Busy? Be Reflective

19 Mar

imageWith the beginning of each new season, I make time to reflect on the prior season. Today I sit outside reading my Winter journal here on the cusp of Spring.

To my delight I find…

“I’m perusing cookbooks fondly remembering the taste of chess squares, date pin wheels and lemon bars as well as making them. Then I look up to see juncos eating millet I just put out which makes me SO happy.”

This entry is dated 18 Dec. 2015 yet just yesterday, three months to the day, I was telling my dear mother at lunch how much I enjoyed making desserts like the above with her at Christmas then delivering them with her to people in our small town community.

I then shared other memories with her that are meaningful to me.

Whether feeding the birds or others or sharing these poignant times with my mother, the recipe for loving -an open, vulnerable, compassionate heart- feeds me and as a result, I experience joy, contentment and peace.

How do you make time to reflect on and honor the shifting seasons, those of the calendar as well as the seasons of your life?

In these busy times, don’t forget the value of reflection.



Busy? Be LIGHT

29 Jun

As I sat bathed in yesterday morning’s sun, I wrote in my journal:

I am fed. I am fed. I am fed. 

Due to the trees and the covering over my porch this experience would be brief so I sat with my hand on my chest receiving Sun’s loving rays and warmth.

Upon opening my eyes, the most amazing dragonfly sat on my hand.

“Hello,” I exclaimed.

It turned its head. An eye looked at me and it flew. I closed my journal to go inside and retrieve my camera forgetting my phone was by me. I wasn’t going anywhere. My guest returned and sat on my journal. It sat and sat and sat.

Can you imagine my joy? I spoke to it of its beauty and my overwhelming gratitude for its paying me this visit. And we sat in silence in the Light.

This was perfect.

Two years ago I had a blue dragonfly experience in the midst of deciding whether to really try to hike the Grand Canyon again. That dragonfly would land on my toe when I sat outside in the middle of the day. It would stand head down every time and I knew it was saying I was to go down into the canyon.

I made it to the canyon’s North Rim as planned and proceeded to have knee pain with the first step I took. I knew the dragonfly was part of this. I who have never had knee pain shuffled stepping side to side and rotating sides rather than hiking as one would do. Feeling as if I was the object of a cosmic joke, I railed at the Universe while shuffling all 14 miles disappointed and profoundly upset.

We were in the bottom of the canyon for three days so Jerry wisely insisted I keep walking to prevent my being immobilized further. The next morning we crossed the Colorado River and hiked a loop which ended up coming back to the river.  On its banks we came to Native American ruins unexpectedly.

Still in pain, I stood at the remains of what were once rooms to a home and I sang. A song of honor and praise came from me and as it did I felt the pain as well as my body and soul’s weariness drain from me into the Earth. Suddenly I knew the ancestors were honoring me because I was honoring them as well as Mother Earth. (In my adult life, I have not been one to sing out loud with ease even with only Jerry around in the canyon but I did. I felt compelled to.)

In my Nashville yard, I knew the dragonfly’s message two years ago had been that I was to walk “down” into the canyon but once there I got things may feel “upside down” (as in not at all what I expect while hiking) but to keep my crown, the energy center at the top of my head, metaphorically down and open so I could stay connected to Earth’s energy. Blue the color of that dragonfly is the color of the throat chakra or energy center which was perfect for the song I voiced in the canyon.

Yesterday the fluorescent green dragonfly and I sat together at times in silence only interrupted by my  sharing gratitude for its perfectly timed visit and praising its beauty.

After one period of silence I spoke aloud the two words that came to me: Magic. Merlin.

With those two words, the dragonfly left never to be seen again at least yesterday.

I do not remember lines from books, but I do recall what Merlin said in Depak Chopra‘s “Return of Merlin.” 

“We are living a mystery. Hopefully we are not too busy and miss the vital clues.”

I know I’m living a Mystery. What about you? Divine guidance arrives for me through Nature in such simple yet beautiful ways when I am paying attention and moving mindfully, slowly through my day.

I got my copy of Ted Andrews Animal Speaks” where I read dragonfly represents “The Power of Light.” How perfect was this.

* The Power of Light as I soaked in Sun’s Light.

* The Power we hold in our hands (where the dragonfly first lit). Our hands are wands of Light through which we can heal, touch, hold, and comfort or slap, hit, and withdraw rather than reaching out.

