Saturday, March 6, 2010

Puppy Love...

This is our dog Taz, short of Tasmanian Devil..., which is exactly what she looked like when we first got her at 10 weeks old. Every single photo that we have of her from back then is blurred, because she was in constant motion, unless she was napping which puppies do a lot of.

Taz feels like one of my kids, and for the most part, she acts like she's one. (except she's seems to be better at doing as she's told!)

She can't talk like the rest of us, but she's got some VERY distinct facial expressions (like the one I've show here.. its her "Mom, I need to know you still love me even though I just got into trouble face.")

We've discovered that its her ears in particular that convey so much of what she's feeling, she's very comical and endearing when she's unsure which expression to use, her ears move every which way, like possessed antennae, trying SO hard to find a signal, she hopes will give us the right communication, that will get her message across. She tries SO hard to please us.

Apparently as a breed, Cairn Terriers are known for their great desire to please, and ability to read "their people's" body language.

She and I have conversations when its just the two of us in the quiet house. I tell her that she doesn't have to try so hard..., its ok to be more of herself,, we will love her no matter what.

I say "conversations", but I do all the talking, she just looks at me and listens, occasionally puts her paw gently on my leg, as if to say "its alright Mom, you don't have to try so hard, I love you no matter what."

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Little Altars...

Personal Altar of a Poet, Dixon, New Mexico

Altars are so personal, intimate. They can transform a room, even a house.

The other day I went to visit a friend at her home to look and photograph her altars.

I must tell you that this was the first time I'd been to her house and so, I had to get directions, (which I forgot to bring with me.) Fortunately, I was able to remember four fifths of the directions,, which got me into the neighborhood, but after that, I was lost.

I drove up and down the street not having a clue which side her house was on, or what it was like, there were lots of lovely houses in this neighborhood, but for some reason I was drawn to one house in particular, it felt different, I couldn't help but wonder if this house was where my friend lived... Suddenly, I had a light bulb moment, and realized I could just call her!!! (some days I'm a little slower than other days! Yikes!) Anyways, she answered her phone and asked me where I was, and as it happens, the house I was staring at was hers! I'm not sure what drew me to it, but I can best describe it by saying that it had a kind of glow to it..., it emanated something that I want to say is most akin to love. You know what I mean? Its like when you see a classic old 50's car and its in cherry condition, the paint work's gleaming the chrome bumpers are sparkling... like its brand new, straight from the factory, except its not, its more than 50 years old! The thing is...., the owner LOVES their car, and it SHOWS...

Or how about the lady I met a couple of weeks ago in the post office. She was 89 girlish years old, and she looked amazing..., vibrant, vital, happy, and oh, sooo in love with her husband and he with her..

It really is food for thought this "Love Thing," and the effects it can have on our bodies, our minds, our spirit..., and from there is spills out to our families, and pets, and yes, even our homes... Its powerful stuff don't you think???

I have a confession to make... Once inside the house, I couldn't really think... I was so overcome with the feeling of the place, I wanted to stay, and not ever leave! I couldn't make my camera work properly, couldn't turn the flash off to take natural light photo's,, I actually felt a bit smitten by my friends home.., so I will have to post some photo's next week after I go visit again (oh goodie!) and hopefully keep my head straight and take better photo's that do justice to this sacred space.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Love Paris in the Springtime...

Wow!!! At the end of this month Caelin, Isabel and myself get to go to Paris and then England
for ten days! I have wanted to visit Paris since I first studied the French language in middle school, at the age of 13. I have a feeling that even though its been a 35 year wait..., Paris, will be worth it!

I'm a bit stunned, I keep going up to Isabel and Caelin and saying... "WE are going to Paris!"

The trip came into being because Isabel has been desperately wanting to go back to England to visit my side of the family. She LOVES England and all things English, she is a true Anglophile. (I secretly love her for it!)

Caelin very generously donated his many frequent flyer miles enabling us to buy a couple of round trip tickets... When he saw us getting all excited, he asked if it was an "All Girl trip" only, or was he invited too..?

Having never been to what is possibly THE most romantic city in the world, and have my sweetie along too, makes it all the more special, and he will get to meet my family for the first time!

I'm overwhelmed by all the things there are to do..., but all I can really think of is all the photo opportunities there will be!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lotus Blossom

My friend Billie has one of the most peaceful, serene gardens that I personally know of. I took this photograph whilst visiting her last summer. There is an exquisite pond at the bottom of the garden, its a sanctuary for dragonflies, and tiny little frogs, and all manner of wildlife, with large comfortable rocks, big enough to sit on, its a truly magic place to pause for a while and contemplate the beauty of the Lotus flower.

Lotus Blossom
By David Taylor

Nurtured by the words of the wise
with each rain dropp calling His name
in an infinite shower of love
the lotus blossom gently unfolds
as by its very nature must
and displays the centre of beauty
free from attachment
free from fear
free from anger
the still, unmoving heart

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The strange tale of The Worm, The Child, & The Madonna

Running the last leg of my morning route, up a grueling hill just a few hundred yards away from our house, I found myself slowing down to a very slow walk.. I couldn't keep the pace going, I was weak. Its funny, but some days I have so much energy and feel like I could run a 10k no problem, but this day was different, it was not one of "those" splendid kind of days. It was the kind of day that left me feeling like a wind up toy that had completely unwound, and it was only 9 am for gosh sakes!!!

