Words

January 4, 2019

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot “one of the twentieth century’s major poets”

Do you ever get tired of your own story? The voice in the head that weaves a tale when trying to explain something unexplainable? A feeble attempt at making sense of the senseless? Proof that I’m righteous in my indignation? Always blaming someone or something else rather than taking responsibility for my reactions? And the more I tell it, the realer it gets? Affirming that I am indeed a victim and there’s no way out? These are conversations I’ve had in my head after nearly two years of health issues.

With the turning of the calendar from 2018 to 2019, I found that I had grown weary of explaining when and how my back pain started. “With the election,” was my common reply, to friends, family and a myriad of doctors and other health professionals. And I meant it. But in truth the election of November 2016 did nothing to me. I’m the one who chose to wallow in my sorrow and fear, for two whole years. “Enough,” I heard a voice in my head say right before New Year’s. Create a new story. One that is generative, supportive and, dare I say, fun! It all starts with a word. What word will guide me throughout 2019, making sure I stay on course and don’t slip back into stink’ thinkin’?

Nearly 20 years ago I had lunch with a friend who is a writer. She shared with me that every January she chooses a Word of Intention to guide her through the next year. I loved the idea and started doing this myself in 2001, sharing with friends, at churches, with social clubs, and with my mentoring clients. Take a gander at my list:

2001 Aliveness
2002 Visibility
2003 Allowing
2004 Co-arising
2005 Liberation
2006 Vision
2007 Presence
2008 Trust
2009 Connection
2010 Focus
2011 Grace
2012 Confidence
2013 Action
2014 Courage
2015 Audacious
2016 Believe
2017 Discernment
2018 Diligence

I use my Word of Intention every day in prayer. Regardless of your spiritual/religious beliefs, the Word means nothing unless you incorporate it into your day. Every day!!! Here’s my prayer that I say aloud each morning.

Heavenly Father, Earthly Mother, Beloved I Am.
I am alive. I am awake. I am the holy.
I am the Diligence of the Living Christ in me.

There are juicy stories that go with each of my Words of Intention. I selected Diligence for this past year to help me complete a variety of on-going projects. I’m not sure what my word for 2019 will be, but I’m pretty sure it will be more uplifting. A word that will come to mind when I find myself spinning another tale about how who or what has let me down, disappointed me, hurt me, made my back hurt, yadda yadda yadda.

What will your Word of Intention be for 2019?

How can you incorporate it into your daily spiritual practice?

Consider a year from now when you look back and say, “WOW, that word really guided me!”

Aliveness

December 6, 2018

“The amazing feeling of being alive beautifully conquers the fear of death” ― Munia Khan

“Do you want to live?” was the first question I asked my friend Walt. It was 20 years ago that he came to me for spiritual guidance when he was on the transplant list. His health had been rapidly declining, and a new liver is what would save him, medically speaking. We both knew that a spiritual conversation needed to happen first. What that conversation was, neither of us had a clue. As an anam cara, a soul friend, I was prepared to listen deeply, and mirror back to him what I perceived as the greater truth.

After a centering prayer, we both opened our eyes and just stared at one another. Neither of us knew how to begin. After a period of silence, I heard myself ask, “Do you want to live?” Walt’s candid reply, “I don’t know.” Thus began a profound dialogue that would last for several months, and even years. A man of faith and compassion, Walt felt uncomfortable knowing that his chance of survival rested on the fate of another. Someone would have to die in order for Walt to live. Was he worthy of this?

During one particular session, I offered a meditation to help Walt connect with the present moment. After several minutes, Walt interrupted with a provocative question, “What does it mean to be present?”

I realized that I often used words like “in the present moment,” or “let us all be present.” What did I mean by that? So began a lesson for both of us.

To be present, to me, means to have awareness of all that is around and within. If someone took a photograph of this very moment, what would it show? As I write this, I am aware of the waning daylight. I see that the walls of my office are green. I notice that my hands are cold, and that my neck is warm. Artificial light makes the room bright on this dark December day. I sit up straighter, I smile. I am fully present.

