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The loss of Kolbe Bryant is so sad on the sports scene where he excelled. A family life with those loved left behind. A rough road ahead, no doubt to lose husband and daughter and children to lose their father and sister.

It sounds like before the crash, they had a delay “in the air” while fog could clear or safe routes could be found. It amounted to fifteen minutes, at least. Tom and I experienced that kind of “in the air” delay on a flying adventure we undertook in the Hawaiian Islands.

 

 

On our 40th anniversary, the very date of June 19, Tom wanted to celebrate with a helicopter ride on Maui and we did so, boarding a two seater, right behind the pilot flying machine and away we went in perfect weather. He flew us back into the green valleys and hills to see beautiful interior tall waterfalls you could not get to by foot. He intended to fly us over the top of Mt. Haleakula.

But a breeze came up and he had to turn back. Flying back into the valley, the breeze turned to wind and the wind turned to rain storm that began swaying the helicopter sideways and tilted. The pilot had to mount height to get up and over a low mountain top (like the one that always opened in M*A*S*H) and he had his hands full, radioing what his attempts were and what he could/could not try — we heard it all (I was into my Hail Mary’s). He told us to stay quiet and was a wonderful pilot that finally pulled up over the ridge and headed out to follow the water’s edge back to the airport.

That night, we feasted and enjoyed the best lulau food and entertainment in Hawaii, and were called down to dance under the stars (feet on the ground) to celebrate with others who had anniversaries. The gift of grace as we continued life through our 50th coming up on our 55th this year in a few months.

I realize the news will be endless about the professional star Kobe was. My thoughts and prayers are with his young widow and mother of two other now fatherless daughters. God bless them one and all.

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Reprinted from text of Journey Girl, Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, a Memoir planned for release in 2020.

Grounding and Flow – Supported in Mystery

Native Americans refer to the moon and the sun as Grandmother Moon and Father Sun. The great gifts my grandparents bestowed on me were both connection and flow. They provided me with loving touch and experiences and connected me to both the earth of my daily life and the skies where future dreams formed like puffy white floating clouds.

I am a child of the Universe, stretched between two worlds of living and passed parentage. I am supported in mystery. Love leads me and grace lights my way.

I wish to thank my grandparents
for providing the daytime seeds
that anchored me to the ground
and for supporting me with the spiritual lattice-work
that helped me seek the wonders of God.

I shared wide-open days with my grandfather
who produced the miracle of planting seeds
in the spring-turned sod and reaped wholesome harvests
after a season’s care.

He, the laborer in the vineyard,
answering to the God he called
the Man Upstairs
with the faithful, daily rhythm of his day.

I learned from grandmothers who mentored
the worthiness of female in me
and taught me to ponder the delicacy of Irish lace
and the strength of good-will and persistence.

I treasure my grandparents who helped me touch the stars
and roll around in the grass,
secure in our snuggles
and whispered secrets in the night.

I bless my grandparents with a grateful heart
for I absorbed mystery in the midst of love
freely given, if not explained,
by their being present in ancestral place-holding.

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Hark! The herald angels sing….Glory be…. The Christmas hymns sing of them, the Christmas stories have many mentions of them. I believe in my guardian angel and so many others who attend to us, help us and guide us. I have an angel story that happened in our home during one of Tom’s many surgery recoveries. I reprint it here for angels know no season. They are present when needed.

Reprint of Napkinwriter blog:

I Have Something to Tell You

This happened in the early morning hours of Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

“I have something to tell you, stay there a minute.” This is what Tom said to me this morning when he got up. I was sitting in my “quiet chair” with early morning prayer and meditation. I stayed where I was.

He returned and sat down in his lounger chair and told me the following:

“Last night I got up around 2:00 o’clock AM. As I turned to come around the bed to head into the bathroom, I noticed a bright light near the door of the bedroom. I turned to look at it and I saw a white form just leaving the room. I only saw the back of her. My first thought was, angel.
I walked to the doorway and looked down the hallway that opens to the kitchen area. I saw two of these white forms standing and conversing with one another. They had white/tannish flowing garments. I could not see where they ended at the floor. I watched them. I could not hear them. I felt very peaceful.

