What's Up?
Mandala Journal by Lynn Keefer ©2011-2015

This journal is presented chronologically - click here to proceed to the most recent entry.

2011 Aries New Moon Mandala
April 3, 2011

Nature Shows the Way - So what's New with you?

The ice melts... water flows and the dream-seeds that we planted last fall like winter wheat prepare to be birthed. These dream-seeds have now, in this mandala, become eggs encasing the dreams yet to be born - the possibilities of new life or a new way of being. The only egg for me at this time of year is the egg of the Robin, the harbinger of spring. Robin eggs are a speckled, powder blue. This powder blue associated with the Throat Chakra teaches us to express ourselves positively in all we do. We are lead to new beginnings without fear by restoring trust in ourselves and our soul. In addition, as the water flows nature is nurtured... grass becomes green, once dead-looking, naked trees are clothed in life and flowers bloom. Can you smell the fragrance of the lily at the center - a symbol of purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life? This mandala resonates with the ever-expanding, hope-filled joy of possibility. A new and and more life affirming way is ahead if we but root ourselves at the center, allow the ever-expanding growth, go with the flow and trust the natural process of birthing our dreams and ourselves into Be-ing.

Blessings Always,

L ;-)

Editors Note: We thank Lynn for sharing her colored mandalas and meditative process. She tells us that she takes her finished mandalas to the Qi Gong class she attends and they all meditate on them, trying to see them with their 3rd eye. She said the Aries mandala brought lots of smiles because, "... it felt so expansive and accompanied with a feeling of joy - like hope-filled expectation and excitement." Thanks again Lynn; your mandala brings us smiles too.

2011 Taurus New Moon Mandala
May 3, 2011

Ta-Da!!! Here I AM!

The exhausting work of birthing is completed. The eggs have hatched and new life abounds. No longer are thoughts and dreams hidden in the secret recesses of the M/mind, but rather they are tangible manifestations present here in the physical realm for all to see and experience.

I am struck by the “petals” (or in this case, feathers) in this Taurus New Moon Mandala as they extend beyond the circle. In Mandala work, the circle contains a snap shot of the psyche. So the physical manifestation of a thought or dream is represented here not only by the number 8 (matter, incarnation) but also by the extension of the petals/feathers beyond the rim of the circle. That which extends beyond the circle expresses its birthing into the physical realm. So what are we birthing? What am I birthing?

As mentioned above, birthing is exhausting work and to represent its challenges I selected the symbolism of peacock feathers. I recently learned that the food of one of the most beautiful birds in the world is thorns. Thorns, then, suggest that suffering or struggle is part and parcel of the birthing process. The feathers themselves represent the glory that awaits us by "digesting" our suffering. By going through the pain instead of trying to bypass or avoid it, we are changed. The pain is transmuted - compassion grows and our connection to one another is elevated because that process has birthed a greater Love within us.

For the center of the flower, I chose the color red – the color of the Cosmic Christ which is also represented by the number 8. St. Irenaeus states, “The Glory of God is a man fully alive.” It is interesting to note how during this cycle I have been asked to “Exit the Alone Zone” (Marianne Williamson), to ‘show up’ - to ‘put myself out there’ for all to see and experience. To watch doors as they close and others as they are opened to me, to witness especially the new connections being made. “For when we connect, commune, bond and build bridges our lives glorify God. When we separate, hate, fear, enclose ourselves, we back track on the glory of God.” - Fr. Richard Rohr.

So how do we connect? And with whom? We connect to the Cosmic Christ in our encounters with nature and through our participation in spiritual practices (also ‘8.’) Through our struggle and suffering we are purified (gold) and our suffering gives way to compassion (pink.) Through this compassion, we reconnect to our own purity, innocence (white) and humility (grey) and are then able to see those traits in others. We connect to others through the heart (green,) and through (purple) knowing that we are all heirs of the kingdom - children of the great I AM.

Blessings Always,

L ;-)

2011 Gemini New Moon Mandala
June 1, 2011

All Together Now! Or for the younger set: We’re all in this together!

I was really excited when I first saw this template…it started talking to me right off (symbolically of course.) If last month’s Mandala is “Ta-Dah! Here I AM” this one answers the question, “So Now What?” This Gemini New Moon Mandala answers that with connections, relationships and communication. There’s a lot here so let’s dig in!

There are Three groupings in this Mandala, 1x12, 2x6 and 3x4:

1x 12…twelve symbolizing the number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit. Like the 12 Tribes, the 12 apostles or the 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 in this Mandala represent all people. We’re all in here symbolically speaking - the full spectrum of color symbolizing the great diversity of humanity. There are no islands. No one stands alone. We are a unified whole…diverse, interconnected and woven into the web of life.

2 groups of 6 (= 12.) Two is Yin (feminine, receptive, dark) and Yang (masculine, projective, light) - two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. The spiritual meaning of the number Two deals with exchanges made with others, partnerships (both in harmony and rivalry), and communication. Two urges us out of our indecision, calls us to unite with like minds, and like ideals. Two asks us to exert our natural flow of judgment to do what is best for our souls. Six represents harmony, balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Six naturally reveals solutions for us in a calm, unfolding manner.

Twelve in the combination of 3x4 represents the manifestation of the Trinity to the four corners of the horizon suggesting that each triad in and of itself is incomplete. Each of the four sets of 3 is grouped by element: Fire (red,) Earth (green,) Air (yellow) and Water (blue) which suggests that we get along easiest with those “in our group.” The others in our triad compliment us, make us feel at home and are easiest for us to love. People outside of “our group” – those in the other triads - are less like us and are more challenging for us to love.

As a musician I was curious to play these triads and hear what kind of a sound they made. Musically speaking ‘C’ is linked with the color red at 1:00 on the face of this Mandala “clock.” Every color clockwise raises the pitch one half step. In musical terms, each triad plays an augmented chord, meaning that the 5th of the chord is raised. This sound is unsettling to our ears. We naturally want to resolve the 5th - to lower it and settle in. If I were to suggest a feeling that sounds like an augmented chord, it would have to be anticipation or longing.

This sound just leaves you hanging out there… waiting. It literally and naturally wants to move but without changing one of the players or adding something new or different, it is stuck waiting… further suggesting that the other two in the group are not enough. We long for the missing element that helps us get moving or resolves our lack of inertia in some way. I asked Sandra about the energy of these “trine” groups:

“The energy of a trine (120 degrees) flows easily, generally too easily. As you suggest, they are missing the impetus for action. Things flow so easily the energy becomes lazy. "Why bother, it'll happen on its own", but it usually doesn't. It needs some friction or challenge to get it going and that comes from having another element introduced.” To develop to our full potential we need the “others.” - Sandra Mosley

In addition to the groupings listed above there is a single set of six at the center. The spiritual meaning of the number Six also deals with enlightenment; specifically "lighting" our path in areas we require spiritual and mental balance. Six beckons us to administer compassion and consciously choose forgiveness in a situation.

As this Mandala suggests, we are connected to one another by the One who weaves the web of life that binds us all together. He who lives within us but is not of us - Whose light burns within us - teaches us the Way of Love, forgiveness and compassion through our interaction with one another. As Sandra mentioned, to develop to our full potential we need the “others.” We are truly all in this together!

Blessings Always,
Lynn ;-)


2011 Cancer New Moon Mandala
June 30, 2011



When I first looked that this Mandala I couldn't help but notice the frenetic, helter-skelter lines which to me represent our crazy, busy, modern day lives. And yet underneath this craziness there is an underlying calm, a stability (represented by the number 4) that grounds and centers us, makes us feel safe, secure, connected – at peace . There is only one word that describes these feelings :


"When I think of home I think of a place where there's love overflowing." – Home from The Wiz

I was blessed with two grandparents who were born under the sign of the crab. Neither of them, however, were remotely crabby. Both were very sweet individuals that had a way of making people feel at home. My paternal grandfather had such an easy smile and was a carpenter by trade. He built many homes, schools, bookcases, cabinets and other things of the home. My maternal Grandmother got hospitality better than anyone I've ever known! If company were coming, she cooked. If a handyman was coming to fix something, she cooked. Cooking was inherent in her caring about and for someone. Interesting that the color associated with the sign of Cancer is yellow-orange. If we look at the color from a chakra perspective and where it might lie in the body, we find orange at the womb and yellow at the solar-plexus. What lies in between them? The stomach. Grandma was a very creative cook. I call her a kitchen-cupboard cook. She didn't necessarily rely on proven, written recipes. She would often just open the doors of her kitchen cabinets, take stock of what was there and then make something magical! My favorite childhood meal was most probably nothing more than sliced hot dogs in vegetable soup. But because she called it Pennies from Heaven it was amazing! And to this day, quite memorable. The very thought of it gives me such a warm feeling.

As I worked on this mandala expressing "home," I was preparing to travel home to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents. 50 years of this faithful, loving relationship have yielded four children, 8 grandchildren, a bountiful bouquet of many and varied colorful friends, many life experiences and memories. My parents LIVE life to the full! In their 70's they are constantly on the move - traveling, hiking, dancing, and socializing. Their life together has not been all sweetness and light, however. They worked very hard to provide for their family and prevailed through many challenging times together. Even though they may have disagreed about something behind closed doors, they always stood together in front of us kids. Their fidelity and unity fostered stability in our home.

The thought of home invokes happy memories for many. For others home is not remembered as a place of safety, security or love. For others still, there may be a mix of both. Let's take a look at the word "home" and some words used to describe it:

Residence – a place where one lives
Family Group – a family or any other group that lives together – a place of belonging
Birthplace - the place where somebody was born or raised or feels that he or she belongs
Native Habitat - the place where an animal is most common or indigenous
Place of Origin – the place where something originated or is based
Headquarters – main place of operations of an organization
Safe Place – a place where a person or animal can find refuge and safety or live in security
Place of Assistance – as in a nursing home…a place where somebody who is in need of care, rest or medical attention can stay or find help
Goal - In many sports, it is the place or point that must be hit in order to score or must be reached in order to be safe from attack

Common to all of these definitions is "place" and in many cases "a place of belonging."

Several years ago I dreamed that I was driving down a street looking for "home." I searched and searched but could not find the address. I woke up feeling distressed and needed to orient myself. I needed to find my address. I needed to find "home." What did this mean? I knew where I was born…I knew where I lived, I had a family of my own, and yet, I felt disconnected - lost. I visited a wise and wonderful woman and through our time together the image that came to me was a person with hands raised to the heavens. In that moment I knew that there was more to "home" than my current understanding of home. It was apparent that the home I was seeking was not to be found on this earth. "Home," THE place of safety, security, peace, and unconditional love, was to be found in the presence of God.

"You have made us and have directed us toward Yourself,
and our heart is restless until we rest in You. "
- St. Augustine of Hippo Conf. 1.1

People often speak of longing to go "home" to the Lord perhaps because they grow weary of this existence. Someone once said to me, "Your home is where your spirit dwells." So 'Whether we live or die we belong to the Lord.' - Romans 14:8 So whether here - spiritual beings physically manifested on this earthly plane; or there – having shed these mortal "clothes" dwelling in spirit only - we belong to God.

God is our "point of origin," from Whom we come and to Whom we return - where everyone and every created thing belongs. With God we are safe and secure because we come to know that we are so much more than our bodies. Divine assistance is but a request away. Cultivate a right relationship with God and everything else falls into place. No matter how frenetic and crazy my life, my Centering Prayer practice – consenting to the presence and action of God within, or in other words, one of the ways I spend time cultivating my personal relationship with God - is the foundation of my day and the reason for my peace and sense of calm - the feeling I have that all is well no matter what is going on in my life. Being grounded in God helps me navigate the events of my life in more loving ways.

Living in the presence of God we know peace. We live in complete safety. We are secure. We are never alone, and we are loved and cared for beyond words. In God - we are home.


2011 Leo New Moon Mandala
July 30, 2011



This mandala represents the full expression of summer! It radiates such JOY! An over the top kind of JOY which cannot be generated by a single heart alone. The interlocking of these hearts suggests community – a close, tight-knit community. The similar shape and size of the hearts suggests a joining of equals - a gathering of friends.

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life,
and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

Summer by its very nature is expansive and we are more “outward bound” by getting out of the house and connecting more to others during the summer months. Family reunions, picnics, and social gatherings with friends are more prevalent in the summer. In the New Moon phase of this cycle, my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. What a party!!! 300 people from all over the country and Canada attended this event. As I mentioned last month, my parents are avid travelers, hikers and dancers – old time and polka to be specific - and it is through these venues that they have met and befriended such a great gathering of people. I entered the celebration knowing maybe 50 people comprised of relatives and family friends from my childhood hometown. By the end of the event I had met and danced with many new friends and had come to know and appreciate why my parents like to spend so much time with these lovely people. What a joy-filled, fun-loving group! They dance, they sing, they laugh... what joy! They have a good time and it keeps them young!

As we near the end of this cycle, I am preparing to send my first born off to college for the first time - certainly a bittersweet time. This event, though natural and organic, is both joy-filled and sad at the same time. I am excited for him, certainly proud of him and happy with where he has chosen to attend college as it is truly the manifestation of his heart’s desire. It also means that we will not be able to enjoy each other’s company as often. Our family tree is transitioning into something different and life will be forever changed. Gratefully I have had the company of many friends – some of whom are also sending their first (and in some cases only) child off to college. And while our hearts do not perhaps exude the joy of this mandala at this time, they are certainly lighter for having joined together to share the experience and be supported by the loving and compassionate company of friends.

I invite you to join me with open and joy-filled hearts to give thanks for the blessing friends – both new and well seasoned - who are woven into the fabric of our lives. They comfort, support and listen as well as celebrate with us and bring with them the songs of joy and laughter. They journey the roads of life with us through the ups and downs giving us also the opportunity to be great friends. They let us know that we are not alone. Encircled hearts... joined in the company of good friends.

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2011 Virgo New Moon Mandala
August 28, 2011

The Eternal Perfection

The reoccurring symbol used in this mandala reminds me of a Nautilus shell. This modern day sea creature’s fossil records indicate that it has not virtually changed for a mind boggling 550 million years – having survived five massive animal extinctions. It is one of the few species in its class to have a shell. Nautili are born with seven chambers to their shells and will mature with 30.

They live for 20 years and as they grow move forward in their shells, sealing off the chamber they have outgrown. These empty chambers are then used for buoyancy allowing the Nautili to more easily remain at comfortable depths and upright in the water. Their eyes do not have a lens or cornea and so view the world with “pin-hole vision.” Because of this limited vision, they find safety by residing in darker depths near the ocean floor or the dark slopes of coral reefs, coming to the shallows only at night to feed and once a year to breed. If they spend too much time at very deep depths, the pressure will cause the shell to fill with water and they will have to actively to swim to a depth more suitable for them. Should a Nautilus venture too deeply, it runs the risk of imploding its shell.

The shape and form of the Nautilus shell have inspired many artists and architects (think of a spiral staircase or the Guggenheim Museum in New York) and its geometry is widely found in nature – pine cones, a head of cauliflower, and placement of leaves on plants. Its ratios are found in our DNA and in the measurement of distant galaxies. The geometry of the shell is the blueprint of the sacred foundation of all things and is symbolic of the interconnectedness of all the various parts of the whole. There are seven overlapping shells in this mandala - seven being the number of completion, entirety and perfection.

“You are a Divine creation –
a being of light who showed up here as a human being at the exact moment you were supposed to.
You are the beloved,
a miracle,
a part of the eternal perfection.”

~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Time marches on…ever forward moving...fleeting…which once spent cannot return. I have just returned from taking my firstborn to college for his freshman year, 1200 miles away, as I begin to contemplate the meaning of this mandala. And it occurs to me that there are landmark times in life when we have outgrown the space in which we live. Though often emotional and perhaps even painful for us and those who love us, change is necessary to continue the evolution of our being. Birth, weaning, leaving the home of our parents, taking a job, midlife, and passing from this life are certainly among these universal landmark times. Other, not so universal, landmark times might be going to school for the first time and learning to drive.

The cycle continues forward with each generation… children are born and grandchildren… and on it goes. At each landmark time a little more space is created for something new – something different. In many of the early landmark times we are given the gift of a little more freedom and are encouraged to be a little more self sufficient and responsible for our own well being. The older generations become mentors and witnesses of the sacred dance of life around them even if they don’t have children of their own. In the years of mentoring, parenting and grand-parenting it seems to me that the lessons are more about learning to detach from outcomes... learning to open our hands and let go, allowing the young-lings to connect to their own inner wisdom and find their own path.

In each phase we hopefully become a little more authentic, more ourselves, with a little more understanding of the ways of “life.” We come to know our limits and make adjustments when we feel we are in over our head. Too much time spent living at overly stressful levels can cause life threatening health concerns and dis-ease within the body and the mind. We live in the dark not knowing what lies ahead. With our limited sight, or knowing, we can only guess at what might come next and trust through grace that we have chosen well the path that lies ahead. Each chamber of life sealed behind holds lessons learned to help us remain upright.

If what I’m hearing in this cycle is any indication, certainly love and forgiveness are a major part of those lessons. In Matthew 18 this question was posed: “How many times must I forgive? Seven times?” As if to say, “Must I forgive completely? Entirely? “ The answer Jesus gives is 77 times, or 7x11. One possible symbolic meaning might be: Forgive as many times as is necessary to take the relationship back into balance…back to when it was new or pure… back to its perfection – back to love.

We continue the journey forward until we have completed the purpose for which we have been sent and are released from the container (or body) we inhabit into the loving arms of the One from whom we came - back into the Eternal Perfection.

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2011 Libra New Moon Mandala
September 27, 2011

Heart of Gold

Happy Birthday to me! I’m 103! Well… not really… but I did celebrate my 50th birthday during this cycle. Though my husband has said many a time that I will live to be well over 100 and look like an apple head doll. You know, those shrunken, dried up, wrinkly, apples sculpted to look like a face? Actually, I can see it. ;-)

As I began to contemplate this mandala, this question came to me from Dr. Wayne Dyer:

Are you aging? Or Sage-ing?

In this cycle I also heard 59 year old, X Factor contestant, Leroy Bell ask: “Am I growing old and bitter because I’m not following my heart?“ Hmmm….aging? Or Sage-ing?

I have to say, this is an excellent question for this landmark year in my life. As I walk through the threshold of the “golden years,” my body is certainly aging and changing. There are more things to “watch” and “keep tabs on” - nothing to worry about, just a “pat on the head” from my doctors followed by “we’ll see you next year.” My vision is changing and reading glasses are becoming necessary. Snow is starting to come in on the roof to which I respond: “BRING - IT - ON!” I had a hair stylist once say to me, “Ya know Lynn…we’re gonna need to start coloring pretty soon.” My response? “If color touches my hair – and that’s a big “IF” – we’ll match the grey! ;-)

As I wrote about in last month’s reflection, I am definitely entering the stage of learning to open my hands and let go – let go and let be. Let go of outcomes, of things that no longer serve me, of not having to be everything to everybody. There is a tangible and welcomed gentleness to my life right now. I’m learning how to say “no” because what is being asked of me doesn’t resonate with me or the burden of adding yet another thing to my schedule will stretch me too thin. (I can get pretty ugly when I’m stretched too thin and so does my house!) I am no longer willing to “fill a space” because it needs filling. I say “yes” because what is being asked of me is important to me and I can support it with every fiber of my being. In essence, I can authentically embrace it. I am learning about what I stand for – and against - without apology.

I have always loved the 3 stages of womanhood: Maiden, Mother, Crone. I have to say, I have a special place in my heart for the Crone. LOVE Her! When I read about her as a young woman, I could hardly wait to become her! There is such a wealth and depth of wisdom in her - a quiet knowing in those twinkling eyes and gentle smile. A beauty and loveliness in those lines and wrinkles that have come from having truly lived life – her life - in her way, giving and sharing the gifts that are truly and uniquely her own. There is a confident presence, a grounded-ness, and a genuine goodness about her that says she knows she is more than her body…SO much more. She is appreciated not so much for what she does or is able to do, but for the love she brings to everything she does. Not to say that she doesn’t have a little spunk. She can mean business! But, having quieted the ego, she speaks genuinely and sincerely from her heart and her words are truth - unbounded but spoken with love and having quieted the ego, they are unaffected.

This mandala holds a 5-pointed star and as I have shared before, my personal symbolic understanding of the 5 pointed star “announces to the world that Love has arrived in physical form and that when we seek Love we will find Love.” In this cycle of celebrating my 50th year, I wonder… How well am I manifesting Love to my family? To my community? My world? What is getting in the way of manifesting that Love? Where do I need to open my hands and let go? Am I, indeed, aging – growing old, stiff, dry and brittle, closed and unyielding, unwilling to embrace the changes necessary to truly live a life well loved? Or am I Sage/Crone-ing? Becoming wise – the kind of wisdom that accompanies a well tended and well cultivated soul – a kind, caring, and open heart that radiates an unconditional Love without limits, strong in the knowledge of who I am and yet yielding to the music of The Maker, embracing the fluid continuation of this sacred dance?

The ribbon in this mandala, also in the shape of a star, speaks to me of “gift.” Each of us bears a gift within to be given and shared as God’s gift of love to this world. You are a gift of love. Know it. Own it. Be it. Like the X-Factor contestant, can we be courageous enough to listen to the song in our hearts and dare to dance to its tune? Dare to unwrap the package within and share our gift without judgment to its quality or value? Can we dare to make a difference? Or will we deny our true self and just grow old and bitter?
You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being-
not because anybody else says so,
not because you're making lots of money,
but because you decide to know it.

