Tell Me Who You Are

September 20, 2019

“When you put labels on someone, it’s like sticking them in a box
with no air holes until they slowly suffocate.
People aren’t just one thing. They’re many things.”
― Sadie Allen, American author

Years ago, I participated in a weekend workshop titled “On Course.” The co-facilitators took us through a variety of exercises meant to open our hearts and our minds. Boy, did they! I swear each of we 30 participants had at least one melt down with tears. But what made it all worth it were the exercises designed to get us in touch with our spirits, our essence, the seats of our soul. In particular, I have a vivid memory of a dyad where there was one who questioned me and, each time, I had to give a different and deeper answer. The question was “Tell me who you are.” Sounds simple, but after several minutes of back and forth, the Q&A broke down barriers rooted in my ego. Knowing that my true self is love, that my true nature is love, my life’s path opened in ways I had not imagined. It seems like in an instant I knew that I was loving, loved and loveable. All three were, up until that moment, previously lacking in my life. The exercise stuck! My exchange might have been something like this:

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I’m a woman
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am Kate.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I’m a daughter, sister, and aunt.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am a work in progress.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am funny and witty and smart.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I’m a spirit having a human experience.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am a child of The Divine
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am enough.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: I am love.
Q: Thank you

Q: Tell me who you are.
A: (silence)
Q: Thank you.

Q: Welcome home, to yourself.

Do you see the pattern? We are not our names. We are not our roles in our families, at work and in society. We are not our ages, genders or a race. We are not our religions or belief systems. We are not the number on the bathroom scales. We are all of those things and more. Knowing this, the bundle of self-identifications can burst through the labels to a new and improved you.

Say aloud right now: I…am…love. Say it upon waking in the morning and again before sleep. Catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and say it aloud. Stretch yourself and say it to someone else. Did you know that you are love?

Armor by Shelly Walker

August 14, 2019

“Some of us walk around with a necklace of hope, an armor of sanity, but at the end of the day, they always come off. We reveal our naked, vulnerable, real selves.”  ― Karen Quan, author

It’s been three years since we received the heartbreaking diagnosis for our precious wee boy: muscular dystrophy. No treatment. No cure. He would live to see 20 “if we were lucky.” I don’t remember much about the next year. I was swimming in a fog of grief and fear. Oh, I survived, but I did it by putting the needs of everyone before my own. Because what I needed was to fall apart and I didn’t have the luxury of falling apart.

I had grief and fear and four children to take care of. That’s when I started numbing, building an ambitious armor around my tender, hurting heart so I wouldn’t be pulled under by the pain. My armor guaranteed my survival.

Then the presidential election happened, November 2016, and the division that ripped our country also tore my family apart. As my naivete was stripped away, I learned that people I loved, adored, and respected shared very different values from me. This was the first election that I took personally. And it hurt. My armor became heavier as I learned to navigate this new world.

I call this time in my life, these two very difficult years, my miniature disaster. At some point in life, most people experience their own miniature disasters, these pivots in time where life gets REAL. Everything we think we know is put to the test. We learn who our friends are. They are the ones who don’t take our stuff personally, neither our outbursts nor our withdrawals, and just keep loving us. Loving us hard.

We learn where to look for God. We find God in the smallest moments of wonder and laughter and raw pain. We find God in the quiet moments of prayer and in the small celebrations, in the mountains and in the mundane.

And, eventually we learn that as seductive as it can be, putting on that emotional armor to try to protect our tender hearts just isn’t worth it. You see, the problem with armor is that the weight becomes unbearable and it keeps us from feeling the good stuff, too.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the good things in life in order to avoid the hard things so I keep putting the armor down and feeling ALL the feelings, knowing that the grief and pain I carry is, in Truth, also a gift.

As I lay my armor down, I find that I am, in fact, not drowning in my pain. I get sad. I get scared. But much more, I get grateful. Grateful for my family. Grateful for our human family. Grateful that the light is being called to banish the shadows.
What I know is that when I choose Love, when I choose connection, when I choose gratitude, the ways of Light open before my feet. As a friend of mine said the other day, “Strong back. Soft belly. Wild heart.”

