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You can’t get there from here……

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unknown photographer

          “Sometimes we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another”
                                                                         Rumi

No one would have mistaken her for a leader, or perhaps she was a leader without any followers.  Her hair hung to her waist, the last foot of which was a tangled mass of dread locks and beads. The beads appeared to have been threaded in so long ago that any hope of retrieval would have had to involve scissors. Every inch of what remained from head to bead was dyed various shades of neon red, green and purple.

Her body was covered in exquisitely drawn and coloured tattoos enhanced by piercings that appeared on various exposed body parts. The finished effect resembled a moveable human art piece. If she had been a bird, she would have been a Macaw.

Our paths intersected when we both chose to attend a two-hour Labyrinth workshop that was offered as part of a weekend yoga symposium. I smile every time I think about the unlikely bond we forged when it all went ‘terribly wrong’.

For the uninitiated there is a difference between a Labyrinth and a Maze.  A Maze is designed as a problem to solve and a Labyrinth can be walked to solve a problem. Previous experiences walking a Labyrinth had revealed that there are points as you move forward where you have a sense you may have ‘taken a wrong turn’ or ‘lost your way’.  Trust the path even though you may feel lost and eventually you will spiral your way to the center  and out again with new insight.

Our group of ten was led to a large gym where a canvas Labyrinth had been assembled.  Encouraged to start walking it when we felt ‘called’ there was initial awkward glances and shuffling.  Sudden movement and a blur of color swept past; the Macaw had been ‘called’ she would be our leader.

I followed behind, gave her space and stepped forward…

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unknown photographer

Having previously walked a Labyrinth alone or with one other person I was unprepared for the delicate dance of meeting and passing others on such narrow pathways.  This interaction became not just a metaphor for life but an enjoyable physical exchange. Approaching another person on an adjacent pathway would compel you to turn completely to the side, arms out, sometimes face to face other times turned away.  When three of us would intersect on parallel paths we all moved and turned in unison.

I was enjoying this immensely until I noticed a short distance ahead our ‘Leader’ had stopped unexpectedly and appeared confused. Coming up behind her I could see the dilemma, there did not appear to be ‘a clear path forward’.

With military precision she sized up the problem, the canvas Labyrinth was comprised of three pieces that were held together with velcro. The larger outer paths matched up but the center did not, it had been put together incorrectly.

She looked at me urgently  “We have to tear it apart, turn it around and start from the beginning.”  The Facilitator standing on the sidelines started to mumble things like “we don’t have time to fix it….. it takes a long time to assemble…..it is not my fault”….. the Macaw would have none of it. Taking orders from no one, she was now in charge and failure was not an option!

Without further instruction I followed her to the edge of the canvas where we found the points where the two seams met. The sound of ripping velcro filled the gym. The other participants moved in to help and within minutes we ripped it apart turned the center piece and reattached the seams.

The Macaw was now back in her rightful position at the entrance to the properly assembled Labyrinth. The dance this time as we turned and moved forward was that  much more joyful now that we knew we would be taken both in and out and to the all important center.

She and I parted that afternoon with a nod of mutual respect.  I caught a glimpse of her the following day as she flitted across the campus en route to another workshop.  Silently I bid her ‘safe travels’ it will be difficult for her to fly under the radar with such bright plumage.

Human error and the inability at some points to see and take action appears to be a frailty that may well be our undoing.  The planet we depend on for our survival is starting to wither with our demands that she give more and more with little given in return.
We appear to have lost our center.

There comes a point both personally and on a planetary scale that things appear ‘FUBAR’, to steal a military term my feathered friend would approve of…. when that point is reached the only solution to an obviously wrong course or path seems to be:

“Tear it apart, turn it around and start again from the beginning.”

And from there we will again find our Center.

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unknown photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bell Jar

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

The ground began to thaw and in a flash it was Spring, time to make their way into that other world, the world of Light.
I observed each day as they gingerly emerged, their fragile petals unfurling in a gift of surrender.
They had no way of knowing that change had been afoot in the world of Light as they slept safe and warm in the protective darkness.
Rules were changing, nothing was as it had been, the warmth, the cold, the light and the dark.
The Bell Jars were placed for protection before the snow fell, days later they  reemerged, safe in their glass houses.
The thought occurred….. is there a Bell Jar large enough to protect our collective humanity, our all too human hearts, the world of Light we live in?

 

(written in response to Sunday’s six sentence word prompt. Prompt word FLASH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards the Light

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

A place exists somewhere between the edge of campfire light and the surrounding forest that cannot be named.  Distant enough from the laughter and storytelling that the draw into the surrounding darkness is tangible.

