Friday, January 30, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 48

This is week 48 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I completely lost track of the fact that today is Friday. Completely. Until about 6:45. And I'm tired. So anyway, luckily someone wrote and asked me something about Wordzzles or I'd have simply forgotten and I wrote these at the very last minute, very tired under pressure and they are AWFUL! I mean the stink up the joint. And my imagination will simply not kick in to add any imagination to them, so all I can do is post them - late - and apologize that they are so bad. I didn't think this batch of words would be that tough, but they were for some reason. Not too happy with next week's words either. My brain seems to be vacationing in the Bahamas while the rest of me shivers and moans about cold and snow. But I'm writing all this because I just hate the idea of posting what I've written.... but eventually I have to, so... guess I will... Sorry....

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: snow and ice, vegetarian chili, pampered kitty, anthropology, do you own a home, coronation, you can change the world, hideous curtains, stammering, premonitions Mini Challenge: Is there a doctor in the house, blowing in the breeze, shadows, comedian, sleeping disorder

Here's my ten-word offering for this week:

Snow days are the best. Nothing beats a nice bowl of vegetarian chili and a pampered kitty purring on your lap on a cold winter day when snow and ice are making the outside world too miserable to venture into. Yesterday was a TV all the way day for me. A little Discovery Channel programming on anthropology followed by HDTV asking me, “Do you own your own home?” and telling me how to shop for one, then showing me seven easy ways to take my hideous curtains and make them into show pieces. Next I watched a PBS documentary on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. At one point I must have fallen asleep and I think kitty changed the channel because I woke up to some strange woman stammering premonitions and muttering something like You can change the world. I closed my wonderful snow day with a big bowl of popcorn and great Netflix movie – if you haven’t seen “Lars and the Real Girl,” you really should – and had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages.

And here's my mini challenge:

His long hair blowing in the breeze, the comedian Gary Giggles stood in the shadows thanking his lucky stars that he had already finished his act an hour earlier, before the man with the sleep disorder had arrived. He felt sorry for his colleague – alone on the huge outdoor stage - trying unsuccessfully to turn the problem of into comic gold. He had now resorted – only have joking - to the desperate cry of “Is there a doctor in the house?” Alas there as no reply,

And for the mega challenge:

As a result of her sleeping disorder, Marissa had been having terrible dreams and premonitions for several weeks. In one of the dreams, which she had almost nightly, she was in a strange, horribly decorated house with the most hideous curtains and furnishing she had ever seen and walls decorated with posters that said things like You Can Change the World and Anthropology is the Best Ology. There was also a collection of gaudy dishes each with a different cat and the world pampered kitty in gold, but as far as she could tell, no actual cat. On the stove was a can that said Coronation Vegetarian Chili. Outside everything was snow and ice so it was a shock when the door swung open and Frankenstein, who had long hair that was blowing in the breeze, stood there holding out a real estate card and alternately stammering, “Do you own your own home?” and “Is there a doctor in the house?”. Frankenstein was followed in short order by the comedian Groucho Marx singing Me and My Shadow. Something must be done, she muttered over and over. The curtains are bad enough, Frankenstein reminding me over and over that I don’t own my own home is painful in the extreme, but Groucho Marx singing is the absolutely the worst.


This week’s vanity wordzzle: feathered dream-catcher, silence, sea wrack, total, absolute, dolphin, eerie, living room, magisterial, bird feeder, munitions dump, God-jar

“I know what the feathered dream-catcher is for, but what’s a God-jar, sir? I’ve never heard of that before.” The old man gave her an eerie smile and studied her quietly for a moment. “Hmm. I did not recognize you at first,” he muttered, as though by her question, he knew her now. “Not many ask about the God-jar, only the true seekers. The God-jar is something different to each person’s journey. It is not some quaint conversation piece with which to decorate your living room. It is a thing of great power.” Lucinda was strangely shaken, not just by his words but by the stern, magisterial tone of them. “Oh, I was just curious, really. . . I mean, I’m not . . .” He just nodded and smiled quietly. “Not many ask about the God-jar. Not many are ready for its wonders.” “Yes, I see. Oh, what a lovely bird feeder,” she exclaimed, trying desperately to change the subject. She felt like she had stumbled into a minefield or a munitions dump with one innocent question. He smiled at her again, this time with a twinkle in his eye. “Ah, dear child, you do not understand. You did not ask about the God-jar, it has asked about you. You see, it is the God-jar which seeks people out, not the other way around. It does not call many, but now it has called you and its call is absolute and must be answered. Although you do not realize it yet, you are a light seeker. I am a shaman to my people and I would be honored to act as your guide and teacher on this journey. Are you willing to listen?” Lucinda nodded quietly, not sure why she was saying yes, but knowing somehow that there was no other answer. “Good. Now, you must clear three weeks time on your calendar which you can spend and when you are ready, return to me here. I will be waiting. Before you return, however, you must spend one day in total silence. Go down to the shore, sit on the sand, among the sea wrack and listen to the whispers of the wind and the ocean, and especially watch for the dolphins. They will speak to you and you will tell me what they have said. We will go from there.


