Friday, December 20, 2013

Ecstatic Disharmony

"The longest night
The wheel is turning
What will we give to the night?"

This is the sacred Winter Solstice chant Caroline Casey included in her mythological trickster-redeemer  sharing on Tuesday night at Earthrise Retreat Center in Petaluma, CA. Situated in verdant silence far above the freeway, with a full Gemini moon casting a luminous spell, we drank deeply of the darkness with a fervent urgency. 

"Ecstatic," Caroline reminds us, literally means, to stand outside ("ex" + "stasis") — which is what those of us called to midwife this transitional time on the planet feel, to the marrow. Embodying the sacred means returning from the Otherworld with wisdom gained. "To love disharmony back into harmony creates a greater harmony than existed before," according to author Michael Gruber.

What will YOU give to the night? The old way (but not the Old Ways!), the one right answer, outmoded beliefs and behaviors, fear of the unknown? Whatever it is, toss it into the cauldron and affirm, "xxxx is gone with the night!"

~ Blessed Be ~

Monday, December 02, 2013

Want to Be a World-Class Wordsmith?

I was blessed to have an exacting, exciting English teacher in high school who loved language as much as life itself, and was on a mission to see as many students as possible embrace it ardently. His work could have been called, "Extreme Literacy." I earned highest accolades for penning a 7-page essay without once using the word "thing" in lieu of a specific noun.

Those of us who signed up for Mr. Boyce's Advanced English class worshipped his precise pedagogy. One of the enduring expositions he shared is Leo Rosten's The Power of Words. I rediscovered this luminous learning in a file today and want to share it with you:

The Power of Words
by Leo Rosten
They sing. They hurt. They teach. They sanctify.
They were man's first immeasurable feat of magic.
They liberated us from ignorance and our barbarous past.
For without these marvelous scribbles, which build
letters into words, words into sentences, sentences
into systems and sciences and creeds, man would be
forever confined to the self-isolated prison of the cuttlefish or the
"One picture is worth ten thousand words," goes the timeworn Chinese
"But," one writer tartly said, "It takes words to say that."
We live by words: Love, Truth, God.
We fight for words: Freedom, Country, Fame.
We die for words: Liberty, Glory, Honor.
They bestow the priceless gift of articulacy on
our minds and hearts — from "Mama" to "infinity."
And those who truly shape our destiny, the giants
who teach us, inspire us, lead us to deeds of immortality,
are those who use words with clarity, grandeur, and
passion: Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Lincoln, Churchill.
Give thanks for words' endless riches.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Primordial Sound: Reflections on the Life and Death of Drummer Layne Redmond

I spent the first year of a three-year healing hegira in New York State, in an altered state. It was a homecoming at a higher level along life's spiral: although I'd grown up just over the border in northern New Jersey, being in New York in 1994 was time out of mind, sacred space in the deepest sense, even as I was remembering what that was, even as my severely ill body brought me to places where my soul rejoiced at finally being unleashed to embrace my purpose this lifetime. Stripped raw, connected only to Spirit, I followed a divine thread to my healing destiny. 

During an extended stay at one country home, I heard about a performance that was to take place soon at The Widow Jane Mine, an underground chamber where the audience would sit on hay bales. It sounded intriguing, inviting, essential. I had to go.

I did not yet know who Layne Redmond was. When the Drummers Were Women, her definitive book about the ancient art of frame drumming, was three years in the future.

At the event, I purchased her first CD, Since the Beginning, entranced by her rapturous visage on the cover. Then I entered the mine, and opened to the unimagined.

I can still hear the invocation as their voices reverberated, reaching us before the candlelit raft bearing the drummers floated into view. "Ah, ah-ah-ah, Ah, ah-ah-ah, Ah, ah, ah ah, ah ah ah, ah ah AH!" This was primordial sound; the drum is the sound of our Mother's blood, the first sound we hear in the womb, and the sound of Gaia's heartbeat as well. It entered me.

I found myself at night for weeks, months afterward, singing this incantation as I remembered the stars, felt the Moon inside my being, began to heal/whole into the truth of Oneness. I was never so joy-filled as during this awakening time.

I was stunned last week to learn that Layne made her transition just before Hallowe'en/Samhain, on October 28th, a time when the veils between worlds are thin. I was more shocked to realize she was just five years older than me. In 3D she clearly had much left to do; she was in the midst of continuing to expand her global work. But her soul knew a different timetable. Her soul felt her work here was complete.

I am blessed to have witnessed this master of the frame drum and her Mob of Angels in New York in 1994, and again in California in the late 1990s. Layne Redmond played a pivotal role in my awakening journey, though she did not know it. In this moment when all the timelines are merging, as solar cycles and planets dance us awake en masse, I say a humble thank you. Thank you for drumming me to consciousness, for your generous heart, for sharing your manifold gifts as manna for us all.

Blessings, Layne Redmond, now adding her joy to the Music of the Spheres…

Monday, October 28, 2013

Samhain, Spirit and Sacred Story

In the U.S., Halloween is all about costumes, trick-or-treating, and occasionally, mischief. But on the Celtic calendar this day, known as Samhain, ushers in winter and the mysteries of the dark. October 31st precedes Day of the Dead/All Soul's Day on November 1st, a paean to the ancestors. The dark side — that which is hidden from view — calls us to remember our transpersonal soulscape.

As mythologist Kathleen Jenks writes on Myth*ing Links, this is an excellent time to explore what is ending or "dying" within our own beings. What do you need to release in order to move forward in your life? Now, when the veils between worlds are thin, is a ripe moment for each of us to embrace personal and planetary transformation.

