Crafting Variety

Help vs. Clear

Help vs. Clear buttonsI was warming up my coffee in the microwave this morning (the horrors of letting it cool off in the first place, right?) when I noticed something.

On the microwave, there’s a button next to the Clear/Off button that says Help. In the eight years or so that I’ve lived in this house, and the countless times I’ve used this microwave, that little button has never registered in my consciousness. Seriously. I stared at the keypad for a long moment asking if there was always help button.

Which led me to thinking – how many times do we bypass that four letter word in favor of ending something? How many times do we stop instead of ask for help due to pride or stubbornness? How often do we not look for other resources and answers and give up instead?

It’s definitely something I’ve done. My work with horses, or lately lack thereof, is a prime example. I know the type of work I want to explore – natural connection and growing a partnership with these magnificent animals. Using horses to heal the psyche and past trauma in others. Helping others gain confidence in their lives by working with these prey animals that are so much bigger than we are. To seek out the relationships and training that I believe will work, it takes effort. Time. Energy. All which I have precious little of. It’s been easier to ‘punch up clear’ (bonus points if you get the obscure Star Trek movie reference) rather than push the momentum forward.

The big part of this is going outside my comfort zone and asking for help. Admitting that I have no idea where to begin or what the end result is. Finding those horse folk with a similar mindset that can help guide me.

This morning’s revelation told me to push the damn HELP button already. Sharing knowledge and assistance is part of who we are as people. Finding your tribe and the group you need to move forward with. They’re out there, waiting and ready to connect. The universe opens doors when they are needed.

All you have to do is ask.

That’s what 2015 will be for me. Asking, seeking, trying. Connecting.

All because I will push the help button instead of clear.IMG_2351

 

p.s. After writing this morning, I cleared my altar and selected new items to begin the year with. One of those was a goddess card, and I randomly pulled Epona, goddess of the horse. Hello, universe, I hear you loud and clear.

Crafting Variety

Yule Conversation

yule altarI come to the goddess imperfect,
Wounded, dragging baggage behind,
Tears leaving streaks,
Through dirt on my face.
Heart weighted with black memories,
Options lost,
Connections ignored,
Heart weary,
Sorrow filled soul.

The goddess does not acknowledge,
Does not ask about the journey,
Does not ask about the open wounds,
Or the scarce healed scars.

She speaks with ancient knowledge –
I do not ask
I’ve felt each lash endured, self inflicted or not.
She gazes upon me, resplendent, whole,
Answers my unasked questions.

Daughter, while I felt your pain,
I did not let it linger
I felt each hurt and honored it.
Each a chance to grow.
Scars mold who you are
Learning molds who you become.
Know the past, but
You are not there.

What will you do now that you’ve arrived?
Your journey led you here
To the well of renewal.
Do not walk that path again
For recognition,
Walk beside me now.
We shall go forth healed,
The present will lead you forward.

Walk with me.
And I do.

Amy Dionne, December 2014

Crafting Variety

Center of a Dark Mind

Wander through the caves
The recesses of a charred mind
Alcoves of mystery
Reveal heartache, pain, loss
Cobwebs hide the dark entrance
Clingy strands of memories
Stick to the heart
Brush off the strings
That won’t let go

Wander into the darkness
The inner soul of truth
Reflections of clarity
Show the tarnished center
Hidden confessions, weary secrets
Tied tight from the ropes of fear
Gray, lifeless heart
Raw and scarred
Fibers poking in soft flesh
A constant reminder

Wander into the fog of reality

Amy Dionne, 2014

Crafting Variety

Ritual of Mabon

There are few things in lif14 - 1e that resonate with me more than trees. Yesterday I was at a local apple orchard, an annual ritual with friends. The introvert in me decided to wander off for a few minutes alone. I wandered amongst the gnarled branches and trunks, touching the bark and selecting some of the multitudes of apples for baking into delicious goodies later.

Trees have always taught me about observation. As I nestled into the branches of one tree, watching the families meandering about the orchard, a few comments from the trees gently filled my mind.

These amazing organisms provide us with nourishment. They bear fruit to populate other trees and survive as an individual tree, but their fruit feeds creatures of all types. People and deer, birds and hornets. This one tree that grows from the ground can f14 - 3eed many.