Next Week's 10 Word Challenge: author, Wall Street, rage, lemons, channel changer, cookies and milk, candelabra, Pine Cone Motel, illusory, fluffer-doodle.

And the mini challenge: war, wooden shoes, flabbergast, chimera, vodka martini

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Obsessed with Icicles

I seem unable to stop taking photo after photo of the icicles hanging off my eaves right now, hoping to catch how interesting and odd the shapes are and how the light glints inside them. So far I haven't satisfied myself really... and then some new glow pops up and I have to try again. Yesterday, even though it was still very cold, the sun was out and they were dripping. This morning they seem to have stretched a bit, but there's no melting. So not many words today. Don't think I have enough energy to do Skywatch today, so I'm just going to post my icicles and go take a nap. Hope those who are in the hardest hit parts of the country have their power back and are snug and warm and safe. So far it has been cold here and snowy, but that's all. Only February left, which means Spring is on the way, right? It is coming, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Weekend

Well, I'm pretty much caught up on Shadow Shot Sunday and Wordzzles and it's gloomy and snowing hard outside - we are supposed to get at least 8 inches, I think - so I thought maybe I'd share a little bit about my weekend. Afraid it's a bit garbled. A lot happened over two days and as you know already, reiki is hard to explain. It's more experiential. But I'll try to share anyway because I have nothing else much to talk about today.

My thanks to Shannon. She took a lot of wonderful pictures (all of the ones here today). I can't really share any of the workshop shots without violating people's privacy so you will get mostly cats and objects and a picture of me and my mad scientist eyebrows hidden behind a cup of chai tea.

My friends Nate and Dan had long asked me to teach them Reiki but although I had shared information about the concepts, we had never set a date. Then sweet Shannon asked me to teach her and in the way of kids wanted a "when." This was the push I needed to set a date and it became my Christmas gift to my friends. Originally I expected four but ended up with six. Wow. What a joy! And how terrifying. It's been at least 12 years since I've attuned anyone to reiki and my inner demons had a grand party at my expense. I didn't sleep well for the two nights before the workshop. My brain went wild with "what ifs" and "you cant's." (Too bad I didn't remind myself of the reiki principles listed below, eh?)

I always have a bit of trouble with the second one. Worry is second nature to me. And I had a brief struggle with a one/two combo since everyone (except Rosalie) was very late the first day and I had truckloads of material to get through. I discovered there is still quite a bit of my mother lying dormant in my psyche, though, to be honest the anger part (such as it was) was more anxiety. I made a big joke of "yelling" at all of them for being late and got it out of my system and pretty much threw my schedule out, only to discover that I had built in so much time that we quickly caught up with my schedule anyway. Just for today I will not worry. Such good advice.

So anyway, we began the day with some sharing, did a meditation on and talked about the above principles and then did the first attunements. (Attunement? What's that?) Well, an attunement is a ritual that formally "turns on" the reiki connection. For people like Melli (hi, Melli), let me say that I believe Reiki is God's Love or Unconditional Love and I believe that everyone on earth has the capacity to channel it with or without attunements. I think tuning in to Reiki is like turning the dial to a specific station on the radio. It's all radio waves, simply a different band width or frequency, so to speak. Attunements don't put anything into the recipients - at least not from my perspective - they help turn the switch on for what God has already put there. So anyway, the attunements aren't strenuously physical for someone who can stand and walk, but for me it was quite an adventure and I was worried that I would fail my friends. But then I reminded myself that God/Spirit would never punish them for my failings... and He/She/It didn't.

The rest of day one involved practicing - first self-healing, then working on each other. One of the best things about reiki is that you can use it on yourself... and when you share with others, the energy moves through you as well, so you also receive at the same time you offer the energy to someone else. At the core of what I teach and believe is that we ourselves are not the healer. We offer ourselves as channels and what happens is between God and the recipient. It's unfortunate that so many humans put up barriers to receiving this unconditional gift from God. I love working on animals because they have the wisdom to just open their hearts and being to love when it comes their way.