What percentage of you is present in this moment?

When I am not present, which is a challenge all humans face, I am disconnected from myself, from others, and from life itself. How could Walt know what he really wanted if he was cursing the past (because of liver failure) or projecting out into the future (when am I going to die)? We can easily get paralyzed between past and future. What lies between is the present moment, a notion saints and sages have preached since the beginning of time: Be Here Now!

For months Walt and I would meet and explore his inner thoughts and feelings about the nature of life and death, and the many moments in between. I marveled at his stories of experiencing exquisite present moments, most often in nature. He discovered that trees are alive, squirrels are lively, and the laughter this brings him makes him feel totally alive.

Walt’s health continued a rocky path, as he held his breath in anticipation of receiving a new liver. When a year passed, and another, we both marveled that a donor liver had not presented itself, nor had his health declined in a life-threatening way. He was holding steady. Surprisingly, a third year passed. Walt had a few more health complications that called for surgery and hospital stays. Through it all, he remained present and engaged, embracing his aliveness.

At one point, ten years later, Walt was then too healthy to be on the transplant list. He cherished his aliveness for ten more years. His doctors were stunned, noting how many close calls he had. Walt and I knew the best medicine of all—being true to one’s self by claiming our aliveness. He stepped into the river of his life. He embraced living in the soul. He gave thanks for being alive.

I last saw Walt on November 8th to go over his wishes for an eventual celebration of life ceremony. Last weekend, on December 2nd, early in the morning, Walt finally made his transition. Because I was away over the weekend, the day before his partner held the phone up to Walt’s ear so I could say farewell. I’m told it was a peaceful passing, yet when I heard the news I burst into tears. Even through my tears, I chuckled, because, with Walt as my guide on the other side of the veils, I felt very alive in that moment. Thank you, Walt, for showing me what life is really about. Being alive and knowing it. Every day. With every thought and every breath, as best we can.
RIP my anam cara.

Take a moment and treat yourself to this viral video of a Baby’s Reaction to seeing holiday lights. Now that’s being present!!!!
https://www.romper.com/p/this-viral-video-of-a-babys-reaction-to-seeing-holiday-lights-will-even-warm-a-grinchs-heart-3902780

Foreign Nationals

October 24, 2018

“When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes,
rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart,
mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people
accurately is compromised.” – Rev. James A. Forbes (retired pastor)

 

If I remember correctly, it was around 2006 when Ireland saw the arrival of 150,000 Polish immigrants. Known as “foreign nationals,” they were welcomed by some and not by others.

A Dublin taxi driver complained to me that crazy foreign nationals were now driving taxis. They not only got lost and created traffic hazards, they took the jobs from hard working Irish men. A tour bus driver told me that soon there would be foreign nationals serving as tour guides. “Imagine,” he said, “taking your groups around Ireland with a Pakistani driver.” A friend who works in the tourist industry complained that foreign nationals were taking hotel jobs away from hard working Irish nationals.

During that window of time, when the Irish economy was thriving, I had only pleasant taxi drivers and wonderful Irish bus drivers. But I did notice a difference at the various hotels. Most obvious was a language barrier. For example, I wanted to ship a box of gifts home to Oregon so I didn’t have to lug them around. I inquired at the front desk of my Dublin hotel. After several minutes of research, a very polite Polish man told me that the nearest UPS store was in a suburb of Dublin, perhaps a 20-minute taxi drive away. I stepped outside feeling frustrated because this didn’t seem right to me. Suddenly, around the corner came my bus driver. “Hey. There’s a UPS store just around the corner. Shall I carry your box for you?” Yep, the language barrier would have cost me dearly, both in time and money. But there’s another foreign national story that haunts me to this day.

