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Featured Poem

February 27, 2024

From Worry to Presence

Have you ever woken up in the early, early morning hours, thinking, in your head, subsumed by something bothering you?

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Poetry

February 13, 2024

My Daughter, My Teacher

Four Sundays ago, I came to my office early, before my family was awake.  Seeing my desk cluttered with papers, I passed right by the meditation corner where, every morning, I meditate, write poetry, or frequently read Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening before tackling anything. I saw all the papers on the desk just begging to be sorted into notes that, if touched one by one and placed on a calendar, or a list, or committed to, would provide me with clear openings for action for my life.  Since having gone to Indonesia for the month of November and having…

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January 30, 2024

The Perfect Storm

Sometimes we get what we want, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, I like to look at it like this: no matter what life serves us, it is always what we need. Eckart Tolle, one of my favorite teachers/authors, puts it like this: “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.  How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” When last week started, I had many plans. I had a humongous list of what was to be done and to be…

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January 16, 2024

From Resolutions to Creating

While many people are talking about making New Year’s resolutions these days, I want to want to approach that conversation from a deeper perspective. While I don’t know about you, for me this is a time to stop, and to re‑imagine and then design my life, and all the possibilities in it, and the possibilities I don’t as yet see, in behalf of co‑creating with the world, a vibrant, totally extraordinary, meaningful, awake, inspiring, and enlivening future. I want to call this moment “a time for creation,” a time for cultivating what the Zen folks call “beginner’s mind,” as the…

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January 3, 2024

The Guru Speaks

Dearest You, Greetings to you, and many blessings to you, as we complete 2023 and enter 2024. As we begin to look to our new year, intending to create a great and passionate life, we often look to goal setting, affirmations, or planning to find our way. Many of us have tried that and are wondering if there is a better way. While it’s counterintuitive, I have found there IS a better way. In 1974, in a conversation I had with Swami Muktananda, a Great Teacher of other Teachers, known as a Sadhguru, from India, it was like I “got…

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January 2, 2024

Thank You

As we open the new page, create completion, which makes room for new beginnings for 2024, I take a moment to THANK YOU for opening your ears and being an open receiver of my words these last few years. As my intention and commitment is to serve, to awaken consciousness, to be a clear channel, and to make the biggest difference I can make through whatever venue I work inside of, I THANK YOU for your engagement.  Your openness, your setting aside time to think upon what I have said, and your Presence mean so much to me. I thank…

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December 19, 2023

Come Travel with Me

There is inner travel and outer travel. While most of these postings have concerned themselves with inner travel, this is different. I have always held (outer) travel as a unique opportunity – for discovery, exploration, and for learning. Learning the ways, the nature of, the thinking, and the behaviors of people who think differently than I do, who have different norms, and who have been brought up in a different culture. When I travel, I am beyond curious: I intentionally cultivate a commitment to wonder. The amazing, extraordinary trip my husband and I just completed during the month of November…

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November 28, 2023

Listening for your Wisdom Speaking

I am going to say something which your mind might argue with, and yet in the over forty years I have been working with people, I have never found this NOT to be the case. YOU are profoundly wise.  The key is to tap into that wisdom. It lies beneath the surface. And you have to get silent enough to connect and hear your own Wisdom Speaking.  A friend of mine, Cheryl Lafferty Eckl, a dear and inspiriting friend, an author whom I met on “Turas D’Anam,” or “Journey of the Soul” in Ireland, wrote a book called Being Your…

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November 13, 2023

Creating Endings, Starting new Beginnings

Given today’s turbulent external climate, being centered, present, and leading ourselves and others from our center, from our Source, our light, is so very critical. As we brighten our own light, we brighten others’. So being awake, being aware, being honest, and being real as we accept our current experience and ground ourselves underneath the confusion that lives on the surface of everyday life is critical. Today, in behalf of opening space for you to do some direct inner work, if you’d like to, I’d like to share with you the first three paragraphs of the introduction of my book,…

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October 31, 2023

To continue the Shifting Sands Story of October 18

The camels moved slowly across the Saharan desert.  There, it was easy to be one with the camel, the sand, the sky, and the easy lope. It was quiet.  Below the quiet was a kind of Silence where time did not exist.  Just me and the camel, and the camel in the line in front of me, as we crossed the sands. The world is very noisy right now. Turbulent, chaotic, where the stormy seas send waves like tsunamis across our lives. In a recent workshop I took with poet Mark Nepo, he said, “While we may feel powerless to…

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October 17, 2023

From Shifting Sands to Celebrating Life

From Shifting Sands to Celebrating Life  Last Spring, my husband and I rode on a camel to watch the sun set on the Saharan desert near the Morocco/Algerian border. Getting on and off the camel was an experience I will never forget. It was kind of like riding a bucking horse. You had to hang on to the metal bars, not to fall off, bars which are on the “saddle” of the camel.  When we arrived at our destination, far into the desert, our guides asked us to get off the camel and climb to the top of the sand…

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October 10, 2023

Grizzlies, and Nature and Aurora, Oh My!

It has been time for rest. For the deep Sabbath that comes from leaving one world and entering another. I’ve been working nonstop for many moons. While I love my work, I’m passionate about my work, and I am blessed and privileged to be present to the transformation of lives that come from people deeply engaging in my work, it was time for rest. The need for it, the necessity of it, was rolling over me like a tsunami. And rest I took. Eight months ago, Don and I booked a trip to The Yukon, where, last week, we stayed…

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September 26, 2023

Trusting Life

I have been thinking about trust of late. I have recently been confused with all the possibilities bounding toward me each day, and I have come to discover myself somewhat overwhelmed by them all, difficult to decipher what to act upon through the strategic mind. Being committed to living with inner peace, I started thinking about trust, as I remember that trust is the source of peace and that without trust, there is no peace. That knowledge living in my memory is nothing. That knowledge lived, inhabited, is everything. So, I have been thinking about trust. Brother David Steindl‑Rast calls…

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September 12, 2023

When the Ceiling Falls

“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when  we allow the unexpected to happen.” PAULO COELHO Last week, the ceiling fell in my lower family room, where I house all my books, papers, and quite a bit of work. Really. This really happened. Like a rip in the fabric of the force. A steady drip, drip, drip, from the kitchen above had been falling on the sheetrock for who knows how long, and finally, it all came crashing down. We had been out to eat the night before and did not hear the sound. All my Crossing Thresholds…

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August 29, 2023

Stopping

“We need to move at the speed of guidance.” Michael Lerner, Commonweal Founder Recently, I found myself in a condition of being confused, unclear, and stressed.  Being committed to expanding my reach and making a larger contribution, many possibilities, and opportunities had started to come my way. I wanted to choose them all!   In addition, I was moving through a passage of high stress, with many significant changes and passages my own clients were moving through, and I needed to find my own way, and my own relationship to the changes. I had a navigation issue on my hands.…

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August 15, 2023

What to do with our fears?