I had to go to the bathroom so I did and when I returned, they were not there. I still felt the peace and returned to bed and went back to sleep.”

Tom is healing from the first of three scheduled skin cancer surgeries. I had given him Reiki healing/love energies as he fell asleep last night. The heat coming from his body was quite intense as I held my hands softly above his head and drew the Reiki healing symbols onto him. He fell asleep quite easily and was not in pain.

My guidance tells me Tom saw his healers. He said he knew them to be feminine, but doesn’t know how he knew. He has Archangel Raphael, the healing angel Icon above his workspace since his back surgery a couple years ago, when the green Raphael Energy flooded him with an instant turn-around from a crisis situation in the hospital.

So I have been conversing with my angel guides on a regular basis now for a couple of years. I write what I hear as my guidance in my journals. I sense their loving and guiding presence around and within me. And when I say “they” and “their” I mean only ONE — for that is all there is, ONE. In fact, the name I’ve been given to converse with is…..WHO — Whole and Holy One.
This year, I have opened to not only hearing and writing and sensing my guide, but I have told my guide I Am ready to see it.

And WHO sees his guide(s)? Tom, of course. He has that type of accepting spirit. I read, and meditate and think, and “do”, all of which has some merit. But I know that I need more of a “Mary” consciousness than a busy “Martha” (but bless her abundantly for I love her biblical activity and understand where she’s coming from). At least my hallway was neat for the angels to converse in!

Then I remember an angel correspondence I wrote down and posted in Napkinwriter and went back to look for it. This was posted one and one-half years before last night’s experience.
I am glad with joy! In the year of 2013- My Intention Mandala Year of Joy and Fun!

Angels in a Doorway

August 25, 2011 by Napkinwriter

A Message from the Angels
By Susan H. Hajec
Dedicated to Margo & Janet

In an open doorway, there is a space.
It is the space between
where you are
and where
you are going.

Pay attention to what comes to you
when you open this door
with the space between
you
and your future.

We are in that space
as your guides
and as your direction.
We are your angels.

So there is no need to fear
when you make your choices
from the love and light
that are in this doorway.

We are willing to pull you
or push you through the appearance
of obstacles or a harsh wind.

In this doorway you can create
a new now
filled with what is attracting you.
It takes only your decision.

There is no need
to hurry, dear one,
no need to rush.

Just be in the quiet
in the space
in the open door

between you
and your future.
We are here!
And in a millisecond
of the time it takes you to decide,
we will make it happen!

Again, do not be afraid.
It feels like you are lost
but you are not.
You are just in the space

in the open door
immersed in possibility and potential.

When what you have enjoyed
has come to an end,
it is your turn

to choose once again
what comes next
in the open door
where you can create
and just be.

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What are we waiting for? Ah, the virtue of patience is once again called to mind as the season of Advent brings us ever closer to the day we celebrate as the birth of Jesus.

Every pregnant woman and family waits for a period close to nine months for new life to be born into their family. A time of anticipation; a time of dreaming; a time of preparation for there is much to be done before the day of the newborn’s arrival is at hand.

Each type of waiting brings about different things for us. Throughout our lives we will over and over again experience times of anticipation. When we are young and small, we anticipate being adult and all-grown-up. There will be many years, probably at least eighteen, before that comes to pass. And even then, we will have much important growing up to do and it still may be more years before the mantle of adulthood properly fits our shoulders. It takes time. One step at a time.

I was always taller than most my friends during my childhood years. Well-meaning relatives often stated, “She is big for her age” or “She looks older than she is.” Somehow those remarks carried a tinge of meaning I perhaps misinterpreted.  I heard these remarks to mean I should be something other than I was. So I waited for my own adulthood to arrive where age blurred the lines and no one would say, “She is tall for being 21.” A child’s thought perhaps, but I looked toward the day where age would not distinguish me for being too much of what I am.