- Dr. Wayne Dyer

Our society, regrettably, devalues the wise ones. Knowing, at any age, that we are worthwhile human beings regardless of what society thinks and not because of what we do but because we decide to know it is in and, of itself, quite powerful. How do we come to that decision? To that knowing? It is helpful to know, in the words of 1 John 4:19, that God loved us first. We find our value by tuning in…into our hearts - the place where heaven meets earth - into that stillness where the small, quiet voice sings His song of love to us. And, through the relationships and the events of our lives God invites us to the way of love. Certainly many of these relationships and events have tested our metal – and like a refiner’s fire have given us the opportunity to remove unloving ways from our hearts and to soften our wills so as to take on the image and likeness of the Maker. It’s not about what we do or something we have attained – it’s not about the ego - but rather, who we are - and in knowing Whose we are - that we find our value. We are loved. We are love. And we belong to Love. This is truly a gift that can never be taken away by anyone. Accept it with humble gratitude. Treasure it. Embody it. Embrace the wise one within, dance to the song in your heart and you shall surely cultivate your heart of gold.

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2011 Scorpio New Moon Mandala
October 26, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond

At this time of year in my faith tradition we celebrate the feasts of All Saints and All Souls and we remember, in a special way, all those who have passed from this world into the next. As a cantor I have had the privilege to sing for a great many funerals through the years for people of all ages…from tiny infants, to children, and adults of all ages. Some of these souls I have known quite personally – like my grandparents. Many I had no knowledge of prior to their funeral. And as a cantor, I have often been witness to the grief of those left behind. Interestingly enough, the day I first laid eyes on this mandala was a cloudy, rainy day. Just looking at it reminded me of grief. No sun, just grey clouds and drizzly rain. No joy…just sadness and tears.

If life unfolds in the “typical” way or the way that “nature intends,” it is interesting to see how, in retrospect, the events of our lives prepare us for the big event of leaving this physical plane. From my own life experience, I can say that I have moved many times in my married life and every move has been a death of sorts – a small death if you will. Each time I moved from one place to another, those I had come to know and love were no longer physically present to me. I know on a spiritual level we are always connected and never parted and although I could certainly contact them in any number of ways especially in this day and age by phone, e-mail, text, Twitter or Skype to mention a few – there is something about being in the physical presence of someone… to see the light in their eyes. This sense of “loss” of the physical presence had often been a cause of sadness, sometimes grief and was often accompanied by a disinterest in life, at least for a short period of time. Regardless of what I think or believe, the heart feels what the heart feels. The more emotionally connected I was the more challenging and difficult the move. As I worked through this mandala it occurred to me that it is through these times in my life that I can understand the loss that one might feel when a loved one “dies.” And I have to say that being connected to a faith community was a great source of support to me as I tried to find my way in each new space… meeting new people, making new friends, finding where I fit in – in essence starting all over again. Truly any life event that challenges us to let go of something, someone, or someplace can also prepare us for the big event – the transition into the next chapter of LIFE.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience,
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The words we use say a lot about what we think and believe. The Latin word for soul is “anima” which is also the root word for the verb ‘to animate.’ The soul then animates, or gives life to, the body. And conversely, when the soul leaves the body, the body dies. In my faith tradition we believe that life continues after physical death, and yet our words and our emotions quite often paint a very different picture. We say, “He died.” These words show our preoccupation with that which can be seen and felt – the body. Yet, my faith tradition tells us that he lives - eternally. Think about that… We do not die. Our bodies die. We live – forever! So to say that someone is dead is truly…not true.

We refer to ourselves as homo sapiens which translates to ‘wise man’ further connecting us to the body. If we take into consideration that we are indeed spiritual beings having a human experience then perhaps Homo spiritus, the term coined by David Hawkins MD Ph. D., or Alberto Villoldo’s Homo luminous, better describes us.

To come to the place where we believe that we are not our bodies is quite a journey for many. It is really quite easy to over identify with our physical life. Every sense is involved. We see. We hear. We smell. We taste and we touch –and I’ll add: we feel. It is all very tangible – all very “real” to us. And certainly how we view the spirits of those who have passed is colored by any number of the spooky movies we’ve watched. There may be an inherent fear in communicating with something that is not “tangible.” How do we know who we’re talking to after all? ;-) Knowing that it is easier to connect to the physical, how do we endeavor to make a consistent, conscious connection to our deepest, truest self - the spirit – and the spirits of others no longer embodied? This kind of communication requires a different lens with which to see, and a different sense to feel or sense it - and a different language or way of communicating. We can certainly ease into that connection through any number of spiritual practices: meditation, contemplation, reading spiritual literature, regularly connecting with a faith community in shared worship, and participating in creative work in its many forms are some examples. I also love connecting to spirit through nature.

The language of spirit is symbolic in nature and, while each symbol has cultural, universal and/or archetypical meaning, symbols can also have another meaning based on our own history and personal, earthly experience. Everything – every creature, every plant, every season through their very nature, expresses a symbolic meaning. Even events in our daily lives can be a channel of communication. Say what you need to say. Ask your questions and then be still and wait for the answer. It is considered rude in most circles to completely dominate a conversation – spirit is no different. Be willing to be still and silent and allow the other to speak. With eyes, ears and hearts in the ready, be open to the conversation that is unfolding around you.

The passing of my maternal grandmother in December of ‘09 was one of the most mystical experiences I have encountered. Her funeral was one of the most joyous I have ever attended. It was truly a celebration of her earthly life and her continuing life. From the day of her passing through the day of her funeral celebration, the whole of creation rose up to tell us that she was very much alive…if only we had the eyes to see the story being told. From the overwhelming number of robins on the lawn the morning of her passing - truly too many to count (yes, a huge flock of spring birds on the morning of December 26 – that’s winter! Can you imagine?) - to the beautifully hoar frost-flocked trees on the day of her funeral (which reminded us all of the beautiful lace crochet work she made) to the many and wondrous signs around us - too many to mention - everything spoke of her, that she was very much alive and present, and that this was a new beginning for her – a new springtime - a re-birth if you will. Through everything around us she was saying, “Today, I am made new. Come celebrate my joy!” It was glorious! And the nature that surrounded us was absolutely stunning - resounding in that joy!

In addition to my own experiences, I have heard a great many stories from people whose loved ones have passed - stories of electrical malfunctions and ringing phones with no one on the other end often occurring at the same time each day or night - and stories of birds, butterflies, balloons and lady bugs. The signs are everywhere. The conversation is never ending. The message is the same: “I am here. I am very much aware of what’s going on in your life. I love you!”

And so, this month, I invite you to connect frequently to spirit. Stop. Be Still. Be open and watching - aware of the loving conversation going on around you. Know that you are a being of spirit and light which extends beyond the life of your body into Infinity… and Beyond!

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2011 Sagittarius New Moon Mandala
November 24, 2011

Love... Love... Love

Not unlike the Gemini mandala earlier this year, this is a mandala that speaks to me through layers and numbers and is supported by the conversation unfolding around me. This cycle started out with gray clouds dissolving to reveal amazing pink clouds! As I was out walking the dog that marvelous morning viewing those amazing clouds, I was “told” …”clear away the stuff in the shadows, Honey (grey) – all you need is Love! (pink) From the get go, all I heard was:

Love… Love… Love

Working from the outside in, the number 24 in the outer ring announces the theme of Rebirth. Connected to this Ring of Rebirth is a set of 12, symbolically stating that all of humanity is being called to this rebirth. Unlike the Gemini mandala that divides and categorizes, this mandala puts all of humanity in the same basket – a level playing field, no one stands out, no one life or group of people are more important than any another. Here, humanity is a single, unified whole – Children of Light wearing royal robes of blue-hued purple – as we are all “heirs of the kingdom” and children of the Most High. Now, we may stray from this birthright, but it is our spiritual heritage – our true identity – and yes, all of us.

The next single ring tells us Who calls us to rebirth. Symbolized by the purity of white and the pink of unconditional love, this Being goes by many names. My original thought was to list a number of names given to this divine entity by the many and various religions and peoples on earth – it’s quite the list! But, out of respect for those for whom The Name is so sacred and is held with such reverence so as not to be spoken aloud or even printed, but invoked only in prayer, I decided against it. It also occurred to me that any name we use is not only greatly limiting and inadequate but also begins the process of separating us into groups which is counter to the message of this mandala. Regardless of the many and various names we use to address and describe this - our Source and End – This Divine Being is, none the less, the One and the same for us all. As I am fond of saying: there are many paths to The One. This circle tells us we are not alone on this journey. The Divine One is with us, intimately connected to us, communicating, nudging and nurturing us to rebirth

The next circle of Six speaks of the human condition. There are a few colors I could have chosen for this ring… drawing to ourselves green for growth, pink for unconditional love, or possibly the soft yellow of light. As you can see, I decided to go with grey – the grey of the shadow lands (not unlike the grey clouds I saw earlier this cycle.) This ring represents those places in our lives where we need to go into the shadows – into our darkness - and shed some light. Grey is also the color of a mature selflessness - of (in the words of Marianne Williamson) “How can I be of help” instead of “What can I get out of this?” Six is where we look to where we fall short… To people or situations that push our buttons…. make us go into orbit, off the edge, or become destructive to self, others or our environment. Can we take a step back and witness our inner life through the lens of love and see the unloving choices we continually make? Can we see a better way? Can we dare to ask for the help we need to make the changes necessary to become the people we’re called to be? We long to be? The people our spiritual heritage tells us we are. The work that Six speaks of, then, is love, compassion and forgiveness.

Forgiveness can be a difficult thing…often challenging at best. So much can be learned in the history of an individual or a people as to why they (or we for that matter) behave as we do – not that any amount of understanding forgives an unloving act, but it can help soften our hearts to see the brokenness of the one(s) needing our compassion and mercy. If the history is not available or is not enough to soften my heart, I try to think of the person as a very young child or an infant. Have you looked at a six month old lately? I had the pleasure of meeting little six month old Ethan and his lovely mother on a plane trip earlier this year. Such a de-light was he! So much light in him… with such an easy smile. Little ones, like Ethan, just light up a room and elevate everyone around them. So, if you’re having trouble forgiving someone, take them back in your mind’s eye to a time when the light in them was bright. A time before the world got to them and they felt that they needed to make changes to themselves to feel safe, to belong, to feel loved or to be in control…. and in that bright and fragile light find forgiveness. Forgive - yes. Allow them to continue to harm us – no. Sometimes the work of Six includes risk…a movement away from or a moving on as painful and as uncertain as that might be. Failing all that, pray and ask for help - and the way will be shown. And again, sometimes it is our very selves that we hold in that light.

The next ring of three says Spirit to me. Spirit inspires, ignites, renews, gives life, strengthens, and sanctifies… yes, makes holy. The Holy Spirit accompanies us on our journey and, again, no matter how daunting we think the road ahead, we are never alone – unless we choose to be. We have the option of closing the door…of hanging up the phone…but we are not alone unless we choose to be alone.

Through the work of Six and the grace of Three and The One, we are brought, then, to the perfection of Seven. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 And, what is perfection? But love! What does love look like? Let’s start with ourselves. What do you love to do? Not ‘what does so and so think you should be doing,’ but what do YOU LOVE TO DO? What makes time fly by when you’re doing it? What brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face? Whatever that is, integrate more of it into your life. Cultivate it. Nurture it. When we do what we love, we are more content and we bring our authentic selves to the world. CULTIVATE WHAT YOU LOVE!

Secondly, love is uplifting. Not only does love lift us up, but it lifts up everyone around us. Short story: I was at a mother’s day retreat a number of years ago. After the morning session as I typically would do, I sat down to draw - a mandala of course! ;-) I began to draw four orbs, one for ‘The Eye that beholds all things in Love,’ then, a fiery red to represent my daughter, a peaceful blue for my son and for myself, a white and pink orb because I wanted to draw to myself a more God-like love – an unconditional love – unaffected – no attachments.

My children were much younger then and as I was drawing I was thinking “a mother gathers her children around her.” You know, holds them tight…keeps them safe… but, when I had finished the mandala I realized that the book that I was drawing in was upside down. In effect, I was being told ‘a mother does not gather her children around her…



Love lifts up the people in our lives – the stranger and the well known alike. It can be as simple as a smile, a compliment, or a kind or patient gesture to those we come in contact with throughout our day. I saw a wonderful video this month about “paying it forward.” The first person in the video helped out a young man who did something nice for someone else and on and on it went, each receiving an unexpected gift of help or kindness and then passed it on to another until at the end of the video, the original man received a kindness from someone that could be linked back to his original act of kindness. Like the domino effect, one act of loving kindness has to power to encourage others to do the same!

I selected blue for this ring of Seven, the color most often associated with Mary, the preeminent Mother. I had heard this past month that Mary is often shown reading a book when depicted in artwork of The Annunciation. Some symbolically regard this image as Mary contemplating the prophecies written about her Child yet to be born. Others regard the book she holds as a symbol of her open, willing spirit… open to the will of her Creator – to her divine purpose, whose blank pages wait for the Creator to write her story and in essence, direct her life. “To be perfect” is to be open and receptive to the will of God and our divine purpose – to bring our unique gift of love to the world. No one else can know it for us. It is a truth spoken deep within the heart that only the silence of dreams can hear. No one else can offer our gift because it is uniquely ours to give. It is never too late to give it. And yes, what is being asked can sometimes be terrifying - often because we don’t know what others will think. With Mary, may we have the courage to say, “Let it be done to me according to Your will.” The gift of Free Will tells us that we can always say no, but I have found that my life is greatly blessed in so many ways when I say “yes” and follow the path laid out before me.

The inner two circles are connected. The answer to “What is being reborn?” is found here. Together they remind me of the ancient Icons that celebrate the lives of saints and Holy Ones. More specifically, these two circles remind me of Jesus, The Christ, whose icons often have the image of a cross within the halo and whose birth will soon be celebrated by many. He is, for me, the truest expression of Love that has ever walked the face of the earth – consubstantial - One with God. Whether one believes in Him or not, whether one knows of the historical Jesus or not… if you live your life in love… you know Him. Through The Christ, in Love we are called to be saints... called to be holy - to let the light of Love shine through us and lift up those around us.

Also, during this cycle, this article came across my path: “The Dharma-Driven Life” by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PHD, the spiritual leader at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA. In it he states,

“Hindus have been waiting for Lord Vishnu to incarnate as Kalki to fix the world in their favor. Buddhists are waiting for the pending incarnation of Maitreya, the next Buddha. Christians are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. Yet if we create a virtuous mind and fill this world with the virtues of love and compassion, these great incarnations will walk into our lives while we are here on earth, and we will be the recipients of their loving grace. Mere waiting won’t do. What is re-quired is a sincere commitment to personal transformation. It all begins with the recognition of our personal dharma and the determination to practice it in our daily life.”

“A sincere commitment to personal transformation…” and yes, “mere waiting will not do.” Seems that many of us are waiting and while we’re doing all of this waiting, can we, each one of us, be courageous and dare to open our hearts and say “yes” - to do the next right thing… the next loving thing regardless of the cost to us personally? To clear out the cobwebs and shadows and let the light of love we knew as young children be born again in us – a generous love that knows no stranger - to be in every situation, place and circumstance nothing but Love… Love… Love.

  Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes,
you are His body….
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

~ St. Teresa of Avila


May your celebrations be joyful and filled to overflowing with love! And, may every grace and blessing be upon you and those you love throughout the coming New Year!

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2011 Capricorn New Moon Mandala
December 24, 2011

Let There be Light!

So I was out walking our dog, Maggie, just slightly prior to dusk on Christmas Eve which, by the way, was also the day of the Capricorn New Moon. As I walked, I heard the song of geese as they flew overhead. I looked to the sky expecting to see the dark shadows of geese flying in their typical “V” formation. But, to my surprise the geese were not dark at all, but are were all lit up, reflecting the light from below, ebbing and flowing in a gentle arc like smoke or spirit against the darkness of the night sky. As they passed, two of the geese broke away from the arc creating the appearance of two gentle eyes and a lovely smile on that crisp, calm, clear, winters night and I couldn’t help but wonder: Am I living a life that makes God smile?

In his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Karl Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the XVI, writes, “God speaks to us through scripture and through the events of our lives.” This has truly been the case in my life. God does indeed speak to us in a variety of ways if only we have the ears and yes, sometimes the eyes, to “hear” what is being communicated. I also believe that God wants so desperately to communicate with us that He will use whatever medium we are open to, to communicate with us. Personally, I love nature. Love being in it! And have found the language of God to be symbolic. Every created thing says something... means something. And the meaning is determined by contemplating how a living thing is born, how it lives and how it dies. One can find many a book on the subject, but personally I like researching and being with it. Thinking about it and what it says... what it means. So at the beginning of each cycle, I keep my eyes open and pay attention to what is coming across my path, what catches my attention, what strikes me as unusual, something that makes me wonder… ponder… and then watch throughout the month to confirm what I understand the message to be through a variety of ways – like quotes coming across my facebook page, interactions I have with people, songs on the radio… any number of things. Sometimes, these things are the impetus of the contemplation for the month and they are confirmed in nature. It varies so I just stay open to what comes. This month geese kept coming to me in a variety of ways. In addition to the first encounter, three groups of geese flew so close over me one morning that I could hear the sound of their wings. I have never been so close before so as to actually hear the wings against the air. It is not unlike the sound of the wind blowing gently through the needles of a fir tree. It’s a shushing kind of sound…..shhhhshhhhshhhshhhshhhh… so gentle, so soft. And, I imagine that angel’s wings might make such a sound. During this cycle, I also became aware of a 40 day, online, meditation practice called “Winter Feast for the Soul” which began on January 15th. Winter Feast is an interdenominational, world-wide event to promote peace through mediation. This year they added acts of kindness. On the cover of the 2012 brochure, is a white goose in flight as viewed from below. What are the odds? Did I join it? Heck yes! How could I not? ;-) So, what’s up with the geese? Inquiring minds (like mine) want to know!

If you’re familiar with geese, you know they are migratory birds. They have a great sense of direction and return to their source or birthplace every the spring. They mate for life which speaks of their fidelity. While migrating, the stronger geese are at the tip of the “V” or wedge which cuts the air and allows for less drag on the geese behind them giving them a bit of rest as they fly. As the geese at the tip of the V grow weary, they fall back into the formation and allow others to bear the force of the air. Geese never leave one of their own behind. Should one of the geese become injured or ill during the trip, another goose will leave the migrating gaggle and accompany the fallen bird until it has healed or has breathed its last. (Such kindness! Such compassion! One has to wonder if a goose can do this why is it that many of us have such a time of it?) It is extremely rare to see a lone goose - they’re almost always in community. They communicate in LOUD honks! There is no mistaking the message! It is loud and clear! So… 1) great sense of direction to their source or birthplace, 2) faithful, 3) know their limits, 4) great kindness and compassion, 5) live and die in community, and 6) are clear communicators. Okay… so what does this have to do with the mandala?

This Capricorn New Moon Mandala is a natural extension of last month’s Sagittarius New Moon Mandala. Through the work of the Sagittarian Mandala, a once small and hardened heart begins to grow and breaks open – breaks free. Sandra’s design of this Capricorn Mandala suggests that this heart opens with such tremendous force that it doesn’t just break open, it shatters open! This little light is STREAMING! It will no longer be hidden or contained! The light within has no choice but to flow outward.

There are three groups of numbers in this mandala, 30, 11, and 3. Thirty, the number of circles in the outer ring, is an interesting number. 30 can represent perfect balance in the cosmic organization; it can mean “to express the maturity of the crop;” it can also correspond to terms such as the Expiation, the Sacrifice, the Martyrdom. Interesting word… Martyr. It came to me very early in this cycle as St. Stephen’s feast day follows on the heels of Christmas Day. Now defined as “A person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles” I learned this month that the original meaning of the word Martyr comes from the Greek, meaning “witness.” In addition, tradition tells us that David came to rule Israel, Ezekiel began to prophesy, John began to preach and Jesus began his public ministry – all at the age of 30 suggesting that the gravity or seriousness of the work at hand requires a necessary maturity – a readiness if you will.

The number 11, or a double 1, is a master number, which doubles the power of the number that is doubled. Ones then are about new beginnings and purity. As eleven, it also represents higher ideals, invention, refinement, congruency, balance, fulfillment, and vision. Eleven elevates and asks if we are centered or off kilter? In the capacity of 1+1 = 2, (2 is also about balance) eleven also deals with equality, justice, calm, kindness, tact, and duality or opposition.

And in the center of this light-filled heart, is the dance of The Three: Father, Son and Spirit, intimately connected and flowing together in community… in divine union. They are the source from which the light in this heart radiates and are the model of community. Interesting thing about community, we really don’t know what love is until we’ve lived in community – in a family for example. It is easy to love in isolation, so peaceful…serene – lonely at times, but, most definitely quiet and peaceful. And you don’t have to worry about miscommunication for that matter either. But put us in community and there will be times that test not only the quality of our love but the boundaries as well. In addition, clear, truthful communication is important for maintaining quality relationships.

So here we have a maturity and readiness to witness, a new beginning in a way that keeps us in balance, and in the center, the Dance of the Divine - the source of it all. And then for me there are the geese representing a great sense of direction or connection to source, fidelity, balance/knowing your limits, kindness and compassion, community, and clear communication. Keeping all this in mind as we venture into this new year of 2012, these three questions from a meditation of davidji from ‘Winter Feast for the Soul’ come to mind: “How can I help? How can I heal? How can I serve?”

“…Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts
of those who are traveling the dark journey with us.
Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind!"

~ Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss philosopher, poet and critic

Indeed! Tarry not! Be swift! Make haste! And in the darkness, let there be light!

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2012 Aquarius New Moon Mandala
January 22, 2012

Clarity from Within

Now that my son is away at college it has fallen to me to walk the dog most days and I’m beginning to realize that it’s really a good thing that I have a dog. Nature is a natural springboard for contemplation for me. I now know that I have been missing out on a lot of messages and conversation because I hadn’t been getting out of the house as much!

