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Birdwatching

Reflection

Are You My Mother?

You are being held in a wider embrace, one more ancient than your own understanding.

Celeste Snowber

In 1957, P.D. Eastman wrote Are You My Mother? which was—and still is—a popular children’s book. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all liked to pick up this book and read about the antics of these magical and fun animals and people featured in the stories and read with a lyrical rhythm.

In this story, a baby bird is born while his mother is on the ground just below the tree branch where her nest sits, hunting for food. He begins to look for his mother. He looks up and down and all around. Not finding her, he steps out of his nest and plunks on the ground after a long fall. He could walk but not fly, so he decided he would now go and find his mother.

He begins his quest not knowing what his mother looks like. He doesn’t even know what he looks like. I read the story to my children often and to myself, alone, many times. I knew I was on the same quest, having so many unanswered questions about my own birth mother in the early 1970s. On a page in the book I saw an illustration of an eager baby bird on a search for his mother where he was often sad and alone, or afraid and brave at the same time.

The newborn bird is puzzled. He must find his mother and he does not know that he walked right by her at the bottom of the tree when he first began his search. He does not see her behind the rock pulling up a worm to feed him and he doesn’t realize she is close by all the time.

Asking a kitten, a hen, and a dog if they are his mother, he becomes somewhat discouraged because, of course, they are not his mother. He begins to question if he really does have a mother, but he is sure he must have one and is more determined than ever to find her. He begins to find mechanical things like a bulldozer, a boat, and a plane.

“Here I am, Mother,” he called out. But each thing goes on its own way, with no response. Except the bulldozer which makes a loud “snort” and picks the baby bird up in its shovel basket. The bulldozer lifts him up in the air and returns the frightened baby bird back to the nest from which he came. Just then, mother bird returns with the worm to feed her adventurous, hungry infant.

“Do you know who I am?” she asks baby bird.

And baby bird did know because she was not a kitten, or a hen, or a dog, or a cow, or a boat, or a plane. She was a bird.

“You are my mother!”

The pages of the story of this baby bird summarize the same quest I had been on for many years. I felt the uncertainty and the search of the small bird was like my own. I realized in small bits that it was all right for me to search—even necessary—to make me whole with my mother.

I felt the loneliness within the search that I needed to identify, wrangle with, acknowledge, hurt with, and eventually come to accept and make peace with. It did not pit one mother against the other. They each had their own space within me.

I had a mother, different from the one I called Mom. I was a daughter who became a mother. I would bring my mother, now a grandmother, back into our family-fold.

 

 Bird Watching

She lays

Hidden for the most part

Waiting and watching

With her beating heart

Her feathered body spread

Wide in the nest, an act

Of full creation.

One Mother

Bird, two eggs

Pulsing new life

Of wing-tipped grace

Into the world

And their own special place.

Procreation and expansion

As the fragile shell

Gives way

To life seeking life.

The rhythm of life

And love goes on,

     goes on

          goes on.

 

GUEST Blog Betty Lue Lieber .

Napkinwriter Note:  It is so easy to forget. To forget what we know. To forget where we are. To forget who we are. I am grateful for reminders when I am confused about any of these things. Betty Lue has been writing Loving Reminders, early each morning in silent stream of consciousness space. I am grateful to receive her reminders. They are such a great spiritual check-up for me. Thank you Betty Lue.

Loving Reminders 6/7/2020

Affirmations:
I choose the best I know.
I am grateful for having choice.
I choose what matters to me with joy.
I respect the thoughts, words and activities I choose.

June 7, 2020 Loving Reminders – What Matters?

What Matters to You?

“If you don’t mind, it won’t matter.”
Where you judge matters.
What you choose matters.
How you live matters.
When you speak matters.
Who you love matters.
What you give time and energy to matters.
How your life works matters.
What you do with money matters.
What you think about matters.

You are giving your life energy to what matters to you.
Whether you know it or not, your life is telling on you.
You have what matters to you.
What you care about matters to you.

To simplify your foci for attention, choose 5 qualities or experiences that matter most to you.
Begin to live as though these areas matter most and watch them thrive and expand with success.
Observe everyday how what you think and do and say support what matters most to you.
Focus positive proactive energy on what matters to you.

If money matters most, then give it conscious attention and consideration everyday.
When friends matter most to you, give them attention with positive thoughts, words and activities.
When your health matters most to you, make sure all that you ingest and do support your health.
When your home matters most to you, make sure it is clean, organized and harmonious daily.

Life is a canvas on which we are creating what matters to us.
When we don’t like what we see, it is because we have put it there unconsciously.
To change what we see and experience, we must erase and delete and choose again for what matters to us.
Life requires us to consciously choose what we want to see and experience because it matters to us.