Other happier times of childhood anticipation certainly was waiting for Christmas, waiting for graduation, waiting for vacation fun with cousins, waiting for mom’s great-smelling dinners from the oven or her fresh baked bread, with the aromas filling the house; waiting for my first date. As I got nearer to being an adult, I waited for my first job, my true love and marriage, our first child; I waited for our first home, I waited weight loss and management over and over again. I waited to see who our children would become, who they would choose as partners in their lives and what passion would fill their souls for the gifts they would bring to the world.

I waited for seasons to pass. I waited for problems to be solved. I waited for mysteries of life to reveal themselves to me. And for this I am grateful. As a young child, I read all the Nancy Drew mysteries, but that is not the genre I chose as an adult. I chose non-fiction that filled many book shelves throughout my I favored biographies and particularly  autobiographies. I developed a strong taste that started at a young age for spirituality and mystical studies of the saints and beliefs in the time of our ancestors of long ago. Human psychology and development peaked in my young adult life and never ceased. I sought to discover the mysteries of life in these books much more often than in a fiction novel.

The trouble waiting presents is that it is focused on the future. What I had to learn was to keep my focus on the present, do my work, praying, hoping, and believing in the present time. When I could keep my eye on the ball in the day I was living, my dreams or worries of the future would take care of themselves; and when the conditions were right, manifestation would occur. That could be either a deeply desirous dream in which I could rejoice. Or it could be some future problem waiting to appear from my jumbled and mixed up thoughts in the present.

So, what do I await now? Most of the time, I await for the day I am living in, my part of doing good in it and my recognition of both the need and the blessings I come in contact with in this very day.

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Today, we are rising on a new dawn after elections across our country. May we and they know the sacredness of each new dawn. May we, the voters and citizens and the elected perform our responsibilities in the magnificence we can bring forth. May we listen to the whispers of wisdom, stand with the lessons of age and ancestors, envision what could be as we take even tiny steps toward common sense mixed with a passion for change that is for the good of all, supported by the sacred power of a God and Goddess of love.

It is time. We are the ones. The American dream awaits this dawn. And we are the creators.

 

Whispers at Dawn
By Gloria Burgess
Hush now.
Listen.
Lean into those voices
That whisper at dawn.
Stand gently
Proudly
On the broad bones
The great shoulders
Of the grand mothers and fathers
Who dreamt you
And held you
Keep you
And walk with you
Stroking your face
As dawn paints
That canvas of sky.
(from Legacy Living by Gloria Burgess © 2006, p. 47)
Congrats on getting back in the saddle!
Sara Pranikoff
sara@artandwritingcircle.com; http://www.womenwriting.org

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The Essential Wound

This book is about having an essential wound,
and having it at the beginning of my life.” Hal Zina Bennett, author and writing instructor

Hal Zina Bennett and I have three things in common. One: We both love to write from our heart center. Two: We both had an essential wound. Three: We both had that wound from the beginning of our lives. I am striving to have a fourth thing in common with Zina Bennett: We both have published books. My writing below was intended to be the Preface of my memoir, Journey Girl, Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, but I have restructured the beginning of my book and I am striking it, so I give it to Napkinwriter to share with you.

In his example of the student remembering how he was when he witnessed the unbelievable (at that time) happening of the Kent State National Guard’s shooting of four students on campus, who were peacefully protesting the Viet Nam War. I remember it as well. It was exceptional and unbelievable at that time, but not shocking anymore in our time now.

In his book, Write from the Heart, author Hal Zina Bennett describes giving his class a short writing assignment about having an essential wound. One student tells him he will write it but he is not sure he can read it to the class. Yet the very next day, this student is the first one to pop out of his seat for the readings.

He describes a scene of a young woman on campus holding her friend’s bloody head and limp body. She is hysterically shouting at the National Guard soldiers nearby. That exact historical and iconic scene played out on television and in newspapers across the nation, during a particularly troubled time in 1970. It was the May 4th shooting that took place on the Kent State college campus during the Vietnam War Protest era.