We had a lovely lunch break in the middle of the day with vegetarian chili that Rosalie made and other good things that the others brought. It was a long day. They didn't leave until almost 8:30. I don't know about them, but I was as tired as I've been in a very long time. I felt almost too tired to get up and go to bed, which I did at 11:00 - incredibly early for me.

Sunday was a much easier day. We started with sharing and a meditation, had two more attunements and practiced sending reiki energy long distance. I was slightly less exhausted on Sunday but very tired indeed! It's so much fun to watch people experience the feeling of this warmth and love moving through their hands and open to the potential to be of service to themselves and others in such a pure and simple way.

Angel and Tara Grace, of course, felt a need to participate. Tara is in one of her talkative phases - and sang to us quite a bit. Angel decided that a nice loud toy that she ordinarily never plays with would be the perfect background for the quiet of meditation time.

It felt wonderful to share something that is such a profound and precious part of my life with people I love. Magical as it is to use (or really be used) by this sacred energy to help others, it is even more miraculous to be able to pass the gift along to others. And now I have a wonderful pool of six people who can send reiki energy to ME when I need it. How cool is that!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama Speaks to the Muslim World

I'm still trying to catch up from two memes and two days away from the computer over the weekend, but I thought this was worth sharing for anyone who hasn't seen it. What a joy to have someone truly working towards peace and recognizing that while violence may sometimes be required (I guess), as a rule, violence breeds more violence, not less. I'm not deluded into thinking that problems as old and entrenched as these will be solved over night or even over years, still there is something so powerful about listening to both sides. I know for me personally, sometimes being listened to has been the most powerful healing agent there is... and not being listened to has just made me want to shout louder and louder.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

It's Shadow Shot Sunday and since I couldn't play last week (no monitor), I have a TRILLION shadow pictures. Hopefully I haven't put any duplicates in. Afraid there are lots of snow shadows again, but I think they are a little different from the last ones I posted. I hope they aren't too repetitive. I'm leading a two-day reiki workshop this weekend, so I'm not sure when I'll get to visit others, but I will get there, I promise.

Shadow Shot Sunday hosted over at Hey Harriet's blog and if you like shadows (as I do), check out all the wonderful posts featuring shadows of all kinds. Here's what I came up with for this week.

Seem to have taken lots of pictures of this book. I liked the title, but didn't like the book that much. Such is life.

Tara Grace in shadow....

Just so you know, the crow in this photo is fine. He is hunched for take-off.

If I put the cats in, there has to be one of each... this is Angel.

Happy Sunday! May all your shadows be beautiful!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 47

(Please scroll down for Skywatch Friday.)

This is week 47 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. I was really glad that everyone kept the process going last week even in my absence. Those words were so awful that I felt compelled to try and use them so I have included them in my paragraphs this week. Whew! Not easy! Also, I want to apologize in advance. I am leading a 2-day reiki workshop this weekend so I will be late visiting - possibly not until Monday, though if I'm not too keyed up and can settle down, I'll try to visit earlier.

Also... I have no idea why these come out in all different sizes and shapes. They get pasted in one size, one font. Beats me what cyber imp makes them all goofy like this. My apologies. I tried to fix it and just made it worse. Sigh.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: air tight seal, bitter cold, draft card, diner, paragon of virtue, broken computer monitor, CPR, a love of folk music, scatter-brained, can of worms (last week's words were: tuna on rye, ghost hunters, I'm as corny as Kansas in August, sympathetic ear, science fiction, muffler, cavernous, giraffes, prospecting, paraphernalia) and the mini challenge: California here I come, Springtime in Alberta, panorama, etchings, miracle foot repair, (last week''s words were: Key Lime Pie, porcupine, Library of Congress, fingernails, spell-bound)

Here's my ten-word offering for this week:

