Saturday, September 28, 2013

Allergic to bitterness? What to do about it

"Every member of my immediate family spent years wallowing in bitterness—except for the two of us that are still alive. Living in a family like that is like living on a toxic waste dump. Bitterness poisons your relationships, your daily life, your chances of a better tomorrow, and even your health.
A strong natal Pluto or a series of long, slow Pluto aspects by transit can provide clues to areas where bitterness can build up over time if you let it—and where your repetitive thoughts and feelings may wind up being a daily dose of self-administered arsenic...Being a Plutonian person by birth and family legacy, growing up in a cesspool of bitterness made me wildly allergic to being around it. I don’t quite break out in a rash, thankfully, because there are no shots for that. But my stomach churns and I can hardly breathe.

"The most important part of getting free of resentment and bitterness is persistence in noticing as quickly as possible that you’re slipping into it. Then yank yourself right out of that rut and get to work on understanding what’s going on inside you to create that emotion. - Donna Cunningham

My former writing buddy and internationally respected Donna Cunningham lives in Portland. The other day another of my writing buddies and long-time friend was talking about Portland as a place she's focused on these days. Seems the drive between her home and Seattle has turned from long, but tolerable, to insanely intolerable. So she's weighing up a change in venue for entertainment and fun: Portland and points south. With Portland on my mind and the wind blowing ferociously through the trees here I went searching Donna Cunningham's astrology blog for something to help rid me of a bitter taste in my mouth: Pluto!

The paragraph that opens Cunningham's post "Purge Yourself of Pluto’s Negativity—Get Free of Bitterness" begins with her family of origin. For all the good that is my family legacy there was also that "like living on a toxic waste dump" inheritance that I must be oh so very conscious of. Dangling participle? Yes, but worse than that is the predisposition to remain forever bitter. The season of damp and cold can trigger Pluto in its most destructive manifestations. Or, on the flip side  choosing Mars(action) coupled with Pluto(deep transformation) can be, according to Cunningham, "the manifestation magnet. In birth charts, it is the aspect of a magician, and that’s true for transits as well.  It’s  inherently neither a positive nor a negative aspect. Some use it against themselves and others, attracting destructive outcomes by obsessing on resentments. They generally have no awareness of the consequences of dwelling in such negativity. Others who have it natally use the combination for good by consciously and conscientiously focusing on healing and transformation."

I felt myself triggered by the allergic reaction of bitterness the other day. So close to being sweetly successful I felt the reaction that swells up from bitterness-- the habit. I'm recovering well today, my personal boat visualization is intact; aware of the habit and wise enough today to recognize the manifestation of Pluto for what it is. Whew! Donna Cunningham's article and links to many other Pluto-rich posts is here for you to follow up if you think (or know) you might be allergic to bitterness and ready to point to something sweeter.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Boundaries Visualization

Several years ago I met and communicated with an energy worker named Kachina Houska thanks to astrologer and blogger Donna Cunningham. It was 2009 and I was living in our vardo parked between two houses in Everett, Washington. Saturn was transiting Libra it was a time to experience relationships with the intent to 'clean things up'. Donna invited Kachina to share a boundary setting visualization. I'm sharing it here because I need the reminder.(The link to Kachina's visualization is on my sidebar.) With Saturn now in Scorpio energy is limited, how and where we use energy needs to be considered with wisdom. I had an opportunity to practice this visualization without thinking ... and it worked. Revisiting Kachina's post affirmed the worth of the investment begun 4 years prior.

" When setting boundaries, it is important to build upon a foundation, that you hold firm upon, in every relationship.
It is not uncommon to see that the people that have the most difficulty setting boundaries are the one’s that are complicating the whole matter in their approach. Boundaries are not easy to develop and set if you attempt to instill them in a one-on-one manner.

In other words, if you are currently feeling overwhelmed with many relationships in your life that feel out of balance, and you are feeling severely trespassed everywhere you turn, it is simply not going to be efficient to try to work each and every situation out individually and  with different rules for each relationship.
 You are unlikely to achieve much success this way and will probably just get lost in all of that drama and confused about what it was that you were even attempting to do.
Instead, clear yourself to the best of your ability of all of your thoughts of any personal nature, concerning these existing unbalanced relationships, where you feel like the victim...
Read the entire article here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Artist's Way

Julia Cameron published The Artist's Way in 1992-- a book which in her words, "hammered out spiritual principles as a path to high creativity." I began reading and using those principles shortly after that, some time after my divorce in 1994 and my initial return to Hawaii. I was rebuilding a foundation to start life over. The essential tool in Cameron's The Artist's Way is called "Morning Pages" three long-hand written pages done first thing upon waking. For many years after reading that book I practiced, one day at a time, the spiritual journey through writing those three (and then many more than three) long-hand written pages. In almost twenty years I have gone on to write and live, and create many expressions of my artist's way. As life continues, I have forgotten or found other forms aiding the expression of my art. Last week an old and dear friend, who is also a very fine poet shared with me her newly found joy through the practice of "Morning Pages." As a poet she has also maintained a spiritual path that parallels her writer's life. Are they separate, the spiritual and artist's life? Not really. What she reminded me was the perfect lesson that it seems is one that never loses it's value: practice and play with art and it will feed the whole! I needed this reminder, and am back to writing three long-hand written pages first thing ... before my schedule or my mind take over.

