Aging & Death

The rains finally came today.  A solid 20 minutes of genuine downpour…a “get naked and dance in the rain” downpour.

I am so grateful to the Elementals.  They settled their differences today and found balance.  And so, too, may I find balance.

I’m 68.  I have been moving consciously through layers of armor and patterns of conditioned-response to stress for decades.  But at this moment, what seems significant, is the last decade.

I reverse my timeline and look backwards from July 12, 2018.  

I officially opened the Mountain Valley Retreat in 2014.

Sidebar:  “This is 2018, my fifth year in my new business.  I’m sorting out the bugs and it’s working.  My working edge is clarity about what I want.  I am a Renaissance Woman.  Staying focused on one project at a time isn’t as fun  (read challenging) as juggling several projects at once  Some interests are more lefty, artsy-fartsy and some more righty, rational-mathematical.  I seem to go for the balance.”

  In 2010 my marriage of thirty-seven years ended in divorce.

 

Sidebar:  “We hooked up for the first time in 1968.  I was an 18-year-old freshman at DU and Jim was a 20-year-old junior on a 4-year NCAA basketball scholarship majoring in Economics.  When Jim graduated he moved to Chicago to play at being a banker in the big leagues… riding on the lapping tongues of the jock-sniffing Execs at the First National Bank of Chicago in the loop.  His entry-level position was as a Jr. Trust Officer.  Jim did the leg-work for his boss, Manny, from Kenilworth, Sr. Trust Officer. I transferred to NIU and majored in Education and Psychology.  We got married in 1973.”

In 2007 I left Jim and the farm we had lived on since 1975, 32 years.  I maintained my business, Be Well Now, in Godfrey/Alton.  I moved into a tiny log cabin 10 miles from my farm isolated in an oak forest on a little lake owned by a young couple going through a divorce.  My landlady, Kristy, was getting the house with 100 acres and rented the cabin to me and my cat, Lemur,  for two years.

The story of the preceding fifty-seven years is a blog (read book) for another day.

So, this somehow brings me to my topic, Death & Aging…or Aging & Death.

What, you are asking, is the connection between Aging & Death and the past decade of my life?  I’m aging and so is everyone around me and we all die.  The longer I live, the more Aging and Death become a “thing” for me.  As friends and family die, I’m left wondering the great unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

Within my ‘wonderings’ I came upon a thought.  As I age, time appears to be collapsing in on itself.  The clock may say it is six hours later than what feels like a moment ago.  It appears that my mind is staying more and more present.  Without thoughts about the past or the future time is losing its relativity.  Without anything to relate to,  there are no relatives for time?   Without relativity, there is no time!  Only now.

What does this have to do with Aging and Death?  Everything!

Aging depends upon the passage of time.  No time…no aging.

Death is the absence of time…it is timeless.  Therefore, if I am in a timeless space, I am already dead, by definition.  If I am dead, what separates me from life? Just the appearance of this body.

Savasana,  The little death, the chance to die before you die.  This is what my yoga is all for.  For 50 years I’ve known of yoga, practiced yoga, studied yoga, taught yoga…and now?  Perhaps, I am yoga.

Aging and Death?  Nothing but concepts of the mind.  Paper Tigers.  Bring it on!

Agelessness and Life Eternal.  Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Way of Life

Fran, Gary and Laura have left…bittersweet ending to a wonderful visit. Stubby is going to stay with us while they are off on the adventures of their individual and connected lives. Finding their own way into the unknown future.
It is the exciting and courageous path of the uncertain future that lies ahead for all of us. I believe in the sacred path and I notice that the Way changes. I am now mostly in the slow rooted, Earth Way and but I have had times when my path was in the mysterious flight and deep connection of the Air Way, other times in the sometimes flowing, sometimes crashing and sometimes stillness of the Water Way and yet other times when I was in the fast ignition path of the Fire Way.
No matter the Way. It is all the Tao. To remain centered in the Way is to be in harmony with life. Then the world becomes a paradise. I feel at peace. I then realize that my name and form is provisional. I know that when the institutions lose their function it is time for them to end. I know when to go and when to stop and thereby I avoid danger.
All things end in the Way as all rivers flow to the sea.
Knowing others is knowledge. Knowing myself is wisdom.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering myself is true power.
Because I realize I have enough, I am truly rich.
As I stay in my center, embracing all that is with my whole heart, I will endure forever.
Lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Chery Owens

Air Way Earth Way Fire Way Water Way

Soul Speaks

I am in Sedona assisting Suzanne Scurlock-Durana with Healing From the Core: Release and Renewal for my eighth year in succession.  I return because I am fed by the energy of the Red Rocks of Sedona and it’s spectacular vistas. The brilliant sunshine and sparkling air and water enter my body at a cellular level.  Here I easily connect with the power of the elements of nature and I am nurtured and nourished deep09-IMG_5477ly.  The circle of people who gather for this retreat have a commonality of purpose and understanding that allows for deep connection and bonding quickly.  In this sacred space created by nature and manifested by a network of souls, I step into a field of safety and support. Here I am able to drop into the deepest layers of myself and communicate with my Soul Self.