I’m no paragon of virtue. I smoked pot in the sixties, protested the war, and even burned my draft card, but basically, I’m a pretty normal guy. Science fiction and a love of folk music are among my greatest passions in this life. I spend much of my time prospecting online for information and paraphernalia to pursue my new-found interest in ghost hunting. Had some problems with the computer this week. Let me tell you that a broken computer monitor does a real number on a scatter-brained computer junkie like me. What organization I’ve been able to manage is all on line. No computer no world and I’m as crazy as Kansas in August – oops, I guess it’s as corny as Kansas in August – but anyway, I’m pretty much a basket case without cyber space. My wife practically had to do CPR on me when the light blinked out. It was like a great cavernous can of worms formed under my feet and sucked me in. It was touch and go for a while. Luckily my wife is a smart and sensible woman and knows how to lend a sympathetic ear no matter how foolish my problems are. She did a great job of talking me down from the edge of despair. Got me break out of the air tight seal (so to speak) in front of the computer. In fact she talked me into putting on the hideous wool muffler she knit for me with these weird giraffe-like things on it and go out into the bitter cold of a January day. We went to the local diner and had a fine lunch. She had tuna on rye and I had a cheeseburger. Then we had some apple pie a la mode. It was one of those blessing in disguise, spending a nice day with my wife like that.

And here's my mini challenge:

Springtime in Alberta may be beautiful, but winter is not so fine unless you like snow, cold and lots of it, so California here I come. Standing here at Porcupine Ridge Outlook, and looking at the Panoramic vista, I am spell-bound by the beauty of the scene. It reminds me of old etchings from the 1800s that I saw doing research at the Library of Congress. The narrow windy roads left me chewing my fingernails and my hiking weary feet are in desperate need of some miracle foot repair, but the stop and the walk at sunrise were worth any pain I may be feeling now. My camera is full of pictures, my lungs of clean pure air and my heart is singing with joy at the experience of such pristine beauty. Next stop is the the Porcupine Ridge Diner for a cup of coffee, an omelet and – even if it’s breakfast – some of their famous key lime pie.

And for the mega challenge:

My life sucks. I’m sitting here in front of my broken computer monitor shivering from the bitter cold because there’s not a single door or window in my little house that has anything close to an air tight seal. When I was young I was a virtual paragon of virtue. But then the Vietnam War started and virtue met civil disobedience and that opened a whole new world to me along with a half dozen cans of worms. I went from being the kid who walked around humming I’m as corny as Kansas in August to a long haired, scatter-brained hippie who burned his draft card and developed a love of folk music and rock. Being good hippies, it was all California here I come and my friends and I gathered our collective paraphernalia, jumped into an old jalopy with broken muffler and in hopes of prospecting for girls and LSD in that order. Took my first and last acid trip at an incredibly beautiful spot with the odd name of Porcupine Pond State Park. If I’d been smarter, I’d have realized that glorious natural panorama before me was better than anything drugs could offer, but I was young. On our way to the park, we stopped at a little diner and picked up a half dozen cups of coffee, several tuna on rye sandwiches for each of us and for some reason a whole key lime pie. Man that pie was good. Glad I ate it BEFORE I did the drugs because my trip wasn’t that happy. It was like living through some bad science fiction. God knows why, but I found myself wandering through the Library of Congress and then I was in a cavernous room looking at etchings that were hung on the wall and each one I looked at came to life. The scariest one was these space aliens who looked like giraffes only they were purple and orange and had glowing green eyes. They spoke in a kind of pigeon English and went on and on about fingernails and toenails and miracle foot repair. They were followed shortly by a flock of pelicans pretending to be ghost hunters when in fact they were cannibals in disguise. I was terrified but spellbound, wanting to run but paralyzed. I think my heart must have stopped. I know it did, actually. Lucky for a park ranger came by who knew CPR. He was able to bring me back. Even luckier for me, he was a cool guy who also hated the war. He listened to me with a kind and sympathetic ear as I came down from my bad trip and instead of arresting me, suggested pointedly that there were few things finer than springtime in Alberta. That’s how I ended up in a dead-end job in Canada instead of either California, jail or Nam. Even though I complain a lot, I'm alive and well and I have a beautiful wife and the daughter and son you could ask for, so now that I think about it, my life doesn't really suck, it's pretty darned good.

This week’s vanity wordzzle: Culture, sheep, skin, mentally, box, desert, several people, church.

