Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Every Day


Every Day
- words and music by John Shanks & Damon Johnson
- appears on Trouble in Shangri-La
released May 1, 2001
Produced by John Shanks
Engineered by Dan Chase and Mark DeSisto
Pro Tools Engineer: Dan Chase and Lars Fox
Drums: Steve Ferrone
Guitars, Bass, and Programming: John Shanks
Keyboards: Patrick Warren and Rami Jaffe
Background vocals: Sharon Celani and Lori Nicks

Lyrics

Don't keep me hangin' on a string
Tell me what I feel is no big thing
Don't turn away I'm listening
Over and over again

Don't give me visions to explain
There are no doubts
I feel the strain
Of all my senses yearning
Over and over again

Chorus:

Every day I see you
Every day I need you
Every way I breathe you
On and on and on and on again
It's not important to wonder why
What is just is no more to imply
This simple thought repeating
Over and over again

(Chorus)

Imagine all the ways to cope
I close my eyes, that gives me hope
It cures the silence

(Chorus)

United Migraine Glowing

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Imagine Durga's Tiger

Dear Ma ...

Here we are, the Faber Girls, holding on tightly during another wild ride on the back of Durga’s tiger. It’s been a very intense week, to say the least, and while I feel the desire to write, at the same time there are a few hundred things I have to do before nightfall. I can’t concentrate unless I get this stuff off my chest.

Let’s start with my California friend, Jen, who is going into the hospital tomorrow morning for intense chemotherapy to treat non-hodgekins lymphoma. This is the second round for Jen, as her cancer has come back roaring after being in remission for three years. It’s more aggressive and has manifested in twice the number of tumors, including lesions on her spleen. The presence of cancerous cells in Jen’s spinal fluid concern the doctors. There is no doubt it has spread, but they worry about neurological impact. Jen, also one of Your daughters, has had a very unique physiological history, not the least of which is a metal plate in her neck, diabetes, and a major carotid artery that is hiding somewhere under her collar bone. When Jen was born, each time she cried, that artery would cut off her oxygen supply because it was wrapped around her trachea. Her grandmother figured out what was happening, so it was she who saved Jen’s life in the very beginning of Jen’s ride on Durga’s tiger. The last time Jen had chemotherapy, it almost did her in, so at her doctor’s insistence, she will be admitted at CPMC in San Francisco for four days, once per month, for four extremely intense treatments. This cancer she has is smart cancer, and so can adapt to the chemo. Do you believe that? The doctors are prepared to switch chemicals if and when needed in the middle of her treatment. Jen says she really likes her new oncologist. The doctor’s sense of humor is intact, which is important to Jen because her sense of humor (that, and her love for You, Ma) are her two greatest weapons in this war she is waging. They worry about Jen’s weight, though. Once she was a square block, 4x4, and topped the scales at over 200 pounds at less than five feet high. Now, after a vertical gastric bypass for weight loss a little over a year ago, she is at 140 pounds. She is expected to loose 70 pounds with her treatments. That worries the doctor’s, too.

Last, but not least, after four months of intense chemotherapy, Jen will go into the hospital for stem cell regeneration. In isolation for one month, the doctor’s will repress her immune system to the point of non-existence, and then reboot it using cells taken from her neck. The reboot takes another separate month, also in isolation.

In spite of all this, Jen’s doesn’t waste one moment feeling sorry for herself. She doesn’t complain, laughs whenever she can, and is more concerned about her son and her parents, her family, than she is about herself. Right now, she is determined to be on the planet through August, which is when her son is marrying his high school sweetheart. She knows she may not live through the treatment, but she has accepted what is happening, and so doesn’t rail against it. I am truly humbled by her courage.


Jen 2006

Shining Jen


As I’m thinking about Jen, Leslie processes this information which makes her very uncomfortable because her mother died with lung cancer. She feels almost too terrible for Jen, and so must keep her distance. Instead, she focuses on getting the house on the market, so we can get the ball rolling to return to San Francisco. In this way, last Sunday, one week from today, she was taking Elizabeth and Lindsay to get a pair of sandals (we had Lindsay overnight, and yes, her mother paid us for the shoes). They are the cutest sandals you’ve ever seen, with a rhinestone skull and cross bones on the top, perfectly demonstrating our daughter’s love of the macabre. Just a little of goth fashion, without the grossness, and just enough bling to suit her sensibilities. After dropping the girls off at the house, Leslie happened upon an open house she had her eye on. She went inside and there found the real estate agent that would represent our property. That’s how it works for Leslie. She needs something, in all sincerity, and then follows the invisible string through her daily life until she runs right into it. This agent’s name is Stacy, and she lived in California for a very long time herself. Our house will be on the market by the end of the day today, and we have our open house next weekend, hence the hysterical rush to get a million things done. I mean, really, this place has amped up from 10 miles an hour to over 90 in less than a day. Our home looks fabulous, and it’s all because of Leslie’s excellent taste and design sense … and that magic string she follows. The one You are holding the end of.

Concurrently, my grandmother went into the doctor’s office last Wednesday for an out patient procedure. After light anesthesia, she got extremely sick, couldn’t stop vomiting, and then spiked a sudden temperature. The rest home sent her to the hospital, where she still is today.

My grandmother is dying.

Her kidneys are functioning at only 20 percent, her heart is failing, and now she has pneumonia. My Aunt Edwina is leading the pack on this charge, staying abreast of my grandmother's condition, making sure her treatment is consistent, weathering the apathy of some doctor's, and the gentle inevitability of what is happening. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother at this time, as I see her steel interior, and finally understand that the other side of stubborness is durability. She's just buried her mother-in-law, and is dealing with serious issues in her own life, yet each day she gets up and faces the day. Faces the future. Every single day, when I'm sure it would be easier to stay in bed. Just stay in bed. My Aunt Edwina is also struggling with the need to let her mother go, which must happen to facilitate Thelma's peaceful passing. My mother (the estranged one) drove in from Massachusetts yesterday, and … get this … my Aunt in Georgia, the oldest one, just happened to have scheduled a trip up here for this Wednesday.

A coincidence or synchronistic happenstance?

I don’t believe in coincidence.

Last week, on Friday, I think, I did a tarot card reading. It was a single card draw, and I asked if my grandmother is going to die. What card came up? The High Priestess card, which in my esoteric history, is the card that represents You, my spiritual mother, Amma. You are, no doubt, telling me You has the situation well in hand.

Edwina, Jo Carol, and Barbara Jean

Edwina, Jo Carol, and Barbara Jean


Thelma is exhausted, and this time around she isn’t frantic in her delirium. But the need to make peace with her three daughters is most urgent. I can feel it in my bones, and so I keep my distance as much as I can, so they can have privacy, balancing that against capturing whatever precious moments I can with her when she is still here. My mother and Aunt Barbara, who I am no longer close with, don’t need me there hogging up all the space as they try, in their way, to make peace with their mother, even though they’ve gone out of their way to blame their life’s mistakes on her. Ah, it’s a long story, and not pertinent to this blog. So, my prediction is that Thelma will hang on, suffering, until she can see her oldest daughter once more.