The days surrounding the Aquarius New Moon spoke to me of clarity. I was out walking the dog one foggy evening and I couldn’t see very far in any given direction. Everything had an inherent “fuzziness” to it. No clear lines… no clear delineations. I began to wonder, “What is our tether… our compass when we can’t see the way? What roots us and guides us when we don’t know where we’re going?” And it made me think that as human beings, our vision - or knowing - is very limited. We don’t know everything…we can’t know everything. As a matter of fact we can only look at life through the lens of our perspective and life experience. We cannot see what life has in store for us because we can’t see beyond this moment. Yes, we can plan, hope and pray for the best, but we really don’t know what’s coming down the pike. And even in this moment, our knowledge is limited. What we believe to be true may not be necessarily so.

So how do we find our way when it is not clear? When we are uncertain? How do we know we’re going in the right direction? Or doing the right thing? This mandala suggests that the place to start is within. Represented by the four directions of this “foggy compass” we can only go so far using our senses and our limited knowledge… we can only see so far, hear so much, taste, touch and feel…all important ways of receiving information, but limited and often experienced through the filter of attachment and the colored lens of emotional programs for happiness. When we go within, the fog clears - our ability to understand deepens and we are able to “see” much further than we could with our limited “eyesight.” When we go within and listen to that still, small voice, we are able to go, as this mandala suggests, to the four corners of the earth - far beyond what we can see with our eyes, and experience more knowing than our limited minds can know. This mandala also suggests that by going within, we can find stability… peace… serenity… oneness – but it comes with a warning: getting there isn’t always a bed of roses!

During this cycle I became aware of Winter Feast for the Soul - an inter-denominational, 40 day, world- wide, spiritual practice to promote peace. Participants were encouraged to meditate 40 minutes a day for 40 days which also included, for the first time, a challenge to perform acts of kindness throughout the day. I thought this sounded like a good idea and decided to deepen my Centering Prayer practice. I continued my morning routine of scripture reading and increased my Centering Prayer period to 30 minutes. In addition, thanks to Winter Feast, I added an additional afternoon session, feasting on the smorgasbord of offerings available from many different traditions. At the beginning of this meditative resurgence – all I can say was it was BLISS! I began to realize how very tired I was and made a commitment to get to bed earlier in the evening. 22 days and counting… still pure bliss and making small adjustments in my self-care. I was humming right along and then all of a sudden, I began feeling agitated. It became harder and more difficult to sit down. I was restless. I struggled to find the time to fit my meditation practice into my day. I began missing a session here…and another there and self care like sleeping enough and eating well we were beginning to go by the wayside. My attitude was beginning to get ugly and I became judgmental and emotional. When I reach “critical mass” on the inside, I tend to turn outward and start looking for imperfections in others. I became very aware that something was beginning to bubble up. As suggested by the hexagon (number 6) in this mandala,

purification is part of the meditative process. As davidji stated during one of the meditation sessions, “In this practice we do not find bliss necessarily, but what we do find is transformation! And we transform the world by transforming ourselves.” (While I agree with the concept, I do not believe that “we” do the work. Our work is to sit, be open and attentive to the presence and action of God within The work of transformation is done by the Divine Therapist – a term used by Fr. Thomas Keating.) Another layer of my onion was peeling away… another molting of the dragonfly… and I was resistant. Aware of this resistance and the ugliness I was becoming, I opened my hands and recommitted to the practice.

This internal way requires us to open up and let go… let go of thoughts, judgments, outcomes, to detach from what we think we know… to learn to just be – present and attentive. To support this thought of detachment, I was presented with this traditional Sufi tale three times, by different people all within the first week of this lunation. Yes, three times. That’s the great thing about God… He keeps coming at you until you grab hold of it. Each time the message is often sent with increased urgency.

‘An old farmer had a horse he used to till his field. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "May be," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "May be," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to tame one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "May be," answered the farmer.

The next day, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "May be," said the farmer. Sadly the young men did not return from the war and on the story goes…’

We don’t really know… In any given moment we truly cannot discern if something is good or bad. We say ‘hind sight is 2020,’ but even in retrospect can we really see truth through all our filters and attachments? Attaching a label of good or bad doesn’t necessarily help any situation either. Quite often the label just gets our wheels spinning and we are found out of balance and without any sense of peace.

Clarity, peace, a profound balance and a sense of sacred oneness come from being purified by the Divine Therapist. Though there may be times of challenge as the Master Gardener tills the soil to remove the stones that impede our growth, going within and consistently and faithfully connecting to Source ultimately brings us to a place where we are more patient, more kind, more loving, more generous, more thoughtful, more joyful, more free… and able to more patiently endure wrong doings and trials. And how is my practice going now, you might ask? While I’m certain there are more rocks and layers yet to be removed and the practice is once again more peaceful, truly there are moments in the practice that take me beyond bliss…

We do our part to transform the world by sitting down, being present and allowing God to transform us from the inside out. And so, I extend this invitation and encourage you to do your part to transform the world….

"Come, come whoever you are
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving, come.
Even if you have broken your vow one thousand times
Come, come, come again."

~ Rumi

…and in the silence allow God to reveal you to yourself...your true, unfiltered, authentic self – at peace, in profound balance, and radiant with pure love. Do come! And sit a spell. Be open and willing…and find clarity from within.

Blessings Always,
L ;-)


2012 Pisces New Moon Mandala
February 21, 2012

Let it Shine!

This Pisces New Moon Mandala completes the natural year begun last spring and the three month cycle begun this past January. The messages of the previous two in this three month cycle came to me in the darkness of night. This one however, came to me in the brightness of morning. It was February 22, the morning after the new moon, and there was such joy! The sun was bright, the birds were singing, the trees were budding, the flowers were popping up… some already in bloom… in FEBRUARY – un-heard of! And yes, I was out walking the dog. ;-) This typically winter month felt like Easter morning! Then I received the new mandala template from Sandra which confirmed the message of “light” in a BIG way. And so, the month began… and this story was often on my mind:

Imagine if you will that deep within the inner recesses of every human heart is a chamber and within this chamber is an exquisitely gilded lantern. More exquisite still is the light dwelling within the lantern. So pure, so radiant is the light that nothing seen with the human eye is its equal. This pure, radiant light is the spark of divine light – the source of great compassion and love. Though it dwells in the deepest chamber of the heart, this radiant light brings a twinkle to the eyes, illumines the face, and fills the room into which the one bearing it walks. The capacity to shine and share this light is the birthright of every human being – every child of The Creator. Regrettably, every unkind thought adds a fingerprint to the glass... each unnecessary or untruthful word adds a smudge of dust or dirt, and every fear-based deed adds a clump of mud to the exterior of the lantern. Though this brilliant light always remains undiminished, its radiance cannot pass through the darkness covering - and in some cases smothering - the lantern making the eyes dull, the face losing its luster, the room becoming lifeless and though seemingly full of people, empty. Oh, that we would clean and polish our lanterns through kind thoughts, truthful and necessary words and loving and generous deeds, that the light within would once again shine through – unencumbered and unfettered.

The story begs these questions:

How bright are my eyes? My face? The room I am in? How well is the light within shining through?

Do I have some interior Spring cleaning to do? Is there someone I need to forgive? A change of heart needed? What baggage do I want to let go of or leave behind as I enter the new natural year?

And as we look forward to a new beginning to the natural year, I might also consider how I am being asked to allow the light within me to shine in a different way, to take stock of my own unique talents and gifts and ask,’ how can I serve?’ Is there a kindness that needs to be shown? A new direction in which to move?

A new direction is certainly a part of my journey. One of the deacons at my parish had recently retired and moved away and ministers were needed to lead the Tuesday morning Communion Service so that our pastor might have a much deserved and needed day off. I had been asked back in the Capricorn lunation (the beginning of this three month cycle) to participate in this ministry. During that cycle, unbeknownst to my pastor, I was working on the mandala that
was about “a readiness to witness” - interesting synchronicity. So on the day of this new moon, the close of this three month cycle which was also Mardi Gras, I began this new ministry and delivered my first reflection. The following weekend I sang at our parish Lenten Concert and was asked to do some faith sharing there as well. It appears that publicly speaking about my faith journey is a part of how the light is shining through me in a different way.

Nearing the end of the month two powerful confirmations came across my facebook page. I don’t judge where things come from - I just take it all in:

• From my cousin, VoiceRevolution’s “Be the light of the world” – a great video clip showing the effects of being light – how one light-infused individual can uplift and elevate others helping them to let the light within them shine through.

And this beautiful statement I received through a friend:

• “The Divine within you is powerful - allow it to shine through,” by Shaman Medicine Woman, suggests that WE determine how well the light shines through us.

The flame at the center of this Piscean New Moon Mandala is not just one flame but 4 nested flames, which to me symbolizes a fourth new Being having been created upon the union of the Trinity. This is a holy light, a sacred light. Three sets of 15 shapes outline this sacred circle – Fifteen can symbolize Divine Grace. Three can symbolize many things – among them the Trinity, and more specifically the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. It is also a time identifier, past present and future. Perhaps the three here symbolizes that the time to shine this light is NOW. And, the leaves? Perhaps life… new life… abundant life – the quality of a life lived in the radiance of Divine Light. If this is the springboard for the coming year, can you hardly wait?

In the meantime, let’s get our polishing clothes out – and for some of us our shovels and buckets as well - to excavate and clean our lanterns. Let us elevate every thought, every word and every deed to align with the higher self, the Christ-centered self and let the light – that divine spark within – let it shine through us unencumbered and unfettered! Choose to be kind and brilliant! To be lovingly Radiant!! And let it shine!!

"…let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face.
Let the joy of your mind burst forth.
Let words of thanks break from your lips.”
~ St. Peter Damian

Blessings always,
L ;-)

2012 Aries New Moon Mandala
March 22, 2012



I awoke on the day of this new cycle (which was also the 3rd day of Spring - the new natural year) not having yet seen the new mandala template, thinking “The Year of Spirit” - like a divine infusion intended to elevate everything and everyone was on its way!

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t!
You have wings, learn to use them and fly.

That same day, the trees and flowers had been in bloom and the birds had been singing for nearly a month. Yet, we were in those early transitional days between winter and spring when the air was warm and the ground was yet cold. There was a light fog in the early mornings as if to say, “Not quite ready.” The calendar said spring but it was not quite spring. Not quite… not “there…” just yet – which symbolically said to me that ‘we’ – you and I - are not ‘there’ yet.

This first mandala template of the 2012 natural year, so beautifully created by Sandra Mosley, is, for me, a mandala where the meaning is not only derived “by the numbers,” but, the numbers echoed and confirmed my early thoughts. They speak volumes to me of ramping it up, upping the ante… of… elevating:

to raise, lift up, make higher, bump up, bring to the fore, promote, advance, further, improve.

For some, this theme of elevation could be a call to embrace your true nature. To release the fear that’s holding you back and be who you are… be where you need to be doing what is in your heart to do - to create the life you dream of. For others, it might just be about doing the next right thing, the next loving thing. The question on my mind most of this month has been, “Am I truly doing everything I can to uplift, support, heal, and comfort? Am I doing my part to alleviate the pain and suffering of this world… of this earth and all who dwell upon her… of creatures great and small… of those I know and love, those I come in contact with, those close by and across the sea in great distress… Am I truly doing all that I can? In the early days of this cycle, I wrestled with the realization that a single individual can only do so much. In the great ‘Sea of Needs’ on this earthly plane, I wrestled with how to decide where to put my energy, effort and resources in a way that supported my own health and well-being and yet answered this call to elevate in a meaningful way. And, God answered me through Rumi and a dear friend in a Facebook re-post:

“Respond to every call that excites your Spirit!”

So… what excites your Spirit? What catches your eye… pulls at your heart-strings? What’s important to you? - all good questions for this cycle – this spring board into the new natural year.

There seems to be three levels imbedded in this mandala: the outer circle perhaps representing who we are now or where we are now, the second: who we are called to be and the circle at the center: the energy we’re drawing to ourselves to make this new transformation – this elevation possible. Each circle appears to me to be layered above the previous:

The Outer Circle: We recently visited the number Thirty in January – 30: a readiness to witness. This theme is resurrected here and continues as if to say ‘the seeds we planted, like winter wheat, are ready.’ (For those unfamiliar: winter wheat is planted from September to December in the Northern Hemisphere. It sprouts before the cold of winter sets in and becomes dormant until the soil warms again in the spring. Though it appears to be dead, it merely sleeps...

waiting for the appropriate time to grow and flourish.) Perhaps in January we began to dream of change? Perhaps we began to move in a new direction?

The Second Layer: Ten – We’ve been hearing a lot about the Mayans in recent months… so for them, 10 symbolized the end of a cycle and the beginning of another – the number of life and death - so white for new beginnings. This 10 also holds a second set of Thirty. Along with the 10, it appears to me to be raised up or elevated above the outside set of 30 as if to say ‘what is’ is not enough…now is the time… to awaken… to grow and flourish… to witness in a new way – perhaps in a deeper more meaningful way or, another way to think of it, to witness in a “higher” way. We are done dreaming… done thinking about it. It’s time to Do, to ‘walk the talk,’ to ‘put our money where our mouth is’... where our mind is…where our hearts and our spirits are pulling us. This circle feels like a verb to me… there is a ‘doing’ – an action to be expressed here and now. So, why red? For two reasons, depending on what change is being asked of you – one symbolic meaning could be passion - following the dreams of your heart. The second relates to the “Higher” way, the Christ-centered way.

The Interior Circle: Fifteen, the number of Divine Grace – Grace is not just God's loving kindness, favor or mercy, but God’s divine life itself, which enables the work of the Christ to flow through us. Grace is a gift freely given. In this number we understand that we are not alone and are well supported in our quest. Seven, to be complete or full – or perhaps fully realized - godlike What can be more perfect than purity (white) and unconditional love (pink) – the attributes and colors I typically use to express God, the Father. Be as your Father would be and do as He would do... words like integrity, kindness, mercy, generosity and compassion come to my mind. Part of this interior circle holds another circle representing self- actualization holding in its center, but not containing, the qualities of 5 and 12, but twelve in a round about way.

This Twelve, the number of completion – of wholeness, the place where heaven meets earth - is comprised of 8+5 which if you do the math is 13, however, one of each of these numbers becomes as if one – so the math as I see it is perhaps (5-1)+8. The Five appears to be a human body. This “5” shape is interesting to me. The “head” - the “mind” – the “thoughts” extend far beyond the natural, mathematical proportion of the “body” as if to say ‘do not think as human, earth-bound beings think’ (think not from your fear-based habits, attachments, or emotional programs for happiness) but rather elevate your thinking - think divine thoughts or rather, let the Divine think through you and let your actions come from that source so that every thought, word and deed is rooted in love alone. The four extensions of the arms and legs join with the eight to create the 12 - eight being the number of perfection and the cosmic Christ. Minds united, the legs are firmly planted, the arms out-stretched and palms facing heavenward – as if to say, ‘No longer I, but Christ lives in me.’ (Gal 2/20)

The time is now! It’s time to get off the ground, spread those wings and fly. Embrace the longings of your heart. What excites your spirit? Pulls at your heartstrings? What is your heart aching to embrace… to embody… to express? Each in our own way, inspired, infused and supported by the Divine. The phone is ringing… the time is now. Answer the call of the Spirit - the call to elevate!

Blessings always,
L ;-)

2012 Taurus New Moon Mandala
April 20, 2012



"All great changes are preceded by chaos."
- Deepak Chopra

After reading the above quote on my Facebook page in the early morning of the Taurus New Moon, I came to this website to pick up the new mandala template. Was I surprised to see chaos at the center of this mandala? Truthfully… no. I had already been “hearing” about it for a couple of days by then and had a very real sense that what lie ahead was not going to be a piece of cake, a bed of roses or smooth sailing. As when giving birth to anything new, there are always bumps in the road. And the word that kept coming to me was “trust.”

This month was FILLED with story after story, quote after quote with these themes:

• “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle, i.e. At these times, a power greater than yours has a different plan for your life;

• Things are not always what they seem to be – because we are incapable of seeing the whole picture;

• God’s plan is better than any plan we can devise – because God sees the WHOLE picture;

• What appears to be a bad day could have been worse were it not for the benevolence of a loving, merciful God who loves us and cares for us as a mother cares for her children, so cultivate gratitude – and know that things could be worse;

• And, still other messages spoke of the importance of a positive mental attitude, like: “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” – Unknown, i.e. No matter what is going on in your life give life to love.

And, so as I look at this Taurus New Moon Mandala, I see three rings. In the outer ring, “the two” from last month’s ‘Elevation’ are merging and something new is being created. Something new is being birthed. These 30 “early buds” are just beginning to peek out over the rim of the second circle, the ribbon of 29. Twenty-nine which is not yet 30 – and so along with the “budding” suggests to me a sense of ‘still growing,’ ‘still maturing,’ ‘still work to be done.’ And, in the very center lies “the chaos” which I wrote about in the opening paragraph. Chaos – the word alone strikes fear in the heart. Surrounding us in darkness, the body becomes tense and our breath becomes shallow. When we’re in the midst of it, it can appear as if there are no answers and no way out. We seem to have reached an impasse or a dead end. And if we’re not well anchored and thinking straight a sense of panic and hopelessness can settle in. We don’t know where we are or perhaps more often, we don’t know where to go from here… or what to expect next. We feel… lost.

Taking a second look, the chaos in this mandala is actually the overlapping of several triangles. Triangles symbolize vision, goals and dreams, and new possibilities. Some are completely encased within the center circle. Other triangles have portions of their shape that fall outside the confines of the circle. Some triangles share walls to complete still other triangles. So, what appears to be chaos at first glance is perhaps the unlimited potential – all the ideas, the dreams, the endless possibilities for our highest good, truly more creative than the human mind can muster. All of the triangles are centered on a background of 7 – 7 being the number of completion. To be complete, the dreams and the visions need to be realized. In addition, the intersection and overlapping of these triangles creates a two dimensional cross at the center. This cross, however, has been rocked off its foundation. Now being Christian, at first it suggested to me that the chaos is of such great magnitude that it has the power to shake our faith. After realizing that the chaos was actually a series of triangles I settled into another symbolic meaning: Two dimensional crosses often symbolize relationship & balance, integration and connection. That the cross is off its foundation suggests imbalance, a relationship(s) in need of repair, isolation and/or a disconnect of some kind. Could this need for reconciliation be part of the ‘work to be done’ suggested by the 29? – the work needed to be completed before the “new” can be fully birthed?

In the May 10th entry of The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Thomas Keating writes,

“One of the chief factors that tend to destroy relationships among people and nations is the emotion of fear. It also destroys the relationship between us and God. To be afraid of God, or to be afraid of other people, makes us defensive. In the case of God, we will try to stay as far away from Him as our situations and the demands of respectability permit. In the case of other people, we try to control them and hold them within limits that enable us to feel secure. The biblical term “fear of God” does not refer to the emotion of fear. Fear of God is a technical term in the Bible meaning the right relationship with God. The right relationship with God is to trust Him. The right relationship with God involves reverence and awe for God’s transcendence and immanence as well as trust in His goodness and compassion.”

Trust requires that we let our guard down – that we open ourselves up and become vulnerable, in the confidence that all is well. We navigate the bumpy road by turning to the One who loves us beyond words and has the vision to guide us like no other can. Our gift of trust is answered with God’s gift of peace – a peace beyond all understanding… beyond all comprehension. This peace is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good. This peace surrounds us, envelopes us, and lifts us up in hope. It conquers our fears and calms our anxieties no matter the degree of chaos that surrounds us or is inflicted upon us. Filled with this peace there is a knowing that cannot be logically described or denied. When you’re on the right road – the road intended for you and you alone - you know it – and your heart is able to rest in it.

It all starts with trust.

Blessings always,
L ;-)

2012 Gemini New Moon Mandala
May 20, 2012


The seeds that were planted six months ago are now being coaxed into full flower. The thirty circles of the Capricorn New Moon Mandala have become triangles. Last month we saw only parts and pieces of these triangles which appeared to be arranged in a chaotic fashion. This month the triangles are vibrant and full, radiating vision, potential, and possibility -joining together to make the dream a reality. And, in the center we have seven – the number of completion.

Several animal “friends”have made their way into my life this month. The Hawk was particularly prominent. My mom had sent a link to a Hawk cam that was set up at the University of Wisconsin. All month long I have been checking in on the parents and the three, from egg to empty nest. Apparently their message wasn’t getting through, so on the 26th of May, while I was out walking Maggie, I saw seven hawks circling high above. Seven of them! Never in my life have I seen so many together in one place. Typically you don’t see more than one at any given time. In Native American cultures, Hawk represents, protector, visionary, and messenger. It calls us to pay attention to the subtle underlying truths in the messages found in our surroundings and through those we come in contact with. It flies into our life inviting us to evaluate who we have become and rip out our self created illusions.

I received this prayer in an e-mail near the end of the full moon from The Daring Diva, Dr. Debra Kern, a women’s health and wellness speaker, and thought it summed up the Spring cycle beautifully:

“Let me release all that is outgrown from my life.
Let me align with the Divine to allow the highest unfolding in every area of my life.
The perfect routes are already selected and will unfold naturally and easily.
Let me know my true nature as Love.”
~ Tosha Silver

Let me know my true nature as Love… my true nature… the highest expression of myself… of yourself… is Love. In truth I have been struggling a great deal this month. There seems to me to be a duality – heaven rubbing against earth if you will. And in retrospect, the struggle seems to me to come from an over- identification with the world – the body – the false self - of seeing with physical eyes instead of the inner eye. So, if we close our eyes (and our ears) – in essence shut out the world - we can see our true nature much more clearly. By blocking out the illusion the real picture comes into focus. Interesting… I finally began to feel a sense of calm when I began to work on the mandala. There is something about the act of creating that also connects and centers us interiorly.

I am reminded that we are not only ‘love,’ be we are also ‘beloved.’ Beloved (someone who is dearly loved) is my favorite word in the bible. I can’t help but smile when I hear it. No day has passed where each of us has not been dearly loved. Every day, in every breath we are loved with a love beyond comprehension.