When we find ourselves in trouble, we can focus on the trouble or be grateful for the peace.
When we find ourselves in sickness, we can worry about lack of health or we can enjoy being alive.
When we feel like victims of our situation, we can succumb to the pain or rise up in faith.
When we are lost in financial struggle, we can be angry and resentful or appreciate how much we have.

When we realize our focus creates our experience, we learn to focus solely on what we choose.
When we validate our thoughts and words create, we clear the unconscious thoughts with consciousness.
When we recognize we are here to learn to create our reality, we give up allowing others to create for us.
When we step away, forgive what is NOT and choose what IS, we can see we can stand up for ourselves.

Life is best played with full consciousness and conscience, responsibility and respect, for what it.
Be grateful it is so.
Forgive mistakes as opportunities to learn.
Choose again quickly and easily for what you really want to be.

You matter to me.
These Loving Reminders matter.
Your health and happiness matters.
All I give makes a difference, because we all matter.

Loving us all,
Betty Lue

The only mistake we ever make is when we forget to Love.
Betty Lue

These images are Process Journey Images – 24 Days to Solstice with Cat Caracelo. The Name of My Journey is To Live in Grace. This is Day 6. This private journey inward takes place with the existing circumstances of Covid-19, changing our way of life and another killing in our black community by a law officer. No Justice – No Peace is where we live today.

My 24 Day Art Journey will also take place in the NOW — within and without. This is a very real time where we all have a chance for a break-through; there is enough compassion, there is enough desire, there is, above all, enough NEED for each of us to have the courage to change what needs to change.

There are many of us who are struggling for more ways to connect, to make meaningful a life lived from soul desire to make a difference — a big difference. And the light from those willing to do the things that hurt, do the things that help, employ the grace of the Holy Spirit for the fire-y guidance that shows forth upon all humans to live as they are created, children of God in all races and creeds. Pray that we do that. Pray that we learn. Pray that we are willing. Pray that we listen. Pray that we care and in that compassion add a little light to a world darkened by hate, violence, and bigotry.

Pray that we admit it HAS to change. We must find our way from chaos to community. We must find more and wonderful ways we can connect. There are enough people in the world that truly want this to happen. Pray that this happens so very soon.

 

Our DNA brings us to this point and in this chaos, we must find the peaceful and just way of moving forward. #We’re in this TOGETHER. There are not many paths, there is ONE path – TOGETHER….but how many WAYS can we find TOGETHER? We all must try.

Come, Find Me

 

Today, I share another Island of Silence from Journey Girl; Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary. During this Pandemic of Covid-19, we may tend to stay focused on how so many things around us are changing. We are called upon to make more decisions in our ordinary day to day life. With the world at odds with “either-or” scenarios of successful return to what we call ordinary life and many of our ordinary play spots, like parks and entertainment venues, we need to remember that special part of you that is still calling for the creation of fun in the midst of these serious times and unanswered questions. That part of you is your inner child. Take some time to recognize this child today and find a way to add fun to your day. This day. There’s no time like the present!

Chapter 13 Island of Silence

The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout.
The jouney of a thousand miles begins beneath your feet.”   Lao Tzu

A very special child wants your attention today. Your mission is to find this child. It is truly a child, but it has been with you since infancy. Even though you have grown up, this part of you still remains a child and it relates to you as a child. That is possibly the reason you cannot hear this child. It has frolicked with you and your friends when you were a child and knew how to have fun. It is the playful side of you that still wants to have fun now as an adult. It often says, “More, more, more,” until the adult in you stands his ground and says, “Enough!”

This child in you most often thinks in pure, uncomplicated ways, very directly telling you what it wants, what it thinks, and how it is feeling at the moment. This child in you does not want to get lost and ignored as you go about your adult responsibilities. It wants to partner with you to round out your total personality and be able to show up in you in your old age. This child will not abandon you. It sincerely hopes you do not abandon it. This child does not want you to be afraid of it and it does not want to hold childhood secrets that can be lived safely and truthfully when you grow up.

It wants to show up in both your smiles and your tears. It is present in your fearful moments when you are bravest and feel the courage of a lion. This child can even play an important (though mostly silent) role in your adult decision making. This is your inner child and you most often recognize it as your intuition and imagination, and sometimes as a strong innate impulse. This child is part of your self-identification and also shows up in your sense of humor. The child knows that sometimes its impulses need some adjustment and perspective. That is one of the reasons this child wants you to recognize it.