Yesterday I made that deep connection and allowed Soul to speak to me.  This is what she said.

Soul Speaks:

Release your fear of lack for there is abundance all around you.  Open your eyes wide, be in love with your life and all that you have.  Expect nothing and discover that you have everything.  Begin where you are now.  It is enough.  You are enough.  The time is ripe for openings, new beginnings and growth of all kinds. 

Use what you have on hand.  Look around.  Finish the unfinished without need for anything more to be added.  Allies abound.  You are supported at every turn.  The Universe is conspiring for your success.  Your success, your growth and expansion into the experience of absolute abundance requires the successful growth and expansion of others.  As they succeed, you succeed.  Give of yourself and share all that you have with wild abandon asking for nothing in return.  Withhold nothing in your giving.

Your life of absolute fearlessness, of absolute compassion and giving will create a reality of absolute joy.  Laughter, song and dance will fill each moment of your life and you will dwell in the experience of love eternally.Cathedral Rock

Mountain Valley Retreat…Launching!

Here I go, ready or not! Launching the new website for Mountain Valley
Retreat! Let me know what works for you and what does not…I will greatly appreciate all feedback.

The Fountain (Edited)

I am participating in a writing class called Writing Your Practice. One of the prompts is to write from the perspective of an inanimate object, giving it a voice. I read The Fountain and did some edits and ended the piece by giving the Fountain a voice.IMG_4250[1]

I am sitting at my desk, cup of tea steaming, ready for my morning writing session. Looking out the window, the sky is pale blue with the early morning light. I can see the oaks and pine trees. Large rocks grace the hillside surrounded by sage where the property climbs the hill to the fence. In the lower right corner of my view is the patio. In its center sits a fountain. I feel pleasure and gratitude every time I look at it.
I moved from rural St Louis to a small holding 15 miles south-east of Warner Springs, California in April of 2009. In 2010 I took a position as a massage therapist at The Spa at Warner Springs Ranch. The Spa was a horseshoe-shaped design of low adobe buildings around a central stone courtyard. A prominent water fountain, the focal point of the courtyard, drew me in. As I walked with clients through the courtyard from the lobby to and from the treatment rooms, the sound of the falling water was like soothing music to my ears. Two years later, the owners sold the ranch and closed it for renovations.
Out of work and with an hour commute to the closest city, I rested as I considered my options. The vision of a residential retreat center came to my mind. As I explored the vision I “saw” a patio with a beautiful fountain that would attract birds and bring balance to our high desert climate with the addition of a water element. I remembered the fountain from the Spa!
I called my friend Sharon, the owner of the Spa at Warner Ranch. She told me she was selling all of the furnishings from the Spa, including the fountain, and she would love me to have it.
Today, I look out at the fountain with the hummingbirds and finches, stellar jays and acorn woodpeckers bathing and drinking from its endlessly moving water and my heart expands.
The history of this fountain is unknown to me although I know that the ranch opened in 1849 and the Spa was a popular destination to Hollywood stars in the 1920’s.
For me, this fountain holds the energy of the Spa at the Ranch which was my oasis at a time when I needed connection and roots. It represents a place of restoration and a loving group of compassionate women.
Its previous owner, Sharon, is a sister of my heart. The fountain brings her powerful healing spirit and profoundly beautiful presence to Mountain Valley Retreat. As I gaze at the fountain, I am grateful. My heart sings with joy.
The fountain is a metaphor for chi, the life-force energy that animates all living things. Flowing up its central channel from the base, energy bursts forth from the crown. Waves of sparkling air-and-light-filled-water fill the air descending in rivulets, cascading over the sides of the upper bowl falling like rain into the waiting vessel at its base to be drawn into the central channel. The cycle repeats again and again, mimicking the human energy field.
What might the fountain say if it could speak? “I am of the earth, made of stone. I am the mover of air, water and fire. Like a jewel, my oxygen-rich water refracts sunlight sending elemental energy out into the field. I feed life. Grounded through my stone pedestal deeply into the earth, I sit in the center of this red clay patio. I offer life-giving energy to the plants, the birds, the animals and the people who enter my field. I inspire humans to appreciate the beauty of nature. I am observed with gratitude and therefore, I am.”