A strong back, born of knowing Who You Are. A soft belly, making the choice to stay open and vulnerable. A wild heart, creative and daring and free to make this world a better place. As Dr, King said, “Love will have the final word.” Put down the armor. Be the Love.

Shelly Walker is a licensed Spiritual Practitioner, serving at New Thought Center for Spiritual Living in Lake Oswego, Oregon. You can join her Facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/ShellWalk1.

A Tribute

July 30, 2019

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” 
― Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Story Girl

We first met while standing in line in downtown Portland to see the 1983 film, “The Big Chill.” Perfect first encounter for two youthful baby boomers, both of us in our early 30s. Big hair, shoulder pads, traveling the upward spiral in our chosen careers. It was an instant connection. So much of life ahead. Our 30s, 40s, 50s, and now 60s.

Our second meeting was in Eugene, Oregon. My boyfriend at the time was in law school there. One of Judie’s best friends was my boyfriend’s good friend. So, my boyfriend says to me, “We’re going white water rafting with Judie, Bryan (Judie’s husband) and Jeff.” OMG. I was frantic thinking Judie was this macho Pacific Northwest outdoors chick. A tough, risk taking adventurer. The opposite of me. That perception would soon change.

We arrived at Jeff’s house, me wearing a denim sun dress with a bright red sweater. Judie entered the room in a summer ensemble, green and brown top and shorts complimenting her lithe figure, and matching earrings. Judie says to me, “I love your red sweater.” My reply, “Thanks. I’m a winter.” Judie perked up and said, “I’m an autumn.” Thus, began a beautiful and colorful friendship of nearly 40 years.

Who remembers colors from the 1980s?

Given that Judie and I both refused to go white water rafting—way too dangerous for us city slickers–it was suggested that instead we rent roller blades and tool around Eugene. Judie and I looked at each other, shook our heads and at the same time say, “Nope.” What did transpire was a picnic on the bank of the McKenzie River. The men folk swam in the river while Judie and I stayed on shore and shared our visions for working with women and children. Empowering them to live their best lives, long before Oprah made that a meme.

Since Judie’s terminal diagnosis in February, due to pancreatic cancer that had already metastasized, I have had a jumble of memories surface. All good. I can’t say that about all of my friends, but I can about Judie. This reminds me of my wedding in 1995.

A videographer was roaming the reception, inviting people to share memories of Doug and myself. The photog asked Judie, “What does Kate mean to you?” Judie looked confused while starting to twirl a lock of hair, a life-long habit that meant she was thinking. Finally, she replied, very slowly, “I don’t think Kate has ever been mean to me.” We’ve had a lot of good laughs about that, even in these past few weeks as her life force was waning.

This same videographer mistook Judie’s 3-year old son for Tyler, my 5-year old stepson. The photog asked Blake, “How do you like Kate being your new stepmom?” Blake started to twirl a lock of his hair while looking mighty confused.

When it came time for the toast, we asked Bryan, Judie’s husband and Blake’s dad, to share a personal message about us. Which he did, and quite beautifully so. When it came time for the toast, Bryan lifted his glass and declared boldly, “Here’s to Kate and Dave.” Remember my boyfriend in Eugene? That was Dave.

Memories are what keep us connected, especially during times of loss. Memories are what allow us to move forward with life, even during times of sadness and sorrow. Memories are to be treasured.

Judie, I will forever remember you. Thank you for co-creating so many beautiful memories with me and my family, and so many mutual friends. “Family by choice” we used to say, and it’s indeed true. I’ve lost a beloved family member. A true sister of my soul. Now my forever anam cara. Judie, when we meet again, I wonder what movie will be showing in heaven? I’ll get the popcorn. You get the milk duds. And yet another memory surfaces. “Guilty pleasures,” she used to say.

