Monthly Archives: January 2016

Earth: Finding Our Way

Signal TreeAn oak bends and rises just off the north corner of my back deck.  A graceful genuflect.  Or perhaps a forced position.  Word has it this may be a Signal Tree of the sort sculpted by Native Americans or later settlers to mark the way.  This one points to the river valley.

Looking at that guiding tree reminds me that my individual direction and our human destiny is indivisible from Earth.  Thus, we are well served to enjoy time with Her.  To observe and listen to Her wisdom, Her signs and signals.  To find our way in harmony with Her.

You can read more about Signal Trees and the effort to document them here.

Endurance: Consulting the wood stove oracle


A friend invited me to a 2016 personal visioning gathering held last weekend.   She promised snacks and wine.   Also art supplies to give the vision form — an opportunity not directly in my skill set, but playfully appealing nonetheless.

A deep cold surged in the night before, and as I often do on those penetrating frosty eves, I settled into the narrow stretch between the wall and the wood stove.   Ruby, my  wonderfully plump companion cat stretched along side me; together, we soaked up the warmth.

That toasty wood stove nook lends itself to pondering, dreaming, meditation, questions and answers   I hypothesize that over the winter weeks it’s become invigorated with creative expectation.

Do you have a go-to space you’ve super-charged with wonder?  For insights?

Simply thinking of the visioning gathering initiated an easy flow of goals, projects, and initiatives for the coming months.   I jotted down the list in a small notebook I’ve taken to bringing with me when entering the wood stove realm.  At the top of the page I wrote  the heading “Carry the Vibration of Love”, and I re-considered my list in that light.

Love can be an amorphous ideal.  A word often exalted and deprived of  its everyday application.   To love is a gift.  A vocation, a commitment that expands and grows, taking many forms, filling a new year’s list. . . .  challenging, healing, enlivening  . . . perhaps endlessly day after day.

At the 2016 visioning gathering I picked up a magazine from a stack designated for collage making.   It was a random home and garden publication.  I flipped through the pages.   “Love”.  “Love.”  “Love.”   “Love.”    Caught my eye.  Again and again and again.   I smiled and reached for the scissors.







Endurance: Googling “Chakra” on a Wintry Day


Google gave me 25,600,000 entries in .42 seconds when I typed “chakra” into the search bar.  That’s a lot of ideas at my finger tips.  A lot of knowledge.  Some wisdom.  And undoubtedly a full collection of images, depicting the swirling spinal energy centers identified in spiritual traditions as a convergence of body and soul, matter and consciousness.

Despite the public ubiquity of chakra material, I find the subject to be quite personal and requiring an individual approach.  Perhaps you have your own story to share on this outlook.

I was counseled early on in my spiritual quest to be aware of the chakras, but not to focus specifically on developing them.  That felt right to me, primarily because I was a spiritual novice and sensed my path would be one of slow endurance rather than rapid progress.  So through trial and error over the years I’ve concentrated on cultivating values and health.  On finding purpose. And taking action.   Perhaps my chakras have changed in color or shape over the years, perhaps not.

Still the ideal beauty and evolutionary promise of the chakras, as symbols of the Human journey, stay with me. I was reminded of this beauty today on an early afternoon walk, when I happened upon a gathering of icicles touched by the Sun’s rays.   A momentary convergence of form and light.


Endurance: Claiming the Power of the Black-Eyed Pea

blackeyed peas

Somewhere, somehow, at some point in time a Tradition begins.   A practice, coupled with beliefs or even wisdom, passes from generation to generation and arrives in the modern day.  The originating impulse endures, although likely obscured in the telling by palatable contemporary desires and interpretations.

The customary eating of black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day dates back a few centuries in the American South.  I had never heard of or partaken in this holiday ritual prior to moving to Arkansas.  But I’ve come to enjoy it (minus the ham hock), especially given the freshly cut collards, mustard greens, and kale available from our local farmers.

The  black-eyed pea is said to have originated in North Africa and is believed to have crossed to the Americas with Spanish explorers and the slave trade.  On-line sources and Southern-born friends explain that welcoming abundance and an appetite for wealth stands at the heart of the tradition.   Apparently the greens, specifically collards, represent dollars and the black-eyed peas symbolize coins.

I prefer an alternate story. The black-eyed pea or cowpea is a nutrient-packed legume that grows well in hot, challenging climates.  Collard greens sweeten after the first frost and are rich with vitamins.  On January 1, looking toward the horizon of a New Year, toward a winter yet to be completed, toward freshly set goals and renewed commitments, what could be more filling, more energizing and endurance-affirming than a celebrated meal of black-eyed peas and tender collard greens?

Happy New Year, Everyone.