Julie Cameron has written many books about, and as a result of that initial publication of The Artist's Way". I have one of those books next to me as I press the keys for this post: The Artist's Way Every Day a Year of Creative Living. Like a daily reader, I found these two thoughts to include as I share the process, and in so doing, prime my own pump of creativity. "Using our creativity is therapeutic, but not because we need to be fixed. What we need is to be expressive. What's inside us is not all nasty and horrid and terrifying, not all shame and secrets and neurosis. Our inner world is a complex, exquisite, and powerful play of colors, lights, and shadows, a cathedral of consciousness as glorious as the natural world itself. This inner wealth is what the artist expresses."

That thought, that meditation allows me to accept the challenge of my complexity and how easily I can get caught in the quicksand of believing my expression is there to fix. The natural world is complex, ugly, harsh, grand, exquisite, dark and light. The thunder storms of this week have changed the woods from bright to dark. The blazingly yellow new paint on our neighbors house is now a light in the dark forest: not so bad after all! 

"Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain. When we resist what that energy might show us or where it might take us, we often experience a shaky, out-of-control feeling. We want to shut down the flow and regain our sense of control. We slam on the psychic brakes. Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity. The choice to block always works in the short run and fails in the long run."

This thought, this meditation appeases my old habit of wanting to shut down the flow and regain my sense of control. I have a natal signature (astrology) that is charged with control issues. Saturn (in charge of control) rules my chart. My Mars (what I want!) is smashed up against Saturn (controller) in my birth chart. Bear with me as I make the connection between natal (birth issues and predisposition/psyche) and creative expression. Here's some astrology to put into the mix:

"Pluto in Capricorn turns direct on Friday morning(September 20, 2013) . Pluto is in an extremely tight sextile to Saturn in Scoprio.  These planets are in mutual reception. You’d be hard pressed to find a more opportune time to remake your foundation."
The opportunity to remake my foundation challenges me to blast through the blocks that come up when I get close to letting my words fly. For a year now I have been playing with the production of something big and wonderful, creative and deep, magical and mythical and choked full of metaphor. Can I do this, and make sense of all the part so me in a public performance? Blasting out of isolation means all the old habits and thoughts will have to go too.Writing those three hand-written pages is something I do one day at a time. It slows me down, puts something down on paper, and in the doing I clear the blocks, just for today. What a life!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harvest time juggle

A day's picking and a background of other projects that have kept me busy (That's the Vardo porch frame in the back L. I am sewing up a new canvas awning in time for the winter rains.)

The 12 inches 'round apple this year.

Family and friends in the orchard for baked apples, chicken stew and baked salmon.
The newest safety pin talisman to keep the momentum of my work with The Safety Pin Cafe

A pencil and watercolor drawing of the Silver-haired Raven with elegant garb. Don't know yet where he'll appear other then in this sketch.

Summer is still officially present until the Autumn Equinox turns the seasonal page on September 22nd. Busy time here in the woods. Harvesting food, including the 12-inch 'round Graventein apple from our orchard. Juggling activities in the orchard is a theme captured in this simple visual post. A good recap of the weeks' comings and goings.

All the best to you, readers, family, friends!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cooks, goals, dreams and service ... a ramble!

" The very best of cooks are sorcerers, wizards, shamans and tricksters. They must be, for they are capable of powerful acts of transformation. All manner of life, mammal, aquatic, vegetable, seeds and nuts pass through their hands and are transformed by spells — some secret, some written in books annotated with splashes of grease and broth."-Midori Synder from "In Praise of the Cooks"

"Self-criticism is a dream-killer — as is isolation, even of the mental variety. Neptune in Pisces opposite the Virgo Sun urges more fluidity in creative contact with others; it’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all."

 "Declaring my intentions publicly seems to fortify my ability to complete them…or maybe it’s just the embarrassment of wimping out on my promises!" - Donna Cunningham

"Time and experiences stretch the makua o'o to see how resilient and adaptable she or he has become. As I age I am still challenged to make sense of reality and frame my experiences differently because I have changed and my understand of my culture has changed as well." - from "What is Makua O'o?"