Sadness

July 15, 2019

“Mostly I have felt myself becoming a servant of sadness. I am still looking for the beauty in that.”  ― Maggie Nelson, American author

There are many threads weaving through the tapestry of my life. Some are vibrant and bold, representing the highs. Some are dark and drab, representing the lows in my life. I see beauty in every thread, but there’s one thread that haunts me. The thread of sadness over not having children in this lifetime. I’ve been sitting with that reality since Mother’s Day when I again drifted into the dark pool of sadness. If I shared with you the many reasons as to why this day is always hard for me, you would understand. But I know my sorrow isn’t in the story. It’s in me. It’s my thread of sadness. Doesn’t it too deserve to be in my beautiful tapestry?

So, after yet another gloomy Mother’s Day last May, I asked myself: What if I take this thread of sadness to the grave with me? Would it be okay? Would you let me just be sad and not try to explain, praise or cheer me up?

My beloved niece, Tammy, comes to mind. She is very much a daughter of my soul. Her son, my godson, was killed ten years ago at age 18. The case is still unsolved. Tammy will carry that monumental thread of grief in her tapestry for the rest of her life. No one can or should take that away from her. But she’s learned to live with the sorrow, every moment of every day. That’s the nature of grief. No one will put her down for that.
But sadness? Why is it bad to simply be sad?

“You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”  ― Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

Once I admitted to myself that this mother thread of sadness will hold a prominent place in the tapestry of my life, the sadness started to lift. I found beauty in the sadness. By not talking about it or admitting it, the nest had gotten bigger and bigger. Is that why Mother’s Day has gotten harder and harder over the years, and not easier? My guess is yes. Speaking my truth set me free. Thank you for being my witness. This bird is soaring once again. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Anam Cara Journey Circles

Four new women circles, looking at life through the lens of archetypes, are coming to the Portland area this Fall. Details soon!

Rev. Beth Astarte – Sacred Sensuality & Sexuality
Rev. Angelica (Anut) Martinez – The Fool’s Journey (tarot inspired)
Rev. Krystal Ashling – Tools for Awakening the Unconscious
Jamie Cedar Rogers, M.A. – Archetypes in Nature

Treading Water

June 17, 2019

“I had been simply treading water, settling on surviving and avoiding pain rather than being actively involved in seeking out life.” Kay Redfield Jamison, clinical psychologist & writer

Treading water is a favorite way to accelerate my heartrate in the arthritis swim class I attend. I chuckle when I remember how, in training as a water safety instructor, we had to tread water for ten minutes with both arms up and out of the water. That was nearly fifty years ago. Today I can easily tread water non-stop for two minutes, using both my legs and arms. I consider that a monumental achievement. But something occurred to me in this morning’s class during our first aerobic session.

Treading water in the shallow end is vastly different than treading water in the deep end. I’m safe in the shallow end. I can see the bottom. I can walk to the side wall. But in the deep end my life depends on keeping my head above water. I can’t see the bottom. I have to swim to the side wall. Using this thought as a metaphor, I wonder where I’m playing it safe in my life? Have I become too familiar with the status quo of the shallow end? Or, am I willing to risk going into the deeper waters of the unknown for a more meaningful experience of life? That’s where change happens!

Consider this passage from The Infinite Way by Joel Goldsmith: “When your spiritual study is sincere, the breaking-up of your material world—the desertion of friends, students, or family, a change in health or other outer activity—often ushers in the spiritual transition, or rebirth. This is the attainment of that which you have sought.”

My spiritual growth will not expand if I stay in the shallow end. The illusion is that I can control what happens there. Things will stay the same because it’s predictable and safe. But my spirit continually longs to go deeper. To dive into the primordial depths of this thing called Life. What is my life about, especially now that I’m swimming towards my twilight years? What are my relationships about, especially when there are dis-connects and dis-comforts? What are the stressors in my country that trigger feelings of despair?

As Goldsmith predicted, I have suffered a great deal with loss since my spiritual studies became sincere nearly thirty years ago. I could make a list. It would be a long one. Yet I can truthfully say that I am grateful for every change, even if it meant flailing my arms around in the deep end of the pool while shouting “help” to a lifeguard. It’s here where I remember that I am the guardian of my own life. This is my swimming pool. I have choice between the shallow and deep ends. Where does my spirit want to tread water today?

And more shall be revealed….

Stop!

June 2, 2019

STUFF I KNOW
© Rev. Angelica Martinez

TRIGGER WARNING Proceed knowing you were given the disclaimer.