Barry, the writing student, had witnessed the horror, terror, confusion, and disbelief of violence thrust upon the students by military might. It resulted in four college students lying sprawled on the ground in their spot of instant death. Once the students in proximity to the shooting recovered partially from their shellshock and temporary paralysis, Barry and most of the other frantic students scrambled for pay telephone booths to call home (cell phone technology and social media were not products and methods of communication in student hands in 1970).

The phone booth lines were long and when he finally gained access, Barry called straight to his father’s office. He told the secretary to interrupt his father, who was in a meeting.
“This is important,” he insisted, in a begging tone of voice.

Barry’s father, a veteran of the Korean War, of which he never spoke, responded rapidly as he picked up the receiver. “Make it fast because I am in a crucial meeting.” The father’s staccato directive exploded upon his anxious, terrorized, and stunned son.

Then Barry’s father listened to the fast, rambling crescendo of his son’s recounting of what became known as the Kent State Massacre without saying a word or interrupting. When the son finished, he paused, letting the rest of his energy flow onto the floor of the phone booth, his legs weak and wobbly. There was only silence on the telephone line for what seemed like a long time to the dazed student.

“Dad, did you hear me?”

“Yes, I heard you,” his father replied, detached and distant. “Are you okay? You’re safe?”
His son replied he thought he was. “I haven’t been shot or anything.” And that was it. As Barry stood cramped and crouched in the restrictive phone booth, his father matter-of-factly informed him, “Good, then. I have to get back to my meeting.”

Hal Zina Bennett contends that being present to the horror of the campus shootings would be enough to last as an essential wound for any one of us. But Barry, the student writer, went on with his story about how he carried the essential wound around inside of him for many years to follow. He never felt safe anymore.

The memory of that day haunted his dreams over and over again. He was still upset for not being able to get over it. He realized many thousands of people saw these kinds of horrible things and seem to have lived with it. He blamed himself for continuing to suffer. That is why he was not sure he could read it to the class.

A usually quiet, older woman student, perhaps somewhat past the age of seventy, whom the instructor knew to be a keen listener, spoke from her desk in the back of the room, breaking a hushed silence and the palatable feeling of respect floating in the air.
“Your father dropped the ball,” she said. “That’s your essential wound and I think you know what I mean by that.”

Barry kept his eyes down and nodded slowly, tears freely flowing. Because Barry had noted on paper the history of his father being in the Korean War but never speaking about it to his own family or anyone else that he knew of, the woman went on to describe it as his father’s essential wound. It was something that his father could not face or release. She continued to say the same had happened to Barry regarding the Kent State shootings.

“But you have broken the chain today and escaped from your own history by having the courage to tell us this story.” She offered him thanks, for this story healed her as well. “You didn’t drop the ball.”

Bennett, the instructor, admitted to not knowing exactly what all went on in the classroom that day, but he remained convinced that the essential wounds we all carry are powerful within us. What had just happened in the classroom among the students was more than a lesson in writing.

This incident made Bennett think about the phenomenon of the essential wound. From his vantage point as a writing instructor, where students trusted their personal stories with him, he saw these wounds expressed in the majority of his classes. Surely, most people don’t get through life without an essential wound. The youth of his students most likely meant these types of wounds still lay ahead in life for many of them also.

This was a whole new way of looking at his students and their writing. What was there to be said for recovering from an essential wound after they gained the courage to talk about it? What were the protections offered for these wounds, which could still burst open and cause so much pain? How choices were made in whom to speak to about certain wounds, for it was a trust that could be so betrayed and produce ongoing regrets in the future life of the wounded.

