Like an Old Friend…

Coming to my blog site is like visiting an old friend that has been a long time gone.

It’s late. I need to go to bed and rest, for tomorrow is another day of dawn to dusk laboring. I am in a birthing process. It is not a human baby I am birthing, well perhaps in a way, but I will get to that. What I am birthing is a dream.

For years I have dreamed of a gathering of all my beloved friends and family…a coming together of many souls whose only connection to one-another is me. From around the globe they will come and as their eyes meet for the first time they will see a kindred spirit. They will know one another in an instant of soul recognition. Eyes will light up with smiles and arms will hold one another in the warmth of loving embraces.
I am birthing this dream by creating a space for such gatherings. Each day is a labor of love but as in all birthings there are moments of fear and pain.
There is spilled blood, dripping sweat, and nights of aching muscles and deep fatigue.
Through it all is a push to complete. The urge to reach the climatic moment of revelation is intense. It is what wakes me at 5:30 with instant alertness and clarity of purpose. It is what keeps me moving from project to project, checking off one after the next as they reach completion. It is what makes my heart sing with joy when I vision the gathering of friends who will soon be crossing the threshold of Mountain Valley Retreat.
The birthing of Mountain Valley Retreat is also the birthing of me. Through this creation I am coming out as myself. Everything about this place represents my authentic self.

IMG_4967[1] I am, through this place, revealed at last.

Over the Threshold

Tipis outside the Buffalo Bill Historical Cent...

Tipis outside the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming

As I sit at my workstation poised for my morning writing session, I review my notes on Ganesha from the first session of Writing Your Practice. I am searching for an inspiration. I read what Susanna spoke about the Ganesh concepts: “You have everything you need, create from your own resources. Move through the thresholds that present themselves. Embrace Change.”
I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Tipis are a part of my heritage. Indian blood flows through the veins of my personal lineage, if not my mothers or fathers of this lifetime. The evidence of this has surfaced repeatedly throughout my life and I embrace this part of who I am.
When I considered how to house the seminarians who would be coming to Mountain Valley Retreat, tipis seemed like the perfect solution. I purchased three 20’ canvas tipis. As the retreat took form, I “saw” where the tipis would sit and I realized that in the east we would erect the “men’s lodge.” In the west would be the “women’s lodge” and in the center of the property, the “children’s lodge.” These directional placements align with the corresponding positions on the Native American medicine wheel.
The artwork of tipis has always fascinated me. Native people used the tipi hide to tell their personal stories. The designs of the tipis were the province of the women in the tribe. Dreams often inspired the paintings as well as personal power animals and significant exploits and experiences. Medicine shields and elemental allies would also find their way to the canvas of the tipi.
As I dreamed about the tipis I was putting on our sacred ground, I felt a responsibility to respect the lineage of this ancient art form. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the canvas I had before me, let alone the task of designing and painting the murals. I decided to begin with the women’s lodge…I had to start somewhere.
I made calls to try and locate a “real” artist to commission or at least assist me as I felt unequal to the task at hand.  I also noticed there was a resistance to bringing in outside help.  I kept moving forward, doing what I could to prepare. I read books and looked at tipi art. I watched for tipis when I traveled. I looked through paint color pallets and chose colors I was drawn to. I thought about what I wanted to represent on the women’s lodge. I asked for dreams of inspiration and they came.
I got my boyfriend to help me carry one of the tipis into our newly constructed yurt, a 30’ diameter, 706 square foot round structure that is our large meeting space. Laid out on the floor, the tipi has to be folded in HALF to fit inside the yurt. Holy shit! This really IS a huge canvas! For two weeks it lay there as I looked at it and wondered what to do next. I called my friend Star and she came and looked at it with me. I told her what I dreamed it would look like and we spent a day searching the internet for images and making sketches. She made some full scale sketches and I planned to have her help me with some of the actual painting.
As I stood looking at the canvas one evening I thought to myself, “I have ten people coming for Thanksgiving. I need places for them to sleep. I can’t keep looking at this blank canvas…it is time.” I went out early the next morning with tools in hand and penciled in the phases of the moon around the top. With a brilliant blue I filled in the back ground sky. It went much quicker and easier than I had feared.  It was beautiful!  The ice was broken.
I knew I wanted to represent our land around the base with earth colors and rather than a brush I used a sponge to get a three-dimensional effect of the mountains. It worked and the sponge method was much faster than the one-inch brush I had used on the moons.
I was undecided as to whether to fill in the night sky above the moons but the sponge worked so well I decided to put a North Star above the full moon and  fill the rest with a field of stars on blue.  I ran out of blue paint just as I finished. I love validation!
The “easy” part done, what remained were the drawings of two red-tailed hawks, a medicine woman, a wolf, a raven and some large pine trees.  No more sponge painting…
Last night I sat on the canvas with several drawings around me and began sketching a hawk. When I finished, I realized that I am the artist I was seeking. I can do this. I am doing this. I have walked up to a threshold, met my fears and stepped through to the other side. Today I will paint the red-tailed hawk, messenger from the gods.tipi moons and north star