Time is passing, summer, seemingly long and blissfully warm and dry, is changing to the damp and muting light of autumn. Harvest time. Our orchard has been abundant this year: beans, mache, tomatoes, a few peas and bags filled with tart Gravenstein apples. Pots of tart applesauce with sprinkles of cinnamon are now stored up in our freezer. Plump tiny green grapes are ripening on the vines that tangle themselves against the garage wall. And, our Welsummer chicks are now officially laying hens leaving us their first beautiful dark brown eggs in the straw. Gardens all over our neighborhood are providing feasts of good food to eat, and to cook up. I love to cook!

In the space of the tiny rooms that we call home, the steam of cooking regular meals turns the Quonset from writing space to cooking things for the belly space. The border between cooking up words and images and making applesauce a thin if not invisible divide. That thin separation can sometimes become a hurdle too large to jump when either my attitude or my inventory of spoons is low. "I'm jugglin' a lot of balls here!" I declare into the space. Pete has seen me juggle many, many balls and seen me too when the balls have turned me into mush. "It's what you do, honey." He replied. "It's what you have always done." He's right. The Leo (drama) genes of me love a drama, but it's also the tight relationship of Saturn (restraints and delays) in my personality (natal chart) that continually challenges me to accept the internal struggles are part of the 'assignment.'

Is that dense material to digest? Someone told me the other day that what I write is 'dense' ... Oh. Well, metaphorically that would account for some of the recipes I've experimented with. But, on other days, the cook will come up with delightful conjurings. It's a balance of things and what's what happens when you have cowlicks.

This summer began our fourth year of living in the woods; living in one place. We have invested in the belief that we can feel safe enough to stay. That is a big investment that happens incrementally. The history of trauma and diaspora eases with practice, faith, and choices that support a new kind of conversation. The belief that life and the dynamics involved with being with others could be different than traumatic asks a person to start from scratch on the one hand, but keep in mind the things that are working. Sticking with this summer, in this space, the goals I set have to do with pushing at the limits of my capacity. Like I said, "I am jugglin' a lot of balls." Here in the Quonset I'm writing the Medicine Cards crafted from the story "The Safety Pin Cafe." Stretching my brain cells and priming the pump of creative juices that project is progressing beautifully. There are challenges and I deal with them as they surface: oh my god! Right, I am still sensitive to inks ... how to manage that while believing the cards are still a great way to be of service to the Goddess of Creativity? What about the issue of collaborators who wear clothing laundered with chemicals? Conversations. They need to be different. Soften the ground of my being. And rest.

They are always there to give me something else, or someone else (my subconscious self) to play out a scene I might be too afraid to experience while 'awake.' I get messages and clues and fold them into the mix of things. Juggling becomes easier. I don't worry that I might drop a ball. Grace steps in. An email from my friend, fiber artist Pam Winstanley, who has taken the challenge to translate the symbols and metaphors for The Safety Pin Cafe came with the subject "magic." She is working on an art piece to depict the journey of Pale Wawae, the border witch. Her work began just as the lightning and thunder storm struck us here a couple days ago. She wrote to ask for my input on her work so far.

Hanging from the ceiling behind me is a print done by Rima Staines. The calligraphy was a gift from another friend given to me when I needed most to believe ... in magic. Rima's artistic hand wrote this (available on Rima's Etsy shop):

Because the greatest secrets
are always hidden
in the most unlikely
Those who don't believe in MAGIC
will never find it
[I]t’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all."– written by Amanda Painter

Monday, September 2, 2013

Scorpio: puzzler and puzzle

 " Scorpio Sun is both the puzzle and the puzzler.
Seeing what is beneath the surface is what Scorpio does best. When presented with a situation where the pieces don’t seem to fit, Scorpio moves those pieces around until they do. When Scorpio can’t make those pieces fit they throw the puzzle in the trash and set off to find a new one, amputation."
 - Satori H

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You need to set your sights higher. When I say need, I mean it’s actually a matter of necessity: commit to something more challenging, demanding more of your personal resources, experience and talent. I see you involved in something visible, that makes a difference in the world. Yet doing something challenging means encountering challenges. They may seem like they’re worldly in nature — involving your circumstances. In truth, all the territory you’re covering is personal. You’re being called to some new and potentially unexpected form of leadership, one that you’ve known for a while you were aspiring to in theory. This month you go from theory to action. Action means taking charge, staying grounded and bringing both a dynamic, even dramatic quality to what you’re doing at the same time you call forth your deepest maturity. As you know, maturity is useless unless it’s put to good use, and this is the order of the moment. As you see the rewards of this way of doing things, I suggest you reinvest them rather than take them as profits. What you need more than anything is momentum toward a tangible goal. Part of that quality is bringing yourself fully into what you’re doing, creating and expressing — and every inner challenge you overcome will get you one step closer to that spot.
- Astrology for September, 2013 (the month prior to The Safety Pin Cafe's debut) by Eric Frances

September begins. Wow, what a summer it has been, and the puzzle of Scorpio continues to challenge me. "This month you go from theory to action," writes Eric Frances. I surely feel the message as I do commit to more challenge and demand more of my personal resources, experience and talent.