Citrine Bird

The golden cage was not being built to keep the bird inside it as much as it was to keep the cats out.

But the maker did not want to obstruct the bird’s view, nor did she want to keep the beautiful yellow creature from the sight of onlookers.

Citrine was helpful to look at and helpful to hold, but not for cats,of course.

So the cage was being scrutinized for the least obstructive and most protective construction.

Nothing worked.

The wires went askew and crossed over each other and ended up in a golden, crooked heap.

The maker began to think: “IF the bird could fly, she could easily get away from cats, and she could swoop and sweep through the air in the sunlight and show everyone her healing light.

So instead of a cage, she gave the bird the gift of flight.

But no wings.

The Citrine Bird was only going to be able to fly when worn on the heart of a pure woman.

And it was for that one woman that the bird had been formed.

What was not expected, but delighted all concerned was that both woman and bird could fly when she wore the bird around her neck.

Of course, she tried it on the Buddha first, only to see how it would look on a pure one. The she took it and wore it with great joy.

And that is how the story of the Citrine Bird and the Wise Woman begins.

Surely, Goodness & Mercy Will Follow Me

Prayer with a rose quartz crystal.

I had just had another major battle with my mom. I was at wits end. I couldn’t see a solution because there was hurt and trauma on all sides. So I prayed, using a pink quartz crystal as an aid to focus mind, body and spirit.

When Jesus fought temptation in the desert, he used scripture as his weapon. So that is what I did.

The whole 23rd Psalm was consolidated into the mantra: surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.

Bitter With Age

This is a peek into the world of an elderly woman in our community; a plea for help with the problem of depression and uselessness that our elders face in a society that values youth and novelty over time tested wisdom.

It was dark in the room when I awoke and I mistook the mirror for a man’s heavy coat.

But that’s not as bad, (or as funny) as when I woke up hungry and took a nice, big bite out of a page of my coloring book.

Or how ’bout when I fell asleep at the computer and thought my mouse was a coffee cup. Ha ha!

Some of the things are comical, it’s true. But you wouldn’t like it happening to you.

It’s not just the fact that I do mixed up things but my whole life is mixed up.

I can’t stand my daughter, miss goodie two shoes and my other daughter is far away, and besides that she’s changed. I used to call her my angel and I could count on her for anything but now she seems angry and when she talks to me it stings.

My boys have all died, my mother and father and one brother, too.

I don’t know why I’m still here.

It hurts when I walk or move my arms, I choke when I eat and I can’t breathe.

Every day is a struggle; I hate that I’m losing the strength I once had.

My mother and I built most of this house with our own two hands with wood we salvaged from some old barn.

When I moved in here it was bare and hot and now this property looks like a park.

Honeysuckle, Apricots, Mulberry tree, Date trees, Cotton Wood and a gigantic Evergreen. We’ve got Catalpa and Elms, Bird of Paradise, Iris, Spanish broom and Mexican and Pampas Grasses, Morning Glories, Marigolds, Amarillis, and Blue Salva that just sprung up one summer on its own, I don’t know how it got there. Hollyhocks cover the north side of the house and the back of the property is lined with Bamboo.

It just doesn’t seem fair that all this work, and all this beauty is just going to go back to nothing but dirt.

I’m discouraged today. I’m a little depressed. I feel bitter and I can’t get out from under a sense of impending doom, of uncomfortable unrest and meanglessness.

I think it would be best for all concerned if I could die today.

But wait, my little kitten wants to play.

I found her in the bushes a few weeks ago. She was starving and her eyes were covered in gunk; poor, pitiful baby.

I took her in and got her cleaned up and fed and with the help of my neighbors, we got the medicine for her eyes and stuffy head.

She is so soft and snuggly and really smart too.

I guess I’ll have a cup of coffee and see what my Facebook world is up to.

I don’t mean to be glum.

I want to be cheerful.

I’m not growing old with graceful charm.

I’m fighting tooth and nail but

We all know Time has already won.

So what do I do?

I sip my coffee while it’s hot and enjoy the morning while it’s still and quiet.

I vow I’ll not start another riot with my daughter or with anyone else for that matter.

I’ll put one foot in front of the other and pray that there is more to life than growing old and bitter.

Evidence of Efficacy

I was still alive and kicking when my pulmonologist used the phrase Evidence of Efficacy. He assumed there was ample evidence for the efficacy of his treatments since asthma wasn’t killing me.

I just liked the phrase and I repeated it to myself to commit it to memory. I told him I’d write about it someday and today is that day.

Evidence of Efficacy sounds like the title of an opera– some epic love story in which a thin, easily broken thread of hope carries us all the way through harrowing perils to a place where we are likely to give birth to the strongest, most loving generation on earth. Our triumphant survival is all the evidence we need to prove that the plan to save our butts wasn’t carried out in vain.

Why, then, don’t we feel like it is time to celebrate? What are we waiting for?

When I was growing up, there were people in my life who would throw a party for any excuse at all.

Someone made a new quilt top? Let’s have a party and quilt it together.

