Early Explorative Blogs


It was a full moon on Saturday night. Did you see it?

When I started writing this I realized that the week I had had and the full moon were related. Big and little things  have been moving me toward awareness and expression my Personal Magic. (Facebook ) After a period when I seem to have been in the dark, floating, impatient and anxious, there is a shift.

First, after months of effort and waiting and more effort, two local theatre companies said Yes to the Performing Wellness™ proposal I had made several months ago. They gave me a date each – consecutive weekends, two different towns. Wonderful! Except that the timeline was now so tight that I didn’t feel I could do as I had originally proposed. The stories are too precious to be thrown together.

So, I took a deep breath and offered a counter proposal. Instead of a full cast presenting these stories, I would do a one-woman version. (I had recently done a simple version at Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon and it went very well.) They said, Yes.

The business of inviting the perfect director to join me (who said Yes), planning marketing with two co-producing companies and getting the wholehearted support of the writers whose work I am performing, has flowed along. Yes and Yes.

On Friday I met a couple in a small restaurant/coffee shop in Cottonwood. I don’t even know what I was doing there. No idea. I think I was dropping off a flyer, and I was looking for an oils shop someone has said was around there. I wandered in to ask if anyone knew where it was. There were two people at a table. They asked where I was from (my Australian dialect always attracts attention). They said ‘Do you have time to sit and talk?’

I said, Yes. One and a half hours later I left. Three sentences are still resonating within me. ‘You have let go of the grief.’ ‘You know you shouldn’t have sugar.’ ‘You didn’t leave the planet.’ (Two of these I know, one I have this faint stirring of an inkling. More to uncover.)

I felt blessed, opened and soothed. In this gentle, free ranging conversation with Victor and Vicky I had been reminded that there is more out there with which to connect, and that something taking care of me in ways that I can never know.

My little grey horse who had finally learned to go to the horse trailer has never mastered the art of coming off. She barrels backwards, dreading the drop off the edge, but too anxious to slow down. She tried to slow down on Wednesday, she really did, but then panicked as the edge seemed so far from the ground, her hoof dangling off into the abyss. She couldn’t turn around and so in that Arabian way, as she went off the edge, she threw her head up, catching it on the top of the doorway.

Today, Sunday, I thought I’d see if I could encourage her to go back on. I walked in first, held the rope loosely and turned to face her. She watched me carefully, she steadied her anxious breathing even though I could see her heart beating hard and fast through the shine of her sleek coat.  She paid attention to me. We took our time.

I had the horse treats but soon realized it was not the treats that rewarded her. It was my pleasure and pride in her efforts. It was not the treats that calmed her as she stood, her front half in the narrow space, it was my rubbing her head and smiling at her. She went on and off quietly a few times, from that half way position. I did not ask her to come all the way in. Slow and steady, let her head heal, let her realize that she has to make a decision not to rush. I learned that if I put my hand on her forehead as she goes backwards it reminds her to keep it down. She left there relaxed and happy to be with me.

And yesterday, I got an email. I had written a letter to someone, a letter that while it was not easy to write would have been hard to receive. I put an old fashioned envelope in the blue box outside the post office.  I had to literally let it go and then wait…

The email arrived 4 days later. It was thoughtful, appreciative, saying time was needed to think it through. We are friends. Our friendship is withstanding the pressures we are putting it under. I am grateful.

These all seem related somehow. What is the common thread in these experience? Being in the moment. Saying yes. Being open. Not having to win. Taking a chance.

Saying yes to the theatres meant leaping over the voice that said ‘You can’t do that! Who do you think you are?’ It meant trusting the stories and my capacity. The performance will take care of itself. To be nurtured, I simply had to be open to sitting and listening in a coffee shop. I let go of what else I had thought I’d do that day. I didn’t have to win anything to let an anxious little grey horse take her time. I was open to her needs and signals and we were both happy at the end. I took a chance with my heart open to write to a dear friend. The friendship has deepened.

It was a full moon Saturday. Did you see it? I love the moon. I sit in her light and know that it is the sun’s light she reflects to me at night. She is like my life. A rhythmical ever-repeating pattern of filling and emptying. A presence that doesn’t seek to win, knows her time will come and go, and that she will always be back.

Say yes to the gifts that come, and you will always come back to yourself.

It has been a HUGE day of expansion for me today. I know that you have had them. I have had them before as well but that doesn’t seem to diminish the powerful effect of LEARNING in great chunks. (I am sure that I have done wonders for my brain and will have given myself a few extra years before the Alzheimer’s takes me. I could feel the dendrites spreading their little wings!)

I crossed chasms of ignorance, forged oceans of anxiety and I arrived at the green if thickly wooded regions of the backworkings of websites and blogs and twitters. Indeed I have been an explorer today.

I also read the first of Errol Morris’s NYT Opinionator 5-part series with the luscious title of The Anosognostic’s Dilemma. (If I knew how to do links I’d have that in but try: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1)

Essentially it is about knowing that you don’t know, or rather not even knowing that.  There are degrees of not knowing. There is the known unknown (I know I don’t know how to set a URL link) and then there are the unknown unknowns. That is all the stuff out in the digital media that I don’t even know there is to know. (Although I am beginning to suspect it is endless and so in a way I do sort of know that I don’t know.)