– Photo by Mariel Gale I’ve noticed many people have a lot of fear these days. Only, we actually don’t “HAVE” our fears, we ARE our fears. And the two are very distinct. Being our fears, we live in a world of threat. The world we live in is one of survival, disconnection, protection, and separation. Having our fears, we are “right‑sizing” them, as author Mark Nepo says. When you put salt in a glass and drink from the glass, he says, the water tastes very bitter. When you put that exact same amount of salt in a lake, and…

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August 1, 2023

Listening for the Miraculous

The Buddha taught: “If you know as I know the benefit of generosity, you would not let an opportunity go by without sharing.” And, so, I share with you a very personal story. Last night, as Don and I were exiting the lobby of the hotel from a beautiful, energy filled, heart filled, body filled, evening with Danny Vernon, a great and humble channeler of the energy and “beingness” and voice of Elvis Presley, a most unusual event occurred. I was “gob smacked” by a man sitting in a chair outside the lobby, next to the walkway where everyone was…

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July 18, 2023

Paper Birch Peels

In July, in Isle Royale National Park this year, my husband and I took a hike along one of Isle Royale’s uneven trails, and found ourselves walking a path through a forest of Birch. The Birch’s trunk was peeling, like paper. In fact, this kind of tree is called, “Paper Birch.” I asked my husband about this natural process. He said, “As the Birch grows, the diameter of the trunk expands slowly.  The old bark peels off to make room for the new bark to grow underneath.” I was astounded, as his speaking became a metaphor, reminding me of me,…

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July 3, 2023

Invitations for Traveling with Me

Here, at Isle Royale National Park, in Lake Superior, the largest island in the largest lake of the US, I let my eyes rest upon, and, join my energy with, the tall pine tree across the harbor, strong, stalwart, true. I am happy to greet you now, having just returned from an astonishing six‑week adventure to three entirely distinct places, histories, cultures – Morocco, with its golden Saharan desert, wandering labyrinthian alleyways, souks in medinas (old part of town) kasbahs, delicate crafts, mosques, mellahs (Jewish sections of towns), interesting, spicy food and welcoming, inclusive people. Yes, we rode on a…

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June 20, 2023

Love at First Sight

“Gratitude makes optimism sustainable.”                                              –Michael J. Fox “Love at first sight” has been an old cliché I have lived with through my many years on the planet, yet, when I think about it, if I can transport myself there, to first sight, I bring myself to love, the love that is fully available, waiting for me, just on the other side of letting go of everything that I already know. I’ve noticed, though that we human beings generally…

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June 6, 2023

What is Beginner’s Mind?

Beginner’s Mind…. An entrance into the Extraordinary. What is it? “How do I access that?” you might ask. This was the case in our last public Heart of Leadership, where Amanda, a vibrant and committed participant, was leaning into that question. An important question. An extraordinary question. A question which, if you were not on board for a breakthrough in your life, you would never be asking. Beginner’s Mind. The Mind that is Present, in Presence, with Nothing Going On. No analyzing, no judging, no trying to understand, no figuring it out, no comparing what is being said to what…

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May 23, 2023

Being a Clearing for the Unexpected

This Spring, one epoch of my life seems to be ending, another beginning. That passage seems resonant with these times. But how do I listen for the new beginnings that are coming my way? I like to think of people as “clearings.” I know, I know, a strange word. What does that mean? A clearing is a space for the existence of something. For example, while air is not a clearing for the purpose of a pen, paper is. “What am I a clearing for?” is a question I often ask myself. Some people are a clearing for disempowered people…

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May 9, 2023

Time and the Art of Living

While “Time and the Art of Living” is the title of a book by Robert Grudin, it is a beautiful distinction, this idea of exploring our relationship to time, and no time, otherwise known as Being Present. In these days of moving so quickly through life, in this rapid – fire paced world of ours, we often, simply, forget to take the time to STOP, LOOK, (observe, from Presence), and Listen (to what all of nature, others, and life are saying to us). This listening also includes what we are saying to ourselves, for when we take a deep dive…

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April 25, 2023

Integrity

It was before the course began, on Day Five, of our last, public, Heart of Leadership . Day Five, the last day of the course, is a deep dive within which the participants explore the art of resolving breakdowns well, and even creating breakthroughs from breakdowns; an art and science ever present as a needed arrow in your quiver if you are a leader, or if you are interested in leading a life well lived.  Breakdowns, or sudden obstacles that seem to bar the way, are ever present in our lives, in recurring shapes and forms. Better get down to…

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April 11, 2023

What is Transformation?

– Photo taken by Mariel Gale What is transformation? While the dictionary defines it as a “dramatic change in form or appearance” or “an extreme, radical change,” I think of it as a shift… from one way of being to another It is the shift the moth makes when it cocoons itself and emerges as a butterfly. It is the shift the tadpole makes when it evolves itself into a frog The above is a photo of my daughter’s vivarium, where she spends some delightful time each day, appreciating her plants and being with her frogs within their nature‑based environment…

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March 28, 2023

Worry

The Life of Worry is very distinct from the Life of Living. When we worry, we find ourselves caught up, in our head.  The rat’s treadwheel of worry is never ending, and a loop unto itself.  Worry begets worry.  Soon we are so scrunched up inside we are hardly able to move. Living on the other hand, is wondrous.  When we enter the living stream of life, we find ourselves connected, belonging, at one with other creatures, both animal and human alike, able to gaze at the heavens, and say “Hallelujah, I am alive!” So: how to move from one…

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March 14, 2023

Who Shall I Be?