I’ve talked to Thelma’s younger sister, Lorraine, through this, and she isn’t doing so well herself. She lives in Utica, New York. She’s 80, sounds like she’s a youngster, and has a bad heart, too. She cried over the phone, laughed over the phone, remembered so much about her sister that she loved and also didn’t like. I felt privileged to hear it, all love, from this octogenarian’s mouth. She is my Aunt Tootsie, a fiery Leo herself, who has three children, all wholly devoted to her in this life.

This morning, Margaret’s mother (our daughter’s girlfriend, Margaret), got me on the phone to ask about my grandmother, and we were launched into a 45 minute conversation about the Blessed Mother. Val tells me that she can tell Leslie and I are closer to the Blessed Mother than anyone she knows, and coming from Val, who has a close personal relationship with Mary, this was something to hear. She is also a firm believer in Padre Pio, and the church she goes to has a beautiful statue of him out in the front. We dropped Elizabeth off there yesterday so she could hang out with them during a craft fair, and Elizabeth asked me who he was. I told her he was a holy man, like You, Amma, are a holy woman. Elizabeth and Margeret are determined to spend as much time together as possible before we leave the state, insofar as Margaret has refused a family vacation in June. Val, whose youngest daughter is autistic, gave over the child's health to Padre Pio two years ago. This was just before running into the language therapist who helped transform her from a non-verbal urchin, who at 7 was prone to throwing herself against walls, into the highly verbal, social, and almost main streamed delight that she is now. There are miracles in Val’s life all the time.

This last week was so incredibly intense. It is like being lifted out of the usual space time continuum and dropped into another, faster, more intense and synchronistic one ... one that is full of dualities (which reminds me I have an article to write on dualities before the end of the month). I am excited and sad, dizzy and focussed, and invigorated yet physically tired. You assure me, Amma, that you are at the helm by manifesting in the unlikeliest of places.

This is how it happens for us. One minute things are quiet, and I’m bored, and the next minute they are fast, and I have way too much to do.

It’s going fast, and I’ve got a fistful of that Tiger’s hair.

I'm holding on, Ma ... holding on.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Affirmation


An affirmation for you from a serene spider woman.

No lie.

You'll probably recognize the graphic, too ... it seemed appropriate.
I had a dream two nights ago. I was working, but it was the sort of job I have now where I'm not accountable to anyone and can come and go when I need to. In the dream, it was day time, felt like dusk, and I was at a mall, one I didn't recognize. At first I was in the parking lot with the horizon on my left and the corner of a giant supermarket in the mall on the right. I went into the supermarket and got soup self-serve style, only I was pouring it into a torn tyvec envelope and it kept falling out all over the place. I tried twice with two different envelopes.


Then, I was outside again looking at the horizon ... there were enormous & ominous black storm clouds in the far distance. Numerous tornado funnels touched down on the earth. It was pretty far out there but on the way. I went back into the mall and called my boss, and in the dream my boss was Caroline. My boss now is the antithesis of Caroline in all ways, and she's in New Jersey, which is even better. I told Caroline there was pretty bad weather coming, and she didn't care. Her tone was completely apathetic, which didn't (and doesn't) surprise me.


Then I woke up.


Just so you know I'm sincere, here is a copy of an email I sent to an internet friend ...

Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 18:31:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Donna Faber"
Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Re: Dreams
To: "Mae"

That's really cool ... thanks for sharing, too. I hear that large bodies of water are like your consciousness, you know? And I know there's symbolism about the ball. And the full moon? WOW! That is the coolest ... high tide. You realize that Roseanne's studio is called "Full Moon High Tide" right?

I had a dream this morning, too. I was at a mall that I've never been at before, and I was there for work. In my job, I manage a bunch of people and my boss is in New Jersey, so I'm not accountable to anyone really. I can come and go when I need to. I was in a supermarket, trying to get some soup, but I was putting the soup in an envelope and it kept ripping and falling out and everything. Then, I looked out the window and on the horizon there were these horrible storm clouds with tornado funnels touching down, like, a bunch of them. How wierd. I never dream about things on the horizon or storm clouds and definitely not tornadoes, although I know someone who dreams about a tornado coming through her house just before something terrible happens. It being on the horizon seems significant to me. Then, I called my boss to tell her the weather, only it wasn't my current boss, it was my old boss, in the job I left after 19 years, because she was stumping my career. Her name was Caroline. I called to tell her and she was totally uninterested.

*****************************************

So ... THIS is why I'm fat!

Fat Ladies


As I ponder my weight and health, my ego (which has a mind of its own) looks quite instinctively for someone, anyone, to blame. After giving my ego a moment to vent, I think I've found the culprit! GENETICS! And now to rationalize my claim.

Let's start with My great-grandmother, Grace, who is Thelma's mother, and second from the right. The others are her sisters, Pansy, Buelah and Maude. Although living in depression era America, these women are "thick" and would fill out their spanx with no effort. You can't tell me they got this way living on a diet of collard greens and the family goat.

Thelma blowing a bubble ...

This is my grandmother, Thelma, back in the mid-80's. She visited Leslie and I in San Francisco, and we caught this moment of repose in our livingroom. Granted, Thelma wasn't fat before my brothers and I moved in, BUT still, as rationalization goes, it works.

So, I console myself knowing my weight is genetics ... and not too much bread,butter, or "too much tartar sauce on my fishsticks, or too much roast beef on my kaiser roll". Ring a bell? Yes, I thought it might.

Mother & Daughter

This picture was taken in 1997, about four months after Elizabeth was born. I was almost 300 pounds in my 9th month. My mother came across country to stay with us for a while and visit with her granddaughter. It was a tense visit, to say the least, but this isn't the time to go into it. I've included this picture because it so effectively illustrates how alike we are "from the rear", proving once again that "hind-sight" is the great revealer!

In a perfect world, aka a delluded world, I might skip away from this topic blaming genetics, stress, and life in general. Gosh, wouldn't that be easy? If I were to give my ego (that which will be forever known as "Trixie")it's way, the list would go on and on. But then, it isn't genetics, stress or life that keeps walking to the cubbard for snacks at 9:00 p.m. at night, is it.

Ah, old habits die hard, don't they?

As I move toward making a commitment to my body and my health as a worthy temple for the Goddess, a vessel for the Divine Mother residing within, I can't help but look back at this silly stuff.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ROSEANNE BARR

One of my favorite loud-mouth comediennes and a truly spiritual person. Oh how I miss her Forum when it isn't up. I've met so many wonderful people there, and have an appreciation for Roseanne's willingness to get close to her fans on the web.

I did this on June 5, 1992. The original is 8.5x11 and done on Bristol water color paper in india ink. It was inspired by a photo shoot done for Vanity Fair. She's holding a riding crop, which I think is too cool. I mean, what a way for a large woman to celebrate her personal power. You go, Ro! Crack that whip, girl!
With great affection for Roseanne!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

AFFECTION

“Words which cannot be spoken,
are felt in your warm embrace.”

So true in 1988 when I did this piece to honor an always synchronistic but extremely confusing past life affiliation. Too often, there simply aren’t the words to express multi-dimensional resonances to past lives. Now, in spite of everything, but perhaps because of everything, there is nothing left but lessons learned, well wishes, and great affection.