My group of 22 women was staying at a lovely country hotel in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. Every hotel worker I met that year was from Poland. As a tour group, we were required to dine together, alone in a banquet room taking up several tables. There appeared to be only one waiter for us. A young man, tall and thin, likely Polish, tried to describe the dinner menu. I could see some of my travelers getting a little antsy. The beverage and bread course took several minutes to arrive, with a variety of mix-ups. Now more women in my group were getting annoyed. In whispered voices I heard things like:

“He can’t speak English. Why is he here?”
“This is bad business-. They should hire someone who knows what he’s doing.”
“Maybe they should stick with hiring Irish people, or at least people who speak English.”

I understood the annoyances, yet something didn’t sit well with me. Were we reducing a live human being to an ethnic stereotype? I found myself sitting quietly and just observing our waiter and my travelers. Although I knew our diners weren’t happy with the dining experience, I told them I would speak with the manager, and, they should still leave a tip. “Remember, we are guests in this country.”

When everyone had departed, I stayed around in hopes of speaking with the young man. He emerged from the kitchen, looking very sad and despondent. I apologized to him for my group’s impatience. He replied with a weak smile and shrug of his shoulders. After a long pause, I very gently asked, “Are you okay?”

Suddenly his head dropped as his shoulders drooped. I could barely make out his reply. “I got word this morning that my father in Poland died and I cannot go home to be with my family.” We both stood there in silence. All I could do was be his witness.

I see you.
I hear you.
I believe you.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, heard and believed? Whether we are U.S. born, Irish born or a foreign national from wherever? I think about appearances with the immigration stresses in our country. Someone can appear one way—as a clumsy waiter—but underneath the appearance can be something vastly different—a real live human being with a broken heart. I think too about the millions of Celtic immigrants to the U.S., including my Connolly ancestors from Ireland and McKern ancestors from Scotland. Unless we are Native American, we are a nation of immigrants. As my grandfather-in-law, of German heritage, said on his death bed, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Have a listen to one of my favorite Irish ballads. Imagine what immigrant songs are in the hearts of those currently trying to come peacefully to the U.S.

Immigrant‘s Song Daniel O’Donnell – Cutting the Corn in Creeslough (County Donegal)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZyy8a65d0s

Are you a witch?

October 8, 2018

 

“When change cometh, she will bring peace at her back. She will not bend to your will; you must bend to hers.” ― Adriana Mather, How to Hang a Witch

 

There’s a rumor in my neighborhood that I’m a witch. At first, I laughed. And then, for a few days, I got scared and paranoid. I wanted to hide. I wanted to move away. I wanted to feel safe in unsafe times. For many of us, these are unsafe times. Yet hiding and moving won’t solve anything nor will it protect me. I wonder, is this how our burned-at-the-stake ancestors felt? That their very lives were on the line simply because they were spiritual women living outside the box of Christianity?

Women who never married nor entered the convent?
Women who walked outside at night without an escort?
Women who gathered under the full moon to share and commune?
Women who could take away the pain of childbirth?
Women who were midwives to the newly living and recently departed?
Women who had cats or warts on their noses?
Women who were just being women living under the pressure of patriarchy?

A dozen years ago, in late October, a group of friends and I put together a ritual theatre performance titled “They Called Them Witches.” The intention was to help heal the witches’ holocaust. All involved, mostly women and a few men, were dramatically changed by the experience, as was the audience. The research was stunning and sobering. So many were put to death for ignorant reasons. The creative pieces expressing the angst of real witch hunts inspired us to carry on our vision of a world that is safe for all women, including those who identify as witches. Wise women who know, embrace and express both the Light and the Dark, free of labels and senseless accusations. Are we currently in danger of another witches’ holocaust?

According to the dictionary a holocaust is, “… a great or complete  devastation or  destruction, especially by fire.”

Use of the word in reference to innocent women being burned at the stake–or drowned or tortured–in no way diminishes what we know as The Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Yet it applies to the Burning Times. How did this all come about? According to one source, “Historians believe the accused witches were victims of mob mentality, mass hysteria and scapegoating.” I add – women who were/are victims of idle gossip and speculation.