If you feel the need to comment, please do not tell me “change your mind, change your life” and “what you get is what you think about” jargon. Trust me, I have read, written and heard the lot of it. But know this, I am allowing myself to bathe in the loamy richness of the Dark Night. Ebb and Flow Life goes. Trust me, I know what I am doing. I have been here before. I walked in the Sun again. This is The Alchemy of Life.

I am tired of Life.

Please note, that does not say “I am tired of living.” Two very distinctly different things.

Sometimes, it is okay to say “STOP!” Regroup and start over. Stop, look and Breathe. What is the information in front of you? How do you move forward? Forward is the only direction you can go, because Time is Linear – moving toward a Desired result. So, the question becomes, “What is it you Desire?” Now I know why Lucifer says that so much on the TV Series; in that one question you can find out so much information about what the driving force is for that person. Fascinating stuff. But I digress.

When I said “I am tired of Life” I meant, “Whoa, there’s a shit-ton coming at me right now. I need to Hard Stop and Reset.”

Hard Stop. Cessation of motion. Cessation of chaos. Cessation of external stimuli.
Breath One. Pause.
Breath Two. Gather information.
Breath Three. Release.
Reset.

There is such a deep richness in the Cave of the Dark Night. The watery, earthy goodness. The fertilizer of Growth. (In Alchemy Water = Emotions Earth = Grounding/Strength/Matter). A Dark Night is Alchemy. When you Allow yourself the moments in the Dark, you fertilize that Growth spurt that is about to happen.

If I think back over my life, it was those deepest, darkest moments that led to the most profound Growth and Change. (and yes, I have been seeing 555 lately). It still feels shitty sometimes though. I still get tired of Life and it’s ebbing and flowing.

Thing is, I know that once the rapids are over, there is a nice bend of river where it is calm, lazy yet still flowing. I just gotta get over the damn rapids.

Again, see the reference to water (emotions)?

Life is full of emotions, Energy (E =mc2) set in motion. E-motion.And like water they rage and they rest. Ebb and Flow. Oh FFS, is Life nothing but Ebb and Flow? Ebb and Flow. I am tired of ebbing and flowing. I want to get out of the river and rest. I want the world to stop fighting. I want Trump to be the best he can be, whatever that means, just be a decent human being FFS. I want to not have to worry about the welfare of my community. I want to stop being a mother. I want to stop being a manager. I want to stop!! I want to simply HARD STOP Life.

Life does not Hard Stop . . . only I can.

Hard Stop. Breath. Reset. (Originally, I accidently typed Rest. And that works too)
Dear Angels, Universe, God Almighty and Yeshua his Son,
Please Hear my Prayer.

I am tired of Life at the Moment. Can you take over and Guide me to the Right thing to do? Help me be the best I can be in this Moment, because it feels like I am muddying up the waters. Help me to Stop, Breathe and Reset. Help me remember you are always with me. I am Supported in your Love. Amen.

Thank you,
Rev. Angelica
Feel free to connect via Facebook: Angel Raven-Hawke or via email angel.martinez444@outlook.com

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=Awr9ImaUhPRcf_4ADGNXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyanFiZjI2BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjY4MzNfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=when+you+walk+through+a+storm&fr=mcafee#id=9&vid=8b6f9071b50bcc5d84edc9ae7e41c972&action=view

Untold Stories

May 17, 2019

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

One of the things I enjoy most while leading tours to Ireland is the gift of witnessing someone having an “ah ha” moment connected to their ancestry. Because my role is as leader and guide, I don’t always get those moments for myself. But I did this time. It happened in a flash when I heard the words “took the soup.” Suddenly, an untold story emerged.

Last April, with my group, I finally got to visit the ancient Hill of Uisneach. (Roughly pronounced ISH-nok.) That’s where I had my “ah ha” moment. Uisneach is considered Ireland’s 5th Province as well as the burial place of the Irish goddess, Eriu, from whom Ireland got its name. It’s considered a sacred and spiritual ritual site with monuments and relics dating back over 5,000 years. Our private guide, a seasoned ceremonialist, squired us around the many hills while leading rituals and ceremonies connected with the four elements: earth, air, fire, water. During a walk between sites, I encountered a most interesting man.