This original artwork is 8.5 x 11 and done on Bristol water color paper with India ink.
October 16, 1988.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Jane Devin, Jim Jones, and the Fundamentalist Mormon Church

Lately, it seems my horizons on the net are expanding as I make new internet friends. These are people who, like me, seek to connect over the amazing phenomenon that is grandmother spider’s greatest modern day accomplishment. We’re all little spider babies traversing the world wide web. It’s cool when we bump into someone we can relate to. It has me thinking back on when I was just out of high school, publishing a silly little newsletter called “Feminine Connections” and writing as many hand written, snail mail letters as I could for the same reason.


To connect with people of a like mind.

One of my most wonderful discoveries as of late is Jane Devin at her website of the same name. Jane is a wonderful writer who isn’t afraid to tackle the most unsavory of topics while providing her personal spin in a sympathetic yet brutally honest manner. She also takes time to praise her favorite celebrities and personalities, perhaps a muse, someone she finds inspiring for one personal reason or another. I really dig this, as I am an enormous fan of both Rosie O’Donnell and Roseanne Barr (the 2 Rosies), as well as their opinions and charitable work. Although, I have to admit my obsession with Dolly Parton (always the Dolly Momma to me) surpasses regular fandom. I mean, any celebrity who channels Jesus, whispers to dolphins, or embodies a guardian angel is more than okay in my book. Jane seems to have a knack for discovering those celebrities whose light shines much brighter than the rest. And so, I find Jane refreshing, and I find myself going back there again and again.

Today my calendar at work spontaneously cleared, so I was screwing around on-line and ran into an article Jane wrote on Jonestown in November 2007. This struck a chord in me particularly given all the media coverage on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eldorado, Texas. There are 416 children embroiled in a media circus that threatens to make O.J.’s trial look lame.

There are 416 children whose future is at stake.

At least these kids may have a chance.

Jane’s article on the Jonestown tragedy is here. Her reflection and outrage speaks for itself.

It’s very powerful stuff, and it got me to thinking.

There were 287 children who died in Guyana in November of 1978. There were 287 children who didn’t get a chance, whose final struggle was only hinted at in forensics, and whose ultimate demise was left to burn a hole in the memories of Jonestown survivors forever.

I was close friends with a man who survived Jim Jones and The People’s Temple, and he and I spent much time talking about his experience over about 12 years beginning in 1990. We worked together. It was difficult for him to make sense out of it all, primarily because the brain washing he suffered was so efficient that it skewed his perception of reality. He left The People’s Temple a young man before Jones moved his flock to Guyana, and he always felt getting out early made his experience less valid somehow, particularly in the face of those who died. I can assure you he suffered, as well. He lost a brother in Guyana, and he never got over it.

The time he spent in the People’s Temple, after his mother abandoned him and his siblings there, were most impressionable years, the time when a boy creates a sense of who he will become. This fellow, my once friend, spent those years very, very close to Jones himself , hanging out and getting in trouble with the Reverend’s children. He suffered the abuse, humiliation, and sustained brain-washing which was “Father’s” greatest gift to the tender children in his flock. He got the paddle behind the podium. He suffered the sleep deprivation. He drove up and down the California Corridor tucked into the overhead baggage carrier in the church’s bus caravan. My friend maintained, even into his late forties, that Jones was a magic man, somehow superhuman, capable of preaching all night on his pulpit, pushing everyone into debilitating catharses, without needing to take as much as a piss break. When he left the church, my friend went into hiding, convinced that Jones would send his henchman to kill him. After all, so many of those who left did reach an untimely and mysterious death in the San Francisco, Bay Area. The media made sure that message was loud and clear. When the media announced post-mortem that Jones was addicted to amphetamines, my friend didn’t believe it. It didn’t matter that Jones was dead. The threat was there embedded forever in my friends’ mind, and he carried it with him, raw and unrefined, every single day of his life.

The children who died in Guyana are gone, their chance at life stolen early on by a false prophet, a strung out, predatory charismatic. The children coming out of the compound in Eldorado, Texas, even the 13 year olds who are married and having children, still stand a chance. If they are brought out of the church, they’ll have to be deprogrammed. Some will survive, some won’t. Others may strive to get back into the only world they know, their comfort zone, be it heaven or hell. Maybe a few of them will go out into the world to make their mark, holding forever with them the knowledge that they came this close to suffering the religious high-jacking of their free will. Still, these children aren’t dead yet!

If what they are saying about the abuse going on inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eldorado is true, then returning those children to their brainwashed mothers would be like sending my friend back to Jonestown in Guyana knowing he was going to die anyway … wouldn’t it?

I don’t know if my ex-friend would agree with me. He felt himself somehow separate from the pain he knew other People’s Temple and Jonestown survivors felt. Maybe it was his pride, and maybe he didn’t feel worthy. Besides, he and I don’t speak any more. He suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, and had a problem with drugs and alcohol. He self-medicated because the Church left him thoroughly untrusting of medical professionals and society in general. When 2002 rolled around, 12 years into our friendship, he was inebriated by noon every day. I had to let him go, and he wouldn’t speak to me after that.

In her blog, Roseanne Barr has very specific comments that you can read here. She rarely minces words. Rosie O’Donnell wonders if the media coverage is a government diversionary tactic. She’s always on the lookout for a conspiracy, that one. I don’t know what Dolly thinks. She rarely weighs in on this sort of thing, but she’s got Jesus and gravity, so she’s just fine, riding the comet of success that is her Capricorn right at this point in Earth’s astrological history.

I believe the children in Eldorado stand a chance, and so are worth the effort it’ll take to prove the presence of abuse in the sect and extricate them from their church. Their path won’t be easy. They’ll miss their mothers for sure. At some point when they grow up, they’ll have to face their demons as adults … something my friend couldn’t do.

As fucked up as this world is, there has to be more than just a handful of those children who might just do well, don’t you think?

I think Jane would agree.


End Note: I picked up the picture at the top of this article somewhere on the web. When I figure out where it came form, I'll be sure to post credit accordingly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WHEN ISIS RISES

See the new post on my spiritual blog, When Isis Rises. This one took forever in coming. Had so much to work out. So much to face in myself, before the words could come. But they did eventually, in a torrent.

KAPWING!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

REVISITING AMMA 2007

This blog entry was originally posted to Multiply on May 28, 2007, the last time I saw Amma in New York City. I am looking forward to the next time I see her, and am anxious to be back in close proximity to Ammachi in the Bay Area once again. Jai Ma, baby, Jai Ma!

Amma More Flowers

It’s been two years since I saw my spiritual mother, Amma. Last year, as we were relocating from the Bay Area to Connecticut, She was either just leaving New York or just getting to California. There was so much going on in a short period of time in our lives, and Her tour never coincided with our schedule.

I saw her on Thursday, May 24, at the Community Church of New York City for an individual blessing. I was on a train out of New Haven by 6:30 a.m. The multi-denominational church was lovely but as a venue it was very different from California. The people helping were very serious and not as personable. I don’t think there were more than 75 people there at 9 a.m., which is a vast difference from the hundreds that can gather in a U.S. individual blessing and, of course, the thousands that crowd to Her in India for the quickest of blessings.