I propose that we are again living in a Burning Time—of distrust, paranoia and judgment. Does anyone really feel safe anymore? Safe to be who you are, at home and in public. To state our opinions, whether reflecting the Left or the Right, or the Light or the Dark. To have governance over our bodies. To have a say if we want to be touched or not. To have equal pay for equal work in a safe workplace. To live without fear of condemnation for just being a woman. Ultimately, to live without fear that someone could take your life because they think you are something they don’t understand.

From the King James Bible, Exodus 22:18: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

Check out these alternate versions:

Do not allow a Sorceress to live.
Death is the punishment for witchcraft.
Put to death any woman who practices magic.
Never let a witch live.
A witch thou dost not keep alive.

Can you see why I actually felt fear when I heard two separate comments referring to me as a witch? I’m glad to say that the fear has passed. If we are living in another time of burning, then let’s burn away ignorance, distrust and separation. Let’s burn away accusations, judgments and persecution. Stop the gossip and idle conversation that diminishes rather than uplifts our spirits. Instead, let’s burn with excitement over our personal freedom and the future of our beloved United States of America. We the People. All people. Even witches. Let it be so.

For the record. I have been asked over the years if I am a witch. This is my reply. “No, I’m not a witch. But I’m also not Lutheran, but sometimes I do Lutheran things.”

 

 

Stay tuned for news of a Witchy Flash Mob coming to a corner near you!!! For inspiration, check out this video that makes the rounds every October. Doesn’t it make you want to dress up and dance?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjUV-byB8ls
Wolfshäger Hexenbrut Walpurgis Wolfshagen im Harz

I Don’t Know

September 24, 2018

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”
~ Isaac Asimov 

 

When I was in ministry school in the early 1990’s, our class had a lengthy dialogue about what to say when called into people’s lives at critical moments. This could be the loss of a job, a severe injury, death of a pet, or the sudden or lingering dying process of a child, or parent, or partner. What do we say when the one suffering turns to us, asking, “Why is this happening?”

One faction in our group said we must explain that God is a part of this, so therefore we must put our trust in God. The other faction disagreed, saying the best response is, “I don’t know.” Because, in truth, we don’t know why this is happening–if we stay in the mental realms of thinking. Once we soften and move to the heart, the respectful response is, “I don’t know, but I will walk with you as more is revealed.” In other words, assuring the one undergoing great stress, “I’ve got your back.”

The term originated in military combat. The ones who stay behind in the foxhole shoot to distract the enemy while one soldier dashes out of hiding. Through The Anam Cara Journey, it has been revealed to me that the declaration, “I’ve got your back,” is also metaphysical. An affirmation to remind us that we are never alone. Learning to value the heart as much as the head is my life’s journey. And, I’m not talking about just the front of the heart. The heart chakra radiates through the entire upper chest, including both the front, solar body, and the back, lunar body. Both are integral for whole-heart thinking. The Sanskrit word for the 4th heart chakra is Anahata. It’s meaning is unstruck, oftentimes described as “the sound made by two things not striking.” Ponder that a moment!

I can tell you to your face that I’m here for you. But, better yet, I can show you that I’m here for you in ways you cannot see. That is, by honoring the back of the heart that is invisible to the one suffering. A gentle touch and soft whisper can help us remember that there are many sources of healing at work, always seeking our good. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. So when I whisper to an anam cara, my soul friend, “I’ve got your back,” I’m reminding them that they are never alone. There’s a council of ancestors, angels and soul friends right behind them. All they have to do is remember, lean back a little, and allow the mantle of Infinite Love to embrace them.

When we embrace this as Truth, then the words “I don’t know” can bring comfort rather than strife. And, a reminder that we’re all in this together.

NEW ALBUM FROM PAUL McCARTNEY
“I Don’t Know” 4:27
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aef2eV7GmQw

Bubbles

September 10, 2018

“…all bubbles have a way of bursting or being deflated in the end.”
~ Barry Gibb

Both of my feet have injuries, enough to require splints and constant wearing of sturdy walking shoes. It feels confining and restricting, as well as safe and secure. What bubbles up in the space between are lingering feelings of sadness and sorrow related to my feet.