Although he was clearly clean and put together, he had that look about him that said he might be a Druid who just popped out the woods. He did, indeed, pop up from time to time. We couldn’t figure out how he got ahead of us and would suddenly appear, one time sitting on the gate of a fence. That’s where we struck up a conversation.

As typical of Irish people, he inquired about my ancestry. I told him about my mother’s Connolly line, likely hailing from somewhere in the northwest of Ireland. These were areas particularly hit hard during the Great Potato Famine. I mentioned that we were Protestants way back to the late 1700s. “Oh, so your people took the soup,” he declared. Took the soup? I’d never heard that expression before. He explained.

During Ireland’s tragic potato famine, people professed to be the religion of the church that was serving soup to the poor. So, a Catholic would say they were Protestant, while a Protestant would say they were Catholic. Many were forced to convert. They betrayed their beliefs in exchange for food. My leprechaun friend fully believes that my Connolly ancestors were originally Catholic. Regardless, it was the thought process that ensued that got my attention.

Because my Connolly ancestor(s) immigrated before the Great Famine of the mid 1800s, I thought they were free from the trauma and despair of their homeland. Surely, they left behind many family and friends who literally starved to death. The Irish Potato Famine began in 1845 and went on for four years. It is estimated that between 500,000 and more than one million people died in Ireland during that time. Keep in mind that the potato, the staple of every poor Irish family’s diet, was the only crop that failed. Ireland’s beef, dairy, and lumber, as well as jobs, went to the wealthy British that ruled over them. Approximately two million Irish people left and immigrated to other countries, mostly the U.S. and Canada. That’s where my focus has been throughout my entire life. Thank God my ancestors were not impacted by the Famine! But that’s not true. My people who stayed in Ireland were innocent victims of a tyrannical ruling class and subjected to torture in the form of starvation. Like all people, I carry the stories—told or untold–of my ancestors. Is this why Ireland keeps calling me back, in search of the untold story? Is this why many in my family, including myself, are overweight? Is this why it’s been hard for me to declare one particular religion? Is this why any form of betrayal hurts so deeply? To my ancestors I say:

I’m sorry you had to suffer.
Please forgive me for forgetting.
Thank you for my new level of awareness.
I love you.

Some Irish men were imprisoned for stealing food to feed their young. This haunting ballad shares a story that needs to be told. When someone sings it in an Irish pub, locals stop what they are doing and sing along. I finally get why.

Ann Breen ~ The Fields Of Athenry

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=mary+black+fields+of+athenry#id=6&vid=501a470e7ec72eaa97f5e37c43d174ff&action=view

Wildness

May 4, 2019

“The early Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit ‘the wild goose.’ And the reason why is they knew that you cannot tame him.” John Eldredge, author Wild at Heart

Today, the gusty winds in the west of Ireland remind me of what is untamed in me. Having recently completed leading two tours – Ireland and Scotland – I’m now on the third leg of my journey with my husband, Doug. It’s included two days in Dublin and two days in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We are now snuggled into one of my favorite accommodations in the beloved village of Ballyvaughan, County Clare – Oceanville B&B. Check out the views from our room. I’ve soaked in these images and reflections on many occasions, always reminding me of the wildness of place. A rugged wildness I do not experience at home in Oregon, both in my witnessing and acting. What will bring the two together? I turn to Mother Nature.

What I am reminded of today is the natural trinity in The Burren’s landscape. I pause to witness where the sky, meets the water, meets the land. It’s a brilliant and windy sunny day in the rockiest part of Ireland. The expanse of sky reminds me of the guidance from above, Heavenly Father energy. It’s vastness, with blue skies and a smattering of clouds. The earth reminds me of support from below, Earthly Mother energy. Her garments are brilliant greens with startling floral designs. What unites the two? The brilliant azure waters of Galway Bay, playfully igniting a wild goose chase. I wish I had had this memory and vision yesterday while negotiating how to take the train from Belfast, to Dublin, and then onto Galway City where we picked up our rental car. Talk about a wild goose chase!