In a world in which so many paths are possible, the question, “What shall I do?” often takes a forefront in our lives.  Before that, is the question, “What determines what I do?” Here is what I have found: I participate in that which brings meaning to my life, which brings joy, which makes me come alive. I eliminate that which, over time, darkens my heart. I engage in what uplifts, allowing my spirit to soar. I may not always be happy. Happy or unhappy are passing waves. What gives my life depth are relationships that are uplifting. I have…

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February 28, 2023

Words Shape Worlds

What’s in a word? Everything!  The whole world! As I listen attentively, wholeheartedly exploring this new world of ours, letting go of my expectations and attachments along the way, my thoughts of how things “should be,” I cultivate resilience, as I discover, discern, and deepen my walking the path of “what brings me alive.” Many of the distinctions and themes I have been “leaning into” over these years return to me and resonate with me, calling to me to be explored even more deeply: unconditional commitment, enthusiasm, wholeheartedness, generous listening, compassion, patience, simplicity, faith, integrity, courage. A few days ago,…

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February 14, 2023

May New Melodies Break Forth from your Heart

“When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart, and where old tracks are lost, a new world is revealed with its wonders.” ––Rabindranath Tagore Bengali poet/philosopher Tagore opens us up to some brilliant questions: What old words is it time to let die out on the tongue? What new melodies are ready to break forth from the heart? What old tracks is it time to lose? What wonders are the new world revealing to me?  As I, sometimes cautiously, sometimes boldly, move out of my self ‑imposed 3 year exile from traveling, and…

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January 31, 2023

Where are you located?

When seeing a strange photograph like the one above, you might, perhaps, think I am asking you about the geographical location.  I am, however, not. I am, instead, asking you a question around where you are located when you are with anther human being. .…At first glance, this may occur to you as a peculiar question, for sure, but one, when responded to with “over there, with them,” makes all the difference in the essential quality of the conversation. When you are truly “over there, with them,” what can open up is a profound quality of connection, and the person…

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January 17, 2023

Making a New Beginning

“The time is always right to do what is right.”          – Martin Luther King This is a time of new beginnings, for my life, for our lives, for the world. In the last few years, we have been navigating our way through the challenging space of constraints, cocooning ourselves in our home, finding new ways for living a life worth living. In the midst of the trauma of such a sudden change, the separation of ourselves from a world that had a certain momentum, we find ourselves at the brink of questions that want to be…

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January 3, 2023

Listening for Wonderment

With deep love for all – that – is, and a profound respect for the earth and the land, and with honor for you, and a profound sense of the privilege of my life, the opportunity to serve That which is greater than myself, I welcome you, and welcome us all, into our next year. Somehow, I am sensing my own approach to this year would be well served by creating a commitment to “Living in Wonderment.” The action dimension of that is “Listening for Wonderment.”  That is active; that is creative. Listening for Wonderment magnetizes a certain horizon, borne…

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December 20, 2022

In Simple Gratitude

With gratitude, I begin this posting with a deep “Thank you.” Thank you for your listening, your receptivity to whatever these postings, over the last three years, have brought to you. I have delighted in hearing from those of you who have written, to express your inspiration, or your appreciation, or your companionship with me, as we pilgrim together in our journeys. Just before the Winter Solstice, the dark beckons.  It is that time of year. I find it is both time to stop, to retreat within, and do some inner work…the work of releasing the residual tensions, and incompletions…

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December 6, 2022

Hidden Disturbances

Ganesh, the Master, incense rising from his crown chakra, brings me the Teachings from hardships.‑Amba Gale, November 28. 2023 One of the most powerful deities in the pantheon of Hindu deities is Ganesh. Ganesh is the bringer, and remover, of obstacles. The Hindus tell us that our job, as humans, is to move through the teachings that obstacles bring, on behalf of strengthening our muscles for living life wakefully. When confronted with an obstacle in our path, what do we do? What do you do? I’ve noticed, myself, that I often attempt to positive think it away, avoid it, deny…

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November 21, 2022

What is it not time for?

In a recent posting, I invited us to entertain what it’s time for. In this one, I am asking a new question: what is it not time for? Which begs the question, as well, what is time for? What it’s not time for is avoiding, hardening our hearts to, the sadness, the woundedness, the broken heartedness, the grief. What it’s not time for, is to retreat into resignation, to not be willing to experience the joy, as well,  to insist in living in my old story…. being on automatic, following, with no awareness,  my old habitual patterns, living out of…

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November 7, 2022

Inhabiting the Life of Your Gift

I am deeply feeling that we are, that I am, at the end of a particular cycle, a particular iteration, a particular passage, in my own life. And that it is time to move on. Covid, along with the many passages I have taken within Covid, has re‑shaped me. I am feeling the necessity of a retreat – a time to go into a kind of silence where we can meet the original part of ourselves, in this new beginning, new cycle of existence. This is an invitation to go into the quiet, and below that, into the Silence, to…

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October 25, 2022

What’s it time for now?

As I listen into the question, “What’s it time for now?” I can hear the universe calling: This is a time for New Beginnings. It is a time for re‑examining our lives, for leaving behind those previous identities and conversations that were right in one life’s iteration and not right in the next. In the summer 2019, I did just that. I journeyed to Isle Royale, National Park, in Lake Superior. That was the outer journey. The inner journey was one of crossing a threshold that was a challenging and dangerous crossing for me. Why dangerous? Dangerous, because if I…

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October 11, 2022

Forgiveness Sets us Free

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.–Heraclites I’ve been realizing… We think we live as a continuity, but we do not. Who we were yesterday may not BE the same person at all as who we are today. Conversations can cause a transformation. You can enter a conversation as one person and come out as a different person. Having just completed the first three days of leading The Heart of Leadership, for the leadership of Mary Bridge Children’s, an extraordinary healthcare system in this Great Northwest,…

