Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category


An early graduation present!

December 19, 2010

So in the midst of all the craziness of our lives… my husband was invited to San Francisco to give a talk. I was so worried it would interfere with my graduation… but everyone was accommodating. Thank you!

You see the last time I “walked” for one of my degrees was 1976!

I now have a BS, MS, MA and EdS and it is for this degree that I was willing to participate in a public ritual – not of my design!

And it was wonderful! Both the trip before and the experience of being hooded for this accomplishment.

Feeling so very grateful as we wax towards the winter solstice!



December 18, 2010

Have I told you lately that I am content!?!?!?!? Ecstatic even????

Oh my goodness what a ride this last nearly four years has been… and now after having been caught in the undertow, the spin cycle, and the roller coaster – I am being catapulted out the other side…and I am here to tell you with absolute certainty and joy that it was worth every moment of suffering and difficulty and ecstasy and joy!


Have I mentioned lately how ab*soul*utley enchanted I am?

Well… I am!


The Holy Days are upon us…

November 27, 2010

and I have been insanely content! Everything seems to be unfolding effortlessly without much effort on my part… without me needing to control and contrive and consult and confound. Effortlessly…. without effort.

The last time I felt this way was April, 2007. Not that there haven’t been times of contentment in the intervening years, but it has been a journey through the towers of ivory and hasn’t always been obvious what the lessons are and which teachers to let in and which teachers to discern out.

And now, advent is coming and in the midst of the holy days, I am going to don my purple robe and claim my hood of humility.

I am over the moon happy!

And you? Where are you in the life cycle as the days lengthen here in the northern hemisphere?


Women who run with the wolves I

January 11, 2010

I started this post on January 3, 2010 – and in reading the comments and emails I have received recently, I am inspired to finish it!


So many of us have had deep experiences of healing and mending while listening or reading the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes – or Dr. E. as she now travels through the ether at The Moderate Voice and SoundsTrue. I need to be working on my thesis – but instead feel inspired to talk a little here about the impact her work had on me.

I first encountered the book Women who run with the Wolves on the shelves at my local Price Club (they are now Costco). I was so enchanted by the title – I picked up a copy and took it home. I must have been just past thirty at the time – the parent of a young boy child and struggling to balance a life as a wife, worker bee, mother, friend, gardener, chef and more.

At that point in my life – I didn’t have the depth to make much sense of the book! I opened it, would read a bit, and instantly fall asleep. I would find my eyelids so heavy, the ideas so heavy, I felt like Dorothy walking through the poppy fields – just couldn’t read it. I now know that I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t in a place where I was aware or awake or listening to the summons of my soul. Life was filled with middleworld joys and sorrows and contentments. I was finally doing the ego work of the First Adulthood. I was a late bloomer for sure!

Fast forward a dozen years or so – to a time of immense pain and terrible soul suffering. Salmon Boy (my therapist) recommended that I read WWRWTW – and I told him I just couldn’t, that I had tried before. Yet – because he was a midwife to my emerging soul life – he knew that this would one day be a pivotal work for me so he waited, patiently, as all good therapists do and tried again.

This time – he loaned me a very old, very well worn, tattered audio cassette – Warming the Stone Child. I have written a lot about that here and there and everywhere – the powerful impact it had on me. Clarissa became the mother I had always hoped for – and through her teaching stories, she was the too good mother, the milk mother, the good enough mother and the fierce mother – all in the span of one audiotape of amazing stories. I listened to that tape every day for weeks – maybe months… and then I was ready to tend to my own internal mother and to also branch out into other soulwork. Dr. E’s teaching were an important core element of my soulwork. Listening to the audio work was the missing piece for me to finally begin to grow up and find meaning in the second half of life.

Once I heard her voice – it changed everything about WWRWTW for me. I realized it wasn’t a book I was ever going to read cover to cover – even though millions of women did just that! It was more like a bible for me – more like a sacred text. A book that I would open, whisper a soft prayer of hope, and open it to a teaching story or idea – and see what would come up. And it was always something juicy, nourishing, and succulent. My soul was so well fed during this time!