The ritual of apple picking brings us together. Families with members young and old flock to the orchards every year. Those from the cities, and those that live in the country. Children interact with the trees, learning about how they bear fruit and how nature has to work together with water and nutrients. They get to see how the fruit is essential for life, as the apples are not only eaten, but preserved as jam or baked into pies and breads.

Communities celebrate the orchards and harvest festivals, some dedicated to apples. For this time, we reward the farmers and their hard work as they have lovingly tended their trees all year round. We spend our money giving back to support them. And the ritual of picking apples continues on.

Apple picking is a grea14 - 4t way to celebrate Mabon, (the fall equinox). The second harvest festival is lined up with harvesting the bounty from the earth. The earth gives us these loving gifts during the fall, and it is up to us to celebrate the life cycle.

Visit your local orchards. Take your kids, your families, and your friends. It is a small way of saying thanks to the earth for her generosity in sustaining our lives.

Blessed Mabon, and peace to all.

Crafting Variety

Add to the World

Source: katrinamayer.com
Source: katrinamayer.com

I found this quote on the internet this morning, and it resonated deep within. As I wrote in my journal, I realized that I was writing a manifesto of sorts in response to that quote. Thought I would share to see if others had similar reactions, or if like me, the thought reached deep within.

I want to write words that caress the soul and cradle the heart.

I want to make creations that add beauty to functionality.

I want to bring joy to my friends and family, and be an oasis of peace and laughter.

I want to honor the earth and learn her secrets, listening to the stories through her animal and plant messengers.

What are you adding to the world today?

Crafting Variety

Honoring Tanya

TanyaA year ago, I lost my best friend to cancer. I spent time leading up to, and directly after, in a state of shock trying to reconcile that at 35 I was losing someone outside of family that I was close to. In April last year my hubby and I traveled down to her memorial service. I don’t remember much of it besides the hole in my heart. I certainly have no idea what I stood up and said, having written down notes hastily in the car on the way down. Even having as much notice as I did, I waited until then to write down my thoughts. I didn’t want her death to be real. I still don’t.

I’ve been besieged by thoughts – I’m not going to say guilt because Tanya herself would smack me – that I did not do her justice when standing up and speaking for her. As a writer, I thought I could be more eloquent. As a friend, I thought I would be able to rise above my grief. In both, I crashed and burned.

Before all of you come forward to let me know that it was fine, I did fine, and that I don’t need to explain the turmoil I was in, let me say that I agree. But this was not about me; it was about someone I cared for deeply. It was about the one person that knew so much of my heart and soul that it was a bit scary.

I’m writing a year later to try and put into words the amazing person she was, and to offer tribute in a way that I couldn’t when wrapped up in grief. In typical fashion for me, I’m going to organize my observations. She would always laugh at me for my organization, and it became a joke between us. When we got together she’d always ask me what the schedule was, knowing I would have some rough outline of what we were going to do even if I tried not to. It was the same way with our writing – she would ramble and go down windy paths of description, and I would lovingly suggest an outline to keep her on track.

Tanya was:

A writer with heart.
She didn’t hold anything back. Every interaction in her stories and poems were heartfelt and didn’t pull any punches. She dove headlong into her story, getting wrapped up in her characters. She wrote poems so strong that they felt like a hurricane had swept through and picked up the chair you were reading in before turning it upside down.

Devoted to her husband and children.
No matter what I’ve gone through in dealing with Tanya’s death, I know that they have had it far worse than I. What I know however is that her fierce love for her family lives on. The few times I visited her home I saw evidence of how loving and kind she was, and devoted to her family’s well being. She encouraged her children to think independently and consider their options and choices. She listened and supported her husband. She kept going even when times were challenging.

An earth goddess.
Tanya lived on the shores of Lake Wyola for a reason. She loved being outdoors, planting flowers, and being barefoot. Her herbal business was a true testament to her love of the earth’s ability to connect. When she would visit me, she’d want to go sit outside first thing, or walk through the backyard and see what flowers were blooming.

