“Who Am I Without My Story?”
I cut the barbed wire stretched taught between two sturdy old fence posts,                          first at one end and then the other.
Tossing it away,  I pushed on the posts, each in turn.
They loosened easily from the ground.
Lifting them free, I threw them aside, away from my body.
Lying back, I viewed the scene without them.

I saw a flawless field of blue sky and green pasture untouched by human invention.
Again came the words that had been moving through my mind, like a mantra,          endlessly asking,
“Who am I without my story?”

I looked into the scene produced within and saw now the fullness of nature revealed.
Three wild Indian ponies galloped into the pasture of my body
and I saw them as me.
Body, Mind and Spirit.

This is who I am without my story.
I am wild and free, uninhibited by custom or convention.
I know not my past and care not my future.
I am here now. This is all there is.

In this moment, I dance myself into existence and awareness flows along each breath.
I continuously unfold.

I am neither nefarious nor reputable.
I am either the falsehood of my story or the truth of my being.

I cannot be both.three wild horses

Let Me Be Wild

wild womanI have been thinking-talking-writing about “Wild” for months.   I first wrote about “Connecting to My Wild” on August 5, 2013.  So here I am, over a year later, reflecting on where my exploration into “Wild” has brought me…and more importantly, where it is taking me.

Stepping into Wild, the undomesticated nature I was born into,  isn’t something that happened suddenly.  In fact, it didn’t happen at all!  It is an evolution.  As layer after layer of domestication slip away, bits of my Wildness are revealed.

Wild surfaces most apparently when I am creating.  She speaks the words when I am teaching.  She comes through my touch when I am treating.  She chooses the herbs when I am cooking.  She sneaks into my writing, showing up between the lines of words that slide out onto the page.  She hides in the bottles of dye and paint and is revealed when my brush crosses the silk or canvas.  And most recently, she is in the keys of my piano and the chords of my voice waiting for the cage door to open so she can sound herself into the room.   Wild always gets into my bare feet when they move to music across the floor…and when the moment is right, she comes bursting forth in the spins and leaps and bounds of ecstatic dance.ecstatic dance1

I am the blessed one to have opened the door to Wild.  She is Joy expressed without inhibition.  She gives life to living.  She is the magic that is manifesting when I have the courage to release her and let me be Wild.

This is my prayer, “Let Me Be Wild.”

By Thy Grace

IMG_7559I am sitting here with the windows open breathing in the cool, moist air feeling so grateful that Nature has rained her Grace on us!
Yesterday was magical. G and I went hiking in the Santa Ysabel Preserve on the Coast to Crest Trail. It was mid-morning and with a bit of thunder and occasional gentle rains, we had the trail to ourselves as others feared the unpredictable weather of these mountains… but we were called to hike on!

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I started building cairns and the day felt light and carefree and playful. When we finished the west loop we went to the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel’s annual Gathering which was happening beside the trail staging area. It felt like we were back in our childhood home (South Dakota) when we indulged in Indian Tacos which I’ve only eaten at Cheyenne Crossing in the Black Hills before yesterday.
As we drove back to Mountain Valley Retreat the skies opened wide and the rain started falling. It poured! When we got home the rains continued for an HOUR! It felt so good to walk around and get soaked to the skin with big grins on our faces! The light rain continued off and on throughout the evening and I could hear the plants soaking it in and the water tank filling to the brim.
Today, the weather maps are showing another band of rain heading our way, due to arrive about the same time as yesterday in the early afternoon. The Sweet Grace of beautiful nourishing, nurturing rain is upon us. Thank you, Mom.

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Praying the Medicine Wheel

I am in Sedona working the Medicine Wheel.  I seek the support and guidance of Spirit as we co-create the upcoming year, the 64th act in the play that is my life.  As I step onto the stage the scenery has changed and a new cast of characters wait in the wings.

I speak now to my Soul and to the Infinite Intelligence of the Universe of which I am a part.

“I am ever grateful for the boundless gifts of my life which continue to amaze and delight me.

I seek your continued support as I step into this new stage of my life.

I recognize the origins and patterns of my limiting beliefs and now release my fear of lack and recognize abundance and success that exceeds my ability to imagine.

I dedicate myself to a life of service.  I willingly share the abundance I realize and use my gifts and talents to assist and facilitate the growth and expansion of myself and others.

Thank you, Sweet Soul, for your infinite patience, love and guidance.

And so it is.



Lessons From a Leaf

falling leaf

I am getting ready to launch the website for Mountain Valley Retreat. Building the retreat has been a significant endeavor for the past year and for the last few weeks I have been creating the website with the help of my friend, Brad Lucas. Every day this week I have lost myself in writing the text and finding the pictures to try to convey the heart and soul of the retreat we are building.  I sit at my laptop when the sun comes up and close the lid after dark.

Today, I received an email from my dear friend Pat Tuholske. I read her beautiful words that speak so poignantly of trust and change and tears well in my eyes.                                    “If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?”                                          I feel myself longing for something unnamed.

Lessons From a Leaf
Watching fluttering leaves fall fills me with a contradiction of feelings. I get the slight sadness that summer is over yet the thrill of witnessing the wonder of the alchemy occurring within the leaf. Observing the transmuting cycle of spring’s leaf buds bursting with new life, summer’s fullness converting sun into food, autumn’s grace of falling colors, winter’s patience trusting the cycle.

Have you ever seen a single leaf twirling from the tip of a limb when no other leaves are moving and there is barely a breeze? When I see that leaf I feel the tree speaking to me in a language long forgotten by humans. This tree language shouts in falling curtains of color: let go, trust, fall, don’t fear, change.