With tickets in hand, and reserved seats, we successfully took the train from Belfast back to Dublin. Here’s where the goose chase began. Our tickets said 12:45 Connolly, one of several train/bus stations in Dublin. Suddenly, I remembered that we could not travel from Connolly to Galway, so we took a taxi to Heuston Station, our initial starting point a few days earlier. We enjoyed breakfast and some leisure time, when I saw on the posted schedule that the train to Galway was at 1:30pm. Our ticket was for 12:45 at Connolly, so we flagged another taxi and returned to Connolly station, several bags in tow. There we soon learned that the 12:45 ticket was for Luas (Dublin’s light rail) taking us to Heuston for the 1:30pm train to Galway. Are you with me? See why this was a wild goose chase? Since I booked the travel, I took full responsibility for the confusion. But, come on. The tickets, time and stations were confusing.

When I’m in the midst of a wild goose chase, I really strive to stay calm and go with the flow, even looking for the humor in the hunt. But under stress I can get a wee bit cranky, focusing only on what I perceive as wrong. (I was also not feeling well.) When I’m cranky, it becomes easy to complain and blame. When I’m in that dynamic duo of negative thought, I have the power to call upon a third aspect. Call to mind the metaphor I mentioned above. Remembering the trinity of the landscape where I am in this moment. I can look up and complain about the weather, or I can look down and see the uncertainty of the path. But where will that get me? It eventually it got be to the right train at the right time, and all was/is well. Including today’s constant gusty winds having her way with the waters of Galway Bay. The goose has been chased. I wonder what lies ahead with one more week in the wild and untamed west of Ireland?

ANAM CARA TOURS

April 2020

I’m brewing duo tours again for next year. You can travel to either Ireland or Scotland, or both as six people did this year. There’s a discount if you do both tours, or are a returning traveler. Dates and costs will come in June. For now, I’m thinking of Ireland first, early April 2020. For Scotland, in mid-April, I’m specifically looking at a journey to the Outer Hebrides islands of Lewis & Skye, starting an closing in Inverness. That tour may have the exciting opportunity to travel with a very talented and wise young musician, Aaron Alderson. Look him up on Facebook.

Interested, or know someone who might be? Then send me an email to get on the interested list. I do not sell or share that list. It is specifically for my for-profit tour business, Anam Cara Tours LLC. kathleenverigin333@gmail.com

TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION

We enjoyed a lovely and lively traditional Irish music session Friday night at O’Loclainn’s Irish Whiskey Bar in Ballyvaughan. Entertaining and fun, while Doug sipped a Green Spot whiskey and I a hot toddy for my aching sinuses and throat.

Celtic Commandments

April 18, 2019

Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland! 

My 15th Ireland tour – Land of Spirits, Saints & Scholars – unfolded beautifully with 14 fabulous travelers and my trusted driver and brother from another mother, Paddy Downes. We visited holy wells for Saints Patrick, Brighid and Columba, with various rituals and sacred sites between. The weather was mostly dry but constantly COLD. Brrrr.  The “knock you over” kind of winds. After 3 days of rest between tours Scotland begins on Friday – Castles, Cathedrals & Clans. All travelers have arrived, safely and on time. YAY!  I intend to continue to post daily updates with photos on Facebook. Remember, if it’s in ye to travel to Celtic lands, zip me an email and get on my interested list. kathleenverigin333@gmail.com You’ll know details before the general public. And, yes, I’m already brewing an Ireland tour for April 2020. Blessings to you!!!

Celtic Commandments

From the Carmina Gadelica, Ancient Celtic oral tradition, Pagan Carmina Gadelica by Mike Nichols

Give thou thine heart to the wild magic,
To the Lord and the Lady of Nature,
Beyond any consideration of this world.
Do not covet large or small,
Do not despise weakling or poor,
Semblance of evil allow not near thee,
Never give nor earn thou shame.
The Ancient Harmonies are given thee,
Understand them early and prove,
Be one with the power of the elements,
Put behind thee dishonour and lies.
Be loyal to the Lord of the Wild Wood,
Be true to the Lady of the Stars,
Be true to thine own self besides,
True to the magic of Nature above all else.
Do not thou curse anyone,
Lest thou threefold cursed shouldst be,
And shouldst thou travel ocean and earth,
Follow the very step of the ancient trackways.