A lover of dance and movement.
Tanya and I met in college, and danced together. She always leaned toward the improvisation classes, staying grounded to the earth. We often did contact improvisation together, and looking back on those moments makes me see just how much she felt the movement within her heart and body.

My best friend.
There were many people Tanya loved, many friends that she connected with. They all had special residence in her heart, and I am grateful to know just how many lives she touched.

May all of you know the love of a friend like that.Tanya and a favorite pass time

Crafting Variety

Heartbeat Within

2014 started out as tQuiet streamhe year of motion. I set out to move forward every day, no matter how slowly I seemed to be going. I’m still working on that movement, and am definitely making progress.

Motion has taken a life of its own. I thought it was about moving forward, and it is, but it’s even more. It’s finding my moving forward. Even more than finding – life is about dancing from within, listening and moving in time with the heartbeat that flows through your body, mind, and soul.

I thought motion meant moving forward, albeit slowly, down the river where the rapids lay ahead so I could get caught up in the excitement and flow with everyone else. All that does is catch me into their waves, and as thrilling as they are, the waves will drown me. Lost in the swirling water fighting for breath and air while others are screaming their delight at the thrill of the rapids. It’s not my rhythm. Nor am I able to be the rock that others cling to when they need support before they continue on their journey.

My life belongs down the stream that’s off the main river. The stream that is easily bypassed in favor of the adrenaline of the rapids, the congregation of other thrill seekers who belong with that pace, the highlights of the sun bouncing off from the river. I’ve always been one who lives off to the side, who stays to the edges, laughing along with those bold enough to follow down the center of the rapids yet never joining them.

Lately however, there’s a pull tugging me to quiet waters. I’ve been resisting the path. It seems counter to the excitement I’m leaving behind. Is anyone even going to notice? Am I going to be alone? How will I be able to reach others if I’m not in the center of the action?

As usual, nature and spirit tell me to hush and trust them. So I start gliding down the stream, leaving the sparkle and mirth of the main river behind. Cool air gently swirls around my shoulders, and voices from the river are hushed. The sunlight dims, filtered through the trees. I reach the pond my heartbeat has directed me to, finding quiet reflection.

Wait, I say to the spirit guides. How will others find me? I’m not part of the action. I don’t know how to share my stories, my thoughts, my dreams with those that need to hear them if I’m off a path they can’t see.

Feel your heartbeat, they reply through the soft gurgle of water from the stream, the birdsong in the trees, the rustle of leaves. Feel your rhythm. Dance your song. Those that need it will be pulled down the stream and will find you.

Crafting Variety

2014 Year of Motion

wooded pathwayMotion. Movement. Momentum.

Simple words, simple context. So very challenging to bring to fruition.

I’ve finally realized that I’ll never be the extroverted revolutionaries and inspiration gurus that I follow. They’re charismatic. They lead and others automatically follow. They speak and the audience quiets down to listen.

I’m. Not. Them. There – I said it out loud. While I know I have gifts that I can share with the world, and I will, I had to take some time to figure out how to do it my way. One that doesn’t involve jumping off a cliff and knowing the crowd will catch me.

I’m an introvert. I spend my time quietly contemplating life and its mysteries. I enjoy being alone or with a few close friends. I love following my mind to see where it will lead, what stories or dreams or problems to solve each day.

And I’m stuck. For the longest time I thought there were two ways of proceeding – either taking a flying leap of faith, or staying still. Those were the only choices. The leap of faith was too much. Remaining still? Well, that’s not entirely working. There’s an actual third option. Just start moving.

Motion. It fits me. It feels good. Movement doesn’t have to be large. It can be small, slow, graceful. The word warms me like a blanket straight from the dryer. So that’s my word for 2014. Motion.

Where do I hope the word will lead me? I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ll be working this year on clearing out stagnation from my life and allowing new movement to fill me. Acupuncture to remove stagnation, Feng Shui to help remove the stuck energy in the objects surrounding me, physical movement to wake my body, and a gentle renewal to spark the creativity within.

I don’t want to focus on being stuck. I’ve spent too much time doing that. I just want to move forward, however slowly, and see if simply starting gets me further along than standing and looking over the cliff at the view that is for me, only meant to be admired. I have a quieter path to wander.