It’s harder, suddenly, to describe how I feel about Amma, but I believe it’s because my perspective has shifted over the last two years. I’ve been seeing Her since the year 2000. Elizabeth was three the first program we attended in Berkeley. Since then, my relationship with Her, like my feelings, has transformed. In the beginning, there was so much healing to do. I felt like a broken jug full of mud, and Her presence was like a fantasy. I felt Her in my heart when I was with Her, and now and again I was reminded in dreams. But, I felt unworthy of Her attention and felt as though I had to bring something to Her each time I saw her. Like, if I didn’t bring Her a gift, She wouldn’t want to see me. So, She spent the first several years of our time together pouring out the mud, adjusting my life, removing stresses, prioritizing my views, and dispelling the many, many illusions I had created for myself without knowing it. She also began the quiet business of proving she was there to stay.

During my last visit with Her, in July of 2005, she worked on me diligently, as if She knew it would be an eventful time and I would need all the divine energy I would accept. Ma gives us the energy we need, re-energizing us each time we see her, and prescribing ways to maintain the ties in her absence … but She never forces more than we can handle. In this, She gave me the confidence to embrace an alternative to what I thought was a perfect trap at work. In fact, She gave me the insight to realize alternatives were even possible! I quit my job and we moved, leaving behind a downward economic spiral and incredible frustration and stagnancy on the job. In the past, a move like that was motivated by sheer nerve, something I’ve never been short of. This time it was faith. I was definitely too tired for any grand or ball-sy dramatics. Amma gave me the concrete faith I’d need to know in my heart of hearts that everything will be just fine. My job search will be successful, and we will either settle into this strange state called Connecticut, or we will be whisked back to California. Wherever we are supposed to be is where we will be.

In 2005, Amma promised she would always be there for me, verbally and specifically, more than once. I needed to know, I mean, really know, that She, my spiritual mother, would never leave me. She looked me straight in the eye back then as she made her way down the receiving line and said, “I will never, ever leave you!” It nearly brought me to my knees. With that, she healed my fear of abandonment, and helped me nail down when and where those buttons are pushed. Then finally, She gave me the confidence I needed to end toxic relationships that were present in my life. Hanging on to the past is no longer on the menu, ladies & gentlemen. Elvis has left the building.

Ushering for Amma

In 2005, Amma put me to use as an attendant during individual blessings, and I did the flower arrangements for her programs. This acknowledged me as value adding person in the world. She made me realize that I am worthy of happiness and prosperity, and that I am capable. How could this be accomplished by a tiny Indian holy woman? I can only express the truth of this, as I now it. She is there for me. She has never let me down spiritually, and she has never let me down pragmatically. Amma is there, present in all levels in my life, helping me navigate through this crazy world from the tiny throne where she sits, installed forever in my heart of hearts. My ishta devi, Karunamayi Ma.

In New York, by the time Amma arrived in the Church it was almost 10:00 a.m. She glided in from the right side door, a speedy entrance, yet a tiny woman, and made Herself comfortable in Her chair at the front of the room. Her eyes moved about and lucky ones were flashed a smile of recognition. She recognized me. Don’t ask me how, but every single time I attend a program, she recognizes me, and I am overwhelmed by the motherly flash of love She extends as She places her hand on her heart and smiles. This time it was unexpected, and my eyes filled with tears (no surprise there). My heart threatened to burst, so I had to turn my head from her gaze. One of these days, I truly hope I will be able to withstand more and more of Her love transmission.

Swamiji gave a brief talk, as usual, and She did a ritual with the Sri Chakra, also par for the course. Bob Madaloni was there, one of her tour group. He looked great! Hard to believe that less than a year ago he had stage 4 throat cancer and no money. He is presently cancer free, which was a joy to see. He was really into his orientation, stand up comic style and absolutely thrilled to be there, and he had attendees laughing out loud. After being on the distant periphery of his treatment (his friend, Melanie emailed many of us regularly), I can see and appreciate the power of Amma’s healing. I can truly appreciate the benefit of surrendering our fear to Her, most particularly in our greatest hour of need. After his orientation speech, attendees had a chance to ask Bob all kinds of questions. Of course, they had no idea what he’d been through, so they asked questions about their blessing. I remember worrying about those types of details, too. What kind of words do I use? Can I have more than one problem? The one thing that came right up to the surface in my mind as I sat there was the old warning “be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it.” It’s easy, now, to see how careless we are at first, underestimating the importance of Amma’s trips to the U.S. It’s so easy to forget that each of us are only one out of thousands and thousands of people who have problems. What is amazing to me is that out of all those thousands and thousands, She still has a place in her heart for me. She has a place for every single one of us if we wish to claim it.

Evening Program in Palo Alto


My blessing was brief. I hung around for almost 300 people so I could sit there and soak up Her divine energy, but by noon I found myself anxious to be heading back to my family. It’s funny how that happens. When She’s in town, I can’t wait to get to her. However, when I’ve had my fill, and it’s not some intellectual thing that tells you “you’ve had your fill”, it’s more of a feeling, I find myself ready to head home. She lets me go. She lets everyone come and go as they please. You can spend every moment that she is in the U.S. with her. You can follow her to India if you wish. She will not, under most circumstances, object to Her children wanting to be in her presence. Everything with Amma is a feeling, a presence in the subtle channels of our person. In 2005, I couldn’t get enough, and after doing Her flowers, and spending all day of individual blessings attending to Her in the line, I begged to be able to see Her again in Los Angeles for Guru Poornima. I must’ve been sincere, because she granted my need, plopped a $4,000 bonus from work in my lap, and we found ourselves driving to Los Angeles for the weekend of her very last program in the United States that year. Sincerity is the key. You can’t fake sincerity, and you certainly can’t fool Mother. Just like a child can’t fool her own mother, we children can’t fool our spiritual Mother. When I think of the lame things I approached her with early on, I cringe. She understands.

We are instructed to write our name on an index card, in the upper right hand corner. Then, we write, in simplest terms, what our problems or desires are on the rest of the card. When we approach Ma, we hold our hands in front as if in prayer and hold the card in between them for her to take. My card had three things on it. The first was “bless Leslie”, and the second was “bless Thelma”. She took the card from my hands, and read it as she stroked my head with her right hand. I never close my eyes when I’m that close to her. I don’t want to miss anything. Her eyes closed, and I envisioned Ma sending her subtle self out of the church and to Connecticut where she bopped Leslie on her head in blessing, and then after seeking out Thelma, bopped her in blessing, too. Silly, I know, but that’s what went through my head. Elizabeth, of course, receives her blessings through us. The third thing on my card was “bless job search”, and briefly I worried that she wouldn’t know what it meant. Silly me for underestimating the educational knowledge of Saraswati. After blessing my head, she looked at me quite seriously, and pointed to the third point on my card. “I will help you with this,” she said, marking yet another time when her involvement in my life moved away from the generalized “Mother will help you” to the very specific “I will help you”. There is a significant difference. In our involvement with Amma, at times it seems like she holds herself separate and apart from the Goddess. Then, other times, she IS the goddess. Amma reached on to the tray beside her and took up a mantra card and packet of sacred ash (or vibhuti). She said, “you need a good job,” and handed them to me … and, with that, sent me on my way.

