Saturday, January 23, 2010

Storms and Love and Cameras

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." – Nelson Mandela

Last Wednesday these words played out for me in vivid experience. I had the immense good fortune to be photographed by Adam Bouska for the NOH8 Campaign.

In case you don’t know: NOH8 is a silent, non-violent protest against Proposition 8, using the medium of photography. Prop 8 is the referendum that, by a narrow margin, struck down marriage equality in California, and made it illegal for gay people to marry; a right they had enjoyed previously,albeit briefly.

I’m straight, and support the rights of all people to marry. To me it’s not appropriate that the State discriminates in this way. Churches can do whatever they want; it isn’t my place to comment on them. But it is my place to speak out when I see State action that goes against the nature of my work of helping people to heal and nurture their spirituality and thereby lead more fulfilled lives of love and productivity. Adam and his partner Jeff are speaking out through their art. They are not playing small. Their idea has grown from a 2:00 am whimsy to an incredible project with thousands of people presenting to become a part of this growing art piece.

So after a long day of work, errands, and appointments, I headed to a rendezvous with Adam and Jeff. There was a violent storm raging that night with torrential rain, winds, and even hail. Accompanied by my friend Laura and her daughter Kat, I arrived a block away from the venue, scampered down the alley and ducked into the entrance of one of the fabulous old offices in the Hillcrest area of San Diego. Little hallways and stairs slowly led back to Old Spanish style rooms that were absolutely fabulous in spite of the wear and tear of decades of use. As we wended our way up and down and all around the puddle soaked path we met people leaving the shoot; every one of them in jubilant spirits, and all wearing the proscribed white shirts and face paint. Even though we were strangers we’d smile conspiratorially at each other and say warm words of greeting. And then…we were in the offices and part of the shoot.

It was magical. There was so much love in that room. While Laura and Kat were being photographed I noticed a lovely man and his partner in the next room, cooing to their toddler and playing with him. They were a family in all but the State’s eyes. People were happy and laughing and making conversations with new acquaintances. Everyone was of one accord. There was great diversity in the room; diversity of age ( I may have been the oldest, though!), of race, of economics, and yet we were all one group. And there was nothing but love. And as the flash bulbs popped, the Lady Gaga music played, and Adam directed my every twitch for an amazing few minutes, I felt overwhelmed and almost started to cry, because the energy in the room was so intensely positive and beautiful. I had come from an exhausting workday, a week of tonsillitis, and a missed stylist appointment from the previous night. I looked like a wookie from being out in the rain, and yet I felt beloved and welcome. The storm raged overhead, yet we were warm and in the heart of love. I felt like I was at home. I didn’t want the feeling to end; I didn’t want the experience to stop.

And it didn’t, because later, after more driving in the continuing storm, I finally arrived to my snug home and to the above Mandela quote, provided by my friend Taylor in stunning synchronicity to my witnessing of Adam and Jeff’s work. (Taylor has a knack for this with me). I laughed and cried at the flow and amazing serendipity of the entire evening. Bless you Taylor, Adam, Jeff, Laura, Kat, and the people whose names I never got.

I wish you all evenings like this, whatever the origin of the flow, and however the company comes about. The more we can stay in love; the more we can stay in joy and happiness, and at time silliness; the more we keep our lives magical. And by staying in that energy, we can create anything.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vital Signs

Having been felled by an upper respiratory bug, I’m home watching coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. Devastation. Pain. Destruction. More pain. It’s almost too heart wrenching to watch. I sent my money to my favorite charity (who arrived within hours and are working furiously). I sent off prayers and energy. What else can one do, when one is far removed geographically?

I grabbed another hot toddy for my throat and pulled up the blanket and kept watching the telly. Watched CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta tenderly triage a days-old baby. The baby’s mum had died in the ‘quake and this little one had a head laceration but otherwise seemed ok. How random. If this little one had delayed her birth; had lingered in her mum’s warm body for a few days longer, this little one would be dead too. But she had emerged days, possibly hours before the tragedy, and as a result she lived, and her mum is dead. And she is broadcast all over the world; her little face scrunched up in indignation at Dr Gupta’s inquiry.