And the souls of those who have gone before can still share their wisdom with us, if we invite their collaboration. Visionary activist astrologer Caroline Casey likes to say, "We cannot live through the dead, but we can invite the dead to live through us." What gifts are asking, aching to be brought forth through you in this quantum moment, when the entire world is awash in tremulous rebirth?

The real treat of Samhain is the opportunity for quantum growth. The trick, perhaps, would be turning your back on those inner voices begging you to shine your brilliance and step fully into your aliveness, passion, purpose and service.

It's time to remove your mask, and step fully into who you came here to be.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's Needling You?

Several times today I felt my clothes attack me. Once when I was out walking this gorgeous autumn morning. I plucked at the label on my shirt, and went on. An hour or so later I felt the stab again. The label didn't seem that rough, but it certainly was bothersome. I moved it and thought about cutting it out later. Then I visited my favorite consignment store, where I tried on both pants and shirts (hence removing all my clothing, and getting dressed again.)

Driving to the library, I felt that stab again. Perplexed, sitting at a red light I reached carefully to the point of pain and to my astonishment withdrew…a needle and thread! I burst out laughing. How is it possible that my pants (for this is the color the thread matched, though I don't recall mending them recently) made it through a wash and dry cycle, onto my body, then off and back on, all with a needle intact?

It's another example of Spirit's delicious sense of humor. At first I thought, "needle in a haystack," though no resonating images came to mind. But when I wondered what might be "needling" me, I had to smile. There are so many irritants vexing us these days, as Uranus and Pluto square off in the heavens and we face our underworld demons and rebellious, quixotic, breakdown/breakthrough events here on earth.

The key is to follow the thread to magical, mystical moments in positive expectation, unattached to outcome, unafraid. It's a tall order, and one we are all capable of stepping up to and into. We're swinging wildly between connected, congruent, 5D transparency and understanding, and 3D anger, disappointment, overwhelment. It's OK; it's all good. When life needles you, find out what you need in that moment, and thread your way to the next adventure. Haystacks have baled. We can, too: bundle with your besties, and carry on…

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Universe Ringing with 'Yes'

Spiritual humor is delicious, and the transparency of now makes it all the more helpful, if we just keep surrendering, surrendering, surrendering:

Two days ago I took my ancient Toyota in for service. Yesterday, satisfied my trusty little car was again in tip-top shape, I drove around town in near-triple-digit weather (the air conditioner died years ago) doing Friday afternoon errands. At my second-to-last stop, I parked, turned off the engine, and the car was dead. Not even a click.

After I phoned AAA, I watched myself spiral into negative mind chatter, amused that this is still my default setting after all the self work I've done. Like many of us, I've been balancing a lot lately, from a family health crisis to a broken crown that created a spike in my mouth, to a plumbing emergency and someone reneging on a verbal business agreement after I'd completed my half of the exchange. So a minor glitch like a dead car battery (I surmised) shouldn't have made much of a dent in my composure. But I had perishable food in the car in the blazing sun, and suddenly it was the proverbial straw.

I turned to a woman loading her car two spaces away and began spouting frustration, and once she realized I wasn't on a cell phone she came over and held the space for me in an extraordinary way, not only validating what I was sharing but matching it, point by point (e.g., her vehicle, the same age as mine, had failed the day before; her husband is facing surgery, etc, etc). Her equanimity brought me back to center as I explained the car issue wasn't a big deal at all; I just needed a break — and some support!

The tow truck team was fantastic. Eric popped the hood, moved the battery cable a millimeter and the car started up fine. Perhaps the connection came loose during the repairs, or going on and off the lift. I was good to go in about a minute and profoundly grateful. I completed my errands and drove home with the radio on. And this is where the spiritual humor enters in.

KZST in Santa Rosa has a daily game called "Drive o'clock trivia" where, at 5 pm, the DJ asks a question and callers who think they know the answer call in. It's almost always about numbers. Yesterday's question was, "One in 10 people use this business daily. What is it?" And of course I knew. I called and said, "Is it a towing service?" He exclaimed, "It IS a towing service!" I added, "And I know this because I just called them, 90 minutes ago." He said, "Well, I'm sorry that's why you know the answer!" But it was perfect.

This is happening in every realm now, the immediacy and synchronicity of instant return, often in a humorous fashion. It's a good way to stay grounded. Another example: I was discussing with my family member why fall/winter is not an ideal time for surgery, because it's the season of contraction, a time for rest and reflection as Nature releases the old and prepares to go into a dormant state. An hour after the call, I received an email with the subject line, "Honoring the Natural Rhythm of Autumn", which speaks to the mysteries of life and death and how this month is a great time to remember our ancestors as we approach All Souls Day/Day of the Dead.

We are always being answered. The Universe is ringing with love and compassion the moment we have ears to hear. I'm grateful for these Spirited reminders of the wisdom and support that's always available, usually liberally laced with humor. As our journeys continue to heat up, as the whole world awakens in an explosion of confusion and joy, remember the help that is here for us. And be as kind to yourself as you can.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Melanin Wars

I was one of the unlucky ones. Born with just a smidge of melanin, I can't pass for coffee or any type of tea; just a distant cousin of pink grapefruit juice. In cultural parlance, I'm Caucasian. And even though I've never been persecuted for it (except one time in New Mexico, but I'll get to that), I can appreciate how the amount of melanin in one's skin affects who they'll become.

Consider the Melanin Megastars: people with skin so black it's almost blue. They're melanin rich, whether they reside in a poverty-stricken African country or in the United States. Then there are the Melanin Middlin': people whose skin color may be a toffee brown or other shade that reflects a blended heritage. Those who hail from the Mediterranean, India, Latin countries, and Native Americans generally fall into this category.