As I was plodding up the rest of the hill, I almost stepped on what was left of a worm, half of it had been squished, the rest of its body was squirming in what I can only imagine to be, great pain. Well folks, I consider myself to be a pretty grounded individual, but I'll tell you, I began to sob for that poor worm, and I sobbed the rest of the way home.. Caelin arrived shortly after to find me sobbing on the front porch still dripping with sweat from the run... He immediately assumed I wasn't feeling well, and asked if I'd over done it on the run (it has been known to happen!) I managed to babble out the bit about the worm, I remember looking sideways at him to see if he thought I'd completely lost my marbles, but he didn't, he looked on patiently, listening. I felt for the worm I cried because that's how I felt with all of the political messes that are going on in the world, I felt like my nice, comfortable life might be taken away, we might have a massive earthquake, I might lose people I love, countries are going bankrupt,, etc.. (Yes, before you ask, I watch/listen to a lot of news programs.) " I feel powerless like the worm, and it scares me!" I bleated.

This is the part where I fall in love with the man I live with all over again. He came up to me and gave me a big hug, then looked me in the eye, and gave me some wonderful advice. He said, this is life, we live in an eat or be eaten kind of world. He gave me food for thought by saying life isn't all light and good, there's always a dark side, we have to embrace both aspects of life, the light and the dark. Now most folks don't know Caelin very well, (he's a bit of an introvert), but he's done a great deal of self reflecting over the years, and has a wealth of wisdom and experience in dealing with the spirit and soul work. He suggested I go and take some time to meditate and embrace the "darkness that was getting to me." (I felt like running away instead.) But, I sat down and let my sobbing continue until I was spent, then focused on my breath. I'm a bit of a novice at meditating and being quiet for any real length of time, but after a while, I got there, and I became the observer.

I saw a large dark amorphous object, it seemed to be alive and breathing, I can only describe what I felt as a series of sickeningly real, fearful thoughts that crossed my mind as I watched the darkness,,, fear of being alone, fear of being sick and no one to take care of me, fear of not being a good enough parent,, on and on it went.. then quiet... And I remembered Caelin telling me, there is no such thing as total darkness, look inside and you'll find light at the core.. I looked and travelled through the dark and found a naked vulnerable child curled up very afraid... and I was that child, and I felt all the fear she felt, and wanted so badly to be taken care of.. Then I heard my own voice speak as if I were speaking to a small child who was afraid, "its alright, I'm here I said, everything is going to be alright, all will be well." And I saw a Madonna holding that child, and I was that Madonna, I was nurturing, and loving and protecting the child, and I knew in my heart that I/ we all possess the Madonna aspect, and the aspect of the child that needs to be taken care of and loved.

After this epiphany , I can now recognize both of these aspects in my heart and for the first time in my life, I have compassion for the needy child part of me, and understood why for the longest time (since both my parents died in 1999), I have felt so very drawn to images of the Madonna and the love and strength she embodies, as do we all.

With Love,


Madonna & Child by Vitale da Bologna

Monday, March 1, 2010

More On Little Altars....

Traditional Altar for Dia de las Muertes
New Mexico, November 2010

Altar taken from Latin root word "Altare" meaning elevated or raised up.

After writing my blog entry last week about "Little Altars Everywhere," a friend of mine suggested that I might want to look at what other people keep in the various corners of their homes, and perhaps hear their stories, (or "bios" as she put it.) I loved this idea, and after hearing from several other reader friends about their altars, I've decided that I would very much like to see others people's sacred spaces and will be including them in this blog.

If any of you have sacred corners and/or altars that you'd be willing to share, I would LOVE to hear from you, and either you can send photo's or depending on the distance, I would be happy to come and take photo's.

I leave you with this quote taken from Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth.

"You must have a room or certain hour of the day where you do
not know what is in the morning paper. A place where you can
simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.
At first you may think nothings happening. But if you have a sacred space
and take advantage of it and use it everyday, something will happen."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Little Love, a little frog on a rose, & a little Hafiz...

Here is a photo taken in the summer.

I love this rose, its a David Austin English rose called "Brother Cadfael." I planted it deliberately by the front door of our house, because of its deliciously sweet scent, and its relatively thorn-free stems, not to mention the constant show of flowers from May through to October.

As you can see, we are not the only admirers of this beauty.. We took several photo's during the summer of "froggy" hitching a ride on Brother Cadfael, he spent weeks on end, tucking himself into one multi-petaled nest after another. I wondered if perhaps he too was a rose connoisseur and appreciator of beauty?

I end this post with a little ecstatic poetry on the subject of Love & Roses , courtesy of the Sufi poet Hafiz... (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

It Felt Love

Did the Rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
We all remain

With Love,