I left the Church practically skipping and feeling well taken care of. There was no reason to hang around. She hit the nail right on the head, as usual. And this time I accepted it with no skepticism. I know she will help. Of course, I have to do my part. It’s not like I get to sit on the couch while Amma scours the internet for job leads. No. She helps those who helps themselves, reaching Her arms into the world, perhaps pushing this a little, pushing that a little. Whatever it takes, She will do … when we are sincere and when it really matters.

Mother is everywhere. Her many arms are the world around us. The greatest barrier we have to that realization is our own fear, and the concrete wall we erect around our hearts for safety. But when Amma finds a chink in that armor and begins the steady business of melting away our pain, we discover that the greatest love in the world is Mother’s divine love.

I’m here to tell you … it’s the truth, and it’s there for you, if you want it.


End Notes: The photos above are from Amma's Bay Area Program in 2005 and are all copywritten by the SMVA. If you look real close you can see me in there. It was a grand program and a grand day. A true turning point in my life. I did the flower arrangements, the big ones, that are on each side of Amma's chair.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Totem Trouble

I went into great detail here on how my totem animal is the spider and what it means to me. So, it is highly significant when I see a spider, where I see a spider, and what the spider might be trying to tell me, right? Well, after spending a lovely lunch hour with Leslie and my grandmother at the Regency House just down I-91, I was back in my office at work. One of the girls that sits down the hall was passing by and STOMPed her foot right in the opening to my space! She killed an enormous black spider (I mean, large and fuzzy, the size of a quarter) just as it was marching in here to give me a message! I asked her to stop so I could see what it looked like, and trust me, it was a big sisterfriend alright.


What was it trying to tell me before meeting its most untimely demise?

My phone rings and its Leslie (it's always Leslie). She's racing around town doing errands in between dropping me off, and dropping off Elizabeth, and picking us up etc. And she tells me she is convinced Thelma knows we're going to leave Connecticut. What? First, Thelma was adamant that she didn't see Edwina last night, and Wina was there (like she always is) by 6:00pm every Sunday evening. You could set your watch against it. Granted, the old girl gets a painkiller in the evening, but it doesn't do much more than afford her a mild buzz. She also knows Wina and I aren't on speaking terms really, right now. When Wina is there, she is always talking on the phone to her older sister (Thelma's oldest daughter), Barbara Jean aka Bob. And thinking Thelma doesn't listen, she blabs about everything (as Thelma takes concise mental notes and begins processing forthwith). Then, over lunch today, Thelma went to great lengths to tell me she understood the Regency was her home, and she has friends there, and sure, she gets scared sometimes, but she's doing just fine. She tells me she has a lot in head and sometimes it gets going very fast. I mean, she has been thinking about it, and was telling me her thoughts in ernst! My 87 year old, demented grandmother gave me a real talking to. Throughout lunch she was chatting with people, having conversations, eating everything on her plate, and what's more, not complaining. AKA going to great lengths to demonstrate everything in her world is just fine, okey doke, no problemo, seniorita.

It went careening directly over my head.

Then, the spider got squished.

And then Leslie called me and gave me the spider's message.

Grandmother Spider come a'calling to give me a message about my grandmother.

But still ... it couldn't be good when your totem animal gets squished.

Note: The photo above is my grandmother and I in 1964 on Reed Street, the first apartment my parents lived in when they got married.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't Tell Me

I've been painting all day ... not a picture, the walls. Painting painting painting. Unending walls of white that blend into the white that is already there. I keep coming back here, but I can't think of anything to write.

In lieu of something clever, here is my favorite song by Madonna. Like Stevie, she sings my heart ... don't tell me to stop, because I can't.



Madonna - Don't Tell Me
Album: Music
2000 HQ
Lyric: Don't tell me to stop

Tell the rain not to drop
Tell the wind not to blow
Cause you said so
Mmm mmm

Tell the sun not to shine
Not to get up this time, no no
Let it fall by the way
But don't leave me where I lay down

Tell me love isn't true
It's just something that we do
Tell me everything I'm not
But please don't tell me to stop

Tell the leaves not to turn
But don't ever tell me I'll learn, no no
Take the black off a crow
But don't tell me I have to go

Tell the bed not to lay
Like the open mouth of a grave, yeah
Not to stare up at me
Like a calf down on its knees

Tell me love isn't true
It's just something that we do
Tell me everything I'm not
But don't ever tell me to stop
(Don't you ever)

Tell me love isn't true
It's just something that we do
(Don't you ever)
Tell me everything I'm not
But don't ever tell me to stop
(Don't you ever)

Please don't
Please don't
Please don't tell me to stop
(Don't you ever tell me)

Don't you
Ever
Don't ever tell me to stop
(Tell the rain not to drop)

Tell the bed not to lay
Like the open mouth of grave, yeah
Not to stare up at me
Like a calf down on its knees

Friday, April 11, 2008

SPRING CLEANING



Dear Bloggers,

I’ve never considered myself sensitive to the seasons. I grew up in Connecticut and was either unaware of the way the seasons might have affected me or wasn’t affected at all. I remembered how humid it can get, but oddly I don’t seem to mind it as much as I used to. After living in California for 20 years and then moving here in 2006, I’ve discovered that I am indeed sensitive to the seasons. What do they call it? Seasonal dysphoria or something equally ominous. Rosie O’Donnell would know what it’s called. Whatever it is, let me confirm that the winter does make me feel very, very funky.

The last few days have been full of sunshine and warm breezes. At last! All the trees bringing forth their buds respond to the magic of spring. Not just the tiny red ones on the maples, but the willow tress have gotten greener, too. The birds have returned. There are cardinals and blue jays in the backyard. We’ve seen ground hogs, big ones, here and there alongside the thruway. Even the stars seem brighter, if that is possible. The sunshine has pushed the clouds from my head away, as well, and shines new perspectives and renewed optimism on the future.

In his article “Astrology Stress Zones for April 2008 - Mars stimulating Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces” astrologist Robert Wilkinson (
www.aquariuspapers.com) makes timely points about this very topic. I have a Leo sun and loads of Virgo in my natal chart.

Leo and Virgo people are entering a fallow period where you'll to do closure rituals, preparing for a whole new cycle to come starting late June through mid-July 2008. This period is directly related to the process of re-doing, undoing, or rearranging something ... for Leos, it concerns your sense of the future, your education, your home, your family, or revisiting something of your early life. For Virgos, it concerns your perspective, how you communicate, your environment, desires, siblings, shared resources, magnetism, and what you need to let go of to create the space to regenerate or attract what you need.

As my family and I get ready to put our house on the market and move back to the West Coast (which I am convinced will happen quickly once the ball is rolling), I am preparing to leave this place and the past behind once and for all. I’ve already started a list of things I’ll miss and things I won’t miss. My homage to the state I was born in. The last two years have been about readdressing the distant past as time and circumstance allowed one last dance with each issue.

