Star Seed of Me

When I look up at the night sky, I can sometimes see where I am from. I can see the light of me twinkling just beyond the tip of the great spruce tree growing in the corner of the neighbour’s yard. Star-seed, that I am.

Once upon a mystery, in a time long ago and far away, the leathered hands of a potter centred a mound of golden clay on his spinning wheel. As dragonflies dipped along the surface of the slow moving river, he shaped me into being, then placed me carefully on his highest shelf and covered me with a cloth dampened with love.

My sacred contract was infused into my being by the dance of the dragonflies. Kneaded into the clay of my existence by the old potter’s hands.

A knowing, a thrumming of the truth.

Abandonment.

I once thought I was a born a Princess, waiting to be reclaimed.

My mother was adopted. Her only sibling was adopted. My father’s only sibling was adopted. My father was raised by his grandparents. My grandmother’s mother died when she was twelve, and she was recast as Cinderella when her father remarried. Then she was cast aside and given to her aunt and uncle to finish raising.

No one lived with who birthed them.

I was an abandoned Princess who grew into a Goddess. What happened in between was the firing of the golden clay. Life is the fire in the kiln – sometimes the fires burn too hot and we may shatter. But, oh!… the burnished beauty of healing.

The art of Kinstugi, painting and marking and honouring the strength of our scars and imperfections.

What I know to be true is all of the above.

I came into this world, this existence, this incarnation to heal a long, winding, ancestral wound of abandonment. My mother, by her father’s death. My father, who left us when I was fourteen. My husband who betrayed me. One after the other after the other, after the other.

It stops with me.

It was written in the stars, in the star seed of me. The breath of forgiveness….

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Hope Is The Thing (goodbye 2020, hello 2021)

I sit writing in the quiet stillness of the morning. My old, wee, mutt of a pup nestled beside me, the fire warming me, the lights from the Christmas tree in the corner fuzzy in just the right way without my glasses on to define the edges.

I’ve let go.
Or, at least, sometimes I’ve let go.

I’m working on that.

On letting go, surrendering control to what may come, pushing against and into the fear of the great unknown, the mystical mystery.

To what enters my life and calls for me to answer, YES!

Yes to the magic,
To the what if?
To the who knows?
To the water lapping at my feet, around my ankles, pulling me in…..

Or sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, “No, thank you.”
No thank you, because that doesn’t serve me,
because I’m learning about boundaries and about how my own shape fits inside and sometimes pushes against the edges, and sometimes blasts the border,
and sometimes pulls it tight around me like a cashmere blanket when I need to, when I need to…

When I need to withdraw from the world, from its sorrows, its sadness and madness and cruelty –

To remind myself of the kindness and compassion that overflows if only I can see and feel it again.

But first, but first….I need to wrap my Self in my own quiet, soft love.

And so –
I lounge on my chair in the quiet of the last day of this last year
of a world full of death and dying and raging and despair,
But also full of the pouring rain of what is possible
washing us all clean – every one of us.

Hope is the thing that flutters in my soul, and meets me here,
reminding me of my Self.
Of all Selves.

Me and You
What is in the One is in the Whole.
What is in the Whole is in the One.
Immutable.

I walked out of the ocean of my tears an Awakening Woman, wearing a robe woven from the threads of my own truth.
I am a weaver of my own life.
A co-creator with the Divine, who lives within me as I live within Her.
What is in the One is in the Whole.
I will stumble, I will fall, but I will rise.

Hope is the thing that flutters in my Soul and sings the words of my truth through my fingers on the keyboard.

Hope is the thing

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Living a Life of Truth

My used-to-be husband once asked me, “What do you want most in life?”

It threw me, this question, because it wasn’t something we ever talked about. Or, at least, it wasn’t something he was in the habit of asking me. Like, never asking me.

Maybe that’s why we were sitting in my little office, sorting through the wreckage of his two-year, still-going-on affair. Except, I didn’t know what we were supposed to be talking about, since he refused to talk about what was actually going on.