This child is not an imaginary friend. It has been with you from the start on all your journeys. It has been silent and hidden some of the time, noisy and demanding at other times. It is an influencer of your moods. It is absorbed in playing and it has a remarkable acuity to focus in the moment. On the flip side of that, the inner child relishes and partakes freely in total nonsense.
Sometimes this child manifests within you when it wants you to change direction or loosen your grip on a problem you can’t solve. It can be a distracter, an enabler, a supporter, a pioneer on a quest, or a surprise guest that pops out at inopportune times.

Your inner child lives very close to your heart. Science has proven the human heart has an intelligence of its own, much deeper than puppy love. The heart knows what it knows. That is why your inner child can cut swiftly through some of the clutter of the rational mind and be real. In that way, it can help you with a reality you may be facing but not understand.
This child asks you for your heart awareness and attention. That is why you are looking for this child today on this Island of Silence. It wants you to know it does not need to be left back in the past of your real childhood. Like Peter Pan, this part of your personality, both troublesome and helpful, shares a life in you that never dies. It can be a great benefit to you then to build a common practice of acceptance and loving compassion with your inner child. It can help you soothe the areas of your life that are particularly stressful, isolated, and lonely. You can be partners for good in life.

When you finish this time with your inner child, promise each other you will not lose this awareness of your physical, psychological, and spiritual make-up of yourself. Join together in a united desire for both child and adult:

May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peacefully at ease.

May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be well. May you be peacefully at ease.

 

 

Our Family Soul

 

During this time of Covid-19 and our attempt to begin both to return to our working world and our social and cultural pastimes, we are reminded often to pay attention to “safety” for ourselves and others. In fact, not only to pay attention to this safety but to feel our responsibility to be faithful to safe practices, like mask-wearing and social distancing. We hear often, and it is reinforced in commercial ads that “We are in this together.”  And “We will get through this together.

While there is some dissention about  clinging to our individual rights and freedoms, the larger picture and message is one of concern and even some fear of the unknown and left-over effects of both the Pandemic and our individual actions.

There is an upturn of care and thoughts of our family and neighbors; our health care workers; our first-responders; our grocery personnel; our food supply chain truckers who have kept food on our tables. Things could already be so much worse without the bravery and commitment of these people who work daily among the invisible enemy of this disease.

In my soon to be published memoir, Journey Girl; Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, I reveal how an invisible birth mother, who was never fully explained to me, nor honored in my home growing up, affected me to the point I had to “complete her” in my adult years and make the truth of her a present part of my ancestry and my children’s and grandchildren’s lives going forward. While there was no ill-intent in the secrecy, it was bound and complete, until I could figure out who I could question and where I could search for answers. She was part of my Family Soul. Just as we are now gaining more insight on: We are all part of the Human Family Soul. The call is for each of us to build that up in the way for us most open to do it.

Journey Girl

From: Chapter Eleven,  — Island of Silence:  “Remembering Your Birthright

Science recognizes that we have a family soul. It is evident in our reliance upon DNA. It is required that we give our family medical histories in all new patient interviews. This gives the medical professionals pertinent information they may use to compile a profile of who we are based partially on what was present in our mother and father. They can then use this information to help them determine a satisfactory physical profile of their patients and make medical decisions of treatment with an awareness of possible threats to their physical wellness that arise from history. Science and soul are not at odds.

The fields of psychiatry and neurology and writings in classic literature suggest a longstanding belief that we are more than what we think we are—and this points to our relationship with who came before us in more than a nostalgic sense. Noted psychiatrist Carl Jung said “our souls, as well as our bodies, are composed of individual elements which were already present in the ranks of our ancestors.” This is a partial description of what I mean by a family soul. We often read that the eyes are the mirror to the soul in religious text. Author Ralph Waldo Emerson sounded his agreement by writing, “the eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.”

Jung also advised, “Learn your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of the living soul.” Maybe our whole human being-ness is a theory that evolves along with the miracle of the soul. You sound or look like your mother (only I did not). You notice he stands just like his father or you see your own likeness in a newly discovered photo of your grandmother. Through spirituality, psychology, and science, the miracle of the soul is full of new discoveries.

Stepping Stones

 

Stepping Stones
                Susan Heffron Hajec

By the water’s edge, she sheds her shoes
and steps toward the stone path
winding just off shore.

With no turning back I mind, she releases
the safety of ground beneath her feet
and any doubt that holds her back.

Moving forward is what she intends.
Turning the old version of herself into
the new vision of dreams, ripe and ready
through the soil of her new springtime.

Just as the seedling engages with the soil,
sunshine and rain spins its path
to the light of day.

She mixes risk with courage to bring her plant
to bloom in a world hungry for the sweetness
of flowers and green promise of hope.

The Way to Emmaus

 

The Way to Emmaus

Susan Heffron Hajec 3-31-18

How many times, Lord
have I walked
the road to Emmaus
like your disciples?
Distraught over what
has happened.
Afraid of what lies
before me.
Confused that things
didn’t work out
as I planned.