* The Power of Words (where the dragonfly lit next) to lift up, encourage and console or to diminish, stir fear and tear down individuals, groups or a nation. Our words are Light.

The Power of Light.

How profound is dragonflies gift in this time especially with the events of the last two weeks as people were killed in a church by a young man so separated from the Light. The response of Charleston community and much of the country has been one of embodying the Power of Light. President Obama’s eulogy resonated with the Power of Light. And then with the Supreme Court’s decision to honor those so in need of health care coverage as well as those desirous of equality when it comes to legally being able to marry the one they love. These rulings bring into effect the Power of Light.

For me personally the dragonflies presence tells me this trip I am suddenly taking is meant to be and is my heart’s adventure since green is the color of the heart’s energy center and something about France is connected to my heart. (Yes, I am spontaneously heading to France.) I discovered my connection to France in 2009 and have on some level been afraid to return to this country that opened my heart in such joy and pain.

“We are living a mystery. Hopefully we are not too busy and miss the vital clues.”

I wish for you an engagement with Mystery and guidance that feels right inside to you. I wish for you an inner awareness so you do not miss your journey’s vital clues.

Imagine that Shift.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 29 June 2015

Busy? Be a Processor of Presence

21 Aug

After a six-month hiatus, I recently returned to yoga class and quickly remembered how I so appreciate the setting of an intention as each class begins.   When the question was posed by the teacher on the second day, a phrase arose that I had been pondering earlier that morning.

“Processor of presence” came to mind.

This phrase came to me as I was working on another story, so I went with it and class began but this time somewhat differently.  The teacher was not only new for me, but used poses to which I was unaccustomed.  And I had somehow ended up in the front of class rather than in the back where I usually hang out.

Yes, another woman and I were in the front nearest Nick with 7-8 others behind us and I was going to be a “processor of presence” which for me meant paying attention to what showed up in my experience.

One of the good things about being in front was I couldn’t immediately start comparing my 55 year old gray haired, untrendily dressed self with my classmates.  Well I guess I could have but I didn’t even though I had rushed to class wearing hole-y leggings and a t-shirt, with massage oil in my hair from the day prior and an unwashed face.   To my surprise, I was in the present and loving me for being there and showing up regardless of what others might be processing about my unhip presence.  The only thing hip about me were my literal hips.

Within two to three poses, I glimpsed another use for this phrase.  The student beside me did everything opposite to me.  At first I thought I was the one getting things backwards, so I began to match her.  If she stepped right, I would step right.  Then I realized she was doing everything opposite to what the teacher said.  If he said, “Put your left knee to your chest’ she would put her right knee to her chest.  This continued for much of the hour.  If we were told to bend left, she would bend right.

I don’t share this in judgement.  I’m guessing she was “following the leader,” the teacher, who faced us.  As I began to listen rather than watch, I took my visual attention away from her and placed my auditory attention on the teacher.

That’s when  I realized my peer wasn’t the only one doing things backwards.  I was breathing backwards.  As the teacher said, “In breath” I did out breath.  Trying to stay in the flow outwardly challenged my flow inwardly yet my backwardness was not obvious to anyone but me.

What simple yet profound metaphors being a “processor of presence” revealed to me.

I was the child in my family who followed the rules similar to how I was at first following my peer’s example.

She was following the leader.  How might our daily interactions be different, not to mention our world, if instead of “following the leader,” we followed our own inner voice and granted authority first to ourselves and then to leaders who earned our respect through consistent actions over time and not just words espoused from the pulpit, during election season or in social media and tv sound bites?

My peer was following the leader and I was following her.

She represented the people who seem to do things opposite from me, from strangers to my partner.  How easily I let myself get distracted by those who do things opposite from me when really what I am here to do is listen within and discern what is Me, my flow, my rhythm, my pace and my place which takes me back to my breathing routine.

This may be the most important aspect of being a processor of presence.  Being internally busy trying to be in synch with the outside and focusing on the external, keeps me from my rhythm and focusing on the internal, the place from which action that is personally wisest and best originates.

Ah, yoga, when I am open and present you repeatedly reveal just what I need.  I bow to you and to my unknown classmate.  We are processors of the beauty of being open to life.


-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 21 August  2014


Busy? Be Healed

27 Mar

(Yesterday I got down on my hands and knees and smelled hyacinths in a yard a few streets from mine.  I propped up their purple bodies from where they lay as the night’s freeze had toppled them.  Their sweet scent reminded me of their healing me a year ago. Enjoy-Dawn)

I clipped the hyacinths this morning not knowing they were frozen until I tried to smell them. Their intense purpley-blue buds were scentless. It may be Spring but I came inside to find the thermometer read 23 degrees.