There have been so many great quotes this month. Since I was having a hard time connecting to the message the stories and quotes just kept coming. Many urge us to be ourselves like this gem from Lao-Tzu: “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself” because, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Everyone else is already taken.” And, as the commercial for Chanel’s Bleu encouraged, “I’m not going to be the person I’m expected to be anymore.” Nothing need be done… We are not to imitate or take on the persona of another, or to be the person someone else wants us to be but rather, just be ourselves. Just be yourself... your true self, the self that was created in the image and likeness of God…that image being Love.

Here’s a wonderful story about being love and the search for “treasure.” From the Navaho tradition:

“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day, she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

~ Author Unknown and greatly appreciated.

Free of attachment, and trusting in Divine Providence, the wise woman gives from the abundance of her heart. Realizing that a greater treasure is at hand, the young man returns to receive the spiritual treasure that the wise woman possesses in abundance.

“… there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.
Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug.
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without
getting a few drops on yourself.”
~ Og Madnino

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.
– Ronald Reagan

“Be the Answer – Be happy when God answers your prayers,
but be more thankful when God makes you the answer to someone else’s prayer.”
~ Unknown

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down’s one’s life for one’s friends.”
~ John 15:13

“That’s it! It’s what you do… Love in action baby!”
~ FB/This Too Shall Pass via my friend Chrissy

“You are a creature of Divine Love connected at all times to Source.
Divine Love is when you see God in everyone and everything you encounter.”
~ Wayne Dyer

Aligned with the Divine, allowing the events of our lives to unfold, and being the love that we are, we allow the unique fragrance of our loving kindness to be poured out and bless not only the world, but ourselves in the process. So, Grow! Flourish! Bloom! Become your unique, authentic self! Bloom, Beloved! Bloom!

Blessings always,
L ;-)

2012 Gemini 2 New Moon Mandala
June 19, 2012

Bloom 2 - Become The Way


“The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of the darkness and into the light.
There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them.
They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them.
Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be."
~ Osho

I just could not get enough of this Gemini New Moon Mandala and was REALLY happy to hear that I could spend another cycle on it. Usually with me it's "one and done!" My upbringing says, "Do it right the first time!" But this one kept coming at me. When I first saw this mandala I saw rainbow - multi - color - but I didn't have a sense of how to go about it so I went with shades of red last cycle to represent the Cosmic Christ (crimson) and the Spirit (poppy red) and connect this mandala to the previous two in the "spring collection."

Once the red was done, it occurred to me that this mandala would lend itself well to any color. In addition to feeling like there was more work to be done on this one, and as I mentioned in my "One year later 2012' update in the upper right hand column, by the time the moon phase is balsamic, the message begins to shift and information about the new cycle begins to filter in. At the end of the first Gemini cycle, the message was not shifting. I continued to get more of the same message which confused me so I really didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what was coming to me at that time. Lesson learned and note to self: ALWAYS pay attention. ;-)

Having completed the Red Gemini New Moon Mandala , the second Gemini cycle began… mandala after mandala… color after color until I had a whole garden of "Bloom!"



Your true beauty arises as you shed the false selves.
Being authentic is the key to a spiritual life.
A really spiritual person will live life as an art,
will create a deep harmony between the body and the consciousness.
And this is the greatest art there is.
His life will be a joy to see.
And he will be fragrant, for the sheer reason that there is no split in his being.
The very unity makes him organic;
the wound of division is healed.
~ Osho

To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years,
you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment.
That means now.
~ Eckhart Tolle

One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
~ Rumi


As I worked with each of the colors, it occurred to me that each color emits a vibrational frequency and has the ability to impact us in many ways. Designers, marketers and advertisers are very familiar with the language of color to influence and effect mood! Color communicates! For example, if you drive or if you've ever played "Red Light Green Light" you know that Red means stop, Green means go and in the case of driving Yellow means proceed with caution.

Color affects us in many ways and can also be used as healing tool. One of my favorite books on the subject is The Complete Book Of Color Healing: Practical Ways to Enhance Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being by Lilian Verner-Bonds. In the book, Lilian writes about each color representing a personality type, how the color is related to the various systems of the body - endocrine and organs, how it can be used to work with emotions and physical conditions. We are naturally drawn to the things in our life that will balance us. When looking for a mate for example, it is often said that 'opposites attract.' And why is that? Because, we are attracted to the person that will bring us into balance - into equilibrium if you will. A relationship to someone unlike us brings the influence of the other into our lives. Color is no different. We are naturally drawn to the color(s) we most need. If you keep track of your mood and the colors you choose to wear you might find some interesting correlations.

I was presented with an opportunity this cycle to explore color from a Chakra perspective and had the pleasure of listening to an interview with Elsie Kerns, a local Wellness Educator and Stress Specialist, as she talked about the Seven Gates of Energy. Elsie uses the term Gate (as opposed to Chakra which is Sanskrit for "spinning wheel") as these Seven Gates in the body allow energy to flow in and out of them. If you have time and the interest, you can check out her very informative and free interview at VoiceAmerica.com: The Seven Gates of Energy with Elsie Kerns.

Elsie's interview was invaluable, discussing the science behind this ancient Indian system... how each of the Seven Gates is tied to color and the endocrine system and different functions of the body. Interesting… early in the cycle I kept seeing in my mind's eye a white mandala but just kept brushing it off. In the interview, Elsie introduced white to me as the color of the crown chakra. It's hard to see in the scanned version, but the white is actually a "glitter" white and in the sunlight does remind me of the brilliance of the pure consciousness it represents. She also uses Brilliant Golden-Gold for the Heart Gate and referred to energy practitioner, Jack Schwarz, who stated that 'we often speak of very loving people as having a heart of gold.' Gold is the transformer. Everything is transformed in love, by love. I instinctively selected gold as the background color of every mandala with the exception of Rainbow. I can see the possibility of meditating on these mandalas to assist in the release of blockages and to focus our attention on the change(s) we wish to make. Rainbow can be used when we are not particularly drawn to any of the colors as Rainbow contains every color. The black background of that mandala symbolizes mystery… the unknown and in choosing to meditate on this mandala, we open ourselves to growth and new ideas or new ways of being.

In addition to any book or color system you may reference, it is always important when working with color, and symbolism for that matter, to consider what the color personally means to you. Any personal experience you have with a color will have a specific, symbolic meaning/understanding for you. In addition, where you live, where you come from, your culture may have a different meaning for any given color and should be taken into consideration when working with color.

In addition to the many "solid" colors pictured, this mandala lends itself to any color combination as well. Now, as it is drawn, "Bloom" is comprised of two sets of seven in the center (7= completion) and 10 overlapping triangles, so the math there is 10 sets of 3 = 30. Ten/beginnings and endings; Triangles (3)/ symbolizing vision, possibility, potential = 30 a readiness to witness which requires having achieved a level of maturity. This combination speaks strongly of a marked change, a shift of some kind - a new beginning at a higher frequency. Rainbow with the black background is the only mandala colored in this way. All the others have a duality about them… a darkness and lightness about them. Because of the duality they are colored as 15 sets of 2 - 2 being the dark and light qualities - and 15 being the number of divine grace. The dark passage or "the blocked gate" is healed and transformed by divine grace.

As I mentioned last month, I was struggling with the message of this mandala. Struggling because there is a call to elevate in some way all the areas in my life that are "less than" - to, in essence, achieve a necessary maturity in those areas where I may not want to be responsible - where I tend to be more rebellious perhaps. I took a look at the Seven Deadly Sins and the Cardinal Virtues of which there are also seven. I struggled with how to come to terms with my own darkness and elevate those areas of my being. I was more of the thinking then that they needed to be "dug out,"" thrown away" or "gotten rid of." It was an overwhelming thought and my mood when down with it - perhaps because I didn't want to be responsible? What I came to believe in this cycle was that we don't get rid of our darkness - it is a part of the fabric of who we are. And I was uplifted by a the idea that our darkness is healed and in so doing we don't get out of the way, but rather in the healing the vibration is raised and we become the way.

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way,
ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or…
A pioneer of the future."
~ Deepak Chopra

So how do we manifest change? Dr. Christiane Northrup writes:

When we ask the Universe for more money, a better relationship, or better health, the Non-Physical part of us (our Soul) responds immediately. But it can take a while for the PHYSICAL part of us to ALIGN with that higher vibration. Because first you have to unload your limiting beliefs and the behaviors that go along with them. So when you say, "I desire vibrant health." Understand that you have invoked POWER. Follow it up with the power of I AM. Regularly proclaim, "I am healthy, I am beautiful, I am powerful, etc." Let this NEW STORY BECOME who you are NOW! Simple. Never particularly EASY.

Change requires focus, work and diligent persistence on our part. I was reminded recently that it takes 21 days to change a habit. However, as my Qi Gong Master has often said, you have to really want the change! As I was working on this second Gemini cycle, it occurred to me that there could be corresponding affirmations based on the Seven Gates/Chakras or the meaning of each color.

Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT is another powerful tool along with energy work such as a 5 to 8 minute energy routine that gets our energy moving in the right direction. By tapping different acupressure points on the body, we affect change in our energy system. Both Elsie Kerns and Donna Eden have such routines.

Meditation is a WONDERFUL tool! The Chopra Center started a free 21-day Meditation Challenge on July 16th and is a great way to ease into a meditation practice. The theme of this event is called "Free to Love." Check it out at Https://www.chopracentermeditation.com/Bestsellers/RegistrationPage.aspx?BookId=169 .

Centering Prayer is my personal favorite meditation method as we open ourselves to the presence and action of God within. Through Centering Prayer, God heals us from the inside out.

Joining a support or prayer group is another option. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people is yet another way of supporting the change we desire.

At day's end it is good to be the "mindful observer" by observing our entire day from beginning to end without judgment through the processes of Examen or Recapitulation.

All of these tools and practices require consistency on our part - that maturity and responsibility (of the 30) I was talking about earlier. We do our part and we leave the rest to God. When we find ourselves drifting from the path, we begin again. As many times as is necessary, without judgment we choose maturity and just begin again.

This has been an interesting cycle for animal sightings as well. At this time, it is important for me to say, that when I say an animal "says" something to me… what I am really saying is that God, through His creation, communicates to me symbolically through that animal. Everything, by its very nature - how it is born, how it lives, how it dies - is symbolic of that animal. People can also be symbols for us.

One of the animals that visited me in the first Gemini cycle was a turtle. Honest to Pete! Right there in my backyard underneath all the birdfeeders, was this lovely little turtle. There is no pond, no trickling brook, no body of water… no reason for a turtle to be there, and yet, there he was. Turtle symbolically speaks of longevity, immortality and some traditions say that they are the keepers of the doors between the physical world and the spirit world. His message to me was that the long term needs to be considered when deciding on a course of action. And by long term, I do not mean just this lifetime. To be thinking of only this lifetime - what I will gain in this world by this action or that decision - is truly shortsighted. Turtle urges us to think in terms of "eternity." Eternal thinking requires us to live in the moment while keeping in mind the impact our decision or action will have on the future. Eternal thinking requires that when tempted, we live not for the moment, but for the future. Eternal thinking requires that our choices are not only for the good of ourselves but for the good of those with whom we are in contact. Eternal thinking requires maturity. Turtle urges us to

"Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up!
Use your voice, use your money, use your time.
Until we look out for one another,
we're failing at this job called life."
~ Unknown

And by "look out for" I think we're saying 'assist in any way we can with our voices, our money and our time' - to do the right thing which in many cases requires us to stand up and in many cases be courageous.

Our backyard is terraced and I have often seen an adult groundhog, named Annie, lumbering around back there. Annie was named by the previous owner of our house. In this double Gemini cycle, Annie gave birth to twins! They are SO adorable! Groundhog is symbolic of connecting deeply to altered states of consciousness, metabolic control, setting boundaries and communicating those boundaries, and is the totem of Shamans and Mystics. I also saw another pair scampering across the road miles away just as we entered the balsamic moon phase. Their message to me? Raise the Vibration! And, take better care of yourself as you take care of those around you.

Nearing the end of the last quarter Momma Squirrel came to visit with her TWINs - SO many twins this cycle! My personal symbolic understanding of Squirrel is persistence. Never have I observed any animal as persistent as a squirrel. As I mentioned earlier, change occurs through diligent persistence. These three were confirming that message. "Never give up! Stay with it! Stay focused! Be diligent! The time to stop is when you have achieved the goal!"

I misplaced my glasses for about a week at the beginning of this cycle. Thankfully I also wear contacts so I could function in the world. As I viewed the world with my physical eyes, everything was foggy, blurred… unclear. I was encouraged to see with new eyes, different eyes - with my internal eye. I was thinking about the chakra system and how they get blocked by trauma. By "seeing" in this way I was being encouraged to live not from pain (or a through a blocked gate in need of healing and transformation) but from the beauty I know myself to be… in essence to shift my focus. I was invited to see the big picture, open to the intuition, imagination and wisdom of God - to live from my true being… my spirit… my soul - where I am - where we are whole, pure, loving, just, and at peace with ourselves and the world.

O God…(grant us)…the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
And to strive after all that does it honor.
~ Collect of the Mass, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The struggle present in these two cycles between being LOVE (being Christ-like, being God-like) and my human condition - that place where heaven rubs against earth - finally came into view. "Bloom" encourages us to take stock of those blocked areas of our being that require some time and attention and to strive after all that does honor to the name of Christ, all that does honor to love, compassion, peace, mercy and justice. To be mature and responsible, to raise the vibration by doing those things that require diligence, persistence and courage to elevate our way of being and then to leave the rest in the hands of the Divine Healer; to not "get out of" the way - but to become The Way.

Blessings Always,
L ;-)

2012 Cancer New Moon Mandala
July 19, 2012

Nine - Universal Love

Prior to the Cancer New moon we spent two whole cycles in Gemini — my first recollected experience of a double moon cycle. As you might recall those cycles were for me an intense introspection into where in my life I was less than loving. This month, I am reminded that it is not I that do this purifying work. I am also reminded that I am not alone in the process:

'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' ~ Malachi 3:3

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: ' He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?' He smiled at her and answered, ' Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it.'

In this year of Spirit-infusing Elevation and in this month of the Cancer New Moon these words have been ringing in my ears:

"...Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
MT 6:10

Perhaps another way to say it: "As above, so below." In the purifying process the selfish becomes selfless... the dis-eased become whole and the Maker is reflected in His creation. The result of this purifying work — the gateway to this expression — this way of being — of bringing Heaven to Earth as suggested by this Cancer New Moon Mandala is Universal Love - the vibration of '9.'

In this mandala we have two sections and in each section there are repeating patterns of '9.' In the outer ring there are 9 interlocking ovals. They look to me to be clouds... or maybe thought bubbles — in each an idea of God not yet expressed or manifested. In the center circle we have 9 interlocking shapes that appear to me to be ornate gateways or doorways. These interlocking gateways create the two beautiful flowers that we see, one inside the other, leaving space in the center. The two sections suggest duality — heaven and earth... thought bubbles and gateways.

As written by Florence Campbell, M.A in Your Days are Numbered, the vibration of '9' in its constructive sense, is expressed as: Universal Love, Brotherhood, Charity, Compassion, The Higher Law, Artistic genius, Selfless service, Philanthropy, Humanitarianism, Magetism, Sympathy, Understanding, Romance (in its highest, purest form), Generosity and Breadth of viewpoint. From a dojang clean up day at our karate school, and a parish festival to a 21-day Meditation challenge there have been many expressions of '9' this month. In each case, the many gathered together in selfless service to produce a greater good. But I have to say the most profound and beautiful symbol of the unity required to produce the quality of Universal Love was during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Each of the processing countries were escorted by a leaf-bearer carrying a copper leaf engraved with the name of that country. Each leaf was the same. It mattered not how large your delegation or how powerful your country - either militarily or economically — all the leaves were identical... all were equal — each treated the same. From the four corners of the earth they came and one by one these individual leaves were added to a larger structure. Once assembled, they were ignited, elevated and brought together to create a single flame. In one symbolic gesture - and in the fire of Spirit - the many became one. In one glorious symbol, the borders dissolved and world was, for a time, unified in sacred one-ness. It was truly breathtaking.

Another image that kept coming to me as I contemplated this mandala was an apple tree. Not just your ordinary, run of the mill apple tree mind you, but a unique and magnificent tree which has the ability to bear every type of apple grown on the earth. That's no small task as there are 7,500 known varieties of apples in the world. Unlike most apple trees I've seen that bend and bow under the weight of its fruit, this tree is strong in structure, deeply rooted and able to gracefully and gingerly hold and sustain the bounty of its fruit. I imagine the tree, with its roots, trunk and branches to be God - Father, Son and Spirit - and the apples to be all of humanity. Some are sweet, some are tart. Some are red, others are green... or yellow... but, just the same, each apple is produced, connected, fed and nurtured by the same tree. Just like the apples, each of us — regardless of color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation — is produced, connected, nurtured, loved and sustained by the Divine. When we can come to this place and realize how connected we are, fear vanishes and the senseless violence, like that which we experienced in the shootings in Aurora and Oakdale during this cycle and the continued violence against women throughout the world, vanishes along with it. When we come to the conclusion that by hurting others we are truly hurting ourselves the craziness stops. When we live in love, compassion, generosity, all those noble qualities of '9,' we know the idea of family to be broader than the conventional sense and we know the connection to be undeniable. Released from our fear and united in Spirit, the boundaries vanish and we realize that we are truly one human family — connected, united, one for the purpose of giving our lives for the benefit of the world.

I was presented once again with Turkey this month — 5 babies and one mama scurrying across the road one morning — SO CUTE! I stopped to look at them and they stopped, turned and looked back at me. Amazing! So I revisited turkey to see what I might be missing. Wanting to deepen my own symbolic language and understanding, I purchased Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson who dedicated the book to Grandmother Twylah for her lifetime of service to the teaching of the Wolf Clan and the children of Mother Earth, and Ya-whe-node, She Whose Voice Rides the Wind. In it, Sams and Carson share that the Turkey is thought to be "the Give-Away Eagle or South Eagle for many Native peoples." From what I have read, many of us could perhaps use a little 'Turkey medicine': "It is the deep abiding recognition of the sacrifices of both self and others." Sams and Carson tell of "the potlatch or give-away ceremony," where, "A tribal member may gladly give away all he or she owns, and do without in order to help the People." They also write, "A person who claims more than his or her share is looked upon as selfish or crazy or both. The poor, the aged, and the feeble have honor. The person who gives away the most and carries the burdens of the People is one of the most respected." They go on to say that if you have Turkey medicine, "your virtues are many. You have transcended self. You act and react on the behalf of others. You aspire to help those who need help. This is not out of some sense of self-righteous moralism or religious guilt. Help and sustenance are given by Turkey out of the realization that all life is sacred. It is knowing that the Great Spirit resides within all people. It is an acknowledgement that what you do for others you do for yourself. Turkey medicine rests in true ego, in enlightenment. Doing unto others and feeding the People is the message of all true spiritual systems." I can't help but reflect on my own Christian upbringing, the teachings of Jesus and the familiarity of these words.

So the invitation this month is to open the door. No, don't just open the door, take it off its hinges and like this mandala keep the gateway open. Connect to Source daily and remember Who's doing the doing so that in the end, in the words of this Cherokee expression:

When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced!
Live your life so that when you die
the world cries and you rejoice!

Blessings always,
L ;-)

2012 Leo New Moon Mandala
August 17, 2012

Get your on!


Live, Love, Laugh and be happy...
Well I'm just a kid again doing what I did again singin' a song
From: When the Red, Red Robin (comes bob-bob-bobin along) (1926)

The song quoted above was one of the first things that came to mind as I began this cycle. I found a great rendition sung by Dean Martin and I played it nearly every day. I remember when I was young, learning to play it on the organ — the very first instrument I had ever learned to play. Messages of children and child-like things came to me early on — starting just a few days before the cycle even began. But, more on later... let's start by looking at the mandala itself.

This year's the theme has been a readiness and a maturity to witness to higher things - in essence to elevate our lives in some way. Like the sneak peek introduction we had back with the Capricorn Mandala, the outer ring of this mandala has the same 30 Triangles — 30, again, meaning a readiness or maturity to witness. In the very center we have a six pointed star. Six in the constructive sense is the number of home, domesticity, love, harmony, responsibility, guardianship, stability, protection, sympathy, understanding, poise, musical talent, healing, firmness, balance, idealism, conscientiousness, justice, burden-bearing, and service to mankind. The interior is almost entirely created through the use of hearts: 3 sets of 5 hearts in different sizes to be exact. 3x5 = 15 which is the number of Divine Grace. Even the 5 figure in the center is made by the interlocking of the 5 larger hearts which are not as easy to discern because of how it is colored. There are two more 5 figures — 2 pentagons in the mandala, a larger one at the outside touching the outer ring and a smaller one at the center that encases the "5-figure." Even though that one is bowed, I consider it to be a pentagon — again 3 sets of 5 — a double dose of grace. My personal understanding of 5 is that the when we seek love — specifically love incarnate - you will find it. The universal understanding of 5 in its positive or constructive sense is Expansion, Freedom, Travel, and Adventure among others descriptors. In last year's Leo New Moon mandala, all the hearts were the same size which suggested to me the love that equals or friends would have. Because the hearts are all different sizes in the 2012 Leo New Moon Mandala, this one feels more like a family to me. And so we have this dynamic of home and family coupled with this underlying 5 of expansion, freedom, and adventure.

As I mentioned, children, and families for that matter, were very prominent this month. On our way to taking our son back to college we stopped on the way to visit with family. We live in the northeast — they live in the Midwest. It was quite the trip by car. I was even pleasantly surprised with a visit from my godmother while stopping over to see my parents. Everyone lives all over the state and it is very hard for me to not see the people I love while I'm in the neighborhood so to speak. There are many more I would have like to have visited but it's not always possible. It's always great to connect with family... catch up... tell stories... watch family movies of the kids when they were babies... great fun!