I so wanted to be a ballerina, having started dance lessons at age five. My teacher wouldn’t let us dance “on pointe” until we were 16. This was for protection of the development of our bones. I will never forget my first pointe class. I showed up early with my shiny, new pink toe shoes. We were instructed by older dancers on how to put them on–stuffing lamb’s wool in the toe area, and then tying them correctly with the equally shiny pink ribbons.

Class began with the usual amount of warm up. I pictured myself as a member of the Joffrey Ballet, equal to the world’s best ballerinas. I remember well the moment when we faced the ballet barre, our knees bent in soft first position plie’. Our teacher called out, “Plie, releve’,” which meant rise to our toes. The bubble of anticipation burst with the first stab of excruciating pain. My hands clutched the warm-up barre in a death grip, as I tried again and again to rise with ease. Each time the pain worsened. When it was time to step away from the barre and move across the floor, I simply could not do it. But, oh, how I tried!

I struggled for a few more weeks, until my teacher asked for a meeting with my mom and me. She told me that my feet were not made for toe dancing. Although I was trim weight wise, my growing-into-womanhood body was stocky, and out of proportion needed for a ballerina. My heart was broken. I get teary remembering, especially right now with pain in both feet. The first bubble of my life’s desire burst. The sadness and sorrow was awful.

I eventually rose above the perceived tragedy under the mentoring of a savvy teacher. She helped me see that there were many forms of dance in which I could excel. Soon I became more of a “show dancer,” thriving in modern dance and musical theatre. I learned to turn the world on with my smile, and not rely on what my body can or cannot do.

I’ve come to see that life is full of desires that form a bubble of anticipation. Some of those bubbles take flight, and some just hover. In the end, every bubble will burst. What I do with that is in my hands and not my feet.

Father Ian

August 24, 2018

 

“Live by the trinity of what is true, good and beautiful.”
Alexandra Stoddard, philosopher of contemporary living

 

During my spring 2011 Ireland tour, I wandered into a contemporary Catholic church in the center of a thriving beach town in Co. Sligo. I was stunned to find the triple spiral everywhere. On the doors and the floor, even carved into the backs of every chair. Oh, how I would love to have those chairs at my dining room table! Later that day our B&B host said that she was so intrigued by my website that she invited her priest to come meet me. Now, being Irish but not Catholic, I felt a rush of fear. The priest is coming for me!!!

That evening I was introduced to Father Ian, a congenial fellow in his early 40s. He was a bit guarded in sharing. I thought talking about the church with the spirals would be a safe conversation. I told him that I thought it bold to have a pagan symbol throughout a Catholic church. He said it is not a pagan symbol, it is the Sligo Cross. (I had to laugh—a county in Ireland has claimed a 5,000-year old stone carving as their cross.)

I went on to say that I see the triple spiral as a more contemporary trinity, more fluid, freeing me from the traditional linear and patriarchal Christian cross. Father Ian, with hands clasped behind his back, leaned into me and added, “The Christian trinity is fluid as well.” I agreed, and then suddenly spurted out that seeing Jesus bloody and dying on the cross frightened me as a child. He was up there because of me. It was my fault because I am a sinner. And now I’m supposed to offer my prayers to him?!

After a pause, somewhat startled by my own passion, to Father Ian I calmly said, “The cross has not been comforting to me, but the triple spiral has.” I went on to say that, for me, a contemporary version of the trinity is Heavenly Father, Earthly Mother, Beloved I Am. It’s how I find my place within Christianity. I affirm this in prayer every morning. It brings me a measure of comfort that I previously did not experience with the traditional trinity and cross.

I was impressed to learn that there were three churches in Father Ian’s tiny village—his Catholic church, an Anglican (protestant) church, and the third a mainstream Christian church. Add to the mix that this priest had replaced a pedophile priest in this small parish. Father Ian had called together meetings and shared worship services with the three religious communities, with great joy and success. He urged me to let him know when my next tour group comes to his area, as he would like to host a special interfaith mass with us. Perhaps the triple spiral really is the Sligo cross!