“Forest Lane image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Crafting Variety

Imbolc

Imbolc altar - simple and focused on the flame.
Imbolc altar – simple and focused on the flame.

February 1st, or 2nd depending on tradition, is the pagan celebration of Imbolc, which marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Groundhog day shares its origins with Imbolc – there are six more weeks before the start of spring, so using a cranky groundhog who just wants to go back to sleep for a while and runs away from his shadow is a predictable encounter. This article has a nice explanation for the origins.

Imbolc is a holiday that always slips by me. It’s quiet, subtle, and yet maybe I have missed that it’s one of the most effective. Imbolc turns up the heat inside towards spring. It banks the coals of a fire used to start the bonfire for Beltane in May. It holds all the memories of our hard winter, it pours all our intentions and desperation of surviving the cold dark nights into a solitary fire that needs our attention and care.

Imbolc is a time of quiet doing. It’s time to add tinder and fuel to the spark, to the coal that is hot to the touch but not giving off much heat yet. Those ideas, those projects thought about or hidden away in a drawer – now is the right time to nudge them, to develop those ideas, to build on the dreams and plans that lie within. They must be tended carefully so as not to smother it. Between now and Ostara, the spring equinox, concentrate on creating the fire that will not go out with a brisk wind. Protect dreams and hold intentions close. Move the fire if need be, if it started out in the wrong place, or if it’s too exposed. Now is the time to make adjustments, to experiment with how a direction feels – is it right? Building heart fires authentically, on solid foundations, and protect them from outside influences. Whatever the goals are, now is the time to get them right, without letting others dictate how to build the fire. Guard its small flames close. Burn within, and let it build.

I’ve had many around me commenting on the rush towards spring, escaping from the winter doldrums, calling forth the energy from the fire into leaping flames. Not yet, for me at least, my friends. The wheel of the year asks our patience a bit longer. Stay with the hearth and keep the fire burning. Tend to the home and loved ones. Don’t be so quick to escape into the cold, for winter’s grip still lingers.

Well, according to the wheel of the year, anyway. The groundhog’s kinda sketchy.

Crafting Variety

Starlight Guide

Guided by the stars
Guided by the stars

As I walk through life, realizing that as an introvert and a quiet person in general, I have concluded that my life is being pulled by starlight. My best friend who passed away last year used to call me Starlight. It just fits.

Reality tells me that I’m not going to be part of the inner circle; I’m not gregarious enough to have that much pull. I don’t shine in the sunlight; I burn. The sun’s rays overheat my body, and summer often sends me inside seeking relief except for the early morning or evenings. It is finally dawning on me that I will most likely not be the next great writer, nor will I have success right out of the box. It’s not part of who I am. The only way I will succeed is on my terms, and at my rhythm. I’m learning not to covet that bright shining sun focused on the voices that society gravitates towards. I’d only be fried to a crisp.

So how do I achieve success while keeping myself intact? By following the starlight. As with the lighthouse from my last post, if I reach those that I’m meant to with my stories, I’m further ahead on my path than if I tried to follow a method that’s not authentic for me.

The evening and it’s illumination always has sheltered me. The moments before dawn are when I’m most in tune with the surrounding world, with the song of nature and the connections to the world around me. Instead of following the traditional paths, I need to follow the hidden ones, the ones that look like they lead nowhere, the ones that find the hidden sacred groves. Yes, there’s going to be fewer people in those places. Yet if my writing and my words finds its home amongst those people, and if I walk an authentic path, then I am richer for it. The starlight will be my guide.

In honor of that revelation, I will attempt a moonlight garden this year. Even though I’m an earth element (mutable earth from my zodiac sign) I generally fail at tending plants. Give me animals and I can work with them. Plants just laugh at me. Maybe I’ve been going after the wrong ones. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. I think perhaps now is the right time. Creating a garden to highlight the illumination of the stars and moon may just be what I need as a reminder that I follow a different path in life, and that I am more comfortable with hushed quiet of the darkness. There are others out there who feel the same, and I hope that our paths will entwine.

Until then, may the starlight guide you.

Image courtesy of bulldogza/FreeDigitalPhotos.net