Even nature was participating in the theme this month. I have been amazed at number of younglings I have seen in nature over the course of this cycle! I don't recall ever being so aware of so many... the twins (the groundhogs you'll remember from May) are still around, squirrels and birds of all variety have been bringing their little ones to feast at my feeders: sparrows, a downy woodpecker, a red bellied wood pecker, mourning doves and a blue jay. I will say, that the body of an immature blue jay is truly spectacular, but the feathers hadn't come in on the head yet so it had a fuzzy, buzzard kind of look — in an odd way it was truly a look that only a mother could love. The young ones always arrive with at least one parent showing them the ropes in this new experience of life. I even saw an immature eagle with a parent high up in a pine tree while visiting with my in-laws in northern Wisconsin. Flying lessons I think... What a lovely sight that was! Eagle's have a special place in my heart. My maiden name is Adler which in German means eagle. How fitting that we should come across this pair the day after we dropped our son off for this sophomore year at college. Time to fly indeed!

The first quote by Christopher Meloni arrived via Facebook post in the balsamic phase of Cancer:

"You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun.
Ask yourself, 'Am I having fun?"

And so the cycle began... The first big topic for the month was:

Are we having fun yet?

We were encouraged to "Invite the child within to play throughout this cycle. Play frees the mind, generates new ideas, loosens the body; play regenerates and rejuvenates." — Sandra Mosley/Zodiac Arts. The mandala from this particular cycle always has to have a sense of whimsy for me... so oranges, pinks, lime greens... the favorite colors of my young niece.

And then came the converse:

Do you feel as if you are "dragging this huge burden that is your life rather than living in the joy of expression and enthusiasm of creativity and enjoying your short-term reservation here on Earth." ~ Patricia Lilies/The Power Path

If you're dragging your life around, I would suggest the company of a very young child. No one knows how to play or have fun better than a child — no one except perhaps my brother, Mike. No one makes me laugh more or harder than Mike. When I have a tough time getting a good expression on my kids' face for a picture, I ask them to think of their Uncle Mike. I get a Great smile EVERY time! But in all earnest, young children typically have a quick smile, a great sense of wonder and adventure... they know how to play... and how to laugh!

So really, are you having any fun in this adventure called life? Or do you need to make some changes?

"Absorbed in this world, you've made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision.
All your life you've paid attention to your experiences, but never to your Self. Are you searching for your Soul?
Then come out of your prison. Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the Ocean. It will not lead you astray. Let the beauty you seek be what you do." ~ Divine Energy

And, this call to elevate from Hafiz via Tosha Silver/FB post:

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.
I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.
You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel...

O keep Squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter
And from the most insignificant movements

Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.

Cast all your votes for dancing!
~ Hafiz

Is that great imagery or what? And still more:

"Looking for answers??? Quiet yourself down, so you can hear the whispers of your heart!!!
Then surrender, ask your question ---- and let the universe speak to you." Davidji

"The moment you start seeing life as PLAYFULNESS all the burden on your heart disappears."~ Osho

I watched an old interview with Deepak Chopra on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and the kernel message to me was the importance of positive thinking. I was reminded that "EVERY THOUGHT emits a chemical reaction in the body! Through this system, the body listens to your thoughts and acts accordingly." So what are we telling ourselves? What kind of chemicals are our thoughts sending out? Are they creating Sludge? Or *Sparkle?* As I drove through town later that day I one on the people I came across. And you can tell when someone has their sparkle on! There was one woman in particular that caught my eye. She was just walking down the street — smile on her face, bounce in her step, and her body moved with great ease. She was in full sparkle mode! Absolutely joyous!

Before you can sparkle you may need to flip the switch and turn on your Love Light as was suggested in another post this cycle. If you're having a hard time shifting your thoughts I HIGHYLY RECOMMOND THIS EXERCISE. It takes really no time at all. Do it first thing in the morning! The original instructions asked us to flip a switch on our temple I believe it was. (I relocated the switch... my Love Light switch is in my heart. ;-) I suggest you flip on this imaginary switch when you wake up in the morning. I know it may sound silly but it will help you make the shift. Do it EVERY day!

"Rise in the morning with the spirit you had known in your childhood.
That spirit of eagerness and adventure and certainty." ~The Positivity Garden

"The real secret to a fabulous life is to live imperfectly with great delight" — Leigh Standley

... sounds very "childlike" don't you think? ;-) I love to watch small children sing. They don't care what it sounds like they just get it out there. They just want to be part of it all. Such tremendous joy!0

"Our days are happier when we give the world a piece of our heart instead of our mind." ~Unknown

"Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow " ~ Norman Vincent Peale

"The Path to your Destiny Lies within the Magic of your Heart!" ~Disney greeting card

"When you finally take

Your calm and silent seat

On the throne

Of your own heart

Everything begins

To fall into

Its proper place




~Tosha Silver 8/17/2011

"The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want.
And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself.
And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself.
And the only way to be yourself is to listen to your heart."
~ Mike Dooley via Divine Energy

Why are young children so free? Because, when they come into the world they are truly themselves. They've just come from the light and they know who they are and what they are — they also know they are connected to everyone and everything. Tragically, often the world gets a hold of them and tells them they are not perfect, not good enough... or just plain not enough or people want to control them and they begin to feel isolated and build false-self systems around themselves... to appease, to fit in, to become acceptable. And by the time they reach mid-life they realize that these same false self systems don't work anymore and they begin to dismantle them looking for the child they once new... the child buried deep inside that knows beyond knowing who they are and what they're made of and that they are connected to everyone and everything.

"Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.
Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say. Watch and listen.
You are the result of the love of thousands."
~Linda Hogan Native American writer

"There is no where to go.
What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and
see what you already hold in your hand."
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer, "the Call"

"The biggest adventure you can have
Is to live the life of your dreams! ~The Positivity Garden

I am often fond of saying especially to parents, open your hands, let go and trust your child's inner wisdom — yes, THEIR inner wisdom. I truly believe that the best parents know that they don't know best. They can't possibly know. Who knows what gift they are here to bear — what contribution they are here to bestow upon humanity. The best parents see the inherent gifts of their child and nurture and support their child's interests — even when they, themselves, don't get it. The best a parent can do, is to root a child so they can fly. A good, loving home roots a child. An upbringing that trusts the child builds self esteem and gives them the courage to fly. When asked, the best advice I have for most parents is to love your child with everything you are and just get out of the way.

"The only voice you need to listen to is the one deep inside your soul.
If you do... you will know that you are loved... .
And that your dreams are there for you to live.
Listen to your soul... ."
via The Positivity Garden

Now that it is late summer, the crickets are making their presence known. I love the sound of the crickets' sing on a dark, summer's eve. There's just something magical about it. When I think of crickets I instantly think of the character from Pinocchio, dear Jiminy. Since Pinocchio was not a real boy he needed a conscience. Cricket reminds us to trust our inner voice and follow our own instincts.

As I was drifting off to sleep on the 4th of September I was contemplating this mandala and these words drifted into my thoughts...

"Let me behold you as you are."

Let me behold the real you underneath all the layers of attachment, behavior, conditioning and false self systems - the you who knows they are loved beyond words, who knows there is enough and trusts that all is as it intended to be. The you that is nothing but love... pure and radiant... let me see THAT when I look at you! This thought has made a profound shift in how I feel about my life and how I feel about the world in general. It was confirmed 3 days later when this came across my path:

"I wish that I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness,
the astonishing light of your own being." ... Hafiz

I have seen this light — the light of our own being. Not only have I seen it but I have experienced it — for to be in its presence is an experience beyond words. This light of our own being is pure love, radiant and magnificent. The light of YOUR own being is pure love, radiant and magnificent BEYOND WORDS. If we don't know this to be true, and true of every one we meet, then we've got work to do.

A few final thoughts:

"She loved life and it loved her right back."
Lynsey Chan via Living Magically

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." ~ Rumi

"Listen to your heart above all other voices. ~Marta Kagan

Live YOUR life! And LOVE IT! If you're not having any fun yet... if you don't LOVE YOUR LIFE, MAKE SOME CHANGES. Surround yourself with people that light you up and help you play and laugh — those that bring out the joy of your inner child. And lastly, the only voice you need to heed, the only counsel you need to keep, is found in your own heart. Learn to listen to it. Trust it. It will always guide better than anyone else can. And lastly, never leave the house without turning on your love light and getting your *Sparkle* on!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
L ;-)

2012 Virgo New Moon Mandala
September 15, 2012

Set Your Sights!


"There is a force within that gives you life......
See that....."

~ Rumi

Have you ever watched a hawk in flight? I was out walking with Maggie on a lovely day early in this cycle — clear, clear blue sky — and I heard a hawk calling from above. It was quite persistent in its call so I finally stopped to look up. (Interestingly enough, once I did, the hawk stopped calling. Coincidence? I think not. ;-)) I just stood there watching it as it flew... moving forward not in the straight line one might expect, but rather in large, effortless circles — wings outstretched, never flapping, no work involved, riding the waves of the wind.... gliding really... circle after circle after circle — completely effortless. The path taken by the hawk was certainly not visible to the eye, but perhaps only sensed as if being guided.

The circular flight of the hawk reminded me so much of this month's mandala with all its overlapping ovals as shown above in white. More about that in a minute... but first the foreground of this mandala... is made of nine, black concentric circles. At first glance it looked to me to be a compass rose which is directional in its purpose. But the more I looked at it, the more I felt like I was looking through a sight. Sights are devices used to assist in aligning or aiming weapons, surveying instruments, or other items by eye. Sights can be a simple set or system of markers that have to be aligned together as well as aligned with a target. So the questions for me this month have been:

What do we have our sights on?
What are we "see"-king to align with?

As mentioned, this mandala has seven overlapping ovals. These ovals have a "turn" in them, as if you're looking at the right side of a ribbon and then it turns over to reveal the reverse side and then turning once again back to the front of the ribbon. To represent this turning I decided to use glitter for the right side, and a matte white for the reverse side. The number 7 can symbolize the meaning of totality or completeness associated with God's authority on the earth. Seven is a product of adding the number 3 which represents the complete divine (Trinity,) to the number 4 which symbolizes the whole earth (the four corners of the earth.) Seven, in a constructive sense, can also represent wisdom, knowledge, spirituality, faith, trust, peace, poise, introspection, silence. Ovals can symbolize eggs ? so at a time of completion (7) perhaps a new beginning is being introduced? Perhaps, like the turn in the ribbon, something is being turned inside out? Or upside down? Or, in conjunction with the sighting device, it could represent a new or other way of looking at something? And the blue, of course, represents the sky on that beautiful, clear day.

"Sometimes you have to let go,
so there's room for better things to come into your life."

~ Unknown

I read a wonderful book this month called Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver! From the back cover:

"Well, what if God is the story? What if the Divine is constantly igniting roadside flares to get our attention? What if there actually is a Supreme Organizing Principle with a ribald and unbridled sense of humor? And what if we each have this ardent inner suitor who's writing us love letters every day that often go unopened?"

An easy, enjoyable read and truly the only way to live if you want a life of love, contentment, joy and peace. I find in Ms. Silver a kindred spirit. Anchored in Source and rooted in Love we let the divine take the lead. Like partners on a dance floor, the dance can be effortless if only one of us is leading. The best dancers actually dance as if they are one. You can't tell where one stops and the other starts. I think of my parents who are magnificent dancers! They just float so effortlessly across the floor. In life, as on the dance floor, they are true partners. Have you ever seen dancers where both of them are trying to lead? One wants to go one way and the other in the opposite direction... DISASTROUS! Such a struggle! Such frustration!

Letting go and letting the One take the lead can be very challenging to our egos. Some might say, "Well what about free will?" as if to say, "But, I want to live MY life the way I want - on MY terms!" Or "I don't want to be told what to do!" Or "I want to do it myself!" Sounds like an independent three year old... or some teenagers I know, don't you think? Yes, we certainly can choose that kind of life... sounds very isolating to me. I would suggest that it is not "your" life that "you" are living — it's good to remember Who's doing the doing, yes? If we choose to live in such a way as to close the door and deny "Spirit," and if what we choose is not in alignment with the Divine Will — which is truly for our highest good — we will most certainly suffer. Life will not be as effortless as it could be. Free will in its worst sense is a free pass to the isolation of rebelliousness — this "My way or the highway" is truthfully THE hardest, most stress-filled way to live. Remember the hawk earlier? The effortlessness with which it flies? When we align with the Divine and say yes to those love letters, life becomes effortless — no worries, no stress, doors open, everything falls into place, what is needed is provided... is given... is gift. Acceptance of 'what is' is SO freeing! So peace-filled. Free will is the choice we are given to say yes, or no, to the path before us. So the real question is how hard do you want this life to be? In this year of "elevation" this mandala calls us to put our rebellious, childishness aside — to set our sights on the things that are above and align with the Divine.

'Breathe — the Universe is taking care of everything else.'
~ Daily Inspirational Quotes

Personally, it's been an interesting cycle for me. I had gallbladder surgery on the 4th. My family has a history of "gravel pit" gallbladders. (I give credit to my father for the perfectly descriptive term. ;-)) My surgeon said mine was like cement and three-quarters full. Thankfully I was blessed with my mother's high tolerance for pain. So while most people would be completely and totally miserable with such an affliction, for me it was just a slight annoyance. None the less, it was time for it to come out. We arrived at the surgical center in the wee hours of the morning. The gentleman in the next room was having a great deal of anxiety and because of his tension, the nurse was having a very difficult time getting his IV in. I remember thinking, "Just let go, sweetheart." I, on the other hand was well rested and ready - very much at peace. Not a worry. Laughing and joking with the staff. I knew that the Divine had my back. The perfect path was already selected for me — the surgeon and his team, the day, the place, even my darling Lovie took the day off from work to be with me — all gift ... everything I needed was provided. I went into surgery and wasn't even asked to do the "anesthesia countdown"... you know how they ask you to count back from 100? I typically get to about 86 or so, but this time I just went right out — sleeping like a baby. Very peaceful. Now, I could have fought it all the way, resistant and tense like the guy in the next room. But why struggle like that? Life doesn't need to be like that.

"One new perception,

one fresh thought,

one act of surrender,

one change of heart,

one leap of faith,

can change your life


~ Robert Holden

The love letters are everywhere! The Divine Beloved has been referred to by poet, Francis Thompson, as the Hound of Heaven! No suitor is more smitten! His love for us - beyond words. He will not rest until we are His. And, He is ours.

Tired of the struggle? Then open your hands a let go. Stop the grasping, the clawing, the chasing and rest... trust, have faith, be at peace and perfectly poised, in the silent knowing that everything will be provided for the highest good of all concerned. Be willing to turn things upside down and inside out and look at life differently. I encourage you to meditate daily and look for those love letters from the Divine Beloved - you will find them literally EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE!! And, if you find this to be particularly challenging, Tosha is fond of using what she refers to as "change me prayers." This might be a good place to start:

"Change me, Divine Beloved, into one who KNOWS without a doubt my own worthiness.
Let me always know I never need to convince anyone of my value.

Change me into someone who trusts the right solutions
to every perceived need or problem are already selected
and [into some]one who can be guided with ease.
I am carried and guided by Divine grace in every moment.

And change me into One who knows my true nature is Love itself.

And so it is."
~ Tosha Silver

And so it is! Amen!

Blessing always,
L ;-)


2012 Libra New Moon Mandala
October 15, 2012

All for 'One' and 'One' for All


Three days before this cycle began, I remember writing to Sandra saying, "I feel like we've turned the corner and we're going deeper." Almost as if the first half of the year was being revisited and intensified in this cycle. With the Libra New Moon we come to the middle and the beginning of second half of the year, and in the chakra sense the area of the heart - the place where heaven meets earth. This Libra New Moon Mandala actually continues the story of the Virgo New Moon Mandala which was about aligning with the Will of God. Now, I feel that I may have given you the impression that when one aligns with the Divine Will, life becomes like happy hour as the doors fling open and what is needed comes to us with ease. Which it does... however, with that alignment comes the responsibility to carry out God's will. When we align with the Divine, the real work is just beginning... and we come to know that we are here to serve for the highest good of all.

"... (because) I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me."
~From the Gospel of John 6:38

The seven ovals of last month's Virgo mandala have become the seven arches in the outer ring in this Libra New Moon Mandala. It's as if the seven ovals have grabbed the outside of the circle and have begun to pull it in revealing a mystery - something new. And, they point to the center of the mandala as if to say this is the something new. You may remember from last month that seven can symbolize completion. Also in this outer ring, are ten triangles - ten symbolizing beginnings and endings. This ten (being an elevated 'one' 1+0 = 1) tells us that this new beginning is at a higher level. Like the Virgo Mandala, we again have the cross bars of a "sight" which divides the mandala into four quadrants. Last month we were being asked to set our sights on God. This month's mandala tells us how to do just that.

With the exception of the triangle, the square and the circles the rest of the mandala is created by eight interlocking hearts. More on that in a bit... we'll visit the other shapes first. Having a Christian upbringing, triangles are always a symbol of the Holy Trinity... of God for me. Triangles can also symbolize goals and dreams, visions, new possibilities. So gold for God but keep in mind the other meanings as well. The square in the center said "earth" right off the bat to me - you've heard me mention the "four corners" many times. But a square can also mean stability, security, accountability, and readiness to build. So brown for earth... but again keep in mind the other meanings as well. Circles symbolize the quest of self actualization; wholeness and unity; independence, open space, spontaneity, going with the flow. There are four circles - the outer 2 circles create that outer ring... four symbolizing stability; the grounded nature of all things; four seasons, four directions, four elements; calmness and home; get back to your roots, center yourself, or even plant yourself. It indicates a need for persistence and endurance.

As I mentioned the center piece of the mandala is created by the use of eight interlocking hearts. Eight, the number of perfection and the cosmic Christ, can also deal with business, success and wealth - and the persistence necessary to achieve those. The heart is the most common symbol for love. It can be a symbol for strengthening relationships, a symbol for charity, joy and compassion, an emblem of truth. As a graphic representation of an inverted or upside down triangle, (which is the origin of the symbol), it symbolizes a vessel in which love is poured or carried.

So what this mandala is saying to me is that when we join together at the heart level the earth is broken open and the love of God is poured out. I purposefully chose different colors for each of the eight hearts, because what I have been hearing in this cycle is that this is not a gathering of same - of those who are like us - but a call for radical unity - a joining at the heart level for the highest good of all. Though the container of those we are joined with may be a different color, or from a different religion or spirituality, or country, or a different whatever... truly love is Love.

is reckless;
not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Loves comes on strong,
Consuming herself, unabashed.

Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
Hard surfaced and straightforward.

Having died of self-interest,
She risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.

Without cause God gave us Being;
Without cause, give it back again."

Are we willing to consume ourselves? To die of self interest? To risk everything? To give, give, give because Love not only commands it... but demands it. Just this weekend as I write this, I was reminded of the tale of two widows. One was asked to give a foreign holy man something to eat. Her response was but it's all I've got. I was going to make this for my son and myself and then we shall die - because there is and will be no more to eat. He promised her that if she did as he asked, her flour jar and her oil jug would not empty until the rains visited the land - that she would survive the drought. She did as the holy man asked and God made good on the promise. 1 Kings 17:10-16

The story of the second widow is known in Christian circles, and perhaps others, as the story of the widow's mite. While the wealthy were putting large sums of money in to the temple treasury, a poor widow dumps out her bag and gives two coins... all that she has... reserving nothing for tomorrow. In the Gospel of Mark (12:38-44) Jesus commends her for her faith and trust in God. From his homily, Rev. Andrew Jamieson writes:

" In exalting the gift of the poor widow, Jesus wants us to realize that in the economy of God, numbers are not the true value of giving. It is what we give from our want, not from our extra that speaks of what we truly value, what good we truly want to accomplish, what we want our lives and world to be.

In the Gospel scheme of things, it is not the measure of the gift but the measure of the love, selflessness and commitment that directs the gift that is great before God...

For Christ calls us not to seek greater things or talents to astound the world, but for greater love and selflessness with which to enrich the world."

This was so evident to me in the recent natural disaster we experienced here in the northeastern United States. Super Storm Sandy galvanized this region and this country. Story after story of devastation was met with such tremendous generosity... from the donations of food and clothing to the numbers of people that came from all over to help those devastated get back on their feet. Truly overwhelmingly heart-warming.

Twice during this cycle I had seen a set of 3 deer... they appeared to me to be younglings. "Deer are the symbol of gentleness, teaching us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds." These deer encourage us to "accept [people] as they are and become like the summer breeze: warm and caring." From Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson

And, a whole family of Turkeys during the balsamic phase encourages us to give:

"Ho, Brother Turkey! How freely you give,
of everything that you are so that others may truly live."
~Medicine Cards, Sams/Carson

"Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself."
~ Jean Anouilh (1910 - 1987) French playwright

The gift of oneself... as self gift. This past cycle I had the privilege of assisting a woman plan the funeral of her father. She had heard me sing at another funeral earlier in the year and called her friend's mother for my number. She seemed anxious and a tad overwhelmed by the task at hand as this was the first funeral she had ever planned. As she put it... this is new for our family. I spent some time with her over the phone, talking about readings and singing psalms and songs to her. After the funeral she introduced herself to me and we chatted a bit. She handed me a card which I later read. Inside she wrote: I was a stranger to you and you treated me like family.

I bring this up not to pat myself on the back or blow my own horn... but to that say that is the essence of this cycle for me. That we can look at complete strangers and with love and dignity and treat them like family... the overwhelmed, the gruff, the outcast, the poor, the lonely, the devastated, the _______ (you fill in the blank... the list is perhaps limitless.) None the less, we are all family united in the love of God.