But the melanin-deprived are a vast group, spread across the globe. We don't talk about being Melanin Midgets; it simply isn't a subject for polite discourse. But it rankles. Why can't our skin glow with the bronze hues other ethnicities take for granted? To assuage our privation, some of us may occasionally use an epithet to describe members of one of these privileged groups. It's an attempt to camouflage our sense of inferiority.

Perhaps this is what happened with Paula Deen, who made headlines recently because she admitted to using the "N" word in the past. Ms. Deen was promptly and roundly punished for her error, losing both face and finances in a very public way. It was a temporary slip, long ago, she says. But as Oprah so trenchantly observed, we're not yet ready for a "real conversation" about racism in today's world.

One of my few direct experiences of racial prejudice occurred nearly two decades ago, when I lived in northern New Mexico, an area whose inhabitants are a mix of Latino, Native American, and Caucasian, living an uneasy cultural détente. In the midst of a labyrinthine healing quest from chronic illness, I was also opening to Spirit, not working except on myself, and living on savings.

Shopping in a local pharmacy for personal care needs, I observed that my cashier appeared to have a cold. Solicitously I asked, "Are you sick? Maybe you should take a few days off." She flared, "Look, Lady, I gotta work! I don't have no sugar daddy!" Obviously, since it was the middle of the day, she assumed I was a woman of leisure. I understood her rage, and that it wasn't directed at me personally so much as at her life situation. It was nonetheless shocking, because it was new to me. Yet this is what melanin-endowed people experience perhaps every day of their lives.

What will it take to begin the conversation? What if melanin was valued instead of money? African Americans would be wealthy beyond measure; Caucasians, not so much. Just because people of minimal color may be Melanin Midgets doesn't mean we have to be mental midgets.

We have bigger issues to resolve that affect us all, regardless of the amount of pigment in our skin. Let's grow beyond the Melanin Wars. We've transcended the apocalyptic drama of 2012. Surely we can do this.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Velcro Factor: How to Speak in the Language Others Can Hear

You know how to talk. You've been doing it for decades. But are your listeners hearing your intended message?

Learning to speak in the language others can hear is a critical task many of us never master, because it requires putting yourself in the receiver's role and asking if the way you're presenting your information makes sense to this particular audience.

For example: if I began a talk on personal growth by saying, "When I emerged from the womb after my dark night of the soul, I felt reborn, and ready to give my gift to the world," many people might completely comprehend what I was trying to say — but there are many, many more whose eyes would glaze over in confusion.

But what if I started with, "After a long illness during which I began to question the purpose of my life, I began anew with a deeper understanding of who I am and what I'm here to do." Is this clearer? I'm expressing the same thoughts, but for two distinct audiences. Sharing the second introduction with a group more attuned to the first message would be as ineffective as the reverse.

I grew into this awareness of learning to speak in the language others can hear slowly. One terrific though unwitting resource was my brother. When he was deep in the throes of his awakening, I eagerly sent him a book that had been given to me at a pivotal time in my own growth: Louise Hay's classic, You Can Heal Your Life. I've read it hundreds of times over the years and integrated her teachings into my life in numerous ways.

My brother added my offering to "the pile": books he'd already been given by well-meaning friends. Clearly, it didn't speak to him.

Not long afterward, I attended a weekend workshop on personal mastery. The trainer highly recommended a book that imparted spiritual principles through the lens of basketball, Sacred Hoops. I made a mental note to check it out.

As I held the book in my hands and glanced through its pages, I couldn't imagine why I'd want to read it. Basketball doesn't interest me in the slightest. Plus, I was already familiar with much of the content from other sources. Then I realized with a grin and an "Oh, duh!" that I was supposed to send the book to my brother, who loves basketball and, in his forties, continued to play at every opportunity. I bought the book and mailed it special delivery, without a note.

Less than a week later I received a four-page letter (this man is not a letter-writer! And this was before we were all on daily email), saying the package had been waiting when he'd come home from work that Monday evening, "after the worst weekend of my life." He wrote, "I can't put it down, I'm already halfway through it and I wish it was 1,000 pages long." I nearly wept with joy and gratitude that I'd been guided to send him exactly what he needed, at exactly the right time. All I had to do was get my own preconceptions out of the way, and speak in his language — in this case, basketball.

Actress and playwright Elizabeth Fuller calls this awareness, "The Velcro Factor": being so specific with her examples in a performance that audience members can recognize themselves in what she and partner Conrad Bishop share. Thus, the message "sticks."

Sending my brother Sacred Hoops was a Velcro Factor experience for me. Choose what you use, learn to discern. Communicate in the language your audience can hear.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are You A Junkie?

"Livin' on Reds, vitamin C and cocaine…" sang the Grateful Dead, and they might have been describing today's adrenaline junkies, hooked not on drugs but on a super-sized life, juggling it all without dropping a ball: power career, marriage, motherhood, perfect parties, posh home, toned body…

Just thinking about it can be exhausting. As I wrote last month in Why You Should Drop Out, books like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In exhort women to give their all to work so that they'll want to return to the corner office after having kids. And while women certainly deserve to rise to the top like the (organic) cream in their half-caff, burning the proverbial candle to a nub day in and day out can create serious health issues. Such as adrenal burnout.

While all of us are familiar with the term "adrenaline," not many people stop to associate it with the adrenals, two tiny glands that sit atop the kidneys and are responsible for regulating our stress hormones. When your blood pressure rises or your heart starts beating in double-time, that's the adrenal glands pumping the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into your body in response to stress. Which works superbly if you're running from a tiger (or perhaps confronting an angry partner), but not so much as a steady diet. Living like the Energizer Bunny doesn't cut it long-term. You can simply replace Bunny's batteries when they run down; our bodies require continual, comprehensive care.