From his seat near the back of the sanctuary, the hungry young man furtively eyed the alms box that hung on the far wall. He watched thoughtfully as several people stopped to drop coins and bills into the small box and mentally calculated how much money he might find inside. He had never robbed a church before and was not entirely comfortable with the idea, but he was desperate. He had not always been the creature of skin and bone who now sat huddled in the shadows of this great cathedral. He had been a man of culture, a solid citizen. He had been kind and generous, had always done - or tried to do - unto others as he would have done unto him. But then the thing had happened - he could not say the word - and his world was ripped apart, his wife and children gone and he cast into a desert of the soul where he had found himself increasingly lost. He looked at the beautiful stained glass window and the serene Jesus carrying a lamb in his arms and thought bitterly that somehow the deity had forgotten this sheep. It was indeed all hype and God had forsaken him after all. God, he figured at least owed him a little cash. But suddenly, as though in answer to those thoughts, a ray of light came through the rich glass - straight from the heart of Jesus - and shone directly on his thin, tired face. "My son," a rich voice said, "may I help you?" and turning he looked into the kind face of an elderly priest and wept.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: snow and ice, vegetarian chili, pampered kitty, anthropology, do you own a home, coronation, you can change the world, hideous curtains, stammering, premonitions

Mini Challenge: Is there a doctor in the house, blowing in the breeze, shadows, comedian, sleeping disorder

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Skywatch Friday-ish

It's Skywatch Friday (Thursday, actually) again. Between endlessly gray skies and computer problems, I haven't participated for a few weeks. Don't have much to share despite that. Please check out all the other sky-watchers at the link above and you'll see lots of glorious sunsets and sunrises and clouds and other wonderful sky scenes. We haven't had much sun this month, but we did have a few days when the sky was something other than gray.

This is what the sky has been like most of the time. I posted a bunch of snow photos a couple of days ago and the sky is so gray that some thought the pictures were black and white. I have to admit that the world feels very monochrome these days and the rare blue skies are especially nurturing to the spirit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Well, anybody who isn't new here, knows that I'm happy to see our former president safely tucked away in Texas, though I still wish he was tucked away in jail. But let me stick to the positive.

I'm so happy that we have such a good - truly good, I believe - man holding the highest office in the land. I listened to his inaugural address yesterday and I felt like the ventriloquists who have been putting ugly words into the mouth of my nation had left the building and our real voice was speaking out again. My favorite sentence.... or one of them was this:

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

And in the next paragraph he added that

...earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

There was more, but these words - this kind of attitude gives me hope and it makes me feel safer than I have felt in many years. A world of us and them, a world of might makes right is a dangerous and ugly world in which to live. I have no children, but I have nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. I want them to live in a world where we don't meet hate with hate and bombs with bombs, where our leaders understand that true power isn't about controlling others, but about knowing and trusting yourself.

Anyway, I' think we are about to rediscover that our strength lies in living our ideals, not talking about them.

On another note, since I had all sorts of time on my hands away from the computer, I was thinking about some things. It's odd to me that for me - despite having grown up when racism was still overtly rampant in this country, it seems perfectly natural to me to have a black president. I'm thrilled not by Mr. Obama's blackness, but by his character. I have a feeling that for much of white America, Martin Luther King, followed by Oprah, Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby and others, have changed our race consciousness without our really even knowing it. Few voices have had a more far-reaching impact on our culture than Oprah. Brilliant, eloquent black people are part of our national culture now. I realize that this isn't true for all white people. There is still rampant racism out there. But I think we have long been more changed than we realized.

What has been interesting and deeply moving to me is to see what this means for BLACK Americans. For them the earth has truly shifted and it's beautiful to see the joy and excitement on their faces, to hear it in their voices. This is a profound healing for a huge segment of our society and therefor for our society as a whole. How glorious!


I should probably leave it here - but I have to add a little peeve on a non inaugural note. Is everyone in the media stuck in the third grade? The whole "cabinet of rivals" crap and the idea that grown-ups can't disagree, compete against one another and then get over it and be friends and team members really irritates me. I'm sure that Hilary Clinton was disappointed when she lost and may have needed to lick her wounds for a few days, but the idea that she and Obama are eternal competitors or enemies is idiotic and reflects a kind of emotional immaturity, not on the part of Obama and Clinton (and all the others onto whom it is projected), but on the media people who seem bent on living in a world of people with the maturity of gnats. It seems to be beyond their comprehension that one can listen with genuine interest and respect to ideas with which you disagree. We have too long been in the grips of people who have operated that way, I fear. But a grown-up has now taken office. Above and beyond what he offers us in practical and policy terms - and he has a huge task ahead of him there - Mr. Obama seems to clearly recognize the power of the bully pulpit, the power of inspiring others - young and old - to become their highest and best selves.

I think President Obama is speaking/appealing to our better angels. Hopefully we will let our better angels out to dance and sing and work and play.