ve been playing with myth and magick, story and dreams.  Meditation has taken me to places much like you showed me tonight.  Once again, I am reminded that we are all connected. Family connections, whether we like it or not, can be very strong. They can be help us or hurt us.  Ultimately, the family tree determines not only who we are, but provides those heaven-lifted branches from which we take flight to become the person we are meant to be.

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Gay-Bashed! (?) Part 2

December 3, 2008

While there was nothing violent about the last night’s incident, I can’t help but feel violated in some way.  It’s clear that the perpetrators intended to intimidate us in some way, even if they lacked the intelligence to figure out that a couple of gay men, living open lives, with a rainbow garden flag out front, would be happy to receive some gay porn magazines.  Did they think we would feel shame?  Did they think we would be angry?  We’re not girly-men, so we’re certainly not going to run away and cry! 

Still, that feeling of violation, that sense of being threatened remains.  There was no obvious threat, but the message seems to be “we don’t like your kind here, and we’re willing to do something about it.”   The strange thing is that we don’t get that message from our neighbors, nor do we hear it from the many people we interact with in this small community. 

So, what to do with that little bit of trepidation that causes me to inspect the house or cars for vandalism on a regular basis?  TAKE IT BACK!   That’s what I decided to do!   Racial groups take back the slurs that burned their ears for so long, minorities take the jokes and stereotypes and serve them up with humor for each other to enjoy.  Please!  When they’re making fun of a flaming queen, gay men swish better than any straight man ever could.

I took back the violation that occurred last night, and served it up with some chutzpah!

I'd like to thank the would-be gay-basher in a big way.

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In the Meantime….

August 24, 2008

OK, I’ve been home a week and haven’t gotten a word written about the honeymoon or even the wedding.  I think that the biggest reason is that I have so much to say about it, I need to break it down into small pieces, organize, then write about it. 

So, in the meantime, here’s a picture:

 

and here’s a link to my pastor’s musings on the wedding:  No Difference. Really.

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Pride in NYC

July 2, 2008

My soon-to-be husband and I spent the weekend in New York City to celebrate Pride and visit with some very dear Internet friends.  It was a simple trip from here: straight across Pennsylvania on the turnpike, pick up a train at the station in Trenton NJ, arrive at Penn Station and take the subway to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  It was a 7 hour trip which, I figure, is not bad considering that Google Maps says it should have taken 6 hours if we had driven the entire way.  In a tip of the hat to the Village People, we stayed at the YMCA. 

While we waited for my friend Daniel to teach a voice lesson, Scott and I bought a bottle of wine and headed to Central Park.  We found a secluded spot where we were spied on by a squirrel.  We decided to keep looking around and headed for Strawberry Fields.  Scott took us off the path and we sat on a rock, finished the wine and watch people on the pathway.  By the time we met up with Daniel, we were both feeling pretty good, and needed some food to help absorb the alcohol. 

That evening we had dinner at the Metropolitan Museum and then strolled the many galleries before walking through Central Park to return to Daniel and Jonathan’s apartment for conversation and a little more wine. 

Saturday started with breakfast at the farmer’s market in Lincoln Plaza, and as the subway station was right underneath us, we decided to head to Times Square.  We walked around downtown Manhattan, did a few tourist things, like Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and even did some shopping in stores that we just don’t have at home.  Eventually we made it to Grand Central Station where we hopped a subway uptown to the east side and hung out at the Guggenheim Museum.  We took a brief detour to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum to look in the museum shop, then we headed back into Central Park. 

Saturday evening was reserved for dinner with our Soulforce friends at Daniel and Jonathan’s apartment.  The food was great, the conversation was lively, and Daniel and I performed a number for our friends. 

Sunday morning found us back at the apartment for breakfast before heading downtown for the Pride Parade.  This was our first time for Pride in NYC.  We found a good spot in front of the library.  We were shaded by a large tree and had a good view of the parade.  Jenna’s enthusiasm at the parade was contagious.  At times, she would cheer for something she saw and I’d laugh because I’d never think of cheering for such a thing, but why not?  For instance, she loved this marcher’s sign:

 Just a little over 2 hours after the parade started, it down-poured.  We got soaked and eventually went to the portico of the library.  We took our shirts off, wrung them out and tried to stay dry.  In time, the sun came out again and we continued watching the procession until the very end, a total of 4 hours. 

We all returned to the apartment, changed into dry clothes and then it was time to say good-bye.  Andy and Jenna needed to head back to Schenectady, Scott and I needed to begin our journey to PA.  It was tough to leave our friends behind.  Of course, we’ll all be together again in a few weeks at our wedding

It’s not always dangerous to meet up with people you know from the Internet.  As a matter of fact, it can enrich your life!

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I Love My Town

May 28, 2008

Scottdale is a small town, just under 5,000 people, and covering an area of about 1.2 square miles.  That’s slightly smaller than Central Park in NYC.  So you understand, this is a small place, a tightly knit community, and one that has a particular amount of pride, a sense of what is honorable, and an understanding about respect for each other as well as respect for traditions that hold a community together. 

 

This past Monday, we celebrated Memorial Day, like so many other towns across the nation.  Our veterans lead the parade followed by the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, and our high school marching band.  This parade is not like the ones I marched in as a youth in a town just a few miles away.  Scottdale’s parade is not much of a celebration.  It’s a somber occasion, and one that the residents take very seriously.  The band does not play a selection, no rousing marches, no spirited patriotic tunes.  No, this is a solemn morning, a time for reflection.  The only sound is a funeral cadence. 

 

Many watch the procession, applauding the veterans, removing their caps for the flag, and wave to the firemen following the marchers.  As the firetrucks signal the end of the parade, most of the town follow them to the cemetary at the edge of town.  We gather quietly amidst the final resting place of our relatives and friends.  The Scouts stand at attention, the band forms in a clear area, and the local dignitaries take their places for the ceremony.  We are welcomed, and we begin the task of honoring our local heroes, thanking our veterans, and praying for those who serve in the military now.  This is the celebration, the band performs a few patriotic songs, an honored guest offers a speech, guns are fired in salute, and taps is played to honor those men and women who gave of themselves to preserve our freedom. 

 

I’m proud of the way our community celebrates this day.  These people show up for this solemn event.  They greet each other quietly, hold those who’ve recently lost a loved one, and honor not only those who have passed, but those veterans who served.  One can see on their faces the respect they have for each other, and as music plays, names and faces are brought to memory.  Single tears can be seen on the faces of the old and young. 

This was a beautiful Memorial Day, not only in the way the weather heralded the beginning of summer, but more so in the way this small town paused to commemorate this solemn holiday.  Before they fire up their grills, open their pools, or pack the picnic lunches and head for the lake or the state parks, these good people stop and remember, gather and build each other up, and honor those who make it possible to live the lives we have been granted.