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September 26, 2022

Let the Path Come to You

‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’–Howard Thurman I love this quote, by Howard Thurman. I love it so much, I created an entire course out of it, a course called “The Joy of Being, Designing your Life.” The phrase, “The joy of being,” is a phrase that jumped out to me, right into my heart, as I read “The Good Earth” by Eckart Tolle, another wonderful master whose good work has served me so well, in behalf of living in…

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September 12, 2022

Certainty in a Sea of Chaos

While the world wages wars and argumentativeness will, apparently, not cease, there is always this: The enduring truth of the poetic imagination. There, you are not lost.          —Amba Gale In a world that announces chaos, violence, and unpredictable events at every turn, we are not immune from being deeply affected, personally. The teachings of these times, often laden with grief, with loss, with heart brokenness, also lead us into new insights, new revelations, new resiliences. And, they lead us sometimes, to a necessity to face our own reluctance to let go of all we already know, including all of our plans.…

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August 30, 2022

Living in Waiting

Do you have the patience to waitUntil the dust settles and the water is clear?— Lao Tzu, Tao Ching The water is not yet clear.The dust has not yet settled. The changes are happening so rapidly, we must meet them with an open heart, with curiosity, and with a generous mind, a mind that lives beyond the borders of right and wrong, a mind that is willing to postpone all judgment, all expectations. Only here can I find peace, and a waiting that presages new futures founded in what “wants to happen.” As difficult as it might be, this is…

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August 16, 2022

Embracing the Changes

While we are living in a world which is constantly changing, we are also wired for resisting change. Our relationships are changing, our ways of communicating with one another are changing, the kind of opportunities we have for educating, or developing ourselves are changing, ways of doing business are changing, people around us are changing, and our life circumstances are changing. Sometimes, these changes take the form of loss: a loved one is leaving us, a cherished job is disappearing, it’s time to move out of a home we have been living in, or work in a different way, either…

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August 2, 2022

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy.” —Teddy Roosevelt “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy Roosevelt said that. A remarkable quote. This is my personal story about that, a story that took place during the first year of Covid, 2020. In March of this year, 2022, I had the privilege of leading my foundational program, a course called The Heart of Leadership, twice – one for a client company, and one for the public. It was the first time I led, live, in a public setting, since 2019, as I stopped making this conversation available during Covid, not able to…

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July 19, 2022

Flowing with the Stream

“How can I be still? By flowing with the stream.” Lao Tzu said that, in his Book of Wisdom, The Tao Te ching, otherwise known as “The Way,” a  philosopher poet/wise man of immense wisdom, in the 6th century. What an absolutely amazing realization. The streams and rivers do keep flowing, just like life. It is only our resistance to that flow, to what life offers us, presents us with, that incurs our agitation. “What is it that I am currently resisting?” is always a good question. What if we could be still, just surrender, just accept, just receive everything that…

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July 6, 2022

You are Not Lost

Think upon this: you are not lost. It may feel that way, at times, with the circumstances of the world swirling about us, as they are, and impinging upon our consciousness, as they do. However, consider this: You are not lost. You have only to touch the rare moment of Eternity, of Rest, of no time in time to know That Who You Are is beyond your small sense of yourself, your small sense of the world, and your small sense of being in this particular place at this particular time, in this particular world. You, however are Awareness waiting…

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June 28, 2022

Debbie’s Story

I am creating a special edition of my blog posting this week, as I have had the privilege of being in a particular conversation that I’d say is vitally important at this time, a time of shifting sands, beneath our feet, a time of importance for intentionally crossing thresholds. This posting points to a potent distinction that allows such a threshold crossing. The painting, above, was created by Debbie Hulbert, a participant in our fall 2020 virtual offering of Crossing Thresholds, a course that was based on my newly published book, designed to facilitate participants in crossing their next threshold.…

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June 20, 2022

Phoenix Ascends

Every five hundred to one thousand years, it is said, the Phoenix, a beautiful, scarlet and gold, giant, mythical bird, rises from the ashes of its own death. There is, the myth says, only one Phoenix on the planet at any one time. It sets itself on fire, inside of a nest of boughs an spices, and is consumed by the flames. Out of its own ashes, it arises, born newly. The regeneration of itself contains the ashes of its predecessor as an aspect of its next being. What a metaphor! This is such a time, for such an Awakening.…

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June 7, 2022

Living with an Open Heart

The Buddhists ask the question, “How do you keep your heart open in hell?” It is a worthwhile question, a relevant question, in all times, and perhaps, particularly, in these chaotic and anxiety – producing times, in this time of war, and despair, and senselessness violence and children dying. And underneath it all, is pain, anguish, brokenness. The importance, nay, the criticality, of living with an open heart, confronts us on a daily basis, for if we close our hearts, we die. “The brittle heart is easy to break,” my poem, “Heartbreak,” says, in my book, Crossing Thresholds. That message…

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May 23, 2022

Trust

Without trust, there is no peace. I have been thinking a lot about trust of late, trust in the universe; trust in the Tao, trust in the journey, trust that we belong to one another, that we are interconnected, as deeply as the roots of the aspen grove are connected to one another underneath the soil. Brother David Steindl‑Rast, Benedictine monk and one of the great spiritual teachers of our time call Faith, which is very resonant with Trust, “the bliss of certainty.” That phrase stays with me, begging to be examined, as we know that the only certainty there…

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May 6, 2022

Listen to the Song of Nature

February 9 is the “echoing” day of my birth. My husband and I gifted me with a journey to Muir’s Valley, Yosemite, now a Valley belonging to us all, where nature graces us with her beauty, her power, her wonder, her awesome, and the heart can sing with the rivers and the streams. Today, instead of some prose, may I offer you a few Blessings, and the gifts of pleasure, enjoyment, and heart‑song as you listen to my husband Don’s original Bluegrass song, Shadowline. Accompanied by our video, I invite you to delight with us in the shadows cast by…

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April 26, 2022

New Beginnings

This is a time for new beginnings. Each morning, I give myself a new beginning, consciously, intentionally, gratefully. In his book, Consolations, David Whyte says, “Beginning well involves a clearing away of the crass, the irrelevant, and the complicated to find the beautiful, often hidden lineament of the essential and the necessary.” I “begin well” by gifting myself each day with a morning practice, a practice where, in my chair, in my “poetry corner,” I create ways of settling into silence. Here, I find peace within, and the gift of experiencing life as a blessing. Poetic words, as well, start…