It is cold outside
It is cold inside.

This winter more than years prior I have been chilled to the bone, chilled to the bone a lot. Last night I lay in bed and said aloud, “I may have to move.”

The cold inside and out not only permeates my bones. At times it seeps into my heart. Although I care, I do not care. It is hard to live in this world of such beauty, a world I came here to love so, yet a world in which I experience such heart break.

Yesterday my heart break was related to learning vultures in Middle TN are attacking cows, live cows and calves in farmer’s fields, because there is not enough roadkill to sustain them. I find vultures beautiful and I love cows. Yet my heart is broken more by people and politics than vultures attacking cows.

I sat on the sofa this morning and wept. A backed up river of tears came pouring out of me. Some small portion of this sadness was even related I suspect to my negligence in letting the hyacinths freeze. Why did I not think to cut them a day earlier?

The river slowed and I picked up the vase again. I picked up the vase to find the hyacinth scent had returned with the thaw.

IMG955898I kept my nose buried in that simple purple bouquet as ribbons of sweetness found their way within, wrapping themselves around my heart. I could not put the hyacinths down.

Thawing hyacinths emitting sweetness are like thawing hearts doing the same.

Hyacinths hold a healing power. Hearts hold a feeling power.  Feeling power holds is healing power. 

This is my homeopathy, coming upon things in Nature that return me to me. When I can’t imagine the Shift, Nature quietly, subtly, gently creates it.

May frozen hearts around the world experience the sweet smells that allow them to thaw.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 21 March 2013

and 27 March 2014

Busy? BeHold

20 Mar

Each Spring, Nature annually enacts the Great Shift as things

appearing dead rise from Earth’s depths.

This lilac bud, a Shaman presiding over my garden, spreads its green wings.  It calls forth life from the depths just as we are called to awaken, to come to life, in this time of Great Shift.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 20 march 2014


Busy? Be Kind – Random Acts of Kindness Week

13 Feb

I had forgotten it is “Random Acts of Kindness Week” as I sat in Hillsboro Village‘s Fido Monday evening.  From a window seat, I ate and watched  a man walk back and forth across 21st approaching customers as he sold The Contributor.   Eventually I ordered a to go burger and walked over to him.  I had waited for some time quietly weighing whether to do this.  I wanted to ensure I was giving this man a meal out of joy and not pity or sorrow.  This courageous soul on Nashville’s streets didn’t need my pity.  

As we shook hands, he enthusiastically said, “Someone’s watching over me.” I found myself touched and said, “I needed to hear that. You’re reminding me someone watches over me too.” Roger then placed the container by his unsold papers and said, “I want to sing for you.” There he stood singing Amazing Grace. His voice was rich and by the third verse I was singing too. This is amazing grace to me. This man and I were both giver and receiver standing on a Hillsboro Village street.

It wasn’t until arriving home that I remembered “Random Acts of Kindness” week.  I shared the above on facebook then went to bed.

Many of my facebook friends became part of the ‘act’ by morning. Over eighty of them had ‘liked’ what I shared and several had commented.  In keeping with Random Acts of Kindness week, they had no idea they gave me a beautiful gift. Their messages added another grace-filled layer to the story. 

It may be surprising but I often have the experience of feeling invisible.   I write regularly yet very seldom have people read my stories.  I don’t write to be read.  I listen, watch and write to stay alive.  When I stop writing a part of my starts dying. 

Yet seeing the stream of unexpected comments beneath the story of Roger‘s and my encounter made me suddenly feel seen. 

Then I thought of Roger and the multitudes of homeless and the other ‘invisible’ ones in our world – those who are trafficked for sex and cheap labor, the elderly, the  disAbled, those in Appalachia without healthcare. 

I thought of artists likeU2 just releasing Invisible to call attention to AIDS as well those who paint, write, tell stories, create symphonies, write songs and sing. They are vital to calling attention to these invisible ones yet they are also vital to our awakening to seeing ourSelves more fully as well as our Earthly kin. 

I now wonder if this random act of kindness between Roger and me was really so random?  

Quantum physics suggests what the indigenous people of all lands have always known.  We are each part of an unseen web of connectedness.  