Some of the areas to examine:

  • Sleep: are you chronically exhausted? Believe it or not, going to bed earlier will not only help you get rested — it can help you lose weight!
  • Diet/nutrition: grabbing junk food or even "food bars" in place of healthy meals? Even the best food bars are cut-rate fuel.
  • Exercise: are you too busy — or too tired? Just a 20-minute walk 3-4 times a week is restorative. Then you can think about adding cardio and weight training.
  • Supplements: what do you need to restore balance?
  • Work: do you need to delegate more? Hire an assistant or VA (virtual assistant)?

You'll have more to give in all areas of your life when you feel vibrantly healthy. So put yourself first on your to-do list. After all, there's a reason those airline emergency drills always tell you, "Put your own oxygen mask on first!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Solstice:
An Opportunity to Become More Whole

Summer Solstice celebrates the sun at the peak of its power. Both the sun (male energy) and the moon (female energy) are waxing, or increasing, now. June 21st marks the longest day and shortest night of the year, in the Northern hemisphere (for our friends Down Under, it's the reverse). It's a stillpoint. A time to reflect. A potent moment to set your intention, because the manifestation momentum is strong.

The day goes by many names: All-Couples Day, Feast of Epona, Gathering Day, Midsummer, Litha, Vestalia. In ancient times, June was a popular marriage month, since summer offered a window between the sowing and reaping seasons. The June full moon was considered the best time to harvest honey from the hives, and newlyweds were fed honey during the wedding feast to encourage love and fertility. The tradition lives on in our modern post-nuptial getaway, the honeymoon.

How might we translate our ancestors' emphasis on love and union at Solstice to our lives today? In other words, how can we best live this light?

It's a grand opportunity to burn away old patterns that no longer serve our highest good, in order to become more whole. Whole, holy and heal originate from the same root, hale. We can use the power of Solstice to assist us in integrating the masculine and feminine energies inside ourselves. The moment is ripe for sacred reunion. What do I mean by this?

Most books, films and songs that speak of love refer to romantic love between two people. We've been taught to look outside ourselves for completion: to seek the Other and to rejoice when we connect, or to keep searching.

What we're really seeking is a part of ourselves, which is why we often feel incomplete when we hook up with someone whom we hope will fill the empty place inside us. The wedding of the light and the dark, of the magnetic, receptive, lunar, "feminine" self and the dynamic, assertive, solar, "masculine" self, has to take place first within our own being. And yet — it's through relationship that we get there!

The beloved is a catalyst to help us merge the complementary aspects of our being. This is a radical idea, and challenging to hold. It turns everything we believe about romantic love on its head. I'll illustrate this apparent paradox with a personal story.

At the turn of the millennium, I forged a profound heart connection with what The Mayan Oracle (a book and card set based on the Mayan Tzol'kin, or sacred calendar) calls a "companion of destiny." We unfolded deep layers of love within ourselves through the conscious soul work we did together. Then he was gone, and as much as I know we are all One, as much as I began expanding into a greater knowing and loving because of the place he awakened in me, still there was a poignancy, a longing that lingered.

I began stretching to allow this love to be a lens I looked through all the time, not pegged to an individual. The gift of my companion's essence, what we shared, lives on in me, so in a sense I felt like I was missing myself. It was a strange sensation — like seeing my reflection from an internal mirror.

The way out is always through, and the way through lies in joining with other companions on the path. When I find and connect with my "spiritual siblings," my sense of fullness grows. From this strength, the familiar heartache we all know transmutes into a sort of laughing pain; it doesn't really hurt, because my high self knows the truth.

I invite you to sound the clarion call for your companions of destiny this Solstice — those who see and honor your authentic self. The Mayan Oracle says, "When you have been truly seen, you feel empowered, and remembrance of a shared sacred trust is ignited."

One of the ways to shine your own light more brightly is to celebrate yourself and each other, through whatever art forms call to you: music, dance, poetry, painting, comedy improvisation, theatre, ritual, chanting/singing, multimedia…and silence. Enlarge the lens you look through by asking, how can I expand this experience, become inclusive rather than exclusive?

Acknowledge your connection with all life, and allow the simple to nourish you. Sitting beneath a tree, enjoying the sun on your feet and the wind in your hair, being thankful for life itself, is wholeness exemplified. The romance of living — and the wedding — begins first within you.

© 2007-2013 Amara Rose

Friday, June 07, 2013

Earning an Easy "A"

A few days ago I wrote about why dropping out is a good idea — not from work or from school per se, but from the programmed life you're leading in a mind-numbing haze of "more". Now I'd like to flip this equation. Here's how to earn an easy "A".

I'm speaking about the School of Life, of course. You needn't endure the School of Hard Knocks if you have a "trust fund" — a frequency you can bank on. Consciousness is its own currency, and upgrading yours will make you a straight-A student, say Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey, authors of The Trust Frequency: Ten Assumptions for a New Paradigm.

As Bailey and Baxter explain, these Seven A's collectively catalyze a higher state of being. They don't necessarily occur in any linear fashion; when we start to wake up, it's more of a mindshift, where you look around at the landscape of your life and notice it has irrevocably altered. The 7 A's are:

  • Awareness. As you awaken (another A!), you become more attuned (yet another A) to your inner and outer surroundings in ways you weren't before. For instance, I noticed that when I said a blessing before meals, the colors of my food became brighter.
  • Assumption. You know how the 60s rallying cry, "Question Authority!" morphed into, "Question Reality"? That's an excellent description of the second A.
  • Attitude. As what you previously believed (assumed) about something changes, so does the attitude you hold about it. It's like those visual puzzles that delight us by shifting our perception: fish or birds? Or both?
  • Attention. Your intention affects where you place your attention. As you raise your awareness, you attend to purpose, people, places and circumstances that were invisible to you before.
  • Alignment. One of the most enjoyable aspects of awakening is watching how synchronicity explodes in your life once you're living consciously. That's what it means to be in alignment.
  • Action. Following your inner guidance allows you to act in alignment with your purpose, vision and values.
  • Allowing. And yes, trust means knowing that because you're in tune and on track, you can surrender your will to the grander design. As a card-carrying member of the Universe (One Song) you're always part of All-That-Is.