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April 11, 2022

Perspective Creates The World We Live In

This last week, in our first three days of our Heart of Leadership, one of the participants was a man whose purpose in life, whose orientation, whose commitment in life, is to hold a space for all different points of view to be heard, gotten, and appreciated. That reminded me of a cartoon I once saw, with two people on each side of the number 6, or 9, depending upon the point of view. The man who is standing on the side of the number that looks like “9” says to the person looking at the 6, “Nine.” The other…

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March 29, 2022

A Time for Healing

Coming out from behind our masks, what do we find? People.  People loving, people hurting, people having turned away from any light, people grieving, people hiding, people willing to come out of hiding, to be seen again. People longing to be held, to be touched, to be loved. The last two years of Covid have affected us, perhaps in more ways than we even know, unless we look, and listen, deeply. During this month, I enjoyed the extraordinary privilege of leading my foundational program, The Heart of Leadership, for one of my dearest clients.  In that five‑day program, we entered…

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March 15, 2022

The Firefall

When I was a child, each year my parents took me to Yosemite Valley. There, breathing in and breathing out the pure air, experiencing the awestruck wonder of a starlit sky, the great granite domes, spires, and cliffs rising sheer, straight up from the valley, I touched Peace. Every time. Our connection with nature gives us that gift, reliably, sustainably, deeply. John Muir called it “The University of the Wilderness.” Each year in Yosemite, a natural event occurs in the month of February. A small waterfall, depending upon the snowfall that year, falls from the east side of El Capitan,…

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March 1, 2022

During These Days…

During these days, I constantly ask myself, “What can I do?” “What can we do?” We can recognize the unity that is occurring throughout most of the world. We can spend some time each day, extending our hearts to the people whose lives have been displaced. We can learn from our fellow global friends to extend our hands. I was recently speaking with a most empowering man on the phone who was supporting my husband and me to procure tickets for an international trip we are taking later this year. We asked him where he was located. He said, “Moldova.”…

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February 16, 2022

What did Abe Lincoln know?

In a dangerous world, where violence and strife prevail outside, where the lines of war are being drawn as I write, how do we live? How do we live peacefully? How do we live, emanating love for our planetary companions? How do we carry the energy of peace with us as we walk through our days? How do we live free from fear while the news each day bombards us with messages of coming destruction? How do we not exhaust ourselves with our own busy‑ness and allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with the plethora of advice coming our way? These…

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February 1, 2022

Writing Changes Everything

In a time when the “world is too much with us,” to quote Wordsworth, it can be difficult, sometimes, to move from a conversation inside my own head, which I sometimes wake up into, in the morning, a conversation filled with frustrations, worries, and fears, into a space of serenity, equanimity, centeredness. I have a practice, each and every day, which I love to engage. I write. Before I write, however, I stop, pause, make, stir, and then drink my soothing tea. I watch the tea settle into my stomach. I observe myself inhaling, and exhaling, observing my breath, maybe…

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January 18, 2022

The Gift of Alert Awareness

We are all human. Very human. And we are all imperfect, very imperfect. In fact, perfectly imperfect. Our very humanity, our very imperfections, our very wounds and vulnerabilities, flailings and failings, crashing on the rocks, and recovering our well – being, thriving through the storm – all are the Great Learnings of our Lifetime. Living through this pandemic consciously, and all that is being wrought, brings us to great trials, Great Sleep‑fulness, Great Wake‑fulness. If you have been reading Blog postings for a while, or worked with me, you know how serious I am, how committed I am, what a…

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January 4, 2022

Trust In The Way Things Are

Have trust in the way things are and are not.  Love the world, and others, and yourself. Then, you can live in peace. By Amba Gale Perhaps I would not say “Happy New Year to you” this year so much. For that phrase, always said at the beginning of the next year, becomes a cliché, and without any created intention, and thoughtful blessings behind it, means nothing. Clichés have a way of putting us to sleep. Not only that, if you are like me, thinking it, or speaking it brings up the mind at this time. And, according to the…

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December 21, 2021

Cultivating Self Compassion

Full Moon, emerge! Come out of hiding. Teach me how to love. By Amba and Don Gale In my last posting, December 8, I invited you to reach out to someone in your past, perhaps even someone who has passed, and write to them the words inside your heart that you have never said to them. I also gave you the gift of listening to a song my husband wrote to his Mother, from his new album of original songs, Looking Back, Looking In, a deeply introspective body of songs. Here’s the song again, Momma. in the case you missed the last…

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December 3, 2021

Looking Back, Looking In

As the end of this year comes upon us, for many of us it is time to stop, to pause, to reflect, to look at our lives, and to be with those we love and have loved. Covid, if we have listened in a certain way, has given us many Teaching lessons – gifts of discovering patience, living graciously with uncertainty, dancing with the unfolding of the world, experiencing the beauties of nature as a healing balm, experiencing grief, and loss, finding ways to live with our fears and worries in a way that they can be included, and perhaps,…

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November 24, 2021

The Blessing of Being Grateful

Tomorrow gives us an “official” day for giving thanks… …for giving thanks for all the aspects and dimensions of our lives for which we are grateful. In her book, Wake Up Grateful, based in Brother David Steindl‑Rast’s teachings, Kristi Nelson suggests we bring gratefulness or “great fullness” to our everyday, ordinary, reality. What if we bring gratefulness to being alive, to waking up each morning, to taking our first breath of each day, to our family, to those who have passed, to those of us who are still present? What if we were to BRING our created gratefulness to all the events…

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November 9, 2021

Happy Isles

Being in Yosemite National Park with my parents was one of the first memories that I have. Here, you see a photo of my father, most likely taken the first time my parents took me to Yosemite, at Happy Isles, where the Merced River flows from the High Sierra Mountains on its way to the sea. I was about one year old. All my senses awakened there, in the beauty of nature and that Great Land. I remember that my whole body felt Happy, Awake, Alive. I returned every year. My favorite, favorite place there, amid so much beauty, was…