In this regards you are now part of the encounter between Roger and me.  You are part of the web. Mindfully carry this energy – the energy of Love, Joy and Song or however you show up when you fully see yourself. For when you see the beauty in who you really are, you can’t help but see who others are. Kindness naturally flows from this.  See the beauty you carry and pass it on. In this way, we raise consciousness not just for ourselves but to all in the quantum web. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 12 Feb. 2014

Busy? Be Watchful – The Great Backyard Bird Count

13 Feb

As the juncos returned this winter, I asked myself, “What is it about these small black and white birds showing up again that matters to me?” What is this I’m experiencing?”


As sure as I asked I knew. These are my children, my precious feathered children. Every winter, they remember to return to my yard where millet is scattered each morning for them.

I imagine mankind likewise remembering where he is fed.  Returning to the ground, keeper of our food and honoring the energy and love found there. 

Blue jays follow the juncos as peanuts follow millet.

A lone blue jay perched in a nearby elm calls out. A response comes from a southern yard then another from across the street and north. Soon five blue jays take turns at the feeder.

I imagine my two-legged kin calling to one another, “This Earth is a place of sustenance. Be fed.

Now hours later as I share this, I imagine my words, like the millet and nuts, seeds of soul nourishment prompting those who feed to be increasingly watchful. 

How is your soul really fed?

My soul is fed daily while watching birds whether I’m sitting outside in my yard or noticing the flight of a small flock of grackles sweep and loop through the air in a narrow Nashville street as I did yesterday.

And this weekend, Feb. 14-17, I will watch and count as part of the global Great Backyard Bird Count now in its 17th year.  You can spend as little as 15 minutes for one day this weekend counting then record your results at the site. (LINK HERE.) 

Last year 34.5 million birds and 3,610 species were reported in 111 countries and territories.  Sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, results are used to study climate shifts, determine if crows for example are rebounding after being affected by west nile virus etc.

For me the results will also include feeling the joy and pleasure of counting my precious children around my earthly home.

Busy? Be Watchful. What do you see? On what do you feed?  And this weekend, count the birds!!!

-Dawn, The Good News Muse at Imagine the Shift 13 Feb. 2014




Busy? Be Real

27 Nov

The masks we wear keep us from more deeply experiencing and

knowing ourselves and one another.

Click HERE for the audio version.

Before taking that first step.

Before taking that first step.

This past September on the Autumn equinox I sat around a table of strangers in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We were gathered family style for dinner at Phantom Ranch.  I sat there devastated, disappointed and afraid, not to mention hurting from having just shuffled most of 14.8 miles in a one-mile descent.   (That’s another story.)

The shuffle was not a dance step in this situation.   My shuffle ended an hour beforehand and all I wanted to do was curl up and cry.   Yet here I sat surrounded by happy people, or at least seemingly happy people, many of whom had done the ten mile descent from the South Rim and a few who had trekked the same route we did from the North.

Phantom Ranch dining hall

Phantom Ranch dining hall

I am unaccustomed to pretending yet these people, except for Jerry my partner, were all strangers to me.  Gathered around this table was the first time we had met.

Finally I said to the woman to my right, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I am not in a good place.”

This one simple, honest statement, me telling my truth, allowed those around me to begin owning their aches. I was one of the many hurting from the trek.  Most of us wondered how we would make it out.  I was grateful to have time in the canyon before hiking up the Bright Angel trail to the South Rim two days later.

Authenticity often births magic for me.  Owning and being open as to my personal experience allowed me to be open to the woman sitting next to me.  She was from Memphis, only a couple of hours from my Nashville home.  Although moments earlier I sat commiserating inside myself, I was listening, listening as she remarked more than once of a heart-related test she was undergoing the day after returning home.

I inquired as to her situation and learned she was donating a kidney to a kindred spirit, an Ohio woman she met through social media as part of their involvement in guinea pig rescue.  I didn’t tell my dinner mate but at that moment I was feeling like God’s guinea pig.  I felt betrayed and upset from having followed signs and my intuition only to end up disappointed, disheartened and in totally unexpected pain.

Yet owning my insides opened space for me to sincerely want to know more about this human being I had just met.  I wanted to know more about her passion for these small animals I really never think about.  From what did they need to be rescued?

Did you know guinea pigs are able to reproduce within 21 days of their birth?  As a result, they are taken from their mothers prematurely and sold to stores.  Being taken from their mothers at such an early age halts the development of their immune systems often leading to early deaths.  These early deaths conveniently occur after they are purchased and money’s been made by the breeder and the pet store selling them.  Why was I not surprised that even guinea pigs are disposable goods in our consuming culture?