Many people who begin studying their genealogy find stories, all too quickly, of “misplaced people” on their family tree; a surprising “crazy uncle” who was never talked about, perhaps even a rich heiress that disappeared from the family. All of this new news could probably be traced back in time to an essential wound that would not be talked about in generations going forward. Most of us know that sense of not quite being able, even though willing, to support another in deep emotional grief and turmoil. Past history, over which we have no control, plays a large part in our inability to “be there” for another at some time in our lives.
Bennett writes in his book, “it is our perceptions of the world, the inner vision of what we think life is about that is challenged in every essential wound.”

He says we must start trying out our perceptions, see what the wound mirrors in us, and seek out what we need to learn from the wound. Most importantly, we are to discover what we need to learn to embrace to take ourselves out of the role of victim. In other words, there is actually a blessing in these essential wounds. We need to have courage and ask for the grace to find it.

I had an essential wound at the beginning of my life also. But I didn’t have a name for what it was and I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it was there—for as long as I can remember. It was difficult, for me, to admit aloud that an essential wound of a lost and unknown mother, shrouded in mystery, lived within me.

But it wasn’t hard to recognize. William Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” And a time would come when I would begin to connect my past truthfully and freely and find the grace and gift within my wound.

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“Meaning does not come from what we do. It comes from what we are. If we are lovers of beauty, then beauty will fill us all our days. If we are committed to justice, then justice will drive us past all fatigue or failure. If we are devoted to building human community, then we will find meaning in the people whose lives we touch. It’s when we are driven by nothing other than our daily schedules that life becomes gray, listless, and dour.

Life happens quickly but the meaning of it comes into focus only slowly, slowly, slowly. The challenge is to keep on asking ourselves what it is.” These words are taken from author and Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister, in Songs of the heart, Reflections on THE PSALMS.

She offers a simple and profound book of poignant and challenging reflections on twenty five of the 150 songs of praise found in the psalms. Each of the twenty-five chosen reflections offer a spiritual oasis away from the stresses of a world that demands more than the human soul can sometimes bear and have rich meaning for people today.

In my memoir, Journey Girl, Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, I too offer at the beginning of each chapter a brief pause for the reader that is like the spiritual oasis Joan Chittister speaks of. I call them Islands of Silence. They are easy and accessible to the at-home mother who needs a private pause from combined child-care, taxi driver, medical emergencies and unending upkeep of home responsibilities.

They are equally beneficial for the students of all ages (we are all students of life) and business and corporate ladder climbers who can find an instant cubby-hole within to take stock and quiet the busy and overworked mind.

The first Island of Silence I offer in Chapter One is…..

 

The Breath
The Easiest of All Practices of Consciousness
Wherever God lays his glance life starts clapping.
Hafiz

Your breath is an Island of Silence that is with you at all times. You cannot live without it. A baby’s first important work to do when he/she arrives and separates from the maternal umbilical cord is to… breathe.

There are many meditative practices that focus on different ways to engage with your breath for stress relief and relaxation, but taken down to its simplest level, one may just choose to watch one’s breath.

If you don’t want to go to a gym, if you are not ready to engage in Pilates or Yoga (where the attention is put on the breath), you are perfectly free to sit comfortably alone, turn your thoughts inward, seek the quiet and simply breathe… in… out… in… out.

You will see this Island of Silence will come to you and you will appreciate the restoration it gives. Beautiful scenery will not take your breath away. It will give you more breath.
If you don’t wish to sit, you may walk in one of your favorite landscapes, amidst flowers and trees, birds, and animals, still focusing on your breath coming in… going out… coming in… going out.

You may be stuck in traffic with things to do, but still… you are stuck in traffic and you can breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breathe out.

Return to this Island of Silence many times during the day. It is perfectly fine to take short stay vacations of breathing tranquility. It is low cost, efficient, and brings rewards of renewed energy and purpose. Turn your attention to your breath daily and give this a try.

This is an Island of Silence that begins the first chapter of an at-risk emergency birth where the child is saved, yet the young twenty-nine year old mother dies. Life and death do, indeed, both happen quickly. I am the child who lived. The meaning of it and the grace held within the loss of my mother all happened very, very slowly

 

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