See how easy it is to earn an A when you travel The High Road to Happiness? Graduate into The Trust Frequency and you'll be an A student forever…

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Why You Should Drop Out

Are you bone-tired? Have you been climbing mental mountains for so long your metaphysical metatarsals simply can't take another step? It's time to drop out.

While books such as Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In implore and inspire women to reach for the pinnacle of professional achievement, sometimes — especially now, as the planet awakens en masse and all systems wobble and shift as we do — the best move isn't up, or even lateral, but out. Into the green pastures of the unknown, to follow the still, small voice growing louder each day that you stuff it into practical have-to's and won't-waits. You don't, and it can. It's amazing how little the titles and trophies matter, once you remember and reconnect with your essence self.

As I just posted to Healing Journeys, a LinkedIn group in which a member asked whether listening to heart or mind is more important, "My mind ruled my being for the first third of my life. I think much of this is cultural; such mental, control-oriented focus is a Western construct. Then a protracted health crisis catapulted me out of my mind (literally, out of my linear perception) and onto my path of awakening. I began to heal/whole (from the same root, hale) as I opened to my connection with All-That-Is and remembered the truth of who and what I am: spirit, embodied. On the far side of my dark night of the soul I created to 'midwife' others on their transformational journey. 

"Now the entire planet is waking up, and it's one wild ride. The greatest gift we can give one another is compassion and Love, holding the space for each other's process and offering resources and support where practical."

Downtime is essential for this to happen; you must allow yourself the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical space to marinate in deep soul memory, free from the distractions and constraints of the mundane. Some of those who have been wayshowers for decades are turning inward now to replenish their own wells, to serve the whole not from constant travel and teaching but by restoring their chi, so that what they radiate nourishes the collective, allowing others to witness their example and use it as a touchstone for their own journey.

Jasmuheen, one of the spiritual leaders who has been invited by Divine guidance to withdraw for the next several years, writes in her last global message: "This is not a time of fear or uncertainty regarding the current changes in our world, for all of this has been long predicted and will be rewoven for the good of all in the fullness of time. It is our time now to nurture ourselves, to feel other rhythms that are also here for us, of great peace and contentment, and to gather together if and when we are called there to share in heartfelt ways."

Remember, too, that difficult or strange emotions you're feeling are not necessarily yours; this mass awakening is throwing a huge amount of toxic residue into the atmosphere to be transmuted. To ground and clear, plant your feet on grass, drink lots of pure water, spend time in Nature, celebrate yourself, and LOVE with every fiber of your being. You are one with the All, and this is a magnificent time to be alive on Earth!

So if you're feeling overwhelmed, and the idea of sitting on a Bored of Directors is as appealing as a marathon flossing session, I invite you to allow yourself to drop out. Relinquish your grip on the big E (expectation, from self or others) and lean in to Life with a capital L. You are never alone, even if choose to spend extended time with your own company in order to rest and renew. The world (and all our technology and social media) will be here when you e/merge (energy and emotion merge). As one of my favorite poets, David Whyte, writes: Everything Is Waiting for You.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Live Forever

"You must go through the way in which you are not.

And what you do not know is the only thing you know

And what you own is what you do not own

And where you are is where you are not."

~ T.S. Eliot, excerpt from Four Quartets

When I began deleting my personal history, as Paulo Coehlo describes in The Zahir, it was the most joyous and bizarre experience of my life: I was simultaneously aware of who I was and who I was not, and 3D appeared both silly and sublime. It was expansive, akin to the seatbelt sign blinking off in flight as the Captain announces, "You're now free to move about the cabin."

Similarly: In college I listened to Woody Allen's amusing audiobook Without Feathers. The title refers to the Emily Dickinson poem, "'Hope' Is the Thing With Feathers".

The idea of "giving up hope" is as intriguing as stepping outside our conditioned responses. The day before the U.S. World Trade Center attacks in 2001, I'd finished reading Beyond Prophecies and Predictions: Everyone's Guide to the Coming Changes by Moira Timms, and felt suffused with a calm knowing, a sense that something was about to happen. As 9-1-1 unfolded I sent out a global message contrary to popular reaction, and was castigated as well as thanked. (Email me if you'd like a copy of This IS A Test.)

In this first year beyond prophecy, how do we live beyond hope, beyond history, beyond how we might once have responded, and simply observe our unfolding? Will Linville conveys the evolving human condition with startling beauty, demonstrating what it looks like to live as "a constant stream of consciousness".

We begin by enlarging the lens from microscope to kaleidoscope, as Caroline Casey illustrates: "We are remembering our true selves, our destiny, our role in the Dynamic Mystery Play. You know how sometimes people ask that harumphitudinous question, 'Who do you think you are?' We reframe: 'Hoo-Doo! You think! You Are!'"

This is how we morph into "forever beings" says thought leader Soleira Green. "Forever beings are not trapped by history, by past mistakes, learning, cultural influences, etc. Freedom isn't a concept since there is nothing but complete and utter freedom on every level, available all the time.… A forever being lives within limitless possibility, seeking change and creation constantly and always. This re-orients us to the ever streaming NEW and not to the static past."