My dinner mate met her kidney’s mate on-line through their mutual rescue work.  Just prior to vacation, she learned her friend was in intensive care.  She offered to cancel her canyon trek to ensure her friend received her kidney yet the ill woman’s mother urged her to continue with her plans.  Her daughter would have to be in better condition physically to insure the likelihood of her body’s receptivity to the kidney.

My body still ached.  I truly had no idea how I would hike out in two and half days and yes, I cried and cried later that evening but at the same time my soul was soothed, my spirit filled with joy and my heart with receptivity because of this woman’s compassion and profound willingness to give of herself.

Here I sat experiencing the beauty of human relationships.  Life on Earth, just as hiking through the Grand Canyon, is a beautiful, challenging trek.  None of us are really strangers when we approach one another with an open heart and mind.

It can be easy to fall into thinking you’re alone on Life’s trek or the only one hurting.  Before I got real with those gathered around my table, I felt like I was the only one (and that’s not the first time I’ve ever felt that.)

Disowning pain and vulnerability keeps us from deeper connections without and within.  The masks we wear keep us from more deeply experiencing and knowing others and ourselves.  Busy pretending, we are who we aren’t, so much is missed.

In this time as the surface and the outer is advertised and promoted as what’s important and people seem busier and pulled in more directions than ever, authenticity is more important than ever.

I choose authenticity.  What about you?

-Dawn, The Good News Muse at Imagine the Shift
27 November 2013


Busy? Be Graced

30 Jun

When do you allow yourself to really receive?

Today for the first time ever I had an appointment for a manicure and pedicure.  I’m not into chemicals and I’d rather have my hands in dirt than softening agents.  Yet when I learned “Essential Salon and Spa” uses Aveda products, I decided this was something I wanted to try.

I arrived at 12:18, three minutes late, and for some reason before going inside I checked my messages as my phone had been off all morning.  It was then that I learned the technician was sick and my appointment had been cancelled.  I went inside anyway disappointed and frustrated and introduced myself.

That’s when Miranda a young woman behind the counter offered me a complimentary facial or make-up.

Now the closest I come to makeup is my Burt’s Bees Wax lip gloss and I’m really not into facials.   The only facial I’ve ever had left me red for hours afterwards.  Miranda convinced me her facial would not involve scrubbing and poking.  Wow! was she right.

I lay on a warm massage table serenaded by music as three different creams were smoothed onto my face and neck with warm towels applied between each.  Yet what struck me most was something I call grace.

I’ve  had many massage therapists in my life work on my neck.  It is probably the place in my body that feels most vulnerable.  Today I remembered my salivary gland surgery three years ago yet what came to me was a gentleness I was receiving.  This person’s offer as well as her touch prompted a deep realization in me.  I really don’t often allow myself to receive.

Going with the flow, trusting, opening to the new and being beautifully surprised by an unexpected epiphany, not to mention skin that feels soft and great, these will be remembered as gifts of grace from the accidental facial I experienced today.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 30 June 2013


Busy? Be Enough

30 Jun

I have six hummingbird feeders for which I can easily make sixteen cups of sugar water minimally each week.  Yet this morning I stood at the kitchen sink eying a potential spot for a seventh.

A seventh feeder, really?photo

At times I complain of sticky counter tops and water droplets on the hardwood floors.  Each week I wash them thoroughly to ensure mold isn’t lurking in the containers.  The last thing I need is another container to fill.

What was that about?

Then I knew. I want to ensure the hummingbirds have enough.

In that split second I glimpsed I suspect what it’s like for some parents who give and give and give to their children in our materialistic society.

This impulse that I sometimes  judge I assumed is rooted in love.

Yet standing at my kitchen sink with my hands and hummingbird feeders in suds, I realized my urge to buy a seventh feeder is actually based in fear, the fear of my children going without.

Nature nurtures me yet it also illuminates and instructs.

Moments prior I had checked-in with myself as I washed one feeder and asked:  Am I right now in this moment doing this out of duty and have to or want to and love?

In that moment I felt a spirit of  love.

Now thanks to Natures illuminating my fear, I have a greater compassion for those who buy out of fear thinking it’s only out of love and I don’t have that 7th feeder.  For now the love of six is enough.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 29 June 2013