The one thread of beauty in all this is almost lost in the horror. From all over the world, help is pouring in. From China. From Iceland. From Venezuela. From Spain, Belgium, Canada they come. From Fairfax Virginia USA they come. So many planes. So many planes they had to halt landing on the damaged runways of Port au Prince. All those planes.

I had a vision of the planes; their landing gear extending as one by one they landed. Appearing out of the clouds. The clunk of landing gear. Touching down with a bump and a braking. Taxi to the edge. Help pouring off. And then another plane. More landing gear. Touching down. Landing gear. Landing gear. And in my vision I heard the Foo Fighters’ song: Wheels. And the whole vision was so beautiful my sore throat choked on tears. Plane after plane emerging and landing. From the clouds. Like the angels. Their wheels came down and they landed. When the wheels come down. When the wheels touch down..

From all over the world they come. We all come. Part of us is hurting.

We are one planet. We are one people. And it frequently takes tragedies like this to evidence it.

Godspeed the helpers. Godspeed the Lightworkers, whatever form they take.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cold Dawn

Seated in the dawn am I this morning. The air is crisp and cold, but not overly so. The sky is clear and a crescent Moon sparkles, blazing in the sky above me. It is more dark than light and Moon dominates the sky. Am blessed to live in SoCal, where we shall see 70 degrees F today. So much of this hemisphere elsewhere is locked in cold. Stay snug, everyone.

There is energy shifting like mad right now. Can you feel it? The optimism of the New Year remains, and yet there is a difficulty welling up too, trying to poke through the happiness. Is it all Mercury, which is currently in a retrograde? Is it our collective unconsciousness shambling towards the coming shift of 2012? Is it simply random, free flying negativity?

Seems the positive people in my life have been very positive. And the negative people in my life have been exceptionally dark. Polar extremes.

Celebrity astrologer and friend Adam Eliot (who is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, by the way – do check him out) relates that we have eight more days of retrograde, and then a pause. Hmmm… don’t like the pause.

It seems to me that in these vexing retrograde times, the difficulties increase just toward the end of the retrograde progression, and that pause is a real…. Er… bear.

But knowing this; knowing that it’s nothing personal, it’s just conditions; that helps us maintain perspective. Like a choppy sea, or a windy day, it’s merely something to cope with as we go about our business. We don’t stop our lives because it’s cold outside. We bundle up, we heat the house, and we eat soup instead of ice cream. We deal. We face it headon and we deal.

So buckle up. We may be in for a bumpy ride (apologies to Bette Davis). But it’s just the road. Stay positive. Stay in magic. Stay in the Light.

(these images are from the Queen Calipha's Sculpture Garden in Escondido, California; the artist who did these magnificent sculptures and mosaics is Nikki St Phalle)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gift of a Feather

New Year’s Weekend. Bright and sunny. SoCal Perfection. Perfect for meditating, reading, catching up with friends and family, planning, surrendering, looking at the account books, scrubbing floors and walls, clearing out cupboards, cooking black eyed-peas, baking lemon cake.

I went out to the patio to feed some plants and replenish the hummingbird feeders. And there it was: a single hummingbird feather. Sitting on the large meditation stone as if delicately and purposefully placed there.

And all of a sudden I stopped. And grew calm. And a feeling of peace came over me. And I considered hummingbirds and their beauty. Their fragility. How they symbolize love as well as industry. Emotion and intellect.

And I considered how perhaps I have done sufficient planning and thought for one weekend. And now maybe now it would be best to just feel. Sit in the morning sun and experience the change of year and just experience how that feels. Out of my head and into my heart.

Maybe we all need to do that. Stop. Go and sit in a sunbeam. In a raincloud. On the sand. In the wood. Breathe. Experience how you feel. And what’s important. And what you really wish in the New Year.