This is work I might have done in 1987 when Leslie and I were here before. I wasn’t ready, and so I carried my baggage around for another 20 years. Every issue I encountered then (my mother, brothers, childhood friendships, and relatives) resurfaced again. Every single one! However, this time I’m not looking at the world through rose colored classes. This time my vision is clear. Having grown out of the need for acknowledgement from these people, and no longer treasuring the tiny bits of attention they cast in my direction or seeking my identity in their reflection (no longer settling for scraps), I’ve discovered that self-respect and personal empowerment go a long way toward redefining relationship priorities and letting go of those that are no longer healthy.

I’ve dealt with and put to rest long standing, unhealthy relationship patterns with my mother, my father and both of my brothers. I’ve had to put limits on my dealings with both of my aunts because they adhere to old relationship habits and can’t handle it or don’t understand it when I won’t follow suit. I’ve had to sever more than one life-long friendship due to extreme differences in values and priorities, issues I couldn’t see until I got here.

The silver cord that ran between us pulsated with life whether I wanted it to or not, and my worry and attention fed it thusly. I felt powerless to stop it. Now, to those of you out there who wish to hold me or mine responsible for your own pain, rage, or short comings, I say this -- look unto the mirror for your answers ... I do hereby sever that cord for now and forever. As above, so below~!

These are situations I once carried with me, worried about, and put energy into up until I finally had to let them go. And so, the next few weeks will be about coming to terms with those decisions in a way that prepares my family and I for the future.

It’s all about spring cleaning, my friends.




Jessica Drew




"Spirito del buono augurio!



Sei venuto in mio soccorso,



Credi ne avero gran bisogno,



Spirito del folletino rosso



Giacche sei venuto in mio soccorso,



Ti prego di non mo abbandonare!



E nella mia tasca tu possa portare,



Cosi in qualunque mia bosogna,



In mio aiuto ti posso chiamare,



E di giorno e di notte,



Tu non mi possa abbandare."



By Raven Grimassi



I remain at the hem of Ma's sari forever,

Notes: (1) The cartoon at the very top of this article is Edgar from Lynn Johnston's "For Better or For Worse" (see link on sidebar). (2) Spiderwoman is copywritten by Marvel Comics. (3) If you don't know Madonna when you see her, you must be in a coma.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hello (I Love You)

Promo video from the song Hello (I Love You) by Roger Waters and produced by James Guthrie (The Wall, DSOTM SACD, and more) for the soundtrack of the film "The Last Mimzy".




Lyrics:

Have you heard
It was on the news
Your child can read you like a bedtime story
Like a Magazine
Like a has-been out to grass
Like afternoon T.V.
Why is my life going by so fast.

Hello I love you
Is there anybody in there?
Put down the phone
Shut up the shop
Make all their techno babble stop
We'll find a short-waved frequency
The wave connecting you and me
Hello I love you

Have you heard
It was on the news
The general staff can't figure out
Is this campaign win or lose
Life is long but it goes fast
The kids will have to separate
Their future from our past

Hello I love you
Is there anybody in there?
The ghosts are walking by my side
I feel their love I feel their pride
For I have built a bridge or two
Bridges between me and you
Hello I love you

Have you heard
It was on the news
You can make your peace
On the dark side of the moon
I'll see you there
We can rock 'n' roll
We can make our choice
We can say goodbye or say hello

Hello I love you
Is there anybody in there
Hello...

The Faber Girls
San Francisco, California
August 2007

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More on Bagalamucki


My on-line friend, Monsier Stank, asked to hear more about Bagala. Monsieur Stank is a fellow goddess worshipper, a devotee of the venerable Nelly, a gastric goddess who resides in his microwave. If you read what I've exerpted below, you'll understand more about Bagala and what she represents. You'll have to read the Stank Nasty to learn more about Nelly.

I was introduced to Bagala quite some time ago. It was a friend who introduced me to a tantric hindu, an older man who very graciously did people's vedic charts and, very passionately, considered Bagala his ishta devi, i.e., the goddess of his heart, much like Amma or Sri Karunamayi Ma is to me. He has long since fallen off my radar. This goddess coming however indirectly from the friend I used to have is personally significant. She brought Bagala to my attention indirectly and since then I have had to call upon Bagala many times to keep my tongue in check. However, also significant to note is that while Sri Karunamayi Ma is considered the incarnation of Saraswati Devi, who presides over all speech and creativity, so is Bagala (see below), although she feels particularly intense about nasty speech and so drives a peg into the tongue of those can't keep insults and nastiness to themselves, no matter what the excuse and most emphatically including myself. So in a way, they are one in the same, which to me, is highly significant. Also, she is called "The Crane Headed One", and the crane or more specifically, the Great Blue Heron, is a spiritual animal marker of mine. It is important that when reading and digesting this information (Nelly should like that), one thinks in terms of symbolism and metaphor.

Exerpted from www.shivashakti.com ...

She is the goddess of black magic, of poisons. She rules over the subtle perception which make us feel at a distance the death or misery of those we know. She incites men to torture one another. She revels in suffering - Hindu Polytheism, Alain Danielou

This is the first publication, in English, of The Hymn of Bagalamukhi. In the colophon of the work it is stated that it is from the Rudra Yamala, a large and authoritative Tantra considered to be of considerable antiquity, although the original seems to have disappeared.

Bagala or Bagalamukhi is the eighth Mahavidya in the famous series of the 10 Mahavidyas
Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagala, Matangi and Kamala. She is identified with the second night of courage, according to Alain Danielou in his Hindu Polytheism, and is the power or Shakti of cruelty.

Bagalamukhi means "The Crane-Headed One". This bird is thought of as the essence of deceit. As can be seen from the hymn, she rules magic for the suppression of an enemy's gossip. These enemies also have an inner meaning, and the peg she puts through the tongue may be construed as a peg or paralysis of our own prattling talk. She rules deceit which is at the heart of most speech. She can in this sense be considered as a terrible or Bhairavi form of Matrika Devi, the mother of all speech.


Monday, April 7, 2008

A Sign of the Times


Today, my daughter had the “worst day ever”. After spending a wonderful Saturday celebrating her birthday in New York City with her two best friends (and their Moms, gratis), she had a horrible Monday navigating the jealous insinuations of the rest of the girls in her fifth grade class. Elizabeth was so happy going to school. She, Margie & Winnie had a new experience to talk about and share with their classmates. They even had “Build-A-Bear-Workshop” bottled water to use in gym class (gym --- which my daughter and Margaret absolutely hate and Winnie adores and tackles effortlessly). They’ve spent all year being omitted for birthday invitations. Margaret Bossy (aka Bossy Margaret), also in their class, had a party earlier in the year and invited everyone but the three of them. Then, Josie did the same thing. Angelina naturally always has something to brag about excessively … but if you knew Angelina you’d understand she can’t help herself. Regardless, feelings got hurt, as my daughter and her friends tried to understand why they were left out. I still haven’t figured it out.