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October 12, 2021

Ignition

Outside, it is still dark. The coming season of inner and outer darkness calls to us to drop down deep, where the flame of our own inner wisdom is lit and enough to guide our way. It is a time for Listening. To what do I listen> I listen to Mary Oliver singing her life, and my life, into joy, amazement, astonishment each pre – dawn morning as I rise to greet the day. I listen to the objects all around me from my travels, speak to me of lands that I have loved. I listen to the heron fishing…

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September 27, 2021

Patience

“You can’t do good work if you are impatient,” my husband, songwriter and producer of his first CD recording of his original songs, says to me. “You have got to get the patience thing handled,” he says, referring to the pace at which the project is being completed. True, enough. This also applies to me. You could also call this moment, although it may seem somewhat incomprehensible or esoteric, “leaning into surrendering to the unfolding conversation of the universe.” Those are big words and may sound odd. At the same time, if you lean into them, you might get what…

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September 15, 2021

Let the Way Open

Last summer, on a quiet day, a sailboat made its way past the island in front of our cabin. It seemed to glide effortlessly as it caught the wind, its sails billowing. The energy of the universe, and of Grace, moves through us in just that way. However, to tap into it, we need to raise our sails, as well. We also (and this is hard for most of us) must surrender, or let go of needing to control, which need stops us from accessing that flow. Sometimes, it is hard to let go of control. And it is exactly…

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August 31, 2021

Wounded Healer

In David Whyte’s book, Crossing The Unknown Sea, Brother David Steindl‑Rast says to him, “The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” What an amazing thought to ponder. This is a story about wholeheartedness. In the heart of the forest is a wounded tree. This tree is located in the magical, mystical forest of Glenstal Abbey, in County Limerick, Ireland, and we were led there by one of the Benedictine monks, Brother Anthony, who guarded the forest with his love. The tree was a total surprise. My husband and I were journeying with Turas D’Anam, which in Irish, means “Journey of the Soul,” in…

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August 17, 2021

Letting Silence Speak

I have just returned to the mainland from Isle Royale National Park, where, with Practice, you can tune into the Silence. Nature does that for me, if I approach Nature as my Teacher and my guide, with an appropriate reverence, humility, and longing. Though “letting silence speak” may sound like an oxymoron, it is not. And though you may think I can describe what Silence speaking sounds like, I cannot. Not really. Not if you want a direct experience. A direct experience, which is after all what matters, is beyond understanding, and a description is the language of understanding. It…

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August 3, 2021

Sleeping on Isle Royale

As you read this posting, I will be in Isle Royale National Park, where the pristine wilderness – the sounds of the day, and the deep blue silence of the night, can seep into my soul and speak to me, bring me on an inner journey where, like a pilgrim, I find myself anew. Still at home, I am beginning to prepare: to prepare to being open, receptive to the land and the lake and the sky; to prepare myself for the gift of Observation, to being present, to bringing myself into the amazing land of Wonder, where the trees…

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July 20, 2021

Awakening the Muse

We are in what many indigenous people call “liminal space” – a space between rooms, a space of infinite possibility. As we gradually make our way out of the last year and a half of our lives, stepping into, and creating, our new, future, may we do so consciously, intentionally, wisely, lovingly. Let us not think about “returning” or “getting back to normal.” Perhaps, just perhaps, there is no “normal,” and there is no “going back.” Let us stop, and listen, and then move forward, following our intuition to guide our way, shedding what must be shed along the way,…

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July 6, 2021

Come Dance with me Tomorrow!

The other day, I was sitting on the back deck, with my husband, and noticed I was not hearing what he was saying to me. Instead, I was listening to myself talking to myself! The minute I noticed, I shifted gears and started listening, intentionally. I got curious about what he was saying. I listened for discovering something new in what he was saying, and to be surprised by it, contributed to, by it. Sharing together, our conversation took us to a place that neither of us had been before we started conversing. Did you know that the root for…

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June 22, 2021

Being an Opening for Invitations

While we may think we know how life will unfold from here, if we tell ourselves the truth, we have absolutely no idea. I have learned many things during our experience with Covid, one of which is this: we cannot predict the future. While we human beings have an enormous resistance to uncertainty, uncertainty has been our home these last twelve months, and still will be. So, the question becomes: who do we need to be to live in this home, strong, inspired, enlivened? Boris Pasternak said, “Surprise is the great gift which life can grant us.” If we were…

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June 8, 2021

Hiding is Given a Bad Rap

We are so filled with prescriptions for positivity, that sometimes we forget to include, to allow for, to put our arms around, all those parts of ourselves that are hurting, that are lamenting, that are grieving, to be with what has ended, and embrace those parts of our lives, or ourselves, that it is now time to let go. As I say in one of my poems, “Heartbreak,” in my book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections, pain not honored or fully experienced hides in the years, hides in our body/mind, goes underground, and so we live with a brittle heart, not…

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May 25, 2021

Magnificent Magnolia Morning

Each morning, before I go to my office, in my morning practice of drinking tea, and reading poetry, and writing, with an intention to “get out of my head” and “get out of my plans” and move into the natural world “out here,” something new clicks for me. The morning, noticing the bright red rhododendron blossoming near the greening of the leaves, and the waning petals of my magnolia tree, the poem, “Magnificent Magnolia Morning” came my way, opening the territory for me to reflect upon the impermanence of all things. Even though we often avoid it, or deny it,…

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May 11, 2021

Peony Serendipity

Several weeks ago, I was staying in a lodge in Southern Washington where my husband and I would be attending a Creativity Painting session the next day. Never considering myself much of a painter, I thought I would enjoy stretching some new creativity muscles, leaning into the “unknown,” letting go of my own painting critic, who has been with me since grade school, and inviting the Painting Muse in. The night before that painting session, a poem came to me, quite suddenly, and I wrote it down. Peonies were at the center of that poem. I could not recall what…