Without "hope," without history, we're closer to our true nature than ever before. Or as Linville offers, "If you lose control, you're free. And you have everything."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fomenting Fear: Boston As Red Herring

Here we go again. Humanity's on a roll, awakening at the speed of love, co-creating ingenious solutions for local, regional and international challenges in ever more magnanimous ways. We might even be moving towards global unity.

The faster and stronger our rise in Light, the greater the resistance from forces that fear losing control. Whether we perceive these dark energies as originating from beyond the country or beyond the planet, one certainty is this: the best way to prevent questioning, growth, and union is by generating fear. Keep the people cowed and obedient, quaking within at the potential threat everywhere, and separation is assured.

After all, who can you trust when something as apple-pie American as the Boston Marathon, an institution more than a century old that attracts runners from all over the world, is tainted forever by a bombing at the finish line? How safe can we be in our backyards if something like this could happen in the midst of half a million people and all that security?

This is precisely what the instigators want. Do not trip the trap. Grieve for those injured or killed, yes. Make every effort to bring the terrorists to "justice", if such an action is possible. But don't crawl meekly back into the old skin. It's shed. It is time to arise as One and light the way to the higher truth of our intrinsic unity.

Rumi says it best:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don't go back to sleep.

** If you'd like to read the message I sent out after 9-1-1, please email me.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Reimagining Death: The Elephant in the Room

Woody Allen famously said that he didn't want to achieve immortality through his work; he wanted to achieve it through not dying. While we celebrate birth, its corollary, exiting the Earth plane, is feared only slightly less than public speaking — at least, in the Western mind.

As someone with a gerontology (study of aging) background and an abiding love of elders, I've been exploring positive aging and death-related subject matter for years. I'm currently reading two complementary books with mirrored titled: From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and Sage-ing While Age-ing by Shirley MacLaine. MacLaine's book has been eye opening, not least because she articulates much that I've discovered/remembered on my own awakening journey, but also because she ratchets up my knowledge to the next level. In Chapter 11 (number of Aquarius), she focuses on soul development and references the work of regression therapist Michael Newton, PhD.

Suddenly I read, "All regressed souls speak of how much easier death is than birth. With death there is a release into the light. With birth there is an entrance into density." Of course! It's easier to expand than to contract.

And this awareness dovetails beautifully with another stunning book I read last year, Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life by Anya Foos-Graber.

Deathing is the real deal on conscious departure. We're not meant to die alone and afraid, maintains Foos-Graber. This definitive guide — the first of its kind I've seen, and it was published in 1989 — spells out clearly how each person can prepare for an informed death. Since most of us avoid any discussion of the subject, the very concept of a 'how-to' manual may sound frightening. Yet like MacLaine, Foos-Graber maintains that death can be a light-filled, spiritual experience.

We have a lot of help entering the world: we emerge from the body of our mother with attendants such as doctors, nurses, midwives, spouses and friends at the ready to welcome us and tend to the birthing mother. But there is no corresponding death ritual to support us in exiting the body we've inhabited as we return to the Great Mother of All.

Through two teaching stories, Foos-Graber shows us what both a typical, unconscious dying and a planned 'deathing' experience look like. The second half of the book provides step-by-step instructions and simple exercises such as breathing, visualization and remembering the Love that you are, to assist you in releasing the body and making a conscious, even joyful, departure from this life — and to support others in doing so.

Plus, we can rehearse while alive! Foos-Graber writes, "By practicing ahead of time with an eye toward this spiritual life insurance, you can increasingly live in an atmosphere free from fear and ignorance. A correct grasp of how to die necessarily produces an expanded philosophy of how to live more abundantly, however long or short your time of physical life."

As I was reading this book, a friend of mine's husband surrendered to cancer. Here's how she described his conscious death: "He squeezed my hand and left his breath here to begin to inhale the ethers of elsewhere. A gentle wave of joyful contentment spread out in ripples of sparkling delight. He was free again and slowly twirling in the softly glowing wonder of it all. This ethereal mist of farewell whispered through our home for an hour or so and then was gone."

So let us bow to that elephant and embrace its wisdom, rather than indulge in what MacLaine refers to as "amphysteria" ~ a condition of forgotten fear, usually of a place. We have no reason to fear expansion into the Light of All. And the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesh is revered as the "Remover of Obstacles". We can ride the elephant of awareness right on into the next adventure.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Crow-Magnon Woman: On Being a Birdbrain

"Birdbrain" is not a compliment. Yet cross-culturally, indigenous peoples have depicted bird-headed people to signify a connection with the spirit realm. I have a particular affinity for crows, which became my familiar the summer I had pneumonia. I was living in a highly altered state of consciousness, and when I heard them cawing on the telephone wire outside my apartment, I began to count the caws to divine what the number might mean in my life at that time. Birds are augurs. I also began responding to the cawing crow, and we conversed. Enraptured, I penned the poem/chant that appears at the end of this post.

Crows and I forged this connection 20 years ago. Just a few weeks ago, I was captivated by the novel Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger. His central character is a college professor whose expertise is corvids (crows) — and she harbors a secret about her health and impending early demise. For someone who's long been fascinated by positive aging and reimagining how we perceive death, this was an irresistible combination. I recommend the book highly for its impeccable storyline and the author's courage to illumine a difficult subject with fresh eyes.

And then, synchronistically, I spied The Gift of the Crows: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans in my local bookstore, in which real-life college professor John Marzluff deems crows incredibly intelligent as well as playful, describing how one crow would entice neighborhood dogs away from their owners and hold "class" with the canines on the campus lawn!

So I am delighted to be a "Crow-Magnon" Woman. May my poem speak to you, and to your own special relationship with the winged familiars in your life.