The girls want to play dress up? Let’s have a make up party and dress up in lace hats, gloves, and high heels that are too big for us.

There were more Tupperware, Avon or Stanley parties back then. No one had money. None of our families were rich. But we always managed to have enough to celebrate because parties were important.

I miss the little pencils we used to play games with (and used later to fill out order slips.)

I think that having a doctor say there is evidence of efficacy for the life saving measures he suggested is reason enough for me to celebrate.

What factors can you find in your life to suggest Evidence of Efficacy? What works better now than it did before?

What would the invitations say if if you decided to invite people over to celebrate with you?

If you could throw an impromptu party what would it be about? What would you do? What is stopping you?

What evidence of Efficacy for the good in your like today can you list?

I’ll get you started:

You are reading this, so you are alive and breathing.

Can you add to the list?

In The Mean Time, And, Of Course, These Are Mean Times

I can’t wait till I can find a quiet place to sit and meditate

No, I mean, I literally can’t wait. I don’t have the patience.

I need a meditation I can jump on any time I manage to be close enough to hitch a ride. My world is spinning so fast; guilt that I can’t (or won’t) slow it down just makes it all the more painful.

So this morning, I put the tubs of saved fabric and future projects back into the closet and made my bed. I prayed and sang a mantra: “Here I am, Lord. Speak for your servant is listening”

My room was atrocious. There were art projects and trash and laundry, clean and dirty, all over the place. It was a crash pad, and that is what I did there: crash, and then, only when absolutely forced there by exhaustion.

As I swept bits of wire out of the far side of the bed where I was wire wrapping stones in the middle of non-time and I thought: Ah Ha! I see the trap now.

All these years I have been trying so hard to have a regular and constant meditation practice that I’ve neglected the wealth of the present moment passing by and by and by all around and within me. I’ve been trying to

manage time,

to arrange it according to an arbitrary schedule.

I wonder what would happen if I sink deeper into the flow and rhythm of natural time itself.

What is “natural time?”

It is the time that passes by when you don’t notice it happening– like when you see a child who has become an adult ‘overnight’ or you realize your time with a friend has ‘flown by’ -in ‘no time at all.’

Natural time is the time you don’t have to make time for. In fact, you can’t wait to spend time doing it, whatever IT is..

I think I have been misunderstanding time and the meaning and purpose of it in the first place.

I was always taught that if I work hard for some goal, I will attain the prize, maybe. Maybe not. Either way, hard work was the key to happiness, and hard work meant hard time.

In other words, in order to win any prize worth having, I’d have to word hard for a long time; things freely given were not valuable.

I was taught that in order to advance my spiritual practice I’d need to have a regular and consistent practice. (Same dime, different vending machine.)

News break: Some of us find it extremely difficult to make anything happen in a regular and consistent manner. I tried a million times to get up at 4:00 am to meditate and pray. Yet, if I try to force it by setting an alarm, then the only thing I build up is resistance to waking up to the practice.

I am too old to keep waiting for the right time to jump in, like I did when I was a timid girl waiting for the jump ropes to swing just right before I made my move. I just realized I am already jumping. I just don’t recognize the rhythm. It seems to be going pretty fast and speeding up.

So I just start from where I am. I start singing chanting because that is the only thing I remember how to do.

Childhood jumprope chant:

Ice cream soda, Delaware Punch, who do you love for your honey bunch? A, B, C…

No that is not the one I need. Let’s see.

Om mani padme hum. Hmmm, I like that.

But I want more.

I pull a dozen mantras out of my bag; none of them fit exactly.

I try listening. There is nothing to hear.

So I simply get up. Grumble and moan. Make coffee and do what I can’t stand not doing anymore. I attend to the things calling for attention the loudest and I attend to them one by one.

There is a certain solidity in the drudgery that feels like comfort. The tubs full of future projects make a satisfying thud when they hit the closet floor and it is nice, for now, to shut the door on all of them.

I start separating the art projects from the trash, the clean laundry for the dirty.

Without intending to, I find myself (silently) singing the words Samuel spoke when he heard God calling:

Speak. Lord, for your servant is listening.

Suddenly I realize that I have been loving God and listening to the still small voice all this time while I waited for my busy mind to get ready to start a regular practice! Does that sound confusing and ridiculous? It is like saying ready, set…but never saying go, then realizing that you are already going at just the right speed anyway.

All that angst about preparing myself to practice was a distraction. My hunger and thirst for God takes me directly to the source and keeps me nearby 24/7, naturally. It is a trick and a trap to think that we have to be trained to know God or become enlightened. A deer who is thirsty will already know how to drink. She won’t have to train in a monastery for 40 years before she is able to purse her lips just so and suck the sweet water from the stream. We are already know how to be at peace, we just have to realize it. We don’t have to earn the love of Great Spirit who made us, who ‘knit us together in our mother’s womb’–we are already loved; we just have to know we are loved.

In the mean time, (and these are mean times, as my bother was fond of saying,) we just have to trudge through.

But oh, how happy I am to trudge like this when drudgery becomes such bliss and the ordinary moment is my most precious sacrament