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April 27, 2021

Blessing for the Blossoming

A blessing is a special speaking, and a special listening, or, as John O’Donohue says, in To Bless the Space between Us, “a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart, cries out to its divine ground.” Today’s poem, Blessing for the Blossoming, comes right out of my own, current journey. We have a magnolia tree in our yard, which is springing into spring!!! Like the magnolia tree, I sense a gradual awakening in my own heart, my own spirit, and I ask for that, as well. Like a pilgrim, each morning, I walk the uneven path…

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April 13, 2021

Tapping into Your Creativity

Most recently, one of the Great Lessons I am being taught, during this Covid Crisis, is to stay true to the Creative Voice that is my own. To do that, I need to set aside my critic, and listen, deeply, to my own wisdom, my own intuition, my own deep heart knowledge, that speaks to me when I go deep into my own, inner Silence, the Silence that awaits me when I let go of identifying with my thinking mind. The mind is so loud, with its positions, opinions, judgments, beliefs, need to be right, need to make others wrong,…

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March 30, 2021

The Power of Words

Normally, we think of language as a place to describe, report on, analyze, instruct, prescribe, conceptualize. Our words refer to something that “IS” – out there. And we are just reporting on it. Theologian Abraham Heschel has said, “Words create worlds. However, we can generate another relationship with language. Language can also CREATE. Martin Heidegger, a 19th century philosopher, said, “Language is the house of being. In its home, man dwells. Those who think, and those who create, are the guardians of this home.” With creating our words, we create our world, give rise to who we are in whatever…

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March 17, 2021

Come Home to Your Self

There are journeys we must take. As thinking beings, they are part of our “required curriculum.” Connecting with our authenticity, our purpose in life, our gifts, and what gives us meaning is one of them. During this unprecedented time on earth, when the very ground we are used to standing on so solidly is shifting each day, where our time for traveling outward is restricted, we come to find that the old shorelines that used to mark our way are no longer available to guide us. Now, it is time to take another kind of journey, one that takes us…

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March 3, 2021

Coming into the Peace of Wild Things

“Every human being comes to earth with sealed orders.” Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said that. A good question is, “What are your sealed orders?” I feel that one of my “sealed orders” is to go into the wilderness, and, through being fully Present, noticing, and not buying into, the chatter in my mind, I can hear the speaking of the world. And that speaking informs me, delights me, enlivens me, brings me to a new level of wisdom and care for all things. Poet Wendell Barry shares with us in one of his poems that when “despair for the world…

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February 16, 2021

Threshold Crossing Birthday

February 9, was my 76th birthday. My husband and I took a journey to the Olympic Rainforest, to Lake Quinault, staying at the lodge for a couple of nights. One morning, Don and I hiked up to the Falls’ Creek waterfall. Not having hiked like that in over a year, I was having a struggle, walking up hill, breathing hard. We almost stopped, before making it to the Falls. As the cascades we were seeing were so beautiful, we thought we had reached the top. Just as we were perhaps 10 steps away from the top of the hiking path,…

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February 2, 2021

Let in the Light

When we, creatively, intentionally, consciously, “breathe in the light,” the darkness begins to dissipate. Can you hear and see and feel and touch the lightness now coming our way? If not, perhaps it’s time for you to turn your face away from the computer screen, as I was called to do, by the Red‑tailed Hawk, and the breaker waves from North to South, and the sound of the winds in trees, and listen! Listen to a new song! Listen to a new Voice. Listen to the Music of the Wind. Listen to the possibility of Breathing. Light dispels darkness. Where…

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January 18, 2021

For Giving Endings

Today is a time for completion.  We are ending one era of our lives, here in America, and beginning another.  We are ending one year of our lives, here on the planet, a year of great disruption, grief, chaos, change, and unpredictability, and opening ourselves to learning commensurate lessons that come from us wanting to be ALIVE and vibrant, even as we move through this pandemic – lessons in resiliency, fluidity, in being centered, in gratefulness, and in faith. Often when something is ending, we find, in that ending, the inkling of a new beginning.  And yet, while the future…

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January 5, 2021

The Long Pause

The trees long to see the land, to come out from underneath the fog. And when the fog parts, even for a brief moment, a world of possibility opens. Grateful, alert to the day, surprised and astonished by what they see, a new threshold beckons and a new life begins. As we enter, you and I, the year 2021, a new world awakens. Not yet clear what world will greet us on the other side of this migration we are in, this year‑long (and more) winter of hibernation, of cocooning, we can, still begin to ask our questions: What conversation…

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December 22, 2020

As We End this Year

I have been asking myself, “What conversation or conversations allow me to create completion around the year, 2020.” What an incredible, unprecedented year this has been! Most of us experienced a certain momentum going into this year. I know I did, and when March entered into our lives, my life, our lives, we were turned upside down. Asking myself, early on, “What is being asked of me? What lessons does this new ‘required curriculum’ we must move through in our lives, individually and collectively, give us an opportunity to now learn?” was a nourishing question with which to move through…

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December 8, 2020

The Beckoning

Each season’s passing marks a new season’s beginning. Each era of our lives has its own challenges, which challenges become teachings; its own griefs, which griefs open our hearts to compassion; its own sorrows, which sorrows, when embraced intentionally as gifts themselves, when fully experienced, allow for the burgeoning of joy, and open us into gratitude, gratefulness, and Grace. This is a time of threshold crossings for us all, a time for healing, for harmoniousness, for making whole, with abundant heart, abundant awareness, and abundant courage, as we lean into and explore, like great adventurers, the conversations that can guide…

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December 2, 2020

Crossing Thresholds:
 A New Opening
Drop Down Deep

“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest,” Brother David tells David Whyte, in the book, Crossing the Unknown Sea. “The antidote to exhaustion is not rest,” David repeats woodenly. “What is it then?” And then, Brother David says one of the wisest things I have ever heard him say: “The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” I WHOLEHEARTEDLY INVITE YOU to wholeheartedly devote yourself to gifting yourself with making a surprising, enriching, Life Giving, Enlightening, Awakening, personal threshold crossing, one that lights up your life, in the first part of 2021 through a choice of two virtual, fully community‑based conversations. While…

