Yesterday was Mother’s Day, the day before that my birthday and 3 weeks ago I was married. Members of my family from Australia came and stayed for a week or so, my daughter came in from Oregon, his daughter and her husband arrived from Georgia (the daughters had never met!) and we held a party here.

There had been a concentrated effort to prepare the house and garden, find places for everyone to stay, and ensure that even though there was a wedding, excellent sightseeing was also achieved! It all worked perfectly. The ceremony was out in the desert, at the very place on the earth where we had met. It was simple and with immediate family. A picnic lunch afterwards at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona allowed us all to wander to Buddha beach, cool our feet and bask in the beauty under and on the rocks.

The party for everyone two days later was relaxed, casual and blessed with prefect weather. The famous wind of my little town even stayed low for the occasion. An eclectic mix of people, from the overlapping circles in our lives, arrived bringing delight and joy into our world.

Over a two-week period of family here we managed to go the Grand Canyon, Jerome, Prescott to a play (I was in Seven), do kayaking and shopping, make numerous trips to the Phoenix airport and walk to the heights of Cathedral Rock and into the deep of Montezuma’s Well. Always, it seems, traveling in a flock and coordinating who was in what vehicle and where we’d meet.

Finally there was just the four of us again. The two little dogs and these two people. We nestled into the space and the place, strangely quiet after so much activity. We wrote thank you notes, put away gifts and did a mere 2-person/1vehicle excursion out, a hike near the Crown King area one afternoon.

I went into the office where I work (sporadically the best of times anyway), rode my wonderfully patient and remarkably well-behaved little Arab horse again and guest-taught a workshop for a theatre/social justice course.

This past weekend, David and I chose to go away overnight. Now we had our space back, we were ready to go away! We hiked up the startlingly beautiful and varied elevations of the Granite Mountain Trail, in the Granite Mountain Wilderness, just out of Prescott. My gluteus maximus knew it had been on journey, my entire body relaxed after the workout and my eyes and mind were filled with such breadth and distance as I had forgotten was out there.

My life over the 4 weeks since I last wrote my blog have been filled with opportunity for gratitude, love, wonder and encouragement. It is impossible to be surrounded with so much heartfelt love such as I feel from family, friends and David, and not notice it seek to pour, through me, out into the world beyond me. When such a richness of gifts arrive then by the sheer physics of balance some has to go back out.

Surrounded by the magnitude, power and beauty of this AZ landscape where I now live I am empowered from deep and high, ancient and present. The magnificence of the Grand Canyon, vibrationry power of Cathedral Rock, the ancient ways at Montezuma Well and the endless expanse visible after the stiff climb to the top of Granite Mountain all ground me solidly in the earth even as I am urged to fly.

So it is the slow return to the day to day of life that reconnects me to all that is going on outside my immediate and very intense life circle of the last 3 weeks.

In my little town it is the Vinnie St Paul, housed in a little mobile home, providing food for those in need that calls to me, reminding me that there are stories out there to be told.  It is the surprising number of children in the street when the buses have driven away by 3pm who suggest a summer theatre program at the community center. It is the students and  actors, writers and artists in Prescott with whom I have brushed space over the last few months and in particular this past week or so who invite me to join their world.

Beyond that, it is the march of change in the greater world beyond even AZ that penetrates my cocoon. The ongoing struggle of the so-called Arab Spring, where people are willing to die for perhaps obvious human rights that I take for granted – freedom to think, live, love, pray and speak –juxtaposed, awkwardly, with the deliberate killing of a terrorist.

The endless cycles of natural change forced upon a landscape and those who live there – tornadoes in Alabama, flooding in Tennessee and elsewhere along the mighty Mississippi – place me in my context as a fortunate being in my geographical location.

The many whose lives do not change, but seem to harden into a shell of hopelessness, fear and victimization, demand my awareness. Young girls who give up the struggle to be free from a life on the street, single-mother families in mind-numbing poverty, or communities who exist within the sounds of guns and the silent screams of those on the other end of that equally hopelessly, helplessly repetitive pattern of trying to stay alive, trying to be someone.

With all the gifts that I have – education, love and respect, encouragement and opportunity, joy and intelligence, support and safety in my environment, creativity in my deeper soul – what am I to do? Blessed as well with awareness and willingness to see what is out there, with imagination to feel beyond my immediate experience, and a recall capacity at depth-charge level enough to draw on the DNA that connects me to all people, the time is coming to truly join the world again.

Rejuvenated and empowered by personal events of the last few weeks, arriving at aged 54, with a book just about done and its story more and more pressingly useful it seems to me, my gratitude must translate into action. Time is speeding up for all of us. We are almost half way through 2011.

Placed by Spirit/Creator to be here, now, with the support system and knowledge that I have, it is time to step into the arena of real gift-giving. My gift is the gift of the story, of sharing mine, of revealing to you your power to share yours.

If you read this, feel free to remind me of my promise, encourage me to stay on the path. If I can facilitate you on your path, ask me that as well. The garden is prepared, the guests are at the door. It is time to share the gift. Ultimately, that gift is to lead you to open your door to the unique personal gift that is You.

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