Many times, I
must confess,
many times.
How can I so
easily forget
it is you, yourself
who told me—
“Behold, I Am
with you always.”

 

Couple jumping dolphins, blue sea and sky, white clouds, bright sun

 

 

“The full potential of the heart and its intelligence has is yet to be fully unfolded and understood. Much like the electricity changed the outer world, learning to harness the power and intelligence of the heart can change our inner world.”  

During this time of rapid and massive changes, due to the presence of the world-wide Corona virus, Covid-19, we all have a chance to look outward into our external world and inward to our soul, heart and value system. Many people from different backgrounds are experiencing an impetus for positive change in ways they never had before. Other people are desperately sick with the virus itself and very near their last breath. Many families are encased in a private grief of lost dear ones and distanced from others who could give them physical comfort.

These are enormous changes — over a time span of which we do not yet know.. What do we do with this rapidly changing world in our food and goods delivery systems, our at-odds and feisty political parties, our religious worship practices, our education and health systems, our jobs and financial structures? All of these things touch us daily and will be changed forever even when the virus is gone.

One of the most important aspects of the changes taking place is a rediscovery of what’s been hidden in plain sight all along…its the heart. Along with the chaos, there is a new emergence of heart-based awareness and intelligence. I studied some of this in 2012 with Barbara Marx Hubbard, an evolutionary visionary and with the HeartMath Institute.

A unified message is emerging in public service announcements because of the gigantic way of delivering help, services, and companionship.  “We’re all in this together,” and never has it been more clear how inter-connected we are to one another throughout the world. There is a human presence of using the vast internet programs and platforms to build up the human and the human spirit from its loss of many things including free mobility by air, sea, or car. There is a recognition of the sacrifices and struggles of all of the world health care systems, and the nurses and doctors closest to death on a daily basis.

There is singing. There are thank you’s.. There are pep talks, “We will get through this, together.”  There is a remembrance of forgotten populations of our society, the poor, the sick, the elderly and individual efforts to give where it is needed. The commercials from the banking systems, retail, personal services all point toward, “we’ll be back” but in the meantime , “take good care of yourself.”

All of this points to a fundamental fact. Goodness and health is based in the heart. And the heart knows what is best in both our actions and our thoughts. I have signed up for a short course summary of the HeartMath Experience. It will be a good precursor for my cardiac evaluation coming up this summer. I intend to put some of the summary reminders on Napkinwriter so my readers can attune their hearts to wholesome practices and communication. Good nutrition is a great baseline, but there is so much more your heart is asking for.

 

Today, Napkinwriter posts a guest piece written for DAILY OM on line by Madisyn Taylor. I check in on her writing often because she talks about things that make a difference to me or give me a new way of looking at an old routine. Today is about SHOWING UP for life, and very fitting while we all are on some type of temporary hold in our life patterns because of COVID-19. If we are not on hold, we are either fast-tracked into a day full of urgent needs by the first responders and health care personnel who are overwhelmed by the instant demands of their day, and emotionally bonded to the human loss of life and separation from loved ones as they succumb to the disease despite all of their efforts.

Then the greatest number of us are in a “hold” pattern until we get into the staged re-entry of our lives as they were in January and February, knowing that even then we will be entering into a “new normal” before normal ever appears in our life.

Yet, we still have to show up in our life which means new routines and creations to keep physical and mental and emotional areas healthy. We have to move forward in some way that is meaningful to us. And so, most of us do just that. I offer you a few thoughts on that.

Showing Up For Life

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
If you show up for yourself in your life, the universe will show up for you.

The way we walk into a room says a lot about the way we live our lives. When we walk into a room curious about what’s happening, willing to engage, and perceiving ourselves as an active participant with something to offer, then we have really shown up to the party. When we walk into a room with our eyes down, or nervously smiling, we are holding ourselves back for one reason or another. We may be hurting inside and in need of healing, or we may lack the confidence required to really be present in the room. Still, just noticing that we’re not really showing up, and having a vision of what it will look and feel like when we do, can give us the inspiration we need to recover ourselves.

Even if we are suffering, we can show up to that experience ready to fully engage in it and learn what it has to offer. When we show up for our life, we are actively participating in being a happy person, achieving our goals, and generally living the life our soul really wants. If we need healing, we begin the process of seeking out those who can help us heal. If we need experience, we find the places and opportunities that can give us the experience we need in order to do the work we want to do in the world. Whatever we need, we look for it, and when we find it, we engage in the process of letting ourselves have it. When we do this kind of work, we become lively, confident, and passionate individuals.