"The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It's not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It's encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way." ~Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder

Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness are The Way. And we are each, in our own way, in our own giftedness, called to be a blessing to one another on the journey. After all, in the words of Ram Das:

"We're all just walking each other home."

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
L ;-)

2012 Scorpio New Moon Mandala
November 13, 2012

No Longer I

"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go" ~Rumi

"Learn to let go of what doesn't raise you up." ~FB: Believe

Near the end of the last cycle, a new friend that I met through facebook announced that her house was 99.5 % clutter free. Elizabeth has often made mention of her de-cluttering efforts, but this was new. And big! Now my house is not a mess by any standard but I do have pockets of things that are quite well hidden. She inspired me to take up the task and go to work on all the dark corners of my own home.

I started in my walk in closet which had been collecting things that didn't have a home in my home... things I really had no place for - like notes from workshops, retreat days, odds and ends of things with missing pieces like a book light that was missing the cap so you don't get blinded when you use it. In addition, I sorted through clothes that are out of season, no longer fit or have never worn, nor will ever wear again. I now have clothes to donate and hangers to go back to the dry cleaner for recycling, a bag to take to the garbage can and papers for the recycling bin. I have worked my way around the second floor, finding homes for the things I'm keeping and discarding or recycling those things I don't use or refer to, cleaning and reorganizing as I go.

The entire second floor, with the exception of my children's rooms, is done. I'm leaving their space for them. Their rooms. Their decisions. My husband and I worked on the basement together... another place that tends to "collect" things. We've made some good strides but still have some work to do there. I completed a project that I started last fall. It was all cut out and ready to go. I just became overwhelmed with the number of items I was creating. I completed about half of them last fall. The other half sat waiting for me to finish them. They are now done and delivered!

All that remains then are a few pockets on the first floor and more decisions as to what is working, what is not working, what needs to stay and what needs to go. As I cleaned and cleared from my house the past -- things I had not finished, or collected or was not ready to let go of -- and the future -- things I might decide to do something with some day - I got to thinking about what else in my life needs to go? What attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, habits and ways of being need to go? And not just letting go... there is finality and a sense of urgency to this decision. A 'do it now and be done with it' kind of feeling.

Metaphorically speaking: The sun is setting... the day is nearly done... What more MUST be completed today? What cannot wait for tomorrow? Then again, I am also reminded of my college days, then a bartender to help pay my way through college. At the end of the night I would announce, "Last call!" Last call... the time is now and the overwhelming question for me this cycle has been "What needs to die?"

"Death is the initiate of the Mysteries.
He understands transformative power and
reminds us to live is to die and to die is to be reborn."
~Sandra Mosley

The most prominent creature this month, interestingly enough, has been vulture who was present to me consistently and in tremendous numbers. Sitting on trees, circling above, and devouring the dead - vulture was EVERYWHERE!

I even saw a flock of them one day on the ground -- too many to count as I drove by. I have never seen anything like it. It was one of those 'Whoa' moments that kind of take you're your breath away! How do you not consider vulture with that kind of impact! We often see them circling in the air. They are a patient and opportunistic bird. If they're circling, something is about to die or they're waiting for traffic to clear 'cause dinner's ready. And, vulture will pick it clean down to the bone.

In my research of the bird I found that they are a symbol of renewal -- they can often been seen sitting in the trees facing the rising sun, wings spread wide as if to welcome or embrace the coming day. Vulture is perhaps the original Death Eater unlike those of Harry Potter fame, of course. In my research of the symbolic nature of the bird I found that the Mayan believed it to be a symbol of cleansing, renewal and transformation.


"Without Brushing My Hair:

The closer
I get to you, Beloved,
The more I can see

It is just You and I
All alone
In this

I hear
A knock at my door,
Who else could it be,
So I rush without
Brushing my hair.

For too
Many nights
I have begged
For Your

And what
Is the use of vanity

At this late hour,
At this divine season,
That has now come
To my folded

If your love letters are true
Dear God
I will surrender myself to
Who You keep saying

I Am."


I was driving alone one Saturday morning and was thinking about the question: What needs to die? I actually asked it out loud and repeated it. I looked to the car in front of me and to its license plate which read: [IM 1ONE]. As if the Divine Beloved was saying, "I am 1. Get it, Lynn? ONE." In that moment there was no 'me', there was no 'you', there was no 'we.' There was only the sacred unity of 'I'. I was so stunned by the message that I followed the guy into a gas station. I told him I collected license plates and asked if I could take a picture of his. "Sure. No problem!" He added, "I tell people it means eleven." "Interesting," I said. "To me it says 'I am ONE'."

The license plate was a confirmation of the message I had received earlier in the month when a fox dashed across the road in front of my car. Fox speaks to me of a oneness unlike any other. It seems that foxes are masters of camouflage. They blend in. While they observe everything, they themselves are unseen... unnoticed. In the winter their coats turn white, so, like a chameleon, they blend with the snow. In the summer their darker coat vanishes into the undergrowth of the forest. Complete oneness. And, as such they also speak to me of humility. Can you blend into your surroundings and not be humble?

Now just the other day, I was driving and I just about had an accident because the plate I saw said [I M PATE]. So, like "What are You telling me now?" Right? I had to look it up. The 'pate' we are talking about is not the delicacy one might eat, but rather 'pate' is a Middle English term for bean, clock, dome, noggin, noodle, brain. So what needs to die? Maybe who or what I think I am needs to change?

What happens in the space that is created after all the clearing is done is at least as important as the clearing itself. On December 8 we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We heard in the gospel reading that day, the story of the Annunciation -- the announcement from God's Messenger, Gabriel, to Mary the purpose for which she was sent - that Mary is to conceive a son and his name is to be Jesus. (Luke 1:26-38) His greeting to her: "Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you." I've heard the story so many times, yet the words "full of grace" absolutely captivated me this year. It occurred to me that Mary was filled to the brim with grace - completely filled up. There was no space within her that didn't have grace in it. No cell, no molecule that wasn't filled to capacity with grace. Once the cleaning and clearing we're doing creates space, maybe the next step is to ask to be filled - praying to be filled with grace.

So what does this all have to do with this month's mandala? Working from the outside in:

The mandala itself is very soft and flowing... like water. I chose the colors of autumn, because it is the time of letting go. Nature shows us not only how to let go but to go out in a blaze of glory. And yet, I plan to revisit this in hues of blue. It seems more fitting... like water that washes all that needs to go away -- away! As to the numbers:

The outer ring holds 19 "setting suns." 19 has the energy of the "Last Call!" and that sense of urgency I mentioned earlier. The vibration of 19 holds perfect judgment - the judgment of God. In the 19th Chapter of The bible we find two angels on their way to two cities. They rescue Lot and execute God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19) And, according to Ivan Panin (Verbal Inspiration of the Bible Scientifically Demonstrated) the order of the Old Testament books was different in the original Hebrew. If one accepts this original order in Hebrew, the 19th Book would be Job. In this book Jonah is told by the Lord to go and preach to the wicked city of Nineveh. They must repent or be destroyed. It is also interesting to note that in the Hebrew text, Jonah's name is used in the OT exactly 19 times. (Andrew Harris) My favorite definition for repent is 'to change the direction in which one is looking for happiness.'

The next ring divides then we have a set of 24. I found things like 24 hours in a day, 24 Elders on 24 thrones as noted in the Book of Revelation; the wheel of rebirths; double harmony of the sky and the earth; but the symbol that resonates most with me is "a complete harmony."

23 is often associated in scripture with life, prosperous life, abundant life, fruitful life. The prosperity can be in a physical or financial sense, or in a spiritual sense. It might be representing the wealth and prosperity acquired through diligent work or it might be the prosperity of divine grace, a free gift.

22 is a Master Number, The Master Builder -- a conceiver of tremendous plans and has the power to make them happen for the benefit of all humanity. 22 has a need to devote themselves to something larger than life.

12 - The number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unity. Think also the 12 tribes, 12 Commandments, the 12 apostles, 12 articles of the creed. In the context of the other numbers, I see this 12 representing the followers of Christ. As far as I'm concerned, if you live a life in love, generosity, compassion, mercy, and justice, you belong in that number whether you have a religious affiliation or not. Interesting to me too, that the date of the eve of the Sagittarius New moon is 12-12-12. It feels to me as if this date is divinely infused! The spring board of things yet to come perhaps?

Two rings: The number of the Son of God; if 1 is essence then 2 is existence; duality

And at the center is the perfection of 8 and the cosmic Christ.

"At the end of the day, the only questions I will ask myself are...
Did I love enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I make a difference?"
~ Katrina Mayer

"We all have the potential to make the world a better place.
Do all things with love, compassion, and with self-less intention."

"We are all visitors to this time, this place.
We are just passing through.
Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love?
and then we return home."
~Australian Aboriginal Proverb

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." ~Baha'u'llah

"Love opens your heart. It opens your mind. It opens your soul and
turns you into the person you were meant to be
as you help another person become the person they long to become."
~Alex Johannigman

" ... yet I live, no longer I,
but Christ lives in me."
Galatians 2:20

It occurs to me that what we do is not as important as how we do what we do. The key question all month as been "What needs to die" To help us zero in on the root of the issue, we might ask "Where and with whom do we fail, or even worse refuse to love?" During this cycle I attended a retreat day with artist, Brother Mickey McGrath, and spirituality author, Fr. Richard Rohr. Brother Mickey told a story of a young mother who confessed that she was having trouble getting her prayers in... the baby would wake up and start to cry and her day would begin without her having completed her prayers. (Now, I can see myself getting really frustrated in this situation and being totally unloving because I can't do what I feel I need to do.) And the priest's response was, "But, that is your prayer. How you take care of your children when they cry IS your prayer."

"God expects but one thing of you,
and that is that you should come out of yourself
in so far as you are a created being made and
let God be God
in you."
~ Meister Eckhart

I was on the way to a Funeral in early December and the question "What needs to die?" of course, was on my mind. I keep coming back to that license plate [IM 1ONE] and thoughts of being separate from God and therefore from one another and all of creation. And my thought is that our breath is God's breath. He breathes in and through us. So when God stops breathing, our time here is done. And we do not leave here until we have fulfilled the purpose for which we have been sent. The most intimate of connections... pure surrender... letting God see through our eyes, to hug with our arms, to do with our hands to sing and speak through our voices... which in reality are all His. The work of this year, and especially this cycle, has been to clean and clear, to get out of the way and let God be. A complete and total surrender... a complete and total letting go. To be so infused with grace, that in our living, loving and dying, we give birth to God.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
L ;-)

2012 Sagittarius New Moon Mandala
December 13, 2012

"Take Christ to the World"

The last few months the naming of each mandala has been nearly last minute. As a matter of fact, I hadn't named the Scorpio New Moon Mandala when I submitted my Journal Entry to Sandra last month. Just before she went to publish, and in haste, I named it "No Longer I." In truth, a mandala, or any work of art with that name, would be much more beautiful and I think truly breathtakingly magnificent. In actuality, a work by that name would be the end result of having completely done the work of last month's Scorpio New Moon Mandala - the work being cleaning, clearing, healing and letting go of whatever keeps us from our highest expression.

A friend of mine commented that my interpretation of Sandra's Scorpio New Moon Mandala reminded her of intestines' which I found to be an interesting observation. Her comment invited me to think about what intestines do. They allow our bodies to absorb what nourishes us and to carry out, as waste, what we do not need, or, in the case of toxins, to carry out that which would do us harm. In essence, they help us to absorb what our bodies need and facilitate the clearing out of what needs to go. Intestines were not at all on my mind when I worked on that mandala, but it fits! It works. In retrospect, a better name for the Scorpio New Moon Mandala would have been something like "Cleaning House" or "Make Way" or "Ready the Way"... "Prepare the Way"? One might wonder what all this cleaning and clearing is about? What is it making space for? Or, for whom is this new room being made ready?

When I first saw the Sagittarius New Moon Mandala I couldn't wait to work on it. It could not wait. It would not wait. There was an urgency about completing it because it spoke to me of a person, an upcoming event and a way of life. Working this time, then, from the center out:

The four pointed star at the center, the crux stellata or the star cross, in my mind can belong only to one person. Though thousands upon thousands were crucified in ancient times, the cross is inextricably tied to Jesus, The Christ.

The next figure of three (in blue) at first spoke to me of God in the form of the Holy Trinity as triangular threes typically do. But, the more I contemplated the shape of this particular three,(and yes, the hood ornament of a popular car did come to mind as well ;-) it spoke more to me of peace -- and joined at the center to the star cross this is a peace unlike any other.

The X (in white) is sometimes used as a symbol for the Christ, whose name in Greek begins with the Greek letter X or Chi. That's why we often see the shorthand of X-mas... X for Christ.

The four fiery-red points are actually the end-points of four large, interlocking hearts. (These hearts also create the star cross at the center and the larger, golden, cross-like extensions of that star.) Like a compass rose, the hearts point to the four corners of the earth and are filled with the fire, zeal and passion of Spirit.

Eight Christmas lights -- The eight (representing the cosmic Christ) portrayed in this lighthearted manner represent the joy of Christ.

And the twelve that were tightly wrapped around the cosmic Christ in last month's mandala, are now filled to overflowing with the love, the peace and the joy of Christ. Radiant and rooted in Him they reach out to the world.

Over all are several rings reminding me of the "sights" we've seen in many of this year's mandalas and again begs the question, "What do we have in our sights this cycle?" To give added emphasis to Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, I colored the two center circles yellow-gold.

I had shared this mandala with some friends just prior to Christmas Day and I thank Sandra for using the first draft of it on the website as the mandala meditation for the month. Teresa wrote to me,

"This reminded me of the star that must stay in our hearts all year
that led the Magi to Christ so many years ago."

When I saw this mandala for the first time the text of one of my favorite songs by Stuart Townend came immediately to mind:

"When love came down to earth, and made His home with men
The hopeless found a hope, the sinner found a friend.
Not to the powerful, but to the poor He came
And humble hungry hearts were satisfied again.

What joy, what peace has come to us
What hope, what help, what love."
~When Love came Down to Earth

And "the twelve" in the outer ring brought this Paul Inwood text to mind:

Take Christ to the world
Celebrate our faith manifest His love to all.
Take Christ to the World
Show that we are His by the way we live.

And over and over the message came:

"Never underestimate the value of a random act of kindness
as it can positively change the life of another
in ways you never imagined."
~ Unknown

"Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks. Not in what they say.
Just in what they are."
~Markus Zusak

"You have [not] lived until you
have done something for someone
who can never repay you."
Facebook~ Billboard via Kennedy's Cause

"The darker the times, the greater the need for you to shine bright.
Connect to loving kindness and compassion and
you will be a healing presence wherever you go."
~Katie Trafford/Cruise Control

"What can you do to promote world peace?
Go HOME... and love your family."
~Mother Teresa

"She was an everyday angle
The kind without wings.
Walking around in the world, just like you and me.
An angel, living out love.
The kind of people we could use a lot more of
Just an everyday angel."
Facebook ~ Rodney Foster

"To bless means to wish, unconditionally and
from the deepest chambers of your heart,
unrestricted good for others and events."

"What you perceive as a small act of kindness,
may actually be a HUGE act of love for another person.
Never underestimate the power of love
no matter how small it may seem."

Even at the movies, the message came:

"Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. That is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small things, every day deeds from ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love."
~spoken by Gandalf the Grey in The Hobbit

The day after Christmas, first thing in the morning, I had an appointment to check and see how my new contacts were working out. As I was waiting for my appointment a familiar popular song from "back in the day" came over the airwaves. Thankfully I was the first appointment and there was no one around. I was so caught by surprise by His message that I burst out laughing... you just never know when, where or how a message will come to you. There I was sitting in the waiting room of the office and Jesus was singing to me. Yes, the voice singing the song was Pete Townsend, but the more I listened to the words of the song, Let My Love Open the Door, the more I knew that this was a message coming from Jesus. I encourage you to read this, or better yet, pull it up on YouTube or your own copy on vinyl, cassette or 8 track if you're still able to play them ;-) and close your eyes - hear His voice and invite the message in:

"When people keep repeating that you'll never fall in love,
When everybody keeps retreating but you can?t seem to get enough,

Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
To your heart.

When everything feels all over, when everybody seems unkind,
I?ll give you a four leaf clover, take all the worry out of your mind.

Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
To your heart... mmmmm... My love open the door...

I have the only key to your heart,
I can stop you from falling apart
try today you?ll find this Way
come on and give Me a chance to say,
"Let My love open the door
It's all I'm living for.
Release yourself from misery.
There's only one thing gonna set you free...
That's My love...That's My love...

Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door

When tragedy befalls you
Don.t let it drag you down
Love can cure your problems
You.re so lucky I.m around.

Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
Let My love open the door
To your heart..."
'Let My Love Open the Door' ~Pete Townsend

Having received His love by letting Him open the doors of our hearts, we are able to truly and purely love ? to do for another without fear or concern of cost or return of payment. The message inspired me to random acts of kindness-- the simple ordinary things that were right in front of me: I straightened the tie of my doctor, not because "perfectionistic me" needed it to be straight, but because I knew he'd have a better day if he didn't have to keep messing with it. (As I straightened the tie he told me he was in a hurry to get to work that morning. His tie got caught in the knot and would not lie flat.) On the way into the office I had overheard "Mike" talking to a co-worker about how he had spent 11 hours on Christmas day at a Care One facility with his wife who is suffering with multiple sclerosis. On the way out I stopped and talked to him for a bit and promised to hold them in prayer. And that was just the first half hour of the day.

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and their princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations
To bring peace among brothers
To make music in the heart."
~The Mood of Christmas by Howard Thurman

There are many, many days I wonder why I'm on this earth. I ponder my purpose and like the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" I wonder if my being here really makes a difference. And then there are those moments... those preciously profound moments when, because I am asked to use the gifts and talents that I have been given, people are comforted and consoled in a way that no one else in the room can or I am able to come to the aid of an friend with a splitting headache because there is no one else with my skill set that can help in the way that I can help. And I come to know through those profound moments (of truly being hit over the head with the message ;-) that my being here makes a difference.

When I connect to these overwhelmingly profound moments, it gives me a new lens with which I can see my impact on the ordinary day-to-day events as well. Our being here makes a difference only when we shift our focus from ourselves -- from what we need and what's in it for us -- and focus on the people around us. We are here for one purpose though that purpose may take many forms. We are here to be filled with love and to share that love with the world. Not the wide-eyed, ooey-gooey, nostalgic or sexual kind of love, but a genuine kindness- care-and-concern-for-others kind of love... a way of being that is more concerned about the other rather than the self. Each of us is endowed with gifts and talents that are meant to be shared -- and it might be just as simple as twinkling eyes and a genuine, killer smile that you share with everyone you meet. In the sharing of our gifts and talents He blesses the world through us in a way that is unique to each of us.

"... [Jesus] changed things. He is the single greatest agent of change in human history. He made the lame walk, taught the simple, set captives free, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry, healed the sick, comforted the afflicted, afflicted the comfortable, and in all of these, captured the imagination of every generation...

The first Christians intrigued the people of their time. So did the saints, and so do ordinary people who embrace the Christian life today. In the great majority of cases they don?t do anything spectacular. For the most part they commit themselves to doing simple things spectacularly well and with great love, and that intrigues people. Whom does your life intrigue? Not with spectacular accomplishments, but simply by the way you live, love and work."
~Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose by Matthew Kelly

"Jesus calls us to measure our years not in the ways of the world:
Not in terms of minutes and years, nor wealth or possessions,
But by the things of God:
in humble generosity to others,
in mercy and forgiveness joyfully given,
in holiness strived for,
in justice won
in peace realized,
in principles defended,
in beliefs lived."
~ Fr. Andrew Jamieson

"Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which Christ?s compassion
Is to look out to the earth,
Yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good
And yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now."
~St. Teresa of Avila

The past two days I've seen a group of twelve mourning doves... yesterday, all together high up in a tree, and today, around the ground feeder in the back yard. From the round, soft curves of their bodies and their dark, sweet eyes, to the soft and comforting coo of their voices, they are humble birds, soft and sweet. The Eastern Mourning Dove is the state of Wisconsin's official symbol of peace and Michigan's state bird of peace. This sighting in conjunction with the 12 of this mandala suggests that we are to be bearers of comfort and joy in peaceful, tender and loving ways.

I suspect that for most people, Christmas is a celebration on a single day filled with family, food and gift giving. For many Catholics and perhaps other Christians, Christmas is a season to be celebrated and lived. But for a rare few, Christmas, the celebration of the incarnation of divine love -- of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us - is celebrated every day of their lives in kind, generous, loving, caring and forgiving ways. It is not what we do, but who we are because of Him that makes a difference. It's the intention behind the action... not just the doing of good deeds, but rather, the love that inspires those deeds that blesses the world.

We have done some cleaning and clearing and have made a little more room in the inns of our hearts for the coming of the Holy One. Let His love open the doors to our hearts that we may be filled to overflowing. May His love, His joy and His peace abide in us so deeply and so richly that through our love-inspired words and deeds He is made present to the world.

Blessed Christmas Everyone!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Capricorn New Moon Mandala
January 11, 2013


"... those with insight shall shine like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice, shall be like the stars forever."
~Daniel 12:3

When I first analyzed this mandala, I found a lot of fives (the perfect man - got rid of his animal side) and sevens (perfect completion) - three sets of 5 and three sets of 7... though it may appear that there are more fives due to the mandorlas created by the interlocking circles. A mandorla is an ancient symbol of two circles coming together, overlapping one another to form an almond shape, here seen in light pink and magenta in the inner circle. Mandorla is the Italian word for almond. This symbol is also called the "Vesica Piscis." It is known as a threshold by some and a gateway of birth for others. It symbolizes the interaction and interdependence of opposing worlds and forces - spirit and matter for example. Although the symbol has its origins before the Christian era, the early Christians used the symbol as a method to describe the coming together of heaven and earth, between the divine and human. Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary are often pictured in the framework of the Mandorla. In the area where the two circles overlap sits the God-human, a place we too are called to be, where both aspects of reality coincide and become one. This speaks to me of the call to embody the ultimate love - divine Love. And, the overwhelming question this cycle has been, "Am I the best possible version of myself that I can be?"