Midsummer Eve


Early in the process of building Mountain Valley Retreat, I recognized that what I was undertaking was more than I could manage on my own. The only way I could handle the magnitude and complexities of what I was attempting was to submit my vision of the retreat and allow it to unfold. I surrendered the timetable of events regarding its construction to the greater forces of the Universe. Releasing control was at the same time difficult and a relief.

Today is the eve of Litha, summer solstice. This is an important time to celebrate the fertility of summer and burn fires to release prayers to the heavens. I am fascinated that the completion of the Yurt Raising and the arrival of the Tipi Poles happened now.

The significance of this synchronicity led me to create a sacred ceremony last night in the Northwest section of the retreat where the Women’s Lodge will be located. During the day, I raked and cleared the area and when the Tipi poles arrived, we laid them on the ground to wait the day of the Women’s lodge rising. As I was clearing the area, a small rattlesnake appeared and I received this powerful symbol of transmutation as a blessing.small rattlesnake

Last night, under the midsummer moon, I walked back to the Lodge area with the mano and metate (Native grinding stones) that were a gift from my friend and head builder, Lonnie. I stood in the center of the area where the Lodge will stand and asked where to place the metate. As I turned in a circle inside the oaks that surrounded me, I saw the spot. In the moonlight, I could see the metate sitting there in my mind and it felt right. I slid the large stone from my wheelbarrow unto the ground and it fell perfectly into place.IMG_4004[1]

A few months ago, I wild crafted white sage from a nearby trail and made sage bundles. I placed one of the bundles in the depression of the metate and used the mano to grind the sage into a fine powder. I held the sage in my hand and stood in the moonlight. I prayed for Mountain Valley Retreat.

I thanked Mother/Father God, All That Is, for bringing me this vision and supporting its manifestation. I prayed to Mama Quilla, Moon Goddess and protector of women, beseeching her to watch over us as we travel on our individual and collective journeys. I prayed for guidance and continued support as the visionary of this healing retreat center and the steward of this land.

I scattered the ground sage over the Tipi poles and around the area as I repeated my prayers of thanksgiving. Then I stood and gazed up at the moon and felt the power and the beauty of this sacred ground and deep in my heart, I knew that my path is sound and true.


women's lodge

I am considering the fact that this is page 138 of my Daily Morning Pages, over one-third of the journey to 365 days of daily free-writing is on the page. When I began, the goal was simply to show up and write something every morning. That remains my goal. However, in the course of my writing something unexpected happened…I accumulated some readers! Each day emails arrive in my inbox with comments about what I have written and I realize that someone is listening. It was never my intention that anyone would actually read what I was writing…I was writing for myself. I was writing as an act of self-discipline. I was writing for clarity around issues that are important to me. I was writing for inspiration for my day. I feel as if I am still writing to myself, and someone else is in the room.

When a post about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) appeared on my FaceBook page I thought, “Pleasant diversion, this!” With twelve months of a daily free-write, I could devote one to free-writing poetry. And it was a surprising and entertaining excursion.