A few years after meeting Father Ian, I took him up on his offer to bring my Anam Cara Tour group to his parish and share in worship with the three local churches. I was surprised to hear from the owner of the B&B that Father Ian had, sadly so, left the church. Seems he met a woman and they had married. I like to think that the triple spiral dialogue had something to do with that.

The blueprint for the Anam Cara Journey 9-month program for women is the Triple Spiral. Think of it as the archetypal yellow brick road, delivering you to your own personal Oz. There you find out that, like Dorothy and her friends, you had along the power within. There’s still time to register for the next circle, beginning Sept. 8th, mentored by Rev. Kathleen. All details are on under Mentoring. Be sure to scroll down and discover Rev. Beth Astarte’s next Anam Cara Journey for women exploring sacred sensuality and sexuality.

Causeway

August 9, 2018

“If you’re stuck in the past, you go forward in reverse” 
― Josh Stern, author

 

One of my teachers in Ireland often speaks of the “causeway.” Perplexed, and with a tour group in tow, I asked what he meant.

In times gone by, the approach from the road to a bridge was often land that was marshy and muddy. This is in sharp contrast to modern roads and bridges, which usually deliver us from dry pavement directly to the bridge and beyond.

The old causeways must have been difficult to negotiate. Picture yourself on a definite path, with a bridge ahead in clear focus. You know you will cross that bridge and travel on to your destination, but first you must figure out how to move through the mud.

It is my belief that many spiritual seekers get caught in the causeway. Whether the source is ancestral beliefs, dysfunctional family patterns, or society’s idea of who and what we should be, it’s easy to get stuck. The causeway can throw us off balance, sometimes forcing us to retreat back to safe ground, sometimes paralyzing us. With a clear picture that the bridge ahead will deliver us to our spiritual destinations, what will it take for you to move through the causeway?

One time, in a dream, I found myself trying to get from dry land to a house filled with friends from my earlier days in community theatre. The mud was wet and thick, and the area it covered would require a bit of planning. I was not wearing proper shoes for such an endeavor. Suddenly, one of my actor friends came out of the house and beckoned me over. I shouted, “I’m stuck in the mud!” He told me to move through it quickly, as that would be easier. I started to follow his advice only to get sucked in deeper. I stopped and looked down. The mud was now up to my knees. My friend called out, “You’d better not stop. It’s not mud you’re stuck in. It’s shit!” With that, I picked up my feet, swiftly disengaged from the stinky poo and landed gracefully on the other side.

Do you see the metaphor? When I’m stuck in the causeway, it’s because it’s a familiar place. I can see the dry land of safety behind me and the bridge of promise before me. Only I can make the decision to return or to move ahead. Remembering the dream, I remember that the poop is not my waste. It’s from somewhere else. I don’t belong there. When we realize that, it’s easy to take that leap of faith and move gracefully towards my destiny. Sometimes with the help of an anam cara, a friend of my soul.

Edges Have Ruffles

July 12, 2018

“If you’re not living on the edge,
you’re taking up too much room.”
~African Proverb

 

Are you, like me, feeling ruffled at the edge of all that’s happening in the United States and around the world? Our borders are invisible edges that some say immigrants have crossed illegally. The cages placed around the displaced immigrant children create sharp edges. The young Thai boys caught in the cave had to negotiate many rough edges in order to be safely rescued.

Many times in my life I have been called to “the edge,” that universal place of great discomfort that hovers between what was and what is becoming. That place where we are symbolically “living in the leap.” We have let go of one trapeze, made the turn in the air, and yet not quite grasping hold of the second trapeze. Do we want to go there? Probably not. Do we have to go there? Yes, if we are to live a fully actualized life of purpose.