Last year at this time I was writing about geese and a wonderful woman at my parish gave me a small stuffed goose to let me know that "people are reading what [I] write." ;-) It was such a sweet, lovely gesture and I placed it in front of that mandala as a reminder. It's been sitting there all year! In December, as I was clearing out the frames in preparation for the winter quarter, I had planned to put the goose in another location. But on the first day of this cycle, the 12 doves from last cycle were now sightings of 12 geese. I've been seeing them everywhere! It appears that the goose is connected to this cycle, and I'm happy to say I'll be keeping my little goose out for another year. Geese symbolize community, communication, bravery, fellowship, determination, confidence, protection and loyalty. Interesting... that, with all the five and sevens in this mandala, 5+7 = 12 (a perfect and harmonious unit, wholeness).

Certain colors came to me right away as well as I looked at this mandala. The five pointed star in the middle for example, had to be blue. The five-pointed star represents Jesus' birth and incarnation and I envision that light burns in the heart of all who follow him. So why blue? Because the hottest part of a flame is blue. The passion and zeal of last month's red hearts have are now the fire of this month's five-pointed star. Also known as the Epiphany star, this star, depending on the source, led the three Kings, the three wise men/the three astrologers to the place of the Christ Child. Regardless of occupation, through this eventful seek and find The Christ was introduced to the world. The central flower created by the five small interlocking circles, is a pre-Columbian symbol for the 5 pointed star as well. The seven interlocking moons had to be a pale yellow. The shape of the moon could be either Gibbous or Disseminating. From the Zodiac Arts Moon Phase Calendar: The Gibbous phase is a time to analyze, prepare, trust and gather information. The Disseminating phase is a time where we gain clarity by sharing what we've learned through awareness - it is a time of giving back to the community. Considering the sighting of the geese and their communal nature, and the time of year, I decided that these were disseminating moons. Another definite color choice was pink. The color for unconditional love had to be in there as well. There is a sense of heaven and earth in this for me... of tangible substance and that which is not able to be physically grasped... like wisps of fragrant incense. In addition, as I was coloring this mandala, it gave me the sense of the early stages of development... when the cells are dividing. This mandala is active... and holds a call to become something greater, something truer, more authentic . This call to whol-iness is deeply felt. And so this month, though relatively quiet for me, has been a time of tremendous growth. More than any other mandala in this year of "elevation," this Capricorn New Moon Mandala has a tremendous call to elevate... to actively embody or manifest the love of God in the world.

They say we are known by the company we keep, and since I am on a quest to become the best version of myself, I am spending less time on Facebook and watching television and more time at church, in prayer, taking advantage of the sacraments, spiritual reading and offering my musical talent to my community at morning mass. I am also enjoying The Winter Feast for the Soul (http://www.winterfeastforthesoul.com/), an online, 40-day winter meditation retreat where many faith traditions share their method of meditation or Centering Prayer. The Christian contemplative track by Carl McColman is particularly good this year. In addition, I am SO looking forward to the company of spiritual companions as I facilitate a Center Prayer group at my parish on Wednesday mornings during Lent. That will start on Wednesday, the 13th! I am also very watchful of the needs of my body. Adequate sleep and food that nourishes is also on my radar.

"Life is better when you are happy, but,
life is best when other people are happy because of You!"

"Seize the moment of happiness,
love and be loved!
That is the only reality in the world.
All else is folly."
~Leo Tolstoy

In this Capricorn New Moon Mandala we are called to "shine like the stars" to "proclaim the Holy One by the witness of our lives." As we stand in the threshold, between what is and what is yet to be revealed, may we strive to bring joy and peace into the world. Like a lamp that is not hidden, but rather is set on a lampstand - may we by the service of our lives truly shine with the light and the love of Christ and give honor to His holy name.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Aquarius New Moon Mandala
February 10, 2013

Peace Be With You

"Where you are right now is the perfect place from which
to let go, learn and grow. Loosen your grip."
~FB: Gemma Stone

"One of the happiest moments ever,
is when you find the courage to finally let go -
of what you can't change."
~FB: Back Towards Light

Spring has been springing up all over in this area of the U.S. since this cycle began - early even for these parts. The daffodils and irises have been peeking up out of the ground and are now about 6 - 7 inches above ground. Though the winter birds, like the juncos (my favorite birds) are still around, the song birds have been here for nearly 4 weeks already. The males typically arrive first to find a place to raise their young and build a nest in preparation for the arrival of the females. One male in particular outside my house has been giving it "what for." Every morning I can hear him saying, "Hurry up woman! It's cold here!" The darkness is making way for the sunlight, which is getting brighter and staying longer. Spring is also a traditional time of cleaning house... getting rid of the old and making room for the new. Three days after this cycle began, Ash Wednesday ushered in the 40 day celebration of Lent. Lent literally means "Spring" and we are encouraged to clean our interior houses, to clear away what no longer serves us or others ... to become more like the people we were made to be. About Lent Thomas Keating writes,

"Each Lent [Jesus]... invites us to join Him in the desert and to share His trials. The Lenten observances are designed to facilitate the reduction of our emotional investment in the programs of early childhood. Liberation from the entire false-self system (security/survival, affection/esteem, power/control) is the ultimate purpose of Lent. This process always has Easter as its goal. The primary observance of Lent is to confront the false self. Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are in the service of this project. As we dismantle our emotional programs for happiness the obstacles to the risen life of Jesus fall away, and our hearts are prepared for the infusion of divine life at Easter."

The Mystery of Christ, p. 42

For the second year in a row, I associate darkness with this cycle. Last year the fog that we often get in this area as we transition from winter into spring invited me to consider how we find our way when we cannot see. This year the events of my life caused me to ponder my ability to love in the face of "darkness".

Every week since Ash Wednesday, I have been invited to consider in a deeper way how well I love and how much can I endure and still chose to love. My daughter and I attended mass Ash Wednesday evening in the presence of a child who could not be consoled. It was an interesting exercise to watch and observe how this inconsolable child affected the members of the assembly and those who led prayer. Could we be with the pain and embrace it? Or would we allow it to enter into ourselves and distract our focus... allow it to affect our ability function? In essence, could we be in its presence and still love? Although both my daughter and I went home with a headache that night, I found it to be a wonderful experience of welcoming... of being "with" and "in" agony. What an invitation to Lent this was! Little did I know it was a foreshadowing of things to come...

One week and one day later my daughter injured her ankle at volleyball practice. We were up into the wee hours of that Friday morning at Children's Hospital. My daughter was diagnosed with a bad sprain and a fractured fibula. Too tired to function, I had no choice but to relinquish my Friday morning schedule.

The following week our dog became gravely ill. I won't go into the gory details but let us suffice it to say that when I returned home that day my kitchen floor looked like a war zone... no exaggeration. Two hours later I was able to get her in to see the Vet. She ended up staying for two days having been diagnosed with a digestive disorder.

My daughter... our dog... the only one left in the house was my husband who was traveling on business the very next week. I wouldn't say I was fretful, or terribly anxious, but I had asked friends to pray on that Thursday and in the back of my mind I waited for the next shoe to drop. Gratefully he arrived home safe and sound. I, however, exhausted from the day, was in bed by 8:30. Just the thought of the possibility of something happening wore me out.

And thinking I was in the clear, the final Thursday of this cycle I had just finished writing my first draft of this Journal Entry. As I shut my computer down something happened... the screen turned blue (you know the kind of blue that strikes fear in the heart...) and written on the screen were the words: "If this is the first time you've seen this page... " I waited for it to do its thing. Nothing was happening so I just shut it down cold and decided to wait until the next day to deal with the consequences. I said a prayer to the Archangel Gabriel and went to bed. Most gratefully the computer started up just fine the next day and I was able to retrieve the entry.

In addition to the above scenarios, I have a clarity I've never had about why I do what I do. For example, I've noticed that I get anxious on the days my husband leaves on his business trips. I also have trouble if the weather is particularly bad on the day he returns. Recognizing this propensity, this past week as I drove home from the airport, I said a little prayer, "If it be Your will, Lord, keep him safe. Regardless of the outcome, I know that You are with me always and will never leave me to face my perils alone." Having detached myself from every possible outcome and having put everything in the hands of God, I can say with absolute certainty that Monday was a particularly good day.

"Bidden or Unbidden, God is present."
~ Carl Jung

And, this is what Sandra's Aquarius New Moon Mandala says to me:

Once again, we have a "sight" in this mandala which asks, "What are you looking at? What's your focal point?"

In the outer layer we have three (divine), large, ovals (seeds/eggs) in which each is held a diamond shape (in the most simplistic terms which truly does not do it justice, the diamond is a Native American symbol for wind and creation. Interesting to note that in the book of Psalms, 104:3 it is written that "God rides the wings of the wind.") Over the top of these shapes are six (imperfect man - still with his passions) interlocking ovals. Last spring you might remember, I awoke with this feeling of elevation... "like a divine infusion intended to elevate everything and everyone was on its way." The cell division from the last cycle continues. Taking these symbols together they say to me that God is busy and on the move. Something's cooking... and we - you and I - are the reason for the activity.

At the center of the sight are six shapes:

  • A circle, the center of our sighting device which frames
  • A six sided figure formed by the overlapping of the 3 large diamonds in the outer layer
  • The next figure reminds me of the four interlocking hearts from the Sagittarius New Moon Mandala - Take Christ to the World - reminding us to love and to be love in the world.
  • Next, a circle (one, unity, God) - barely seen, but there, on which rests
  • four interlocking squares. They remind me of a quilt pattern called "Card Trick." You may recall that a square can symbolize the earth. Placed in this fashion, it says the ground is shaky... uncertain... like shifting sand.
  • And on top of the shifting earth is a six pointed star. If this were a stick figure it would represent fixed stars like the Pole star. It is also reminiscent of Chi Rho, the early Greek symbol for the Christ.

Also central to this mandala the three diamonds create a large peace sign. In Psalm 23 it reads, The Good Shepherd "leads me beside still waters." Water is often a symbol for the mind. So this peace... this place of still waters, is a quiet and peaceful mind focused on Him.

"God is only as far away as we place Him and never as far away as we think.
For it is in Him that we live, move and have our being."
~ Mustard Seeds

Today, God is First."
~OS Hillman

One might think that this was a bad month for me. I can happily report that it has been far from that! In addition to the challenging occurrences reported above, I have been actively cultivating what I believe to be the most important relationship anyone can cultivate - my relationship with God. Through participation at daily mass and various scripture-based prayer practices, along with Centering Prayer and service to my community, this time spent surrendering to the presence and action of God within has been my saving grace and my sanity through all of the insanity.

This past weekend, we heard the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32). In his homily on this very familiar story, Fr. Andrew Jamieson said:

"We recognize ourselves and those we know, in the son who leaves, the son who stays, and the father who rejoices in the prodigal's return.

But as much as this parable tells us about ourselves, I think it also tells us more about our heavenly Father - something we often miss in this story, but something we desperately need to hear.

It comes in the middle of the parable at the point when the son has decided to return home. He begins the journey back to his father. And there, almost as a passing thought, Luke inserts this beautiful and beautifully revealing sentence: "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion." Luke tells us the father then ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. That brief moment is a revelation. The father didn't wait for his son to make it all the way home. He didn't wait for him to set foot in his house. When he saw his son, and recognized him, he could not contain himself. He ran to meet him and took him in his arms. What love this father must have had for his child. And what love our heavenly Father must have for us."

He continues,

"No matter how far we are from him, no matter the mistakes we've made, the despair we've held in our hearts, no matter the distance... God waits for us. God looks for us. God longs for us. We may be only a pinpoint on the horizon but that is enough. We may be so far removed from God that He can barely see us - but even that is enough. For when He sees us making our way home, His heart is stirred. He sees us coming back to Him and how does He respond? God runs! He doesn't hesitate. He doesn't hold back. He doesn't wait for us to complete the journey we have begun. He goes to us, and meets us, and completes the journey for us."

It seems that it is not only God that is on the move, but in this mandala we, too, are invited to move toward God. As we continue this journey of elevation, and as we encounter the darkness within and without, this mandala encourages us, no matter what occurs - no matter how shaky the ground underneath us - to be ever mindful of how greatly we are loved and in turn to infuse every situation we encounter with love; to keep our eyes fixed on the Christ, the Light of the World, who leads us by the right path, will never leave us to face our perils alone and bestows on us a peace unlike any we have ever known.

Happy Lent!
Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Pisces New Moon Mandala
March 11, 2013

"No longer I, but Christ lives in me."

"Christ calls me to be one with God."
Active Prayer Sentence, March 13-20
From The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living

Wow! What a cycle! And SO tied to the previous one that I couldn't wait to get my hands on the new mandala... the blooming of new life, a resurrected life, a Christ-centered life. Within days of receiving the template my initial thoughts were set down in color and sent to back to Sandra. I have revisited it with little variation as seen above. SO much to tell this cycle, but for the sake of brevity, only the highlights:

In the outer ring:
30: a readiness to witness; in varying sizes and densities representing men, women, children;
In the center:
A set of 12 in the form of four sets of three - the manifestation of God to the four corners of the world;
And the Stella Crucis or Star Cross which you might remember from the Sagittarius New Moon Mandala at Christmastime, much larger now... radiant and radiating!

"If you are what you are meant to be you will set the world on fire."
~St. Catherine of Siena

"Dare to be the you that you truly want to be.
Sometimes it's not more information we need,
but more courage."
~Marianne Williamson

"... forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God's upward calling,
in Christ Jesus."
~Phillipians 3:13b-14

The first day of Spring arrived within eleven days of the start of this cycle. Last year I remember waking up with such excitement... you may recall I wrote that it felt as if a breath of fresh air was being breathed into all of creation... that the Spirit was infusing and elevating everything. This Spring, however, was such a contrast. I awoke with such an ominous feeling. And, I would describe it in this way: If each of us were a field, we spent the past year cleaning and clearing debris, small rocks, twigs... the easy stuff... the obvious things that are light and easier to take care of (though many cycles were quite trying. I personally remember the double Gemini cycles... a serious time of clearing!) In comparison, this spring all that is left to clear out are the deeply rooted tree stumps and large boulders... those deeply ingrained attitudes, habits and behaviors of a lifetime that hold us back and keep us from being the people we were created to be. Having struggled a lifetime with a couple of these "deeply rooted tree stumps," the thought of tackling them once and for all was perhaps why I was feeling so... ominous.

"You are a human being. You have a body and a soul.
The two are inseparable until death.
The body, as we know it now, is temporal, but the soul is eternal.
What is eternal should lead and reign over that which is temporal."
- Mustard Seeds

"For you have been called to live in freedom
- not free to satisfy your sinful nature,
but to serve one another in love."
~ Galations 5:13

"for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11

"There are endless possibilities for practicing mortification."
- Mustard Seeds

Makes sense, doesn't it? That which "is eternal should lead and reign over that which is temporal." And yet it is so challenging to live that! One of the words that came across my path this month as we were nearing the spring equinox was mortification. The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are ways of practicing mortification:

"One of the methods which Christian asceticism employs in training the soul to virtuous and holy living. The term originated with St. Paul, who traces an instructive analogy between Christ dying to a mortal and rising to an immortal life, and His followers who renounce their past life of sin and rise through grace to a new life of holiness. "If you live after the flesh", says the apostle, "you shall die, but if through the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live" (Romans 8:13; cf. also Colossians 3:5, and Galatians 5:24). From this original use of the term, we see that mortification, though under one aspect it is a law of death, under another and more fundamental aspect it is a law of life, and does not destroy but elevates nature. What it slays is the disease of the soul, and by slaying this it restores and invigorates the soul's true life." ~ Catholic Encyclopedia

And that is how I began to see my Lenten practices... through the eyes of choosing life (elevating) instead of death and deprivation (destruction.) It occurs to me that proper diet and exercise can be construed as a mild form of mortification... . As I mentioned earlier, I was not looking forward to tackling my tree stumps and boulders, but on April 1st - the day after Easter - the energy shifted. I woke up and the struggle of the past year was gone. It was a new day in many ways... even hopeful! I started exercising again and choosing more nutritious foods more often. This lifestyle change required little effort from me for a change... everything just began to flow.

"God bestows His wisdom upon men and women in the classroom of silence.
May silence become a great friend of yours."
- Mustard Seeds

When you allow your soul to be saturated with grace through prayer,
the sacraments, and a constant effort to remain united to God throughout the day,
then you will begin to live your ordinary life divinely.
~ Mustard Seeds

"Do not be content in showing friendship in words alone,
let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path."

"Act justly, love mercy, walk justly."
~ FB/the Attitude of Gratitude

My favorite image of Lent came in the form of a tethered colt on Passion Sunday. In the processional Gospel for that day, Luke tells of a colt that is tethered, untied and then carries Jesus into Jerusalem. I could easily put myself in the picture as the colt... bound, untied and then called into service by being the vehicle of Christ in the world. No matter what we find, no matter what comes across our path, no matter how we are received or treated, we are called to be bearers of the Christ in a world so in need of Good News.

"We are like fireflies with the light of God in us.
Share that light with the world!"

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen "
~St. Francis of Assisi

"Love says I'm the language that unites all,
I speak to your souls
Listen to Me and accept me
I will make you whole and beautiful."
~Prem Tihan

"God will direct your steps."
~Proverbs 3:6

This I know for sure... align with God and you will be shown the way, guided and directed in every step. I have talked to God my whole life. I have listened for His answers my whole life. He has never steered me wrong.

I had a very pleasant surprise this spring. Those who know me know that I AM NOT KNOWN for my green thumb. I am lucky to get a couple of flowers on my Christmas cactus at Christmastime. However, the plant is flowering again - the week after Easter! Not only my plant, but several friends and relatives have reported the same occurrence. This springtime blooming is unique even for their plants. At first I was puzzled and then realized... of course! At Christmas Christ is "reborn" in the hearts of His believers. At Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. It is, indeed, a time of renewal... . A time of new life. Having died to our selves, we, as this mandala suggests, rise with Christ and live in Him alone - to be a life affirming, loving, compassionate people... a people of service, a Resurrection people, filled to overflowing with the Spirit and the love of the Lord.

"As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20: 21-22

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Aries New Moon Mandala
April 10, 2013

"See As God Sees."

Again, so much to share this month, but I'm feeling that if you've followed me for a while you how this works for me. You know that I look at life symbolically... looking for divine messages in the ordinary, everyday occurrences of my life... keeping my eyes open and drawing everything in: looking... questioning... what does it mean? What is the significance? What is God saying? Funny, eleven years ago I stared blankly at pieces of paper... and now the cup overflows.


The colors associated with Aries are red, white, gold and deep blue. And with all the hearts in this mandala, variations of red just felt right. I liked the use of gold also as it represents the Sun, and God-like wisdom.

The outermost ring is decorated with 30 shapes, which remind me of the warming rays of the Sun... 30 representing perfect balance in the cosmic organization; the maturity of a crop; a maturity and a readiness to witness; also 30 degrees within each astrological sign. ~ridingthebeast.com

Within the circle six shapes, similar to the out-lying shapes, point outward - Keywords for the constructive meaning of Six: Love, Harmony, Home, Responsibility, Adjustment, Sympathy, Understanding, Domesticity, Guardianship, Stability, Poise, Protection, Healing, Firmness, Balance, Idealism, Conscientiousness, Justice, Burden-bearing, Service to mankind. ~Your Days are Numbered by Florence Campbell

The symbol for Aries is related to the heart. Sandra has chosen to overlap 21 hearts in this mandala in three sets of seven. The first set of seven hearts lie sideways creating the baste of the "nest." The remaining two sets point out to suggest an outward movement of love. This love is not a given... but rather is "worked at." This is not a self-centered or narcissistic love, but a love of and for others. It also has a Trinitarian feel to it for me... God (3 -the Trinity) working in and through creation (7)

8 Circles: Constructive Keywords for Eight: Power, Authority, Success, Material freedom, Judgment, Discrimination, Executive ability, Organization, Leadership, Management, Practicality, Thoroughness, Dependability, Self-reliance, Control, the Power to succeed. There is also for me a "never give up" quality to the number eight. ~Your Days are Numbered by Florence Campbell

Many of the circles seem to be connected to cross bars of a "sight" which was a reoccurring symbol last year. The focus of this mandala however, is the eye which sees. And for me not just any eye, but an eye that sees through the lens of divine wisdom.