I haven’t read through the collection of what I have written. I sometimes only read the daily writing once or twice. My partner has been a patient and willing listener to be read aloud the page that has come forth each morning. Occasionally I write something that catches my attention and I read it several times, not as an editor, but as a curious listener attempting to grasp the meaning within the words. Prior to the moment my fingers lie on the keyboard, I don’t know what is going to be written. Sometimes a word, an image, an emotion precede my writing during the meditation I practice just before I sit to write. Other days, like today, I am clueless to what will appear on the page.

This process is quite fascinating to me. I have other experiences that mirror my free-writing. Painting and cooking come to mind. I approach a silk with the same lack of planning, usually only a vague idea of what I will paint, and I freely draw images and choose colors of dye to create fabrics for wearing or framing. I create recipes from the foods I have on hand, throwing together dishes with an intuitive sense of what will work well together.

Aha, “intuitive sense of what will work well together.” I hear that line ringing in my ears.
I am grasping an understanding that when I rest back without a plan and allow my intuition to take over my “driver’s seat,” trusting that whatever happens next is acceptable, something akin to magic happens. Of course! On a larger scale that is how this retreat is being created. Before the calendar, appointments, plans, schedules and lists, was a vision. The “left brain” organization is the masculine energy manifesting the vision that came from the “right brain” creative intuitive feminine energy.

Balance is the key. If I take the time to sit in silence, resting in the “women’s lodge”, my intuitive guidance, my Muse, comes forth with a vision. A single spark of brilliance ignites the masculine to action. The vision is taken by forces of creation and the left brain implements the plan for execution. Supported by Universal Mind, synchronicity comes into play. It feels as if a friendly force precedes me and opens the gates before I reach them, making the manifestation process appear effortless.

For me, it is a slippery slope into the imbalance of too much execution and not enough inspiration. I must be diligent to pause frequently and drop back into the “women’s lodge.” It is here, in the cavern of deep stillness, that the non-essential falls away and the clarity of purpose arises. It is here, that the Muse can be heard, and the vision of her wisdom can be seen.

meditation pose

Manifesting Magic

English: A red and yellow Daylily. Daylilies f...


Put my body in the appropriate place.
Be patient, focus with intention
Magic will manifest!

Stand at the easel
Brush in hand
Art will happen.

Put on my shoes and coat,
Walk out the door and head down the path
I will be exercising.

Gather the ingredients on the counter
Stand before them in my apron
Dinner will be created.

Sit in front of my screen
Set my fingers on the keyboard
Poetry will appear.

Stand in the yard,
Shovel in hand, seeds in my pocket
Garden will grow.

Bring home the lumber
Gather the tools
Greenhouse will stand.

Build a retreat
Send out the word
People will come.

Pressfield’s words ring in my ears
“Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”

The Message

Sage LemurYou know
we still need you,
so you have stayed.
The calming reassurance
of your presence
is with us.
We see you
not as you were
but as you are;
tall, dignified, powerful,
graceful and gentle,
A magnificent white feline
standing upright on hind legs
appears from the misty morning light.
He embodies the wisdom of ages.
His message is clear.
You are loved.
Fiercely, Tenderly, Truly and Unconditionally.
Always and forever.
Not universal love that is all-purpose and wide-ranging.
Personal love that is explicitly for you.
You matter.
YOU MATTER in ways you cannot possibly conceive.
You are intricately woven into the fabric of this Universe.
Every thought you think, every word you say, every act you take
is immensely significant for all of time and space, for all of life.
You can do no wrong.
It is outside the realm of all possibilities for you to make a mistake.
You are part of the One.
Only through the veil of separation do you not see this.
Only through the illusion of disconnectedness
do you see yourself as less than perfection.
You have nothing to fear.
No harm can come to you.
It is the illusion of duality that creates
your sense of good and evil.
In the One, there is only Love.


Carry On

steam pool\

steam pool\

Leaving the hot bath,
steam rising in swirling mists,
I stepped through an unseen boundary separating two realities.
I left behind
my perception of ordinary life
and entered a possible perceived future.
As if in a dream come to life
I moved about the scene.                                                                                    On one hand, awe struck.
On the other, complete understanding
of my mind’s ability to create not only
the world as I know it
but also this future projection,
equally “real.”
The gift of “seeing”
seems to say
the path is true
the cause is just
the source is righteous.
Carry on.