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November 24, 2020

Gratitude

While this is a time for Giving Gratitude, what does this mean? Certainly not just saying the words alone, but imbuing the words with the meaning behind those words. In what ways can we arrive into the Spirit of Gratitude, we might ask? Is it even all right, now, in these times, to arrive into Gratitude, when all around us, there are so many challenges, anger, hurt, disappointment, tension? And yet, in these dark times, growing even darker through the passing of each day, into the season of winter, the Light of Gratitude can be a beacon for us all,…

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November 9, 2020

Reflective Journaling and the Creative Imagination

My poetry corner is a sacred space for me, into which I enter every morning, before anything. There, I allow the poetic imagination to speak to me and to speak for me, and I listen, deeply, to whatever comes, and then take pen to paper. The touchstones and keepsakes, mementos, from my travels all over the world, remind me that wherever I go, I belong. Whether it is the colorful cup that looks like a Gaudi wall in a house in Barcelona, or coasters with fine precious stones cut by the men whose ancestors built the Taj Mahal, they bring…

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October 26, 2020

Song of Wonder

When we stop, when we still ourselves, when we attend, with full Presence, to the ordinariness of the world, the world becomes extraordinary. Move into letting yourself rest in, become one with, nature, and see where that takes you. You will, most likely, find that that path takes you into an inner journey where you meet your muse, your own fire of creativity, your own silence. When we quiet long enough, we deepen our own capacity to hear, and the world can teach us, can reach us. We can live in life being “a bride to amazement,” as Mary Oliver…

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October 14, 2020

Our Heart Knows the Way

In these days of little traveling outward, and, perhaps, deep traveling inward, we come to find that the old shorelines that used to make our way are no longer available to guide us. Now, we need to find a new compass, a new rudder, so that we may paddle towards that horizon which is uniquely our own. Attending to our heart, we find, that our heart knows the way. When we stop, get quiet enough, and still enough, and listen deeply, we can connect with our heart, we can discern our Voice, we can discover our one true name. It…

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October 6, 2020

What is Your Place in the World?

“What is your place in the world?” is, perhaps, one of the most fundamental questions we can address, always. A question asked by poets, thinkers, philosophers, thinkers, theologians, during all times, this question begs to be addressed particularly during this time, as the ground is shaking every day, where there is no shoreline to mark our way, where the external circumstances, ever changing, do not provide us with any information about who WE were born to be. When we connect with our Selves, at our core, when we discern our own unique thread, we are able to make choices in…

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September 28, 2020

Tapping into Your Creativity

Most recently, one of the Great Lessons I am being taught, during this Covid Crisis, is to stay true to the Creative Voice that is my own. To do that, I need to set aside my critic, and listen, deeply, to my own wisdom that speaks to me when I go deep into my own, inner Silence, the Silence that awaits me when I let go of identifying with my thinking mind. The mind is so loud, with its positions, opinions, judgments, beliefs, need to be right, need to make others wrong, expectations, disappointments, regrets, worries, fears, and so forth.…

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September 15, 2020

Drop Down Deep

In our lives, and in these unprecedented times, in particular, it is important for each of us, if not critical, to “drop down deep,” to “stop what you are doing right now, and to stop what you are becoming while you do it,” as poet David Whyte suggests. To, simply, stop. It is in the stopping that we can notice, observe, include, and be with, all of the emotional and reactions, the opinions, and the judgments, the resisting and persuading, the complaining and the fighting, we are doing in our minds. Once we have stopped, we can, simply, focus in…

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September 1, 2020

The Capacity to Wonder

Each of us has the capacity to Wonder, to be with the joy and delight of all of our senses, and observe the details of all we see, hear the life breathing joyfully underneath the surface of nature, be attentive to people and to the world all around us, to “listen with the ear of our heart,” as St. Benedict wisely counseled us. What is it to “listen with the ear of our heart?” we might ask. It starts with noticing, then dropping, our judgements, our expectations, our righteous opinions, our identification with our internal conversation that says, “It should…

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August 18, 2020

To What Do I Belong?

Today, I picked up my very own, recently published book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections, as a start to my beginning of the day, and as a start to a morning meditation.  I opened it up to any page that seemed to be “calling me,” a page that “felt right.”  On that page was a single lined question, or reflection: “To what do you belong?”  The question was preceded by a poem which, of course, I know well (since I wrote it), and I didn’t re‑read the poem. The question, however, intrigued me. What a fascinating question! The word, “Belong,” for…

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August 3, 2020

Communication: Connection, Collaboration, Conversation, Compassion, Constellation

The prefix, “co,” can mean so much. It is, as something I read on the internet said, “endlessly productive.” The same internet article said, “The prefix, co, is an old Indo‑European prefix meaning ‘together, collectively.’” Another definition said that the prefix means “with” or “thoroughly.” YES! Let us be “together, collectively, with and thoroughly.” Before you read on, stop, and think of the meaning of each of the words in front of you. Connection: often so missing, in normal times, and, especially, in these times, where our inter‑relatedness, our authentic connection with one another, if you will, is not only…

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July 14, 2020

The Art of Improvisation

I am aware, as we move through the passages of Covid, I am being taught the art of improvisation, the art of being able to say to the universe, “yes, and….” as an antidote to resisting what is. I learned from a friend  how precious that key can be, the key to starting with acceptance of what is presented to us, versus resistance, avoidance, denial. That’s what this tiny, wild, purple flower is doing, as it makes its appearance into the sunshine out of the hard, lichen‑filled lava molten rock on the shores of Lake Superior. It is improvising. It…

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July 1, 2020

Creating Affinity With the Times

Hello, and welcome, once again, from my deepest heart to yours. In the prologue of Anam Cara, (which translates from Gaelic to “soul friend”) the poet/philosopher John O Donohue says, “Friendship is a creative and subversive force. It claims that intimacy is the secret law of life and universe. The human journey is a continuous act of transfiguration. If approached in friendship, the unknown, the anonymous, the negative, and the threatening gradually yield their secret affinity with us.” We are certainly living in the presence of the unknown, the anonymous, the negative, and the threatening. In what ways could those…

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June 16, 2020

The Key is Awareness

We have been shaken out of our slumber and woken up into a land of unfamiliarity. The “wake up wind” has been a tsunami in our house.

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