7 crescent moons help create the iris of the eye. Astrologers use the symbol of the crescent moon to signify a complex of psychological factors. While the sun represents the infinite creative energy that is available to the individual, the moon's function is to give form to this energy and help realize its potential. For this reason in astrology symbolizes man's sensitiveness and impressionability, the instincts, the subconscious, the emotions, and the ability to react. The key word is personality, the inner individual's outer shell that is continually formed and changed by what he or she experiences. ( ~from symbols.com)

The symbol at the center goes by many names: wheel cross, sun cross, Odin's cross or Woden's cross. Nordic Odin and Teutonic Wuotan or Woden was the supreme god of the Nordic religion before Christianity. Odin was the god of art, culture, warfare and the dead. (If you've been watching the new show 'Vikings' you've been hearing a lot about Odin.) As has been its custom the Christian Church has included this ancient pagan sign among the crosses of its symbolism. It is also known as the gamma cross, the Roman Catholic cross, the consecration cross and the inauguration cross. At the inauguration of a church, the bishop, using blessed water or oil, draws the wheel cross at 12 different places on the church walls. It is often used as a halo in art, i.e. the spiritual power of energy that holy persons emanate, is associated with its original meaning as a sign of power. ( ~from symbols.com)

You may remember last cycle, on the first day of Spring I was feeling quite ominous about the year ahead... which was such a contrast to the previous spring. The day after Easter this year (April 1, 2013) things that I typically struggled with were moving so effortlessly... so easily... life just flowed. To my surprise, on the first day of this cycle on the way home from morning mass, this was in my path:

And, I nearly missed the message... scrambling for my phone I got this shot just before it turned off the road and onto the field. For those not familiar with farm equipment, this is known as a disc plow (also spelled plough), disc harrow or in my younger years it was known to me as a discer. I don't know if anyone else calls it that (those who know me know that I tend to make up my own vocabulary ;-) but that's what I remember. Anyway... by most standards this is one GI-NORMOUS disc plow! (Gigantic + Enormous) There was some SERIOUS tilling to be done. Disc plows are ideal for deep plowing and are typically the first piece of equipment to cultivate a field in the spring - to begin the process of preparing the soil to be planted with a crop of some kind. It is used to turn and break up the soil to dry it out, to bury crop residues, which will be used as compost for the new crop, and to help control weeds. (LOTS of symbolism that can be applied to a life in this alone!) Could God have been any more clear? By this He was telling me, "Don't worry honey... the cleaning and clearing is done. The ground is ready. It's already time to plow and prepare the soil for the planting of the new crop. " What a relief! And so this cycle began.

"You were born with the ability to change someone's life - don't waste it!"
~ FB/TGIF-Today God is First

"Only 3 things can change our lives, dreams, suffering and love."
~FB/Paulo Coelho

"To beautify this world we must carry out experiments in Love."
~FB/Swami Kripalu

The fruit of having spent so much time in prayer during those 40 days of Lent sustained me for 22 days after Easter. Now I've heard that it only takes 21 days to create a new habit - and for those first 22 days of Easter there were no struggles in my life - everything just flowed. But, I found that over the course of those 22 days, the further away I got from Lent, the more challenged I was to find or make time for prayer and spiritual reading. The less time I spent in prayer, the more I began to struggle... until the 23rd day when the floor fell out and I was in a free-fall... un-hinged... and feeling not at all like myself - or not at least like the self I'd like to be. Three days later, I followed a car with the license plate that said [CLOSUR]. The car was completely eluding me - often changing lanes. I couldn't get a decent picture so you're going to have to take my word for it. Like that car, something in my life that would help me gain closure and be at peace was eluding me.

"Just because someone has their eyes closed does not mean they are asleep.
Just because someone has their eyes open does not mean they can see."
- Mustard Seeds

"Be watchful-the grace of God appears suddenly.
It comes without warning to an open heart... "

"We all live lives of contemplation. The question is what do you contemplate?
Is it the riches of the world, or women walking by in the street?
Is it fame and power?
Or, is it the wonders of God, His creation,
and His spiritual gifts to humanity?"
- Mustard Seeds

"I am with you always..."
~the Gospel of Matthew 28:20

Many of our birds and animals have returned after their winter hibernation or migration. The twin groundhogs from last May have survived the winter and are regularly coming to the ground feeder with one of their parents - I presume their mother. The Juncos have returned north for the summer and to my son's dismay the mourning doves have returned and have once again nested in the tree in the front of our house. The nest is very easily seen through two windows - one of which is just outside my son's bedroom window - hence his dismay. Again this year, two eggs were laid, have hatched and both squabs, as they are called, though blind and covered with down are faring well as of this writing. Both parents tend to the needs of the two. One or the other is ALWAYS seen sitting on the nest keeping the young ones warm, safe from predators and sating their voracious hunger. Unlike most birds that feed seeds, insects or worms to their young, these birds feed their little ones a milky substance, called Pigeon's Milk. It is produced in the crop, located in the throat. It's quite something to watch. The head of the squab literally enters the throat of the parent as if it is being swallowed up. The image of playing hide and seek with young children comes to mind. If they can't see you then they think they are well hidden even though the rest of their body is in plain view. With this image in mind, I think of these young squabs believing they are totally surrounded and engulfed by the parent. Now as I said, one of the parents is always with the young, protecting them, keeping them warm and if this is all that happens the squabs will surely die. At some point the young ones need to reach toward the parent to be fed - to be nurtured in a life-sustaining way. Another image that comes to mind is an electrical gadget. It's useless... no good unless it's plugged into the current!

"God wants full custody. Not just weekend visits."
~FB/TGIF via my cousin Mark

"Go into the heart of love,
and come from that place in all your choices and decisions,
and you will find peace."
~FB Neal Donald Walsh via E

"Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
~ 1 John 4:4

What I have learned from my own experience this spring is that the type of crop that is planted this spring will depend on my choices. If I want to live a happy, joy-filled life and continue to grow in the direction of my authentic self, the true Self... spending time with God through spiritual reading and ongoing, daily prayer is crucial. And, not the laundry list kind of prayer where I do all the talking and tell God all my troubles - though there is a time and place for that form of prayer as well. But, rather, what is needed is a type of prayer like Centering Prayer where I sit, open and receptive like a newly plowed field and listen to the One who is wiser, more knowledgeable and then to rest in God... in the quiet... in the silence where God is best heard -not unlike the quiet of that freshly plowed field in the early morning... a field in hopeful waiting of the good things to come.

Develop the ability to say everything without saying anything.
Action is the loudest voice.
- Mustard Seeds

Having spent the last year "elevating" the challenge of this year then as I sense it... as I see it, is, in the words of Pope Francis, "to allow Christ to take possession of our lives and transform them." It is not enough to be aware of the presence of God. We, too, must do our part, plug in daily and stay connected. Like that newly hatched and blind squab reaching for nourishment from its parents, we, too, turn to the Ultimate Reality in blind faith to be fed and spiritually nourished - joined in sacred oneness - to be transformed in love through love. Then and only then, can we truly see through eyes of our hearts. Then and only then, are we free enough to love as God loves and to see as God sees.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Taurus New Moon Mandala
May 9, 2013

"This Little Light"

"There is a morning inside you waiting to burst into light."

This is my third time "around the wheel" as they say, paying extra attention, making notes, connecting dots... and I'm beginning to see consistency in theme from cycle to cycle yet variation in how the themes are manifested. Again this year, I associate this cycle with labor pains. So often, pain is necessary to facilitate growth as we let go of the former to give birth to something new.

The day before the Taurus New Moon I was greeted by the license plate above. The "labor pains" had already begun and the AAH of this plate spoke to my soul! "Aah" is the sigh of peace, contentment, detachment. But what of the F46? Well....4+6 = 10 which I would find to be a prominent number in Sandra's Taurus New Moon Mandala template which had not yet arrived. Ten (1+0) is a one at a higher level... 'round the wheel and up we go! 'Living at a higher frequency' came to mind. And for the 'F' "faith' popped into mind. In retrospect, having now lived the month, I can say the word was spot on!! Talk about "a sign' ...Uffda!!! And so the cycle began...


You are here to be light,
bringing out the God-colors in the world.
MT5:14/The Message ~walking in Spirit

The theme of this mandala appears to be light... a radiating light that sets the world on end though something or someone may want to hide the light! Colors associated with Taurus are dark shades of yellows, creamy whites, pinks, and blues.

8 circles are found in this mandala. I was given a gift a couple of years ago for my birthday... 365 candles - one for each day of the coming year. Every night, I would light one of the candles on which was inscribed a "wish" ...truly a blessing for me. To this day it is one of my very favorite gifts - EVER!!! In the summer months the ceiling fan would blow the candle out so I ended up purchasing a globe to protect the flame. The light shining through the globe cast shadows on the ceiling... as if radiating light into the darkness - into the dark corners of the room. These soft, radiating rings were the inspiration for this mandala.

Eight: The number of the Cosmic Christ. Constructive Keywords for Eight: Power, Authority, Success, Material freedom, Judgment, Discrimination, Executive ability, Organization, Leadership, Management, Practicality, Thoroughness, Dependability, Self-reliance, Control, the Power to succeed. ~Your Days are Numbered by Florence Campbell, M.A. Also, in musical terms eight is an octave.

Two squares: A square can be a symbol for the earth - the four corners thereof, ...also stability, security, accountability, ready to build. ~Bro. Mickey McGrath, Circles and Squares Workshop.

One of the squares is set on end... as if the earth has shifted. To me it signifies upheaval and tremendous change. This "light" has the power to shift that which is solid, firm, foundational and stand it on its end. Instead of aligning with things of the world, then, we are now asked to align with the things of heaven or Spirit. I chose blue for this square for its higher vibration and the symbolism of communication.

One 5-pointed star is encased in a ten-sided pentagram and encircled.... suggesting an inner light - as if we're peering through a lens to see the light within.

Outside of this "lens" are 10-rays of light - 5 of which are under what appears to me to be "bushel baskets" - as if the light within is being hidden or restricted either by our choosing or by someone else.

The sum of 5+5 represents the two opposite current directions of the conscience: involution and evolution. ~ ridingthebeast.com

"Evolution is the lower becoming the higher, following an ascending octave.

Involution is the higher determining or creating the lower, following a descending octave."
~ http://glossary.cassiopaea.com

I found this to be an interesting concept... evolution and involution... It seems to me to be the dance of co-creation.

Beginning at the center of the 5 pointed star and connecting not to the square, but to the 5th circle, we find 12 facets or 12 rays... twelve being the number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit. To me says wholeness. It also has the feel of 3x4 - of manifesting the Trinity to the four corners of the horizon (~Ridgingthebeast.com) ... and in this case, beyond the edges to: FIVE.

Constructive Keywords for Five: Freedom, Progress, Versatility, Understanding, Variety, Adaptability, Mental Curiosity, Life Experience, Cleverness, Un-attachment, Sociability, Change, Discard, Travel, Adventure, Companionability. ~Your Days are Numbered by Florence Campbell, M.A.


Personal holiness is the beginning of everything and
the answer to everything.
- Mustard Seeds

" ...the spiritual journey is more than a psychological process. It is of course primarily a process of grace. God also speaks to us through nature. The more we know about nature, the more we know about the mind of God." ~Fr. Thomas Keating, The Human Condition

The same day I saw the license plate, three mallard ducks, one hen and 13 chicks caught my attention in a pond outside our church. The symbolism of duck became increasingly poignant to me in this cycle:

"The duck, being at home on land, water or in the air, symbolizes the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual worlds that can only come when we freely express ourselves. To the Celts the duck was a powerful totem and a trusted ally on visionary journeys.

Ducks, along with geese share the same symbolism of transition due to their migratory nature. Ducks are also a Celtic animal symbol of honesty, simplicity and resourcefulness.

Ducks also represent sensitivity, as they tend to be very sensitive to their surroundings. Also viewed as graceful and agile - particularly in the water, ducks are respected for their beauty and adaptation to nature.

Ducks are the largest and most diverse group of waterfowl. Frequently males and females are colored differently, the males have brighter plumes, and have different vocal sounds. They prefer being in places where they are comfortable and will return to those places. They have a strong sense of community and are social.

Duck will remind us we sometimes need to return to the parts of ourselves that need to feel safe and comfortable. It also teaches us to be graceful when handling our emotions. Duck teaches us to drink sustenance from the waters of life.

Female and Male Behavior
Female Duck is a very protective mother, attending to her brood and teaching the young to swim and search for food. We can invoke female Duck for nurturing, mothering energy.

Once a year male Duck loses his bright plumage and is unable to fly. At this time he silently hides in the reeds and plants that grow near the water until he emerges able to fly once again. Male Duck is invoked for the medicine wisdom to go within, withdraw and be silent when we go through difficult transitions and stressful changes."


There were so many great quotes this month:

"God was not having a bad day when He created you.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made."
~ Psalm 139:14 Spiritual inspiration via TGIF: Today God Is First

"No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress
you are way ahead of everyone who isn't trying."
~ Unknown via TGIF

"Keep your chin up.
No one expected you to save the world...
otherwise you would have been born wearing a cape and tights.
Just do the best you can."
~ Happinessinyourlife.com

Your defeats in the eyes of the world are so often your victories in the eyes of God.
~ Mustard Seeds

Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.
~ Proverbs 20:30 HomeGrownHospitality viaTGIF

"God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pains:
(Pain) is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
~ CF Lewis via TGIF

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful.
But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.
~ Paulo Coehlho

The ego says, "I shouldn't have to suffer."
And that thought makes you suffer so much more.
It is a distortion of the truth which is always paradoxical.
The truth is, you need to say yes to suffering
before you can transcend it.
~ Elkhart Tolle via Walking in Spirit

When you are experiencing trials or troubles in your life, remember
everything in life, no matter how bad, comes to an end.
- Mustard Seeds

"Sometimes when things are falling apart,
they are actually falling onto place."
~ Melanie Blinkley

"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen."
~ Rumi

There is a difference between the human silence of embarrassment or shame and
the divine silence in which love finds its rest.
You must attain the latter.
~ Mustard Seeds

With people gathering for all sorts of reasons in great crowds
society has almost been convinced of the overabundance of people.
We have forgotten how to appreciate and reverence
the wonderful treasure, the pearl, within each person.
~ Mustard Seeds

The "being" of something changeable is not only what it actually is,
but what it still can be.
Our potential as human beings is enormous,
but relatively unexplored.
~ Mustard Seeds

"He is Light! Christ!"
~ Eph 5:14 via TGIF

"The Lord is my light. The Lord is my help.
The Lord is my salvation."
Psalm 27

"You are my lamp O Lord. The Lord turns my darkness into light."
~ 2Samuel 22:29 via FB/Array of Hope

... be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self, created in God's way
in righteousness and holiness of truth.
Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth,
each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
~ Eph 4:23-25

"Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don't want it.
What appears as bad manners, or ill temper or cynicism is always
a sign of things no ears have heard, no eye has seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there
where spirit meets the bone."
~ FB/Miller Williams via Tosha Silver

"Helping, fixing and serving
represent three different ways of seeing life.
When you help you see life as weak.
When you fix you see life as broken.
When you serve, you see life as whole.
Helping and fixing could be the work of the ego,
and service the work of the soul."
~Rachel Naomi Remen from A Time for Listening and Caring

"The ultimate abandonment of one's role is not to have a self as a fixed point of reference; it is the freedom to manifest God through one's own uniqueness...To be no one is to be everyone. To be no self is to be the True Self. To be nothing is to be everything. In a sense, it is to be God. For Christians, it is to be a kind of fifth Gospel: to become the word of God and to manifest God rather than the false self, with its emotional programs for happiness and attachments to various roles, including the most spiritual. When you have been liberated from them all, you are in a space that is both empty of self and full of God." ~Fr. Thomas Keating, The Human Condition

"Love is a Song... sing it.
Love is a Gift... bring it.
Love is a Wave... ride it.
Love is a Choice... decide it.

Love is a Blessing... share it.
Love is a Garment... wear it.
Love is a Gem... mine it.
Love is a Light... shine it. "
~JSB via Walking in Spirit

And finally my very favorite prayer from this cycle, Becoming Christ by John Henry Newman:

"Dear Lord, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every person I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only You, O Lord! Stay with me, then I shall begin to shine as You do; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Lord, will be all from You; none of it will be mine; it will be You shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You in the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen."

Through the experiences of this cycle I became ever more painfully aware of the need to be like candlelight and tread ever so gently, every so lightly in this plane... to not take things (including myself) too seriously, and because I do not live in a vaccum it is important to consider, not just my own needs, but the needs of others when making decisions and that when expressing myself, it is important to stay grounded in love as if one were speaking to Christ. I learned that what must be said will not always be accepted - will not always fall on open ears and hearts. And, as in the spring, for things to grow a little rain must fall. Tears can be very therapeutic. At times such as these the company of good friends is a treasure beyond compare.

A good way to handle the rough and tough stuff, is to lift it into the Light... give it 100% to Abba/the Divine Beloved where, as Tosha Silver would say, "the perfect solution is already selected." God truly does answer prayers... though not always to our liking. I believe that God has three answers for us: "Yes," "Not now," or "I have something better in mind." So we lift it up and in the letting go of outcomes we are guided to the solutions in the perfect way at the perfect time. The key is to be open... to let go... to have faith and be one that can be guided.

More and more the Light calls me into the silence... into the prayer of quiet. In this type of prayer the Divine Physician works in secret to shine light on our darkness... excavating our false self system with its emotional programs for happiness - transforming us into an ever increasingly loving, compassionate, merciful, and benevolent people. And here's the paradox: When we live in this "little way" ...this way of loving kindness... the light of Christ shines - a light that shatters the darkness. As the spring rains soften the earth, so the light of Christ softens hearts. Through our kind and gentle ways we bear witness to His not so little light dwelling within us and in each other. Let Him shine, let Him shine! Let Him shine!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn ;-)

2013 Gemini New Moon Mandala
June 8, 2013


Quite often the significance of an event is only understood after the fact... with the passing of time as if seen through the rear view mirror so to speak. Two days before this cycle began, a rooster made his presence known. Rooster is a sign of illumination - the herald of the dawn... of a new day... It is also about fanning out with brilliance, and showing the world the shimmering facets of your personality. This speaks to me of truly being you. Not the 'you' others want you to be - which is you in camouflage to fit in - or the 'you' you think others want you to be - you hiding under a mask of your own making - but, being authentically 'you' and sharing the gifts that you uniquely bring to this world. I am reminded of a lyric to a song that I am rehearsing as I write this: 'Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?' Are we hiding? From whom? And, why?

Words like pride, honesty, courage, vigilance, arrogance, strength, watchfulness and flamboyance are also connected to Rooster. Perhaps the courage, honesty, and, yes, pride to be who we truly are without apology?! If flamboyance is your thing, then rock it - don't hold back! Or is there some arrogance found within that that could use a dose of humility? Or perhaps your timidity could use a shot of arrogance and strength to be able stand in your own power - in your own way of being? What in our lives needs the watchfulness of vigilance? With this herald, this cycle began...


The colors associated with Gemini are lemon yellow, slate blue, and various shades of violet. The color of the spectrum is orange.

The concentric rings of the past mandalas now have an angle to them... seven sides. Three sets of seven. It's not soft, round and fluid like the previous mandalas but moving outward in a Yang-type style which feels more like a series of steps. And once again we have the shape through the entire mandala, which goes by many names but was originally known as the Wheel Cross/Sun Cross/Odin's cross as mentioned in earlier writings.

The triangle (again three... representing the holy... God, Trinity,) is prominent. But in creating the central piece Sandra did a most remarkable thing... BRILLIANT really! The entire central image is created with a single line and can be traced in its entirety without lifting your pencil. From the central flower out to the blue points this woven piece speaks of unity - an interconnectedness. One image flows into the next and back again. Though there seem to be three distinct elements of seven because of the one line, there is a fluidity to it... a belonging to one another which speaks to me of relationship. The central flower represents Spirit - of the "unseen" - the "fragrance of Him whose fragrance is intoxicating." Next are the "people" who appear to be bowing. There is a reverence and a humility about them. When coloring this section, I chose violet - my favorite color to represent people as it speaks to me of remembering "who we are and Whose we are: Children of the Most High and heirs of the Kingdom." There is both relationship and responsibility in that statement. The violet pencil was very soft and prone to breaking as I work on this mandala, reinforcing last cycle's message to handle this part of creation in particular with a light hand and extra tender loving care. I also depicted them holding light within as The Light dwells within each of us. Next are the blue points - representing the expansiveness of all of creation. Everything seen and unseen forms a perfect unity.

THREE: Artistic Expression, The Joy of Living, Freedom from Worry, Optimism, Inspiration, Talent, Imagination, Good Taste, Sociability, Friendliness, Kindness. ~Your Days are Numbered by Florence Campbell, M.A.

SEVEN: Perfect completeness and rest from work ~http://www.vic.australis.com.au/hazz/number007.html

Also SEVEN: Mental analysis, Technicality, Introspection, Peace, Poise, Scientific research, Spirituality, Faith, Trust, Stoicism, Refinement, Wisdom, Silence, "Theories and Fundamentals." ~Your Days are Numbered


Quotes from this cycle that caught my eye:

Be joyful in hope,
Patient in affliction
and faithful in prayer.
~ Romans 12:12/TGIF

If you're giving your best to someone and it's not good enough
you're giving your best to the wrong person.
~ FB/calming your inner storm

Saying no and having boundaries means
more time to devote to your divine purpose.
~Doreen Virtue

Love yourself from the inside out.
~ Soulful healing

Self love... We take care of what we love.
~ Jessica Ortner

Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.
~ She Has a Name/Seeds of Hope Ministries

Be the reason someone smiles today.
~Daily Devotional

Compassion made them a community.
~ Fr. Andrew Jamieson

It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience,
even the negative ones, as merely steps on the path,
and to proceed.
~ Ram Dass

Give with no expectations.
~ Denise Kean

Be careful how you live.
You'll be the only bible some will ever read.
~ William J. Jones

You are a 5th Gospel and people read you every day.
~ Perry Hartman/See 2Cor 3:2-3

Do we see other people in such a way that encloses them in their wrongdoing?
Or do we see them as Jesus does - in such a way that that allows them a future?
~ Bishop Lumen Montiero from India on forgiveness.

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty
May hope forever wipe your tears away
And above all, may silence make you strong.
~ Chief Dan George

A smile is the lighting system of the face,
the cooling system of the head
and the heating system of the heart.
~ Unknown

Your virtue will never be more tested than by your family.
- Mustard Seeds

A relationship with God is the best relationship you can have.

Don't judge. "You don't know what storm I have asked her to go through." -God

Don't let the day pass without pondering the angelic civilization that surrounds you.
They are smarter than you; call on them for assistance.
- Mustard Seeds

Your task is not to seek for Love,
but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
~ Rumi

To love and be loved is to feel the sun on both sides.
~ FB/Calming the Inner Storm

God speaks to us all in a variety of ways.
He speaks to us where we are and in a way we can understand.
- Mustard Seeds

If you are on this way, choose companions that are also pilgrims,