  
A Wee Taste of Scottish Humor

When God had finished creating Scotland, He looked down on it with great satisfaction. Finally he called the Archangel Gabriel to have a look.

“Just see,” said God. “This is the best yet. Splendid mountains, beautiful scenery, brave men, fine women, nice cool weather. And I’ve given them beautiful music and a special drink called whisky. Try some.”

Gabriel took an appreciative sip. “Excellent,” he said. “But haven’t you perhaps been too kind to them? Won’t they be spoiled by all these 
things? Should there not be some drawback?”  

“Just wait till you see the neighbours they’re getting,” said God.

What if…

February 18, 2019

“You see, the what ifs are as boundless as the stars.” 
― Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

What if you just walked out of your life? Literally, right now, just got up and started walking, with no destination in mind? That’s what’s unfolding in a delightful book I am re-reading: The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish. It’s about a group of women who gather for a weekly book club, which translates into deep sharing and lots of wine. On one particular evening, the women end up in a cuddle puddle on the floor of the kitchen, comforting a distraught sister of the soul.

The woman in despair says, between sniffles, “Sometimes I just want to walk out of my life.” Another woman sighs, “Me, too.” Several “Me, too’s” echo the sentiment. Together they say, “Let’s do it.”

So, this group of eight women, of various ages, body types and lifestyles, start walking. And walking, and walking, and walking. As they walk, they talk, disclosing dark secrets that have, until the walking, been simmering on the back burners of their soul.

Soon their walking is all over the local news. Strangers meet them on the road with cheers of gratitude and delicious food—and wine. Plenty of wine. This brings national attention. Some people offer overnight accommodations, free of charge. The conversations between the walkers deepen. The tears flow yet the smile never leaves a face. Suddenly their walking becomes international news. These eight women inspire women all over the world to do the same. Unhappy with your life? Then just walk out of it.

What a bold endeavor! I’m not sure I would have that level of courage. Yet the story has reminded me of the times when I have walked out of my life. When I answered the voice that said, “What if I stepped away from unhappiness and discontent, knowing that there was something greater Out There for me. And, each time, the outcome was better than I could have expected?”

A college friend said to me, “What if you moved to Portland with me?” I left Iowa in 1975 for greener and wetter pastures in Oregon. I had $300 in my pocket, no apartment, no job, just a desire to be somewhere else where the thermometer read -24. Pieces fell into place very quickly. Sometimes I wonder, what if I had stayed in Iowa?

I left a job in 1993 without a safety net. Single, alone, with a house payment. Yet my psyche and soul could no longer tolerate the destructive environment of that work place.

What if I had stayed with that job?

My husband and I left Portland two years ago for rural living outside McMinnville, Oregon. I remember thinking, how do I make friends at this stage of life? That didn’t take long. And still I wonder, what if I had stayed in Portland?

I can “what if” myself into a corner. What’s relevant to me is to reflect on the bold actions I’ve taken through my life, each time rewarded. To give myself a pat on the back for such boldness. “I did that!” It also occurs to me that every great endeavor in the history of the world started with a What If. 

Today, I ask myself, and you: What has become intolerable in my life? What if I just stay and tolerated? Or, what if I made a bold change? Is there something calling to me that needs to move to the front burner? What if listened to the What If voice? Took a leap of faith? Trusted my intuition?

As expected, each walking woman in the book has some level of introspection and revelation. Some joyfully return to husbands. Some don’t. Some quit jobs to pursue a new career. Some awaken to stirrings they didn’t know they had, but now had to be pursued. One particular story is about a woman following the walkers on the news. Unbeknownst to them, she too walks out of her life in pursuit of a sunset that has called to her for 70 years. I can visualize her tears and her smile.

No more “what ifs.” The time is now, and we are the ones.

Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=youtube%2C+these+boots#id=25&vid=b5bab7061340cfb3b037c0e4a4c19ba4&action=view