Throughout the article Mr. Morris is in conversation with David Dunning, a Cornell professor of social psychology, and at some point (I paraphrase) arrived at the thought that ignorance shapes our lives, and so in order to change/evolve we have to be willing to change, by adding to the list of knowing. This made absolute sense to me. I included as one of the objectives in the curriculum when I taught: ‘You will learn to tolerate ambiguity.’ (I will write about that one day – what a disservice we do our students when we don’t encourage them to accept not knowing, to embrace it as an opportunity to expand!)

I have long come to the conclusion that I might as well embrace the not knowing rather then letting it paralyze or humiliate me. It actually serves to arouse my curiosity and stimulates me to Find Out!

It seems that the greatest aspect of our lives that is under pressure to change and evolve is the human relationship to God or Spirit or whatever term you choose. Ultimately it is when we delve into Spirituality that we come face to face (or is it heart to heart?) with the greatest unknown of all. Organized religion fills in the space for those who know they don’t know. (They don’t have to sit in the anxiety of No Answers.) Then there are those who don’t even consider it at all. (Would they would be the anosognostics?) And then there are the others who sit fully in the Not Knowing, allowing the known unknown to resonate fully through them. (The mystics?)

I am hopeful that with all of us living with the great challenges today, (environmental, social and political institutions, personal wellbeing), enough of us will also sit, openly and with courage, with the knowing we don’t know. That enough of us will let it resonate through our deepest being. It is by letting go of needing to know that we fly/fall into wisdom.

Today I let go of needing to know, and let myself be led. There will be pieces I will forget, moments of absolute puzzlement as I stare at my notes. However, because I didn’t know and embraced that as an opportunity for a real adventure, I also had great revelations that were mine!! (Of course these are things you already know but for me it was the First Time!)

Life should be like that – a series of firsts, a personal connection to the knowing rather than packaged information  passed down. So, while I am not an anosognostic as far as I know (and there is the rub, if I am I don’t know!) I am surely enjoying being the explorer of my own life and relationship to everything that touches me, whether it be the wonders of the internet or the wonders of Spirit.

And you? Are you an explorer?

I have joined the blogosphere and now sit here, sifting through my too many scattershot intentions with this, trying to remember all that I have been advised, wondering if I should just start the actual writing tomorrow instead. As challenging as the setup process was (what do they mean? 10 minutes and you are ready to go?! Who is ‘you’? Not me) it fades to a distant memory when faced with actually writing something that will be worth the space and time it takes to both create and read.

Do I look back at my past writings mostly in emails and letters, for my own explorations

and efforts to understand; do I pull pieces from the book that has triggered all this social media activity; do I write stream of consciousness; do I look for an article somewhere and write a piece directly relevant to that?

Probably over time all the above. For now I take a deep breath, right down deep I mean, and let it out slowly.  What is it I teach? What is it I know? It is not in my head that is for sure. It is in my inner wisdom, through my connection to Spirit. Let go of determining an answer, strip the away the questions and what is left? This.

Nicolas Carr has written a book called The Shallows. (see his blog: http://www.roughtype.com/) I have a collection of scribbled notes about it gathered whenever I heard interviews, read articles. Ironically as I am resonating with this, I have joined Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and the blog world. I am also becoming aware I am not reading as many books as I used to, I scan the NYT online skipping through the headlines until I see a story that I decide to click open. I like The Week. I have NPR on all the time and the BBC World Round Up after that, half tuned in while I am writing, scanning, tidying. Something takes my attention and I stop for a moment to really listen but I still have one eye on the email.

Sometimes, I become engrossed in the writing, the creating and suddenly I realize I have been here for 3 hours and I am hearing the same news all over again! What happened?

I sank into one channel, if you like, let myself go deeply into that world without distraction, and wonderful new things emerged. Mr. Carr points out that short bursts of mental activity, often along several streams at once, is diminishing our capacity to just sit, and be. In my words, the capacity to contemplate on our own, engaging in philosophical-metaphysical roaming, or even simply to be in observational wonderment.

I live near Sedona, Arizona, surrounded by people both seeking and offering all types of spiritual opportunity. This is a microcosm of the searching that I believe is going on everywhere. As we become less able to just sit and be, so we become more anxious about our disconnection to that inner power, (unconsciously of course because we are too busy with distraction to even know that we are disconnected!) We dash about trying to connect – through classes, parties, work, religions, the social media. The real connection, however, is within and that requires time, focus, patience and, most of all, just letting go.

I have only made this connection after going out into the shimmering heat, and slowly feeding the horses, topping up their waters, spraying them for flies. That contemplative physical activity has to be done every day regardless of what else is happening. In the morning I also clean the yards, raking up manure and depositing it in the huge pile at the end of the lane. That kind of work keeps me grounded, gives me time to no-think, paying attention to the details of the work. Then suddenly, an awareness vibrates its way into my day and my writing.

So here I am. I let go of determining the answer, forgot the question and now I know what this blog is about. It is about uncovering and nurturing that inner connection, which in turn will connect you to everything.  From there the writing will come in all its variety.

Whew! And now I am going for a ride in the cooling evening. There is a little red-roan horse out there who has not been out for ages. Together we will find a shared rhythm riding over the red rock trails, under the sun and moon who are out at the same time, to the sounds of the day birds switching places with the night birds, and the creek rushing, undistracted from its path, over the rocks.

the writing starts tomorrow…