Setting Magic into Motion

To set into motion great magic one must take a risk and like the widow’s mite, risk is always relative. What to the outside observer may seem a small step may in fact be something that requires a degree of courage that outsider cannot even imagine. In our gut each of us knows what cost must be paid to unleash the magnificence awaiting us.

This past Thursday I took just such a risk releasing my comfortable, guaranteed paycheck for the opportunity to devote my full time and attention to The Ancient Wisdom, of which this blog and my Biodanza practice are strands. I released the security, and stagnancy, of a known source of abundance for the freedom, and fear, of trusting the Great Mystery to use the small hollow bone of me for Its own purposes, and in a way more in line with the person I have become.

For each of us the trick is always in discerning the difference between our dear friend, Saturnian Practicality, and wily foe, Scarcity Mentality. In the fog of decision war we cannot always tell them apart! That distinction between Saturn calmly and wisely expressing concern for our finding our next meal and having a roof over our heads versus the ever so slightly trembling voice of Scarcity suggesting we’ll have neither if we take that leap, can be very subtle indeed. The correct answer lies always in our gut and NOT in our head. The monkey mind is a trickster hell bent on keeping us in fear, keeping us from stepping into our full, shining, glorious destinies of loving service. The big risk that sets into motion the great magic will arise from a visceral sensation words can never capture. We simply know it when we feel it.

When we do leap the Universe will conspire to open doors for us. As astrologer Steven Forrest once reminded me in a reading, the Universe is not random. There is a synchronicity, a coherent energetic flow that when followed opens the portal to opportunities we never dared imagine.

How about you? What big risk tugs at your heart? Flutters in your sacral, your instinctive center, source of your best and wisest decisions? Yes, that! What you just now so subtly (or not) felt move across your awareness. What is it you long to do but cannot do unless something holding you back is first released? That which makes you most come alive is, as Howard Thurman so famously wrote, is what the world needs.

Remember, the magnitude of risk is always relative. Only the one who is about to leap knows the depth of the plunge. Take it anyway. Take the Fool’s step off the cliff knowing the wings for flight will appear just when you most need them. Scarcity, get thee behind me. Destiny, open your arms to my trusting self.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

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In Memory of Fr. Frank Schuele

How is it that only death brings me to blog these days? I must look at that.

The last time I felt inspired to write was the day I released to spirit my beloved Barney, the Lion Hearted. Now I have learned that yesterday my dear friend and mentor, Father Frank Schuele, made the great journey back to spirit.

What can I say of Frank that does justice to the inspiration he was in my life? He was truly “a man in whom there was no guile” as Jesus said of Nathaniel. Frank was a deep, thoughtful, well read renaissance man.

To whit, I’ll never forget the evening I came out to him as a lesbian woman. We sat and talked after dinner and he listened well, as he always did, as I explained that tortuous journey many of us who were raised Catholic experience when we finally come to accept and celebrate our authentic selves. He began asking me questions about this or that author and when I didn’t demonstrate an acceptable level of familiarity Frank said, “Well, you may be a lesbian but you’re not a feminist!” He promptly marched me into his personal library, grabbed a brown grocery sack and filled it with the likes of Mary Daly’s “Beyond God the Father”, Adrienne Rich’s “Of Woman Born”, Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and even “Beginning with O”, the erotic lesbian poetry of Olga Broumas. By the time I returned to Kansas City six months later, I was a transformed woman, fully a feminist who had now read quite a bit! Frank was delighted.

Frank’s exposing me to the work of the great feminist authors of the day was part and parcel of his unfailing support of me as I found my true spiritual path. In the years following the Second Vatican Council, as the reactionary forces regained control of Frank’s beloved Catholic church, driving out the likes of Matthew Fox, Hans Kuhn, Leonardo Boff, and therefore, myself, Frank understood all too well why I had to follow the Earth based Goddess spirituality that was my true home. I so regret that in the nearly two years since the election of Pope Francis I didn’t take more time to sit and listen to Frank’s feelings about this blessed turn of events and what it meant for our broken world wherein the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider and our sacred Mother Earth is ever more rapidly destroyed. Frank, the election of Pope Francis must have given you such hope.

