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Welcome to Exploring Spirit

Writing helps me capture insights that might otherwise be lost in the press of life. Please share your thoughts and explorations, too!

Return of the Light

December 22, 2011

Wishing you all joy as the light returns!

The winter solstice is the moment when the deepest darkness of the year – the longest night – begins to turn toward the light. From this point on, through the frigid cold of winter and into the spring of life, the light grows each day and the night shortens.

Winter solstice is a sacred moment, a time to reflect upon the darkness.  Darkness is neither bad nor good. But it allows us to plumb the uncertainties and shadows of life. To use Sight to see through layers of darkness. To feel the comfort of snuggling into warm covers on a cold, dark night. And perhaps to retreat from human company and explore the unknown depths of being.

Solstice is also a time to reflect upon the light. The light of day is neither perfect nor imperfect. But to experience light is to feel the love of Mother Earth. Light reminds us to join with friends in celebration of our creative, loving humanity. Light teaches us to speak truth and foster community. And maybe, if one is mindful, light may illuminate one’s brief but ecstatic dissolution of self.


December 15, 2011

I’ve been changing. My spiritual practice is deepening, my commitment to the Earth and the Spirit is strengthening.  It is happening so fast I get kind of disoriented. But it isn’t just me. It seems like a lot of changes are happening lately to people and our Mother Earth.  Have you been experiencing this?

Recently, several people I love  have been undergoing earth-shaking changes.  It can be painful and terribly unsettling – how else can we feel when the earth shakes beneath our feet?  Sometimes changes can be exciting, with a fresh wind arising.  But even then, there’s almost always a feeling of uncertainty and even anxiety about what is coming.

How do you cope with major changes in your earth life and your spiritual life?


July 3, 2011

Plants call to me sometimes.  They call me with a gentle vibration that almost seems like my own thought. But their call is often counter to what I  prefer.  Today my tomato seedlings called me  to plant them in the garden, even though a violent, windy thunderstorm was predicted and I was inclined to wait for a better day.

I figured the tomato seedlings knew best, so I planted them, singing my planting song to them.  I sang, “Oh spirits of the earth, help these plants grow!  Help these plants live! Help me understand how to nurture these plants.  Help me understand how to beautify this beautiful earth.”  By the end of the growing season, I’ll see how well I have listened to their calling, how well I have understood their needs. For me, gardening is a daily adventure with an unpredictable outcome.  Usually the plants grow despite my forgetfulness or lack of attention.  But sometimes I’m surprised by the growth of delicate plants in poor conditions or the failure of reliable plants in good conditions.

Often it is not my vegetables and flowers that call to me, but plants we consider weeds.  When a weed insists on staying in the garden, I let it stay  – unless it’s strangling the greens or sucking the soil dry in the strawberry patch.  Sometimes, much later, I discover that it has attracted masses of aphids to its leaves and stems, while not a single aphid has infested a vegetable plant.  Has it been a sacrificial offering? Other times I find that the weed I left in the squash patch appears to repel squash bugs from its neighbors.  One day I might try to find out the scientific names of these weeds.  But who knows whether the benefit they bring to my garden would work elsewhere, especially if the call of the plant were ignored?

The pace of gardening picks up in late summer as rain becomes scarce and unwanted weeds suck nutrients and water from the cucumbers, beans, or carrots, and I am engaged with family visits, community activities, and the demands of earning a living.  It is during this busy time that I discover a weed I allowed to stay in the garden weeks earlier.  The weed has grown tall and bloomed with masses of lively wild flowers, a gift to the heart of the garden accompanied by a nod to the gardener.

Dancing with the Shamans

June 15, 2011

I worked late last night, writing to a deadline for my client. I knew it would take time to wind down before I could sleep, but I tried anyway. I went outside to the tent, my roomy retreat behind my home.

I’ve been sleeping in the tent since early April. What a wonderful, soothing place to sleep, listening to the spring peepers, various species of tree frogs, owls, the wind, and the rain. When sleep is reluctant to show her face, I read or meditate or do Reiki energy work on myself. But last night, I felt the call of the drum.