The Fountain

IMG_4250[1]I am sitting at my desk, cup of tea steaming, ready for my morning writing session. Looking out the window, the sky is pale blue with the early morning light. I see the oaks and pines and large rocks that grace the hillside surrounded by sage where the property climbs to the fence. In the lower right corner of my view is the patio. In its center sits the fountain. An emotional response of pleasure and gratitude occurs every time I look at it.
I moved from rural St Louis to a small holding 15 miles south-east of Warner Springs, California in April of 2008. In 2009 I took a position as a massage therapist at The Spa at Warner Springs Ranch. The design of the spa was a horseshoe shape of low adobe buildings around a center courtyard. The fountain, the focal point of the courtyard, drew me in. As I walked with clients through the courtyard from the lobby to and from the treatment rooms, the sound of the falling water was like soothing music to my ears.
The ranch was sold and closed for renovations two years later. Out of work and with an hour commute to the closest city, I rested and considered my options. The vision of a residential retreat center came to my mind. As I explored the vision I “saw” a patio with a beautiful fountain that would attract birds and bring balance to our high desert retreat with the addition of a water element…the fountain from the Spa! I talked to my friend Sharon, the owner of the Spa at Warner Ranch. She told me she was selling all of the furnishings from the Spa, including the fountain, and she would love me to have it.
Today, as I look out at the fountain with the hummingbirds and finches, stellar jays and acorn woodpeckers, bathing and drinking from its endlessly moving water, my heart expands. The history of this fountain is unknown to me although I know that the ranch opened in 1849 and the Spa was a popular destination to Hollywood stars in the 1920’s.
For me, it holds the energy of the Spa at the Ranch, which was my oasis at a time when I needed connection and roots. It represents a place and people of restoration and compassion.
Its last owner, Sharon, is a sister of my heart. The fountain brings her powerful healing spirit and profoundly beautiful presence to Mountain Valley Retreat.  I gaze at the fountain and my heart sings with joy.Sharon

Early Morning Pages

Ganesha

It is early morning and I am here. I am committed to writing daily for ten weeks as part of Susanna Harwood Rubin’s writing circle, “Write Your Practice-2013.” This writing circle has the added element of Yoga. Susanna is a yoga teacher and student of Hindu Mythology, a subject of long-standing interest for me.
I feel empowered by choosing to write this morning. I realize how much I missed the discipline I kept sacred for six months from January through June of this year. I stopped the practice in July as I prepared to be away from home for five weeks. I am grateful to have found the inspiration to return to my writing practice. Thank you, Susanna!
The theme for week one is “Finding Your Voice” represented by the Hindu deity and mythological being, Ganesha. Easily recognized by his elephant head, I regard Ganesha, the patron of intellect and wisdom, during this writing session. It is a common Hindu practice to honor Ganesha, the Hindu god of beginnings, at the start of a ritual or ceremony.
Today is the start of such a ritual for me. I invoke Ganesha and welcome his support in this new writing endeavor.
Susanna offered some intriguing prompts for this week’s writing. As I read through them, two stand out. The first is to explore my story through the objects around me. “In what ways is my personal creation myth represented by the objects I choose to have near me? What do those objects have to tell about themselves and about me?”
The second concept that attracts me is, “Always be poised at a threshold and then move through it – embrace change.” I wonder about the thresholds I have crossed in my lifetime and how well I have embraced the changes that ensued.
My monitor sits on top of a wooden box that was a gift from my Japanese sister, Keiko. Kay is an artist who creates beautiful objects from glass, yarn, fabric, wood and metal. She built the box and painted it inside and out in a Scandinavian style of artistic design. She incorporated my name on the lid. I have had the box for over forty years and it has until recently held keepsakes and letters that touched my heart. When I remodeled my laundry room into an office, my monitor needed a platform to raise it and the box was perfect. I like that I look at it every day when before it was hidden in a cabinet. I feel my connection to Kay through it.

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As I consider it now and give it a “voice” this is what I hear:
“I am a loving expression of the Divine Feminine. Through me, Kay reveals her compassion. She demonstrates her intention to serve. I am showing you the intricate details of nature finely created by Kay’s pure focus and rapt attention. Feel into my field and experience her joyfulness as she participates in this beautiful creation.”
I feel deeply touched by my experience with this box that I have kept close for so many years. Kay was a heart opening influence in my life for the year she lived with my family. I was twelve years old and she was an eighteen-year-old American Field Service student from Yokohama, Japan. I absolutely adored her. She and I spent endless hours sewing doll clothes, making origami cranes, and playing cards.
I understand now why she spent more time with me than my sister, Sandy, who was eighteen. The more sheltered and innocent upbringing of Japanese youth was not equal to the American teen’s level of sophistication, even in 1962. Kay and I were more alike in our interests and emotional maturity even though we were six years apart…and we shared an interest in artistic endeavors. I loved to draw, paint and sew and she was my more-than willing teacher.
I look at this box she made for me and tears come to my eyes. I miss her. I am so grateful for the gift she was to me at that formative time in my life. She is a gem to be treasured. Ah, now I understand why I have kept this box near me all these years.IMG_4673[1]IMG_4678[1]