Above all, I regret that I didn’t better honor my own psychic abilities. A few months back I had a dream in which Frank came to me and said he wanted to talk. Knowing how frail he had been for so long, I should have called him that very day.

If ever there were a man who understood and embodied Rumi’s great quote, “There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again”, it was Fr. Frank Schule. Thank you, Frank, my brother in Christ Consciousness, dear friend, mentor, booster. So many times you encouraged me to write, and today, for you, I do. You encouraged me to find my own way home to Spirit and indeed I have.

As we sing in our eco-feminist tradition of witchcraft, “in love may he return again.”

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Goodnight sweet prince

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

My beloved Barney
circa 1997 to May 28, 2014 at 8:12a. PDT in Petaluma, CA

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Farewell Sweet Prince Barney

Yesterday between patient visits I mustered the courage to call the vet and schedule my beloved Barney’s journey back into spirit for 7:45 a.m. on Wed May 28th. Because of my work as a hospice chaplain I will see to it that Barney dies here at home in the arms of the one who loves him most, just as some of my patients are able to do. My baby boy deserves no less.

I will do all I can to give him the best four days possible. No more dry food! Only organic ground beef from Whole Foods and the remaining canned food I bought last week.  🙂

I have been sleeping next to him on the floor in the living room. Thursday night I lied there and wailed with grief. But he’s deaf, blind, and has so much difficulty walking… often he can’t stand at all, even to eat, and just falls over, so I know in my heart this is the right decision. As Sibyl and others of my dear friends have pointed out, Barney would likely not have survived my days away in Europe July 1-17. He’s maxed out on prednisone for the inflammation and tramadol for the pain. It’s time for his joyful, loving, intelligent soul to be released from his frail, suffering body. Right now though, as I cry and type, he’s lying on the floor at my feet looking so cozy and comfortable.

On Wednesday morning you’ll likely hear my wailing from wherever you are. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I gave him a wonderful life and he enriched mine beyond measure. I will miss him so. And I can’t imagine how much Romeo will miss him. Barney’s cat brother seldom leaves his side now. Often I come into the room and Romeo is there licking Barney’s head and face. It’s been like this for weeks. Romeo knows what’s happening. He sleeps right next to us on the floor, rubbing his head first against mine then against Barney’s. I’ve been advised by the vet that it is good for the other four leggeds to see their beloved friend dead so they too can get closure and not just wander around the house looking for their missing companion. In that tender hour or so after the vet leaves I will have Romeo there with us before we take Barney’s body away to be cremated.

Mom transitioned into Spirit in May of ’13 and now Barney in May of ’14. May is beginning to take on a whole new meaning… a tender, bittersweet, beautiful meaning… amidst warm sun and bird song, freedom from suffering at long last.

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Now and at the hour

Go, you say.
It’s not that way between us, my love for you.

Yet in your ever tender kindness
you send me away with a gift infused with
your scent
covering me
invading my dreams a presence inescapable
now and at the hour…

Blood colored burgundy spread
who knew you held such power?

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The Third of May


What a strange, strange day
the third of May.

Sunrise sees you profess your love
by sunset you are gone.

Between them

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A Sun’s Progression


Into my soul you evolve

while patiently I await

your arrival.

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On Being Given a Second Chance: The Re-election of Barack Obama

Yesterday we dodged a bullet with the re-election of Obama. Throughout the campaign as both Obama and Romney studiously ignored the great peril we face as our planet warms in response to the burning of fossil fuels, I was often near despair. Then in crashed the super storm to force them to take notice and respond. With the arrival of hurricane Sandy it was as though the Earth herself rose up and cried out for help. She was the first to cast her ballot and it was very likely one of the deciding ones.

Vanquished is the candidate who, at the Republican national convention, in his snide and smug tone, derided Obama for his mention of rising sea levels. Romney promised to protect “you and your families”… as though protecting people and planet are not one and the same. Yesterday, as thousands on the east coast were still without electricity and heat, that foolish and dangerous notion was soundly rejected.

Today we have been given a second chance. We must challenge the president to be bold and courageous in his care for our sacred planet, to build upon and not undermine the steps he took in his first term. There is not a moment to waste. We are far from safe with Obama in the White House. He fell over himself throughout the campaign professing his love of coal and openness to the Keystone pipeline, feverishly professing his willingness to expand domestic drilling rather than move us to a Green economy. This we cannot abide.