The words I wasn’t allowed to say building a dam inside my throat.

I am perched on the ladder-back kitchen chair by my writing desk, and he’s settled into the over-stuffed armchair, when the surprise question floated out of his mouth, and like a dust mote, I breathed it into my being.

What do I want most in life?

“I want to life a life of Truth,” I answered. Capital ‘T’ Truth, I’m thinking.

I didn’t know, then, how I was going to achieve it – this Life of Truth – I just knew that I wanted to separate the threads of our together existence, to find what was mine alone and what was his to keep.

Very quickly, I discovered that this Truth-living meant I needed to become very clear on what my own values were. By what ethics and morals did I want to guide my life?

There was no room for wishy-washy thinking here. No swimming in muddy waters for the sake of convenience.

Honesty and Integrity were high on my list (no surprise given the years I spent living under the flicker of gaslights and betrayal).

A year or two after that surprise question, and after my then-husband had finally left my office, the house and my life, I began studying with the spiritual teacher Caroline Myss. The first course I took with her in person was On the Path to Becoming a Congruent Human Being.

Which taught me how to live in alignment with my beliefs – with my own identified morals and ethics. To live, truly live with honesty and integrity as I walk through this life.

Now, more than ever, we are ALL called to walk the path of congruency. To hold true and fast to an ethical and moral life. To be conscious of where we direct our energy.

A friend once asked me, “What is the difference between ‘conscious’ and ‘conscience’?” Two very similar sounding words that are intrinsically intertwined.

We must be aware (conscious) of our own inner sense of right and wrong (conscience).

As we are buffeted by the chaos generated by the narcissist in the White House.

As we collectively mourn the deaths of hundreds of thousands while a man effects the stance of a dictator, claiming a special benediction by God.

While people of colour die by the hands of those meant to protect.

While children still live and die in cages, kidnapped from their parents by a regime consumed with corporate greed.

We MUST remember our humanity.

We MUST become congruent with our own values.

We must live and act from that place deep within our own hearts, to find our shared existence.

What is in the one is in the whole.

What is in you is in me.

Now is not the time to remain silent. To keep the boat from rocking. People are already drowning from the tidal waves crashing over our bows.

Speak. Shout.

Even if your words fall on ears that refuse to hear.

The vibration of your intention will carry the way forward.

Live in alignment with your values.

Love in alignment with humanity.

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Angels Among Us

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Sometimes it feels like all there is in this ‘life’ thing, is dark, roiling seas full of sucking tentacles, just waiting to pull me down into the depths.

Sometimes I’m thrumming with so much anxiety that it feels like I might explode, or that my skin might just slip right off me. Pool at my feet, leaving my nerves exposed to the always biting wind whipping around me.

Sometimes there is so much darkness masquerading as ‘truth’. Gaslights burnishing into the brains of so many people, like microscopic, mind-altering, conscience-eating monsters.

And then.

And then God…
or Source…
or The Great Mystery..

However, Whoever you want to call Her.

Maybe she’s just Life.

Maybe she’s Hope…

Maybe she’s the thread to hold onto, that tugs us back to the light.

Emily Dickinson’s little bird.

Here’s the story of the little bird. The Angel I met the other day.

She was sitting in a small white car, eating A&W french fries and sipping a medium-sized root beer. She was having a car picnic all by herself.

She was wearing sunglasses because she had backed her car into the parking space to face the warmth of the sunshine streaming in through her windshield. And she had her window rolled all the way down, enjoying the slight breeze.

I remember that, because I pulled in right beside her, my closed window beside her open window.

I looked over, mentally calculating the distance between my window and hers. Calculating the risk, the danger, the chance of dying from inhaling her exhale.

I did this almost automatically, unconsciously. Calculate the Covid risk.

I hesitated a brief second before opening my door, but I needed to put air in my car tire and to do that I needed to walk past her open window.

And so I calculated the risk and opened my door.