Except for the chorus of tree frogs, all was quiet. I turned off the lantern and began to drum. The drum echoed from the mountain to the north across the wetlands below. I drummed in honor of sacred directions, the seasons of our lives, the healing and rebirth the Earth offers us, our ties to family and tribe. I danced in honor of the spirits of the earth and rocks and trees and creatures which welcome me to this place. They joined me in the dance.

I then drummed into a journey through rock and earth into the pitch dark of caves and underground passages. I moved through these passages sure of my footing, knowing I was going where I must. Then I sensed my spirit guide nearby though I couldn’t see her. I paused. She held me close in the most loving, mothering arms and I felt the heart-shaking power of pure Love.

I was taken on a journey within the journey. Flying through the darkest space, I saw nothing at first. But soon I heard drums. The drums of countless shamans. I saw the faces of some people I knew, both traditional shamans and modern healers. There were so many in the drumming circle! I saw shamans from every place on our earth. They are people who exist only to help their communities and honor the sacred Earth and Sky. They were drumming, dancing, and journeying to enter the Spirit, where fear cannot exist. They were becoming one with the Spirit in the service of our world.

Without knowing, I had been drumming and dancing with the shamans of the world.

Somewhere in my journey I had stopped my drumming, but the sound had been taken up by the wild creatures of the forest surrounding my tent. When I returned from the journey and sat up in the midnight darkness, the animals were continuing their calling and yelling – the hooting of different kinds of owls, something that sounded like a raven’s harsh, croaking cry, and the strange, throaty screams of unidentified creatures. The coyotes were not content with simple howling but were also babbling and chattering. A grey fox was barking in its rough, rasping voice. Birds screeched and called. Tree frogs maintained their powerful chorus.

The drum had spoken to all the creatures, and they replied with an intensity I’ve never heard before in these woods. They had joined the shamans in the sacred sound, the sacred dance, honoring the source of our lives.

On the Story

May 24, 2011

Writing has become a vital part of my spiritual practice.  Writing gives me a means to examine the lessons I learn in my journeys and meditations, and to share them with you.

The Story is an outgrowth of some of my most compelling dreams, journeys, and meditations.  They came to me waking and sleeping, but always with a strong feeling that sharing them with you is important.  I offer The Story in the hopes that you too will feel the spiritual tides that swept it to my shores.

The Story is an other-worldly story of dreams, spirituality, and direction in a modern life.  It speaks to all of us who struggle with the damage we humans are doing to our Mother, the Earth.  It speaks to all of us who struggle to feel whole in an increasingly compartmentalized, material lifestyle.  It speaks to the Spirit in each one of us, and to the call of Spirit.

See the first excerpt now under The Story.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

More Thoughts on Spirit

May 24, 2011

Here are some more thoughts on Spirit by some well-known people

  • Black Elk:  “And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.”
  • Khalil Gibran: “I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.”
  • Thich Nhat Hanh : “When mindfulness is present, the Buddha and the Holy Spirit are already there.”
  • Albert Einstein: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
  • Thomas Aquinas:  “All that is true, by whomsoever it has been said has its origin in the Spirit.”
  • Jackie Gleason: “Our dreams are firsthand creations, rather than residues of waking life. We have the capacity for infinite creativity; at least while dreaming, we partake of the power of the Spirit, the infinite Godhead that creates the cosmos.”

Can you add more to this list?  Thanks for being here.

Spirit – What is It?

May 20, 2011

Exploring Spirit is about exploring … Spirit.  Let us share our explorations, as a community. But what is Spirit?

My conception of Spirit changes depending on what life shows me at any moment.

Thinking doesn’t help me explore Spirit.

Feeling helps me.  Sometimes.  When I’m feeling deeply.

Sometimes, after feeling deep gratitude for one more minute living on our beautiful Earth, I feel Spirit.

Light within my heart

Seeps out, reaches

Belly, throat, fingers, toes

Creeps in skull-ways

Wriggles through pores

Tendrils flowing, merging

Wood, earth, rock, flesh


Sacred air, living water

This, the Spirit in me

The Spirit in all

That’s what I’m feeling today.  For you, what is Spirit?