During recess, Margaret and Elizabeth play on a swing set. They are working on their world record for swinging and are intense about having those two swings every day. They also do a lot of talking when they’re there and their use of the swing during this time period, I understand, is sort of a given. Not today. For some reason, unbeknownst only to her, Jenna (of, oh-sorry-sorry-sorry but-not-really-meaning-it fame) decided that SHE wanted those two swings out of all the swings just for herself and started bullying my daughter and Margaret. Soon, Anneka got on board. She’s a pretty blonde who has moments of evilness that my daughter is aware of and has testified on dramatically at home. Then, Marilee heard about it, and as attracted as she is to any sort of drama, she leapt right in on the action. Then, finally Bailey got involved. Elizabeth thought that she and Bailey might be friends, and I think was particularly upset by her. They had a play date on Club Penguin a week ago. Liz and Margie stood their ground with the mean girls (as Winnie sort of gazed off noncommittally into the distance, which naturally, ticked the other two off righteously). Finally, the girls ratted the others out to the teacher, who is very understanding. Unfortunately, the other brat packers called them “immature” later on for doing so. They couldn’t win.

Margaret’s older sister is engaged in a war with the devil in 8th grade. Same school. She is surrounded by children who are indulged and wealthy, and while the children in my daughter’s class simply try peer debasement on for size in games, these eighth grade girls have it sharpened to a lethal point. It has landed Margaret’s older, more sensitive, and sweet sister into counseling, on a weekly basis, to deal with why she won’t eat and can’t sleep. This kid is a size two at the most already. Her mother hardly recognizes her behavior.

This, dear bloggers, is what almost 25 grand can buy in the state of Connecticut. On the train en route to NYC, Leslie, and the Moms and I discussed the private school options in the state. It’s either one of only a few privately owned institution, all with this sort of disease brewing in its hallways, or it’s parochial school. Ask me if I want my daughter raised by nuns and adhering to the Catholic Church’s code of morals. Um … no thanks. Rumor has it that the school my daughter is in is run by a small group of Moms in the upper grades who have the headmaster and the teachers completely pussy whipped. And while they think their sense of entitlement has their children being treated as special citizens, in fact, what it does is trade their souls in for designer labels. What I see is generation after generation of rich, stressed out, and completely soul-less children being cranked out one class after another.

We ask ourselves … do we want our daughter to be one of those mindless drones?

Negativity is contagious. It takes a much stronger force of positivity to neutralize it, and still the effort must be on-going. In this state, negativity is a cultural grace. In a class full of precocious 8th graders, I imagine that it is easier to give in to the stronger, pushier eighth grader … particularly when she is waving her credit cards around in class and, like, you don’t have one. At the delicate age of 13 when a young person is forming her identity, this can be so confusing, demeaning, and debilitating. Margaret’s older sister has been transformed, and her mother only hopes that she has interceded in time to stop it.

The new millennium’s high school dramatics include bullying, threats of physical violence, psychological warfare, profanity, and critical deconstruction. Throw in one helping of Juicy Jeans at $300 a pair, a pair of Ugg’s, a Capitol One Credit Card, and stir. Then bake at hormonally temperate in high school for about four years. Serve on to college and and then the future when done.


Pray for the world.

Bagalamucki

Bagalamucki

Now is not the time.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Pika!

We had a wonderful time in New York City this weekend celebrating Elizabeth’s 11th birthday. We took her two best friends (and their moms) on the train, on a reasonable shopping trip to New York’s flagship “Build-A-Bear Workshop” store on Fifth Avenue (including lunch at the “Eat with your Bear Hands” Café), and then hit the Nintendo Store at Rockefeller Center. It was exhausting, it was fun, and it was fabulous. It was memorable in the extreme.

New York City is a wonderful place that, like San Francisco, breathes with its own life. I'll miss it when we're back on the West Coast.

Pika! Pika!

Pencil Liz

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dear Ma ...

Well, here it is April and it’s absolutely pouring outside. Once again, the backyard is beginning to flood, and Jack regularly tracks muddy footprints into the house from the backyard, as Daizy dances spastic little rings around him … always watching, always watching, she is. The mud is one of the things I won’t miss when we leave this place.

As a matter of fact, I want to make a record of the things we’ll miss and the things we won’t miss. So if, like, in another 20 years Leslie and I get impulsive, we’ll have something to look back on instead of finding out, again, in person that this place isn’t for us. Like, we’ll miss Dunkin’ Donuts. I love that place. And all the pasta choices on the shelves. I don’t know whether to cook them or make Christmas ornaments out of them instead. I’ll definitely miss the beef, which is a rainbow of taste compared to California steak. We’ll miss the terrific garbage guys who’ll take anything you leave for them (in California they were so particular … it was a struggle), if not some things you don’t want them to take (true garbage pickers at heart, these guys). We WON’T miss the angry, miserable people or the crazy drivers, or the cost of oil, and the depressed job market. The education system here is inadequate and combined with the mean people, the mean children; it is the equivalent of stomping on a growing garden, our daughter being one of its most vibrant flowers. I’d like to keep her vibrant, thank you. The cons outweigh the pros.

Also of paramount importance is the way Leslie struggles here … I didn’t really understand it until I read up on her Pisces Moon. The website Aquarius Papers said that having a Pisces Moon makes one particularly sensitive to the collective consciousness. Leslie and I have discussed this, and she tells me it’s like wading through sewage. It’s made being here particularly difficult for her. She despises this place. I think that if she didn’t have the dogs following her around, guarding her, loving her, piling up on top of her every moment that she is home, it would be worse. But still, it isn’t good.

Ma has given me such a grand opportunity. She’s given me time to sew up loose ends from the past. Well, not all are sewn up, but many, many are. The ones that weighed on me for years and years – my mother, my brothers, my aunts – Amma gave me the opportunity to dance the dance with them and put my past to rest so it no longer burdens me. The brain space is open and available for new experiences, new lessons. Ma has shown me so much about myself here. I went to her in New York a year ago asking for help with my job search, which she verbally acknowledged (“I will help you with this,” she said, “You need a good job.”) and so she plopped me down on an enormous campus that’s only one exit away from where my grandmother lives. It’s where the Blue Heron stares at me each morning when we drive in. After being gone all winter, the Heron is actually back. We saw him the day before yesterday. Definitely a marker … kicking it up a notch, Ma?

Leaving … sigh. Leaving this state leaves me having to face my feelings. And I would much rather side step them or have it all work out neatly on its own. Yes, that would be nice.

I don’t think it will this time.

We’re only a few weeks away from putting this house up for sale, and despite the soft market, I know that when we put this place up it will go quickly. Leslie has used her magic so it now it looks so beautiful. She uses that Piscean magic, the kind that people just have. She doesn’t even see it as magic. It’s just part of who she is. The house doesn’t like us very much, it never has. But it’s had quite the face lift and is feeling fine. I’m hoping that when we start packing we’ll find the numerous articles that have disappeared, the least of which isn’t the $4,000 heirloom ring that Leslie’s father left her. She put it down somewhere weeks ago, and we’ve not seen it since. The house ate it. We are lightening our load of material things considerably, having learned lessons about big houses and material baggage. Okay, Ma, we got that. Yes, even Leslie, my double Taurus, received that message loud and clear. And Elizabeth is ready to leave her school. Despite the age, and despite her friends, she is ready to move on, our agile little Aries Child. She blows me away. What did she say to me last night? She took my hand and said, “Nana, try to be more patient with me, ok?” I promised her I would.