I had a long drive ahead of me, over mountain passes and winding highways with high speeds. I needed to put air in the tire with the slow leak. The tire that feels like I do sometimes…like I’m slowly leaking energy, or willpower, or whatever it is that this year is putting me through.

I walked around to the air pump and pulled the long hose around to the driver’s side back tire. The one beside the woman with the open window, sipping her root beer and eating her fries.

She watched as I pulled the hose close to my tire, to see if it would reach. She watched me lay it down on the ground and head back to the air pump to run my credit card through the slot to charge me the $1.50 it cost to make my tire safe to drive.

But it was an old pump.

There was no credit card slot, no tap and pay. Just slots for coins to drop into.

I knew I had no coins, I hadn’t carried coins with me for months. I’d long stopped carrying my wallet with me, because I never carried cash anymore. Germs and all that.

I looked for coins anyway, the way one does even though you know there isn’t a chance in hell of finding any.

I searched all the pockets of my little purse, ran my fingers along the bottoms of the cupholders and even along the back of the glove compartment I never, ever open.

I sighed and calculated risk again. This time, the risk of driving another 45 minutes with a low-pressure tire, and walked around my car to pick up the hose to wrap it back up along the stupid air pump that needed coins to operate.

That’s when the woman spoke to me.

“Am I in your way?” she asked

“Not at all,” I replied, smiling back at her, from a safe 6 ft. distance. “It’s just that this machine needs coins and I don’t have any.”

This is when I discovered the woman was actually an Angel, who just happened to like A&W french fries and root beer.

“How much does it cost?” she asked, already pulling her purse onto her lap.

“A toonie.” It was at this point that I noticed the light that surrounded her. Maybe it was just the sun reflecting off the hood of her car, but maybe it was humanity reminding me of her goodness.

She reached her arm out of her open window and I crossed invisible threshold to take the toonie from her fingers.

“Wow, thank you!” I said to the angel, wondering if she had wings secretly tucked behind her back.

I walked back to the air pump, feeling lighter than I had in a long while.

This story goes on from here, turns out it took loonies, not toonies, and of course the angel searched her purse for a loonie as I gave her back her toonie.

I pumped up my tire as she looked on and popped another french fry into her mouth.

“Thank you again,” I said as I coiled the hose neatly back into place and walked past her window to open my door, “You’ve made my day!”

She smiled at me, like angels do. Like people who do goodness do who aren’t doing it for show, but just because doing goodness is a good thing. Like people who trust that goodness over the badness in the world.

She reminded me of the me I had lost. Or not lost, so much, as misplaced.

The me who believes in the goodness of humanity.

The me who believes in the Divinity of Love.

The Optimystical me.

There are angels walking amongst us everyday. Sometimes they’re even eating french fries and drinking root beer.

Sometimes they’re even you, when you’re kind, or compassionate, or even just truly open-minded.

Or when you’re doing goodness, just because it’s the right thing to do.

Maybe that’s what nourishes Faith. All those acts of goodness that happen just when you’ve lost the fluttering feeling of hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Emily Dickinson – 1830-1886

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

 

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The Age of Anxiety

Now is the age of anxiety.

W. H. Auden

Psychological Trouble

I don’t know what comes first – the anger or the heightened blood pressure, but by the time I wake up, they’re intermingled and it doesn’t really matters. What matters is that I’m awake. Again.

With my head feeling like hot water is pouring down over my brain, and a lingering sense of rage and injustice left over from the dream. I pull myself upright, and take slow deep breaths in and out, my hands on my belly to help focus my attention away from the energy in my head.

I’m exhausted. After a few minutes I reach over and slide my phone off the bedside table to look at the time. 1:15 a.m. I’ve slept just over two hours. I feel like crying, like raging to God. Is that who I’m angry with?

Anxiety can take many forms and appear suddenly out of the blue. Sometimes it hums just below the surface of my skin, like a low voltage wire threatening to break through the surface.

It feels like the winds of change and chaos are blowing through my body. Like the molecules of my Being are being blown apart and rearranged again and again and again. I can’t trust my skin to hold me together. Molecular vertigo.