One of the world’s most brilliant edges is at Dun Aonghusa, a 3,500-year old promontory ringed fort on the west side of Inis Mor off the west coast of Ireland. After the half-mile hike up to Dun Aonghusa, pilgrims are beckoned to cross through two stone walls. The inner most wall reveals a stone platform, with a 320 foot sheer drop off the edge into the Atlantic Ocean. I have been blessed by visiting this edge on three occasions, each time having a different experience.

In May of 2000 I traveled to Ireland for a month-long solo pilgrimage of the soul. Recovering from a broken ankle, it took me a while to negotiate the rocky path up to Dun Aonghusa. Upon arrival at the inner stone wall, I was met by blazing sun and strong winds. Much too unstable to approach the edge, I stood at a distance watching others perform an ancient ritual. Locals say you must crawl on your belly to approach the edge. This is for safety, and for respect of the spirits of the land. More than one cocky tourist has been swept over the edge, only to meet an untimely and visibly traumatic death. I should also note that this has been the site of more than one suicide. Not wanting to play in either of those realms, I stood safely back and just watched. This was a wise decision, yet also showed me how in many ways I have risked my own adventure by just watching others—vicariously living through others rather than living my own destiny.

My second visit to Dun Aonghusa was in May 2002 while guiding my first sacred site tour to Ireland. With 22 pilgrims following my lead, and with healthy bones this time, I enacted the ancient ritual. It was again sunny, only this time there was no breeze. It was amazingly calm, which helped steady my nerves. A bit shaky, I knelt down, crawled on my hands and knees, and took myself to the literal edge. How exhilarated I felt by looking down the steep drop-off! The water below was churning spirals of green and blue. The puffins were dancing on the air, the sun blessing us all. I even performed a yoga posture—the Cobra—right at the very edge. By first going to the edge myself, I welcomed others to join me. Some could, some could not. This time I learned that each time I take a risk, it not only and empowers me, it empowers others.

May 2006 found me once again on retreat on Inis Mor, and once again I was blessed by sunshine. My walk up to Dun Aonghusa was a brisk one this time, totally trusting where the path would lead. The third visit gave me confidence in the familiar. It was interesting to note that, although the breeze was mild, not one of perhaps 50 tourists was at the edge. I gauged whether this was for a proper reason and decided perhaps they just needed permission. About 20 feet from the edge, I once again dropped to my knees. Saying a silent prayer, I crawled on my hands and knees to the same edge I had visited twice before—the first time as a by-stander, the second time as a hesitant participant. Looking down this time felt like a welcoming home.

Later that morning, relaxing in the soft sun and warm breeze, I opened my journal to begin writing. I was stunned to read a dream from the night before:

Dream, night of 5-11-06

I’m in the driver’s seat of a car high up in a parking garage. There are no barriers around the edges of each level. I am slowly moving forward towards an edge, and cannot figure out how to stop the car. It is on a forward moving path with no option to turn. I frantically try to find reverse, while the car continues to roll towards the edge. I feel panic knowing I will go over the edge and die if I don’t find reverse. At the very last moment, with the car perched precariously on the edge, I find reverse and the car stops. I wake up not knowing if I stopped in time.

Even recalling the dream brings about a sense of dread. But, in truth, it is excitement I feel. I have the knowing and the know-how, and now the confidence to bring the two together. That’s what I wrote 12 years ago.

So here I sit today, at the edge of the New Moon and Eclipse, reflecting on the edge I visited in Ireland many years ago. What does it mean to me today with the many rough edges swirling around me? Am I just going to stand back and watch others come to the edge? Will I remember to pray and take action that is, first, a safe step, and, second, necessary in order to facilitate change? What will I see if I muster up the courage to come to the edge of all that is happening in the world? If I come to the edge, will the feeling of being ruffled go away?

“Listen to the wind,” an inner voice sings to me. “The winds of change are at hand. Let nothing ruffle you. We are ready. Come to the edge and you will see.”

John Denver, “Windsong”

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=youtube+john+denver+the+wind+is+a+goddess#id=1&vid=23379bbdb4aaa05b31888ed716b90d17&action=click