But what about my grandmother?

What about Thelma, Ma? Who will watch over her when I leave? My mother couldn’t care less and even Edwina seems content to do the minimum. The rest home she’s in is a good one, but it doesn’t even attempt to cater to the emotional needs of its residents. And I’m convinced that it is our presence that makes Thelma’s aides pay closer attention. When we’re gone for more than a few days, Thelma goes back to being in her own world, and things get lax. When we see her, she is attentive, connects with us, wants to talk, eat together, and enjoys us. Who else will be here to make sure her care is appropriate? Who will ensure her transition from the hospital is a smooth one? Who will make sure her pain medicine is administered on time?

Who will take care of my grandmother when I’m gone?!

Don’t tell me … I know the answer already.

I wonder if my presence makes Thelma reluctant to let go. Could this be the case? Of course, it can. And so she remains here suffering because she thinks there is nothing else? Who knows what contract she made entering into this life. This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that she will be alone again when I am gone, even though I know that I have little to do with her spiritual journey. I know that her lessons are her own, and while our presence here brought her from her personal darkness for a time so she could enjoy her great grand-daughter, my inner voice keeps telling me that perhaps it is time to leave her to her maker.

How can that be?

I feel like I should be here with her, after everything she has done for me. I’m having so much trouble reconciling the guilt I feel with the higher purposes, most of which are muddy. This becomes a matter of trust, I know. Trust in the Divine Mother.

I asked Amma months ago, when I was struggling with the decision to leave, if I was to stay or go. She shortly thereafter made it obvious to me that the needs and well being of my immediate family are more important that my own desires. And even so, more important than my grandmother’s will. And if I’ve learned nothing from my time here with the old girl its’ that when the grim reaper comes knocking, Thelma’s issues are with her daughters, not with me. Maybe my presence keeps them away. Maybe when I leave, they will get closer. I hope so. Because the thought of my grandmother rotting away all alone is truly more than I can bear.

I can’t see the pattern yet.

And so I am left to trust Amma.

I put Amma’s picture up on the wall in Thelma’s room. One of the aids in her room, a Hindu woman, asked me who it was.

Please Ma, ease this pain.

Take care of my grandmother, ok?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Mind Chronicles



I first heard about Barbara Hand Clow almost 10 years ago ... trust me, I didn't get it. I picked up one of her books in a store at Penn Station on the way to New Jersey about 6 months ago. It rang chimes in my head. It was hard to understand, but it rang chimes. Then, about a month ago, I ordered this book, her book on Chiron, and the one called "Catastrophobia". So far, I've been able to get through only this one. It's not that it is difficult reading. It's that it takes time to absorb. It rattles me on many levels ... rattles, rattles, rattles ... and then like a slot machine's wheels coming to rest, suddenly it clicks. While the book I have is cluttered with underlines and highlighting, these are some quotes that speak to me the loudest.


“Whenever humans have gotten out of balance, the owl returns: It is a harbinger, a bird of great warning. Owl is the Keeper of Species. Humans can create anything, but they do not have the right to destroy the Earth and her creatures. Owl is the Goddess of the forest and the watcher of the crystal skull.” P. 362

“Up to now, your understanding of the mastery teachings has been primarily intellectual, but now, in the light of the Goddess, you will soon shiver with feeling.” P. 353

“She said that Mary was the Earth priestess who was to be the teacher about Christos. She claimed that she is Mary Magdalene’s bloodline. She said it is true that the Nephilim, the gods, came down, but that if the gene of Isis is honored as the female side of the DNA factor, healing will occur. She said that women are not just vessels for the male seed, but that females are the vessel itself, the Grail, the carriers of the vine and the branches.” P.323

“I show them that bees are sacred messengers who suck the female nectar from the flowers to make honey. The flowers are in tune with the cycles of feminine Earth power, and the bees make the flower nectar into honey, which contains the exact, potent energy of essential life formation.” P. 369



Honeybees have mysteriously gone missing from their hives all over the country. Minnesota beekeepers, whose hives are still in hibernation, will learn in coming days how hard they've been hit.


Researchers nationwide are trying to solve a growing agricultural mystery: Where are all the bees? While picnickers may cheer their demise, the rapidly shrinking bee population threatens the pollination and survival of a multitude of commercial crops. A hint of the problem first arose five months ago in Florida where beekeepers said they found whole hives abandoned by adult bees who left behind food and bee larvae, the young that develop inside the hive. "We're at a tipping point but we don't know what's caused the tip," said Kevin Hackett, a bee expert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Minnesota beekeepers, whose hives are still in hibernation, will learn in coming days how hard they've been hit. The prospect of losing a significant number of colonies has some local beekeepers worried. The problem now has a name -- colony collapse disorder -- but no explanation. It concerns one type of bee, the European honeybee, or apis mellifera. Bumblebees and any of the 1,500 other species of bee found in the United States are not in danger, but neither are they a replacement for the honeybee.


By Matt McKinney,
Star Tribune Last update: April 24, 2007 - 11:08 PM
See the rest here.



“We can enter stellar Dreamtime by learning the ways of animals through totemic magic. But we cannot understand animal totems without observing their instinctual habits on Earth. As people connect with their totem animals, they will protect the animals, realizing that they are connections to their own souls. We are soulless without our animal teachers. And the crisis is cosmic! It is no accident that the Zodiac is in animal form.” P. 216

“The part of me that could not resist returning is the part of me that plays. The very instant I was able to feel my own mother’s ecstasy and pain, I was granted my own daughter from the universe; the Goddess was reborn in my own body. This was the first time I had opened myself since my soul was first injured on Earth. Men say that if we could see God, we would be blinded, and women say that when we feel the Goddess, we are stripped of our lies.” P.165

“In your third incarnation as a Pleidian, find hope and connection in the many, many humans who have found my light. When that time comes for you, Aquarius, the water bearer, will energize the planet. The Egyptians knew the secret because their god of the Nile, Hapi, was represented by the hieroglyph of Aquarius. Wait for the water bearer.” P. 132

“… as the kind shaman of the seventh level opens the east gate to Spider Grandmother who weaves us back together, I breathe deeply and open my heart.” P. 377


EARTH INTRUDERS by Bjork




We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches

Turmoil! Carnage!

Here come the earth intruders
We are the paratroopers
The beat of sharp shooters
Come straight from voodoo
With our feet thumping
With our feet marching
Grinding skeptics
Into the soil
Shower of goodness coming to
End the doubt pouring over
Shower of goodness coming to end

We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo

I have guided my bones through some voltage
And love them still
And love them too

Metallic! Carnage! Furiocity! Feel the speed!

We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo
There is turmoil out there

Carnage, rambling
What is to do but dig
Dig bones out of earth

Mud graves! Timber! Morbid trenches!

Here come the earth intruders
There'll be no resistance
We are the canoneerers
Necessary voodoo

And the beast
With many heads
And the arms rolling
Steamroller!

We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders

Muddy with twigs and branches
Forgive us, tribe

We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders

Muddy with twigs and branches

Marching
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