Sometimes I’d like to box myself up good and tight and just sit in a corner until this transition is over and complete. Put your feet up on top of me. Rest your cup of tea on the closed and taped top. I’ll just rest inside, snuggled down inside the packing paper, safe and secure from the tornado of transition.

If only I could surrender more gracefully. Release the unintended resistance. Let flow what wants to flow without damming up the river with my unconscious fears and anxiety.

But maybe, just maybe, grace IS messy sometimes. Maybe grace is wrapping me in her cashmere love right now as I’m writing this, reaching through me, out to you.

Maybe Grace is giving me the strength to write these words.

To say, “this sucks, and I’m afraid.”

And maybe I AM angry.

At the people who don’t/won’t wear masks. Who continue to flaunt the health guidelines and put us all at risk. At the broken country south of the closed border, which seems to be spinning faster and further away from anything resembling care and compassion.

I’m angry that there are still kidnapped kids in cages.

I’m angry that a pipeline is trying to be built through sacred lands.

I’m angry that I have to think and think and think before I hug my kids.

I’m angry that I have to worry that the soft skin of my grandkids may harbour a pandemic.

I’m angry that I can’t sleep. That the anxiety of the world is keeping me awake.

I want to open my mouth wide, like a mama grizzly standing on her hind legs, and let loose with roar so loud that trees fall in its wake.

I want to stand and roar and roar and roar with anger at what we have done to our world.

At what we continue to do.

Maybe, just maybe, my anxiety is unspent anger.

For now, I’ll go to bed. Take a sleeping pill, because sometimes, sometimes, sometimes I need to accept help.

Help to sleep. Help to feel through the anxiety that still thrums. Help to voice my anger.

And that’s okay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grounding Ourselves Through Ritual

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We are in a liminal space of unknowing.

We are neither here, nor there. We all remember our lives before Covid, but we don’t yet know what the world will look like after Covid. We’re in the ‘in-between’.

It may feel like the ground beneath our feet is shifting and that every known in our life is changing. We may be strumming with hope and fear, seemingly at the same time.

How do we surf these waves of ever-changing emotions? What do we do when the wave threatens to turn into a tsunami?

One way to ground ourselves is through ritual.

Ritual can be the vessel that carries us through a time of transition. It can be a safe place to give over our burdens of fear and confusion, and at the same time to celebrate our victories and joys. Sacred ritual encompasses all of our human experiences.

Joseph Campbell says that through ritual, “your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.”

As we move into this new world together, we’re being given an incredible gift of transformation. To envision into being the Phoenix rising from the ashes.

I want to offer you a simple ritual that may help you, as it helps me – and the first thing you need to remember is – it does NOT have to be perfect!

Our ritual begins with the imagination.

Take some time to sit quietly in contemplation and reflection. Perhaps meditate if that feels right. Journal and let your thoughts and words flow without censure or judgement.

What do you want this new world to look like?

For instance, I want a more just world, a more balanced world. A world where people of all genders and colour feel SAFE. Where they ARE safe.

I want a world where becoming a billionaire is impossible, because wealth (and thus, power) will be more evenly distributed.

How do you want to feel in this new world we are all creating?

How do you want to experience this new world?

 What qualities would you like to bring forth into your own being?

 Is there anything you want to release and let go of? Something that no longer serves your highest good and well-being?

I want to feel safe and secure, not only in my own physical body, but also with the condition of the climate and the world around me.

I want to experience life at a slower pace. I’m enjoying the spaciousness that this shelter-at-home has shown me.

I want to be more aware of when my inner Judge clouds my compassionate heart, so that I can respond in loving kindness, rather than react with harsh determination.

We can also take the time to honour and celebrate those beings who have walked this path before us in their own imperfect, human way.

We can honour those who will follow – our children, grandchildren and perhaps yet to be born, great-grandchildren.

We can acknowledge and honour the spirits of nature, seen and unseen.