Talking to Crows
© Amara Rose 7/30/93

Black-winged wisdom on a wire
Cawing collect,
Caws and effect
A coded conversation
In guttural cries
Opens my eyes
And lifts me higher.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weeds Help Us Flower

We're verging on the Vernal Equinox, which means the Rite of Spring that one friend dubbed The Mowing is about to begin in earnest. Not a blade of grass — certainly not a weed — is safe.

I understand this obsession. Growing up in suburban America, I observed a rampant homeowner disgust with the "lowly dandelion," scourge of suburbia's well-manicured lawns. Much later, I discovered that dandelion is one of the most healing herbs available to humanity, offering itself in abundance wherever we dwell. It's a supreme liver tonic, known to help detoxify the body's "processing plant." In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver equates to the emotion of anger. If you want to release that pent-up rage in a healthy way, the remedy is probably available, free and easy, in your own backyard.

Dandelion can act as de facto compost, gently surrounding and helping to decompose back into rich loam that which no longer serves. Yet we curse the weed and uproot it, spray poison to keep the green carpet unsullied. "Living for the lawn" keeps us focused predominantly on the external.

When we can make the subtle shift from ego mind to Universal Mind, we see with such great clarity the incredible gifts all around us! Our teammates are everywhere, in the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms — if we have eyes to see.

As we move deeper into our collective rebirth process, we'll be releasing people and places that no longer resonate with our lives now. Doing this with what the Buddhists call lovingkindness is our mandate. It's a ripe moment to ask yourself, Who or what in my life seems like an outsider? Am I willing to look again, to become inclusive rather than exclusive, to see beyond imaginary borders?

Below are seven practical steps to enlarge the lens this Spring: to slow down and look with the eyes of wonder, like a child. You'll find many more on my CD, What You Need to Know Now: A Road Map for Personal Transformation:

  • Keep a journal. Buy a beautiful blank book and a pen that feels comfortable in your hand. Then allow yourself to write whatever and whenever you want. No one else need ever read it unless you choose to share, so send the censor packing! Journaling is like ingesting dandelion leaves with your pen — a great way to purge emotions and discover what really matters to you. And writing by hand is very different from blogging online.
  • Dance your evolutionary process. Do you instinctively sway as you talk, or dance around the room when you get excited? Express your change process as flowing movement. Maybe it's yoga, or tai chi, or free-form dance, such as Contact Improv.
  • Make art. Are you a natural with a paintbrush or clay? Splash your emotions onto canvas, pour them into a mold, sketch them into being. Remember, this is art from the heart: done for the sole/soul purpose of enlarging your own vision.
  • Sing! Is your voice your most powerful expressive tool? If you love to sing but don't know any songs, make up nonsense words to tunes you like, and sing them — in public. This is also a fabulous way to break free of the "What will people think?" trap.
  • Be in Nature. Sit by moving water. Sit in moving water. Sing while sitting in a stream!
  • Prepare a meal that is as aesthetic as it is nutritious. As you combine ingredients, imagine that you are cooking up a grander vision for your life.
  • Hush. Spend a day, alone or with others, in total silence.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Use Your Life

I read The Alchemist perhaps fifteen years ago, but never fully grasped Paulo Coehlo's journey until today, when his semi-autobiographical The Zahir presented the key clue. In The Zahir, Coehlo chronicles his lifelong resistance and eventual surrender that allowed him to craft and publish The Pilgrimage at age 40. The Pilgrimage, his first novel, depicts his journey along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the transformational route in northern Spain that Shirley MacLaine also eloquently described, in The Camino.

I decided to read The Pilgrimage in 2012 after ingesting Coehlo's latest autobiographical masterpiece, Aleph. But it's only now, learning the order in which he wrote his books (The Pilgrimage first, then The Alchemist, beloved worldwide) that my ah-ha erupted: In The Alchemist, the young protagonist is named Santiago! With this brilliant literary echo, Coehlo conveys how he has become the path, his experience informing his journey and infusing the reader with faith in the outcome.

This is the essence and purpose of my own life work: to use what I have understood at each stage of my unfolding in service to the next, and to all with whom I come in contact. Are you using your life to its maximum potential, pouring the elixir of who you've been into who you're becoming?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Being Outrageous: Getting the Rage Out?

"We are constantly invited to be what we are."

~ Henry David Thoreau

Are you mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore? Purple with rage? Or enwrapped in wrath? Though the dictionary may use the words rage and wrath interchangeably, they are not the same. Otherwise we'd hear about "road wrath"!

Rage is a savage, devouring energy; wrath, while fierce, is also the province of the dakinis, who initiate creative change (think of the goddess Kali). Wrath is righteous; rage just wants to be right.

Since this is an ideal moment to transmute anger in the alchemical fire, several lightplayers and I filleted, seasoned and simmered a few thoughts on this distinction:

∞ "Rage is cooking without anything in the pot; wrath is cooking a full stew."
∞ "We can make medicine from joy instead of from pain."
∞ "Rage merely makes you age; wrath keeps you on the path."

The next time you get mad, get thinking: am I enraged or wrathful? Is this a purposeful fury? Am I cooking with a full pot here?

Here are some tools to assist you in enlightening up into wholeness/holiness/healing (all from the same root word, hale):

1) Laugh. The Buddha said we all want to know the answers to four key questions: "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? And will there be food there?" Laughter lights us up. Conscious evolution is purposeful play! Whatever brings you belly laughs is healthy, because laughter oxygenates body and brain, thereby strengthening our "amuse" system. Think of something that's troubling you and consider this: if it will be funny in the retelling six months hence, it's funny now — if you allow the possibility.

2) Live the WOW (Witness Our Wonder). A vivacious 73-year-old woman made a quantum shift in her thinking, from "Life is a series of emergencies," to "Life is full of surprises!" Instead of anxiously reacting to every "oh no!" she's now able to anticipate the next "ah ha!"