Knowing the magic of hearing – and the power that had on me – I bought a CD of WWRWTW – and just as with the tape – I listened to it as if my very life depended on it. And my life did depend on it. Through all the other things that were going on my life – this was a constant strand that kept me connected to Mother Night’s fire. In attachment theory – we talk about a secure base – and the need that children (and adults!) have for that stable place that we can venture out from and return to. Dr. E’s audio work has been that secure base for me.

Thank you Dr. E. AND I am so excited about The Dangerous Old Woman – Myths and Stories of the Wise Old Woman Archetype that will soon come out in audio from Sounds True.

Stay tuned!


What I love about our new Mayor

June 1, 2009

How many times have you been to a meeting that goes on and on and on and you are bored, bored, bored? And isn’t this (you gotta listen to the video) a refreshing way to convene people and ignite their passions and invite them to focus on what has heart and meaning?

Video of Kai Degner explaining the upcoming summit.

Between his efforts, the new and improved Farmers Market, the possibility of a Food Co-op, and more – the friendly city is living up to its name!


The invisible work of Mothers

May 10, 2009

♥  ♥  ♥

Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,

because I don’t mean these poems only

but the unseen

unbelievable effort it takes to live

the life that goes on between them,

I think all the time about invisible work.

About the young mother on Welfare

I interviewed years ago,

who said, “It’s hard.

You bring him to the park,

run rings around yourself keeping him safe,

cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,

and there’s no one

to say what a good job you’re doing,

how you were patient and loving

for the thousandth time even though you had a headache.”

And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself

because I am lonely,

when all the while,

as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried

by great winds across the sky,

thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,

the slow, unglamorous work of healing,

the way worms in the garden

tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe

and bees ransack this world into being,

while owls and poets stalk shadows,

our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers

for everything, and the sea

is a mother too,

whispering and whispering to us

long after we have stopped listening.

I stopped and let myself lean

a moment, against the blue

shoulder of the air. The work

of my heart

is the work of the world’s heart.

There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~

(The Largest Possible Life)



November 29, 2008

Last night I was re-reading David Richo’s book Shadow Dance and thinking about virtues. The ones he lists are:

  • Love
  • Trustworthiness
  • Courage
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • Openness
  • Conviction
  • Compassion
  • Cheerfulness
  • Simplicity
  • Hopefulness
  • Generosity
  • Courtesy
  • Candidness
  • Flexibility
  • Appreciativeness
  • Confidence
  • Loyalty
  • Justice
  • Serenity
  • Respect
  • Humor
  • Forgiveness
  • Truthfulness
  • Cooperativeness
  • Ability to Temper Desire

A lengthy list – and it certainly gives me something to work with.

And I was pondering an aspect of myself – that is the bane of my existence – and also one of my truest strengths – my interest and curiosity about the world and people and my investigative nature. Next to my bed – I have piles of books – started, not started, half-finished. I often open a new book – read the preface and then just flip through until a passage catches my imagination – and then I read – until I get restless. I set the book aside – maybe to come back to it soon – maybe to never return – or more likely, I will return to the text when something in my life needs me to know that bit of wisdom. I almost always remember where something came from – and I know how to go out and find it.

And this morning – I am reading through the Twelve Days of Christmas – from Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of Seasons. Waverly is way more organized than I! And there are probably times that her level of attention to detail is bane to her existence – just as my investigative self needs to be reined in at times. But here’s the thing – her writing is well researched and documented and she tries to go find primary sources where possible. This makes such a difference in the depth and quality of the teachings that she shares with her students.

Too often – in my search for traditions that I want to add to my repertoire, I read something online or in a book – and it is difficult to tease apart the author’s wishful dreaming and the historical roots of the ritual or the practice. The Virtue in the packets I get from Waverly is that she is quite comfortable with not knowing and quite rigorous about naming her knowing.

It is not too late to shift yourself into celebrating this sacred time of darkness – where we welcome the Sun and the Son. Dive into the teachings from the School of Seasons (and if you miss Yule and Advent, Candelmas is right around the corner!). Or you can be inspired to open yourself to Advent right now by “a little magic everyday” at Owl’s Wings. And more here…

I believe that the attention and intention that we apply to daily practice is what allows us to be useful in the world – to be of Service. My musings on this started with Joanna’s last newsletter – and her sharing of her Daily Devotions. I am grateful to have wise women mentors in my life. Thank you to each of you – for being of Service and inspiring me to live a more virtuous life.