And we can call upon and honour the great Source of Life that flows through us all, however that feels right to name.

In Buddhism, there is something called the Noble Intention. This is what we’ve been working towards as we’ve contemplated the ritual questions. A Noble Intention is NOT a goal, so there is no end in sight. No having to complete or accomplish anything.

Instead, it is more of a spark…something that begins in the heart as an inspiration. Answering the questions is a way of uncovering your own Noble Intentions in helping to create our new world.

Next – we’re going to be making a mandala, using it to help clarify and set our intentions, as well as to let go of any and all habitual beliefs and thought patterns.

Mandala’s are often used in meditation, ritual and ceremony, as a way to help transform our minds and thoughts, as well as to honour the deeper undercurrents of life in ALL forms.

For this ritual, it’s helpful to choose objects found in nature, and if possible, to create your mandala outside. Perhaps you can go for a walk, picking leaves and spent flowers as you find them, then choose a spot in your own yard, or the corner of a playing field, or spot on the beach.

As you arrange your mandala, do it slowly and mindfully, taking the time to recall your Noble Intention, to speak with your ancestors and your future descendants.

Meditate, or pray if that feels right.

Then, leave it be.

One aspiration with this mandala is to honour that liminal space we are currently living in. To remind us that nothing is permanent – we, and our world are always changing. Nothing stays the same. The never-ending cycle of life, death and rebirth.

And so our mandala will be swept away by the wind, washed away by the rain, stepped on, maybe even pooped on by a dog. And all of that is okay.

Because we are rising up out of the ashes, rebuilding our world around us with Love and Compassion.

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Treat Ourselves Gently

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I don’t know what day it is, or how long I’ve been on ‘retreat’, but somewhere, somehow, every cell in my body knows.

Last night, as I headed to bed, I passed the photo of my dad hanging on my wall. He’s bending over his potting wheel, his hands wrapped around the small clay bowl, shaping and moulding it. He’s smiling gently, inviting us into his world.

I miss that smile. I miss him. He died unexpectedly over fifteen years ago.

“Goodnight,” I whispered to my dad, and then I felt my eyes prickle with tears.

Earlier in the day, I Zoomed with my two hearts – my three-year old granddaughter, Hazel, and my four-year old grandson, Loïc, who are isolating with their moms and dads in North Vancouver and Squamish.

I read them three storybooks and then we spent time drawing. Apart, but together.

I cherish these sweet souls and I miss them. I miss feeling the weight of them nestling in beside me when we read, I miss their arms around my neck, and the wiggling, squiggles of their bodies when we play monster.

My dear friend texted me from New York. Like many others, she was recently put on furlough.

“I’m very teary today. Maybe it’s the rain.”

Maybe. And maybe it’s grief.

At what she’s lost.

I believe we are moving towards a better world. A more balanced world. A cleaner world.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all. ~ Emily Dickinson

Hope flutters within me even as my tears threaten to fall.

We must treat ourselves gently.

As one day turns into the next and the next and the next, we must hold ourselves softly.
It’s going to hit us differently on different days. Hope. Sadness. Delight. Anxiety. Joy.

The rainbow of emotions.

We’re tapping into the well of our communal grief, and the well of our own past losses. The cells of our bodies are shedding generations of grief.

The vast ocean of our collective consciousness.

Let us cry. And let us rejoice.

We can hold both at the same time.

Grief for what we’ve lost, and joy for the new world unfolding in front of us.

Let us walk tenderly upon this new Earth that is waking up beneath our feet.

Let’s hold our awakening hearts, as we cradle a newborn.

And let’s treat each other gently.

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Grace of Endurance

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I woke up late this morning, groggy, and unmotivated.

I was tired. Tired of meditating. Tired of praying. Tired of writing. Tired of my seemingly unrelenting Zoom schedule.

And then I immediately felt guilty. Who am I to be tired?

I thought of all the healthcare workers who don’t have the luxury of not going to work. I thought of all the young parents with children at home. I thought of my daughter who is now the primary caregiver of my four-year old grandson, which means that she has had to put the majority of her Ph.D studies on hold.