She awoke to find herself rooted in this unnamed space and unable to remember how long she had lingered there.  Her feet moved towards the familiar light of the fire until she stood close behind the gathered circle.  There was no notice of her presence and it appeared the circle was unbroken, she would not be missed.

A turn and movement into the utter darkness of the path ahead, the inability to see her foot as it moved forward made it clear that for some time this journey would be without light or destination.

 

 

written in response to a word prompt, the word “clear”, limited to six sentences.

 

 

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3 a.m. sentence(s)

DSC_1384 (1)photo credit west coast woman

 

Dusk til Dawn
Shadow and Light
the veil is thin

The call goes out
spiritual refugees
seeking a conscious oasis-
awaken to
torrents of words
whispering past as
we linger between
the threshold of
one world and another

in

out

Truth drifting on
shattered hearts
hover just beyond
the collective reach,
pluck what is close
as mist envelops
the pain the loss the love
the ephemeral words
the 3 a.m. sentence(s)
the puzzle being solved
piece by piece
Together, Apart

We wait for Dawn.

J.S.

DSC_2178photo credit west coast woman

 

 

 

Who let the dogs out?

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photo Charles MacKinnon

This is where I humbly confess that I have been ‘sheep dogging’ for longer than I care to admit.  Not that I did it consciously mind you, I would have been surprised and likely offended if anyone suggested I attempted to “force or nudge someone off their intended path”.

I stand here, hand raised, yes I am guilty.

This revelation came to me at a retreat I attended recently where one of the facilitators Dan Hines described part of his upbringing. His childhood included time spent on his grandfather’s sheep ranch observing sheep dogs doing their job by forcing and nudging reluctant sheep  to their intended destination. Dan then described the perfect metaphor of how as humans we also tend to want to ‘sheep dog’ others in the direction that we see as right for them.

We are all probably guilty of ‘sheep dogging’ on some level or another, especially if we have raised children. Young children are easy to ‘nudge’ without them being aware of what is being done.  Teenagers will see you crouched to the ground in herding position, call you on it, bolt off and break away before you have a chance to rise to your feet.

I am very aware of my need to be ‘right’ and the great difficulty I have in changing even the smallest imperfections in myself.  Why would I want to take on the impossible job of trying to convince someone else to change direction?

This Hindu proverb states it perfectly:

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everybody that his or her path is wrong.

And so, it is with great relief I will attempt to give up ‘sheep dogging’ completely, both in written and spoken word.

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There, done, everyone on their own………:)

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She let go……

unknown photographer

Searching for the right words to describe a ‘moment in time’ and you discover someone already found and assembled them for you…..

She Let Go
by Safire Rose

She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of judgements.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around in her head.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the Prayer Line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good, and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…..

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Question Everything (and then recalculate)

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I read signs, official metal and wood signs, signs that randomly litter public places, anywhere they pop up in my field of vision.  These words, no matter how they are presented  inevitably consist of an agenda, something one of our fellow humans feels the rest of us needs to do or not do and often they make me smile. There are others that make me think. The messages that usually have me smiling are the “official” ones, those that have you questioning what consistent public actions could have led to the round table discussion that produced the sign.

I recently came across the sign below as I entered a trailhead near my house.
It was placed among a number of signs many of  which appeared to have been produced for those among us that have not been blessed with a lot of common sense.
But this one got my mind turning…….

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Full disclosure, I have in a past working life been a ‘authorized landscaper’ and currently tend a fairly large piece of property.   I can tell you that landscaping  is not something that happens on a whim.

The immediate question that came to mind was what could  possibly have happened on this ‘town controlled land’ that prompted this sign to appear? I had an image of guerrilla gardeners armed with shovels. rakes and a secretly produced site plan arriving as night fell, to do their dirty work. A green rebellion of sorts, but to what end?

How much of this ‘landscaping’ had been installed without ‘authority’ before complaints were filed, meetings called and finally a very official looking metal sign produced and erected?  If someone followed through after witnessing some suspicious activity and the culprits were caught, what would be the charge? What is the penalty for ‘unauthorized landscaping’? The question I would most like answered is could someone send them over to my property.  I am sure that we could work out some sort of non monetary exchange that would  satisfy us all.

Given the state of play on the planet at the moment I think the sign below might sum up how a lot of us may be feeling. This is a time of great transition and we are travelling forward into a global future that appears to be unstable bordering on chaotic.

Recently I found myself in an unexpected situation, the first word that came to mind was “Recalculating”  the echoing of this word in my brain sounded familiar, like that vaguely mocking voice that eminates from your GPS when you veer off your planned route.

Recalculate:   verb  to calculate again; typically using different data

In the world today “different data” is available to anyone who cares to take a look. Question is are you willing to examine it and then alter all or parts of the route you programmed into your internal GPS so long ago.

The ‘signs’ are out there……

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