Connected to the tree for the entire growing season, the leaf possesses the wisdom of release. Falling to earth, caressed by the wind, it is able to express its own inner timing. Performing its final dance with the air, the leaf gives itself to the soil.

If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?

When I feel stuck on something, I follow the teachings of the falling leaf. If I feel an issue tugging at me, I go watch the falling leaves. It helps me to let go of the struggle and understand falling is not a failure but a surrender to the cycle of change.
Pat Tuholske
This entry was posted in Ozark Flora and Fauna, The Human-Nature Journey on October 14, 2013.

A Letter to my Soul Mates

etheric meditationI wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!


Lemur Returned


I have had mystical experiences throughout my life. It is only recently, in the past decade, that I have embraced them without reservation and only very recently, in the past year or so, that I have written about them and shared them publicly.

Lemur was special. Over the years I have given home to over fifty cats but Lemur stood out as unusually beautiful, intelligent and charming.

He was extra large, weighing in at almost twenty pounds and pure white with that tail that gave him his name. Standing straight as a stick into the air, his tail was grey with black rings looking every bit like a lemur’s.

I don’t know his lineage or early history…just that he showed up in the urban neighborhood of my friend Paul and worked the ‘hood getting attention and food from several families.

The day Paul was moving across town he discovered Lemur had crawled into his open car as he made trips back and forth to the house. Paul got the message that Lemur wanted to go with him and that day he became Paul’s cat and best friend. Paul often talked about the antics and idiosyncrasies of Lemur as I sat across from him admiring the framed photo of Lemur on his desk.

After Paul died, at the too early age of fifty, I was standing with his four sisters at the funeral home. I asked which of them was taking Lemur. Eva looked at me with a degree of embarrassment and said, “None of us.” I asked, “Really? Who then?” When they told me they were taking Paul’s beloved Lemur to the pound I was truly shocked. Without thinking I said, “I’ll take him.”

At that point I had four dogs and six cats but I figured it would be easy to find a good home for this beautiful well mannered cat I had heard so much about but never met. It didn’t take long before I knew the “good home” was mine. He was just too special not to keep.

A few years later my life took a 180 degree turn and as I packed my things to move away from the life I had known for thirty-five years, I never even considered leaving Lemur behind.

Lemur and I had two great years alone in the woods in a little log cabin and then it was time to make the big leap and we crossed the country in our version of a covered wagon to California.

I am in my fifth year here in the mountains that rise from the desert floor just short of the Pacific Ocean. Lemur died a couple of months ago following a short but vicious bout of cancer. He is buried under the huge oak tree in the northwest corner of the property with a pile of stones marking his spot.

My story takes a turn now. Let me tell you about the hummingbirds.albino hummingbird

When G and I set up house I unpacked a hummingbird feeder but it didn’t make it into a tree until about a year ago. I would fill it with sugar water and the acorn woodpeckers that proliferate the many oak trees on our property would promptly suck it dry. The hummers didn’t have a chance against these large aggressive birds and I let the feeder hang empty.

In June we built a patio and in it’s center is a beautiful fountain. The day we turned it on six hummingbirds arrived to bathe in and drink the running water  We removed the perches from the feeder, moved it closer to the fountain and filled it with nectar.  The hummingbirds started feeding almost immediately without the competition of the ‘peckers.

At the end of July I headed for a five week stint at Esalen Institute. By this time the hummingbirds were crowding the feeder that G was filling twice a day so he went to the bird store and bought four more figuring he wouldn’t have to fill them so often…or more birds would come.

In a few days he was counting 30-40 hummingbirds on the feeders at a time!

Meanwhile, I was at Esalen in a shamanic workshop with Hank Wesselman. One of the ceremonies we did was a partner journey. With someone in the group that we did not know, we journeyed via the drumbeat to the lower world with the intention to find a power animal for our partner and bring it back to them. My partner, who knew none of what was going on back at my house, brought me a hummingbird. Her name is Joy.

The next day I was privileged to receive a healing from a Huichol Indian currendero.  During the healing she asked if I had lost anyone to death recently.  I told her no, thinking of the people in my life.  She persisted and I thought of Lemur.  When I said “Yes, my cat” she told me I was still “holding ” him and it was important for me to reach closure and let him go.

Lemur’s death had been shocking not only because of it’s sudden nature but also because I had not felt that the veterinarian had done her best for Lemur and those of us who loved him.  I had written a letter to her telling her how I felt, but concerned that perhaps I was over-reacting in my grief, I filed it away.  Now I understood I needed to revisit the letter and either mail it or burn it and let the issues I had around his death finally rest.

When I returned home from Esalen mailing the letter was one of the first things I did.

On the following day, G and I were sitting on the patio enjoying the fountain and the feeders with their flock of hummingbirds when suddenly a pure white bird appeared.  An extremely rare Albino hummingbird was at our feeder!  I ran into the house and got the camera and we took pictures and made a video of it.  As I was filming the video G was tracking it verbally and I heard him say, “there it goes!”  I looked up from the camera and watched as it flew across the property and landed on Lemur’s grave.  It sat for a few seconds on the stones and then flew up and perched on a limb directly over the grave.  For several hours it flew back and forth between the feeders near the house and to the tree under which Lemur’s body lies.  None of the other hummers left the grove of oaks the feeders hang from.  As I watched this beautiful, rare event unfolding in my yard I said to G, “It is Lemur.  He is back to tell me everything is alright now.”

One other person saw the white hummingbird.  My friend Jan, who lives about one-half mile away, took a picture of it the next day at her feeder.  Jan was the person who cared for Lemur when we were out of town. She adored him. He visited the two of us for four days.  We haven’t seen him since.

We live in a wonderful, mysterious world.  I am so grateful for this life I’ve been given.Lemur and GenSnowflake aka Lemur