3) Give what you seek. Peace troubadour and author James Twyman says giving others what you most desire is the surest path to inner peace, because there is no separation between us. "If I'm lacking peace, you're lacking peace. If I give you peace, then I receive that same peace," he says.

4) Do a "vow break." This is a wonderful way to get sticky energy unstuck. You can rescind any vows you may have taken prior to incarnating to have a certain experience in this life. The formula is from the book, What Is Lightbody? by Tashira Tachi-ren. The same vow break can be found on my CD, What You Need to Know Now-A Road Map for Personal Transformation.

"I now rescind any and all vows I have taken to experience the illusion of (fill in the blank, for example, "not having enough money".) I declare this vow null and void in this incarnation and all incarnations across time and space, parallel realities, parallel universes, alternate realities, alternate universes, all planetary systems, all Source systems, all dimensions, and the Void.

"I ask for the release of all crystals, devices, thought forms, emotions, matrices, veils, cellular memory, pictures of reality, genetic limitation, and death. NOW!"

May your creative cauldron burn brightly. Happy transmutation!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Have Body, Will Travel

On the freeway one day, an engaging tour bus slogan snagged my attention at 65 mph: "The Art of Transportation." I maneuvered closer to read the company name and logo: "Van Go," with the image of a paintbrush daubing the "o". What a playful, memorable way to advertise bus travel! Since I've written about how to see yourself as an artist, this tickled me. As usual, it also got me thinking:

What is your vehicle of transport? Will it get you where you most need to go? And are you driving/piloting/captaining your vessel, or are you a passive passenger?

While in the throes of my awakening odyssey, I often had dreams of riding in the passenger seat of a car. It's enlightening, then, to note who (or what) is "driving you." The symbolic language of dreams can often be both revealing and humorous. A friend who taught speed-reading once dreamed of driving in a car that had no brakes — but he found he could stop it with his mind!

And I dreamed of being in a car with others as we skimmed across a shimmering sea. It felt glorious, yet even in the dream, my questioning mind wanted to know how it was possible for a car to glide effortlessly over water. The answer that came to me, not from my fellow passengers but from Existence itself, was, "If you believe there is a bridge, there is."

Here on Earth, our bodies are our primary means of transport, our third-dimensional "space suits". What shape is yours in? Will it serve you well as your bridge to quantum being-ness? It's harder to house the infinite in a neglected vessel.

Perhaps some cosmic re-coloration with the planetary paintbrush is in order. We might begin on the physical plane, and then add a little airbrushing of our mental, emotional, spiritual and causal bodies. Another dream image of mine involved walking into a doctor's waiting room and picking up a magazine entitled, "Woman, Clean the Mind."

Tossing out excess baggage from all of our bodies will make it that much easier to travel light, and travel into the Light.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

How to Receive What You No Longer Want

As we emerge from our extended global gestation, I'm watching people joyfully birth long-term projects from deep inner wellsprings, ready at last to bring their unique gifts to Light. At the same time, I'm also observing how amused surrender allows our heartfelt desires to manifest more easily than ardent invocation — although I've been an advocate of the latter for a very long while.

Radical manifestation means completely feeling the fulfillment of what we want — then dropping all attachment to having it. This sounds paradoxical. However, we must get out of our own way in order to receive what we no longer want. Yearning indicates a lack of faith, which keeps our desire, like the proverbial carrot on a stick, tantalizingly just out of reach. But be all right without it, and Spirit swiftly delivers the goods.

The shift for me is appreciating this awareness from an amused perspective. Before, I'd try to remain detached, but my frustration with delays gave my true feelings away. Now, more and more, I'm living in the wellspring, watching the waters of wonder continuously renew me as I surrender to Source and allow myself to receive.

This is the feminine, attractive principle, here in the yin Year of the Snake, what so many have labeled, "The Law of Attraction": the power of pull rather than push, becoming magnetic to our good and allowing it in, rather than chasing it down, wrestling it to the ground and proclaiming victory.

At this moment of moving into ever-greater wholeness, consider (literally, "with the stars") the Native American Giveaway. In the Giveaway tradition, you offer what you value most to another, with no strings attached (to your offering or to your heart). The gift might take the form of time, talent, food, clothing, etc. If it's precious to you, you allow it to spill over, like a waterfall.

I invite you to consider a Giveaway to bring about greater balance and integration in your life — without, of course, holding that as the goal.

Putting It Into Practice

What do you love so much you'd feel blessed to give it to someone else?

I once lost an earring at the beach from a pair that was special to me for many reasons. I kept its mate in the box. Then I became friendly with a woman who had a single pierced ear. On her birthday, I was inspired to give her my earring because I couldn't imagine buying a gift that meant more to me. She understood immediately when I shared the earring's history, responding, "Oh, it's a Giveaway!"

Your Giveaway might be to the mineral, plant or animal realms: planting seedlings from the beloved tree in your backyard in a barren lot, for example.

Your gift can also be anonymous. In Pronoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings, Rob Brezsny shares the story of a woman who donated a kidney to someone she didn't know, then returned to her regular life and clerical job. Three years later she won half a million dollars in the lottery. This does not mean that a Giveaway will net you a reward in kind (or in cash) — simply that doing something you feel called to do, without expectation, puts the Universe on notice that you're living in the flow. That's when synchronicity starts.

For many of us, giving this blessing to ourselves may be the beginning place: you cannot give to others if your own wells are running dry. If you've been giving yourself away for years, perhaps the greatest Giveaway is time spent soaking at a spa, to help gift you back into wholeness.

Feel free to share your Giveaway stories ~ and may you experience waves of amusement along the way.