I thought of my friends who are still dealing with other crises amidst this pandemic.

I also forgot that this isn’t a race. There is no sprint to the finish line, and to collectively ‘win’ we all need to pace ourselves.

I’ve basically been preparing for a situation like this my entire life – assembling and practicing the tools that help me stay centred and calm in a crisis – but I forgot one crucial aspect of my personality. My tendency to jump in with both feet.

It came to a head on Sunday.

I was finishing a two-day, experiential Zoom course on another energy healing modality (which I loved) and also facilitated a two-hour guided meditation via Zoom. Eight hours of continuous connection to a device.

While the meditations, the communities, and the energy work were all beautiful, I felt drained by the time the day was done.

I remembered Caroline Myss, one of my root spiritual teachers, reminding us that this is a time for ENDURANCE.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, said much the same thing at her daily briefing today.

Now is the time to stay the course. Hold those firewalls we’ve managed to build.

Stay home. Stay safe.

We are all in the midst of the unknown. An oftentimes, uncomfortable place to live.

I’m reminded that I don’t have to write King Lear, mediate four hours a day, or take every class now offered online.

The most important thing, is to simply sit in the awareness of LIFE. Even if I can only manage that for a minute, or a second at a time.

To feel my way back to a state of Gratitude.

For my health. For my family. For my friends and my community.

For those who are in the trenches every day, who aren’t given the time, space or opportunity to even sit and breath. Because they’re too busy SAVING lives.

For them, I find my way back.

To meditating, to praying, to holding healing circles.

This, I can do.

May the Grace of Endurance gently rain down upon each and every one of us.

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Compassionate Retreat

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I’m changing the name of what I’m doing from ‘Self-Isolating’ to ‘Compassionate Retreat’.

I’m taking the opportunity to strengthen the tools that quell the anxiety that can bubble up and threaten to overwhelm me. I’m meditating, praying, studying the teachers who have informed my spiritual growth.

I’m working to keep my heart open and to love even those who aren’t taking the necessary precautions.

It’s a work in process, as it ever will be. And that’s okay.

I’m holding in my thoughts and heart those that aren’t able to make their home a hermitage.

There are so many people who were already living a challenging life, those dealing with crises of health, of financial security, of mental well-being – crises that didn’t stop with the pandemic we’re all experiencing now. Crises that they’re having to manage in addition to, and amidst what is being required of them during this time.

Every one of us knows someone who is walking through this fire, even if we don’t know who it is.

Let’s take a moment to sit and consciously send love to each and every one.

May you find Peace
May you find Ease
May you be filled with the Grace of Light, Love and Healing energy.

Loving you all!

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Cutting The Grass With Scissors

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Yesterday I cut the grass. Literally. With scissors.

I returned home after being away for most of the last three months to find my wee yard a tiny verdant jungle full of butterflies and happy, buzzing bees. A few things had burned to a crisp, but the small patch of grass had grown way too high for my makeshift lawnmower to cut.

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Plus it had encroached into the flowerbed and I didn’t want to risk cutting any cherished blossoms.

And so I spent the afternoon sitting contentedly on a folded towel, slowly cutting the grass one snip at a time. This is what I discovered.

I loved it. Not that I want to cut my grass every time this way, but spending the time sitting and slowly cutting became very meditative. I allowed my mind to wander and daydream, something I don’t do often enough these days. Sometimes doing almost nothing is exactly what one needs.

I felt like a child again. How often do you just sit on the grass, barely doing anything? Not reading a book. Not weeding. Not making lists or even thinking of making lists.

Instead, I felt the ground beneath me. I watched a yellow butterfly dance amongst the lavender. I listened to the bees. I moved an earthworm to safer territory.

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I pretended I was cutting hair. I talked to the hydrangea like we were best friends. I swept the flagstones with my hands, softly brushing the grass clippings together like I was nine-years old playing house.

I slowed down. I stopped doing and became a human Being

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