This very day Bill McKibben’s, a global movement to solve the climate crisis, will continue its preparations for the November 18th march and rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. Perhaps you will be inspired to join them or make some other contribution to protecting our precious planet we call home.

As someone recently quipped, “external climate change requires internal climate change”. We must recognize that we are one people on one planet whose fates are inextricably linked. Obama’s re-election is no promise of survival on our rapidly heating planet; it is merely a second chance to redouble our efforts at coming together in time to avoid ecocide.

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Facilitating the Dance of Life… at Last!

On August 29, 2012, I officially took over facilitation of the Sonoma County Biodanza group. I completed the three years of weekend training sessions required to become a Biodanza facilitator in June but it took a while for this shift to facilitating my own group to happen. I am now a facilitator under supervision and will be turning my attention to the completion of essays and writing my monograph.

If you are local to our beautiful Sonoma county, I hope you will check out this transformative practice of body, mind, spirit integration and renovation. Likewise, if you are passing through our area feel free to drop in. We use a sliding scale fee with no one turned away for lack of funds. Everyone is on the honor system. Classes are $15-25 for drop-ins and a significant discount, $60-80, for those who buy a monthly pass. We meet every Wednesday from 7:15-9:15 p.m. at  Songbird Community Healing Center in Cotati, CA.

Please join us for the Biodanza, the poetry of human encounter.

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Till Death Do Us Part…and It Damn Well May! (aka the “Myth of the Failed Relationship”)

The approach of the autumnal equinox tomorrow puts me in mind of restoring balance in life, in this case the balance that comes from knowing when to move on in an intimate relationship or marriage.

It’s a simple and irrefutable truth, unhappiness kills. Over the long haul it can be deadly and I have the hospice patients to prove it. All to often as my patients tell the narrative of their lives, grief over having stayed too long in an unhappy marriage is an all too common theme.

With a divorce rate at 50% knowing when to leave may not seem cause for concern and surely knowing when to stay and work it out is an art form all its own. But that is not my focus this morning. Nor am I speaking of staying in a relationship due to extreme domestic violence. Both of those are topics for another day. This equinox I am contemplating the inertia, the fear that keeps a person locked in a situation that sucks the life’s blood out of them, all of them…body, mind, and spirit.

Why do we do this? Why do we stay in a situation, dying slowly as the body inevitably responds to the emptiness of heart that has us shuffling along in the land of the living dead?

Lots of reasons, of course. Money, the kids, fear that we’ll never find love again or worse, that we don’t deserve to do so.

All of these reasons have varying degrees of merit. After all having no where to go and no means of support would give anyone pause. Divorce’s impact on a child is a legitimate concern, although the lesson of a slow death from emotional misery is not one we wish to teach our children either. And Goddess knows, if our spouse or lover has been telling us for years that we’re worthless and should feel lucky that anyone puts up with us, that internalized message can be immobilizing, even unto a premature death.

I submit that there is another reason why we may linger in intimate relationships long past what is healthy. It is what I call the “myth of the failed relationship”. If a relationship has fulfilled its karmic purpose, if we have learned the lessons we came together to learn, brought into this world the children we were destined to bring forth, or done what we otherwise would not have done without our spouse/partner then the ending of that union is not a failure. It is, in fact, a sign of no small degree of spiritual awareness and evolution to recognize this and then have the courage to move on, amicably.

It is oft noted that all of life, history itself, seems to be speeding up, changing and evolving ever more quickly. If so, then naturally this would apply to relationships as well. It is my observation and experience that we are resolving our karma with others more quickly and that therefore, we do ourselves a disservice to label the ending of an intimate relationship a failure. This is particularly so when that once sexual union is allowed and encouraged to evolve into something else, preferably a deep and abiding friendship and if not that, at least one in which we thank the other person for the lessons learned and wish her/him well.

Will there be tears and some heartache through that transition? Likely. But consider the sad and potentially terminal alternative.

Like the trees dropping their leaves all around us there comes a time to let go of that which has served its sacred purpose and to prepare for the new life waiting to be born. This fall may we each have the grace to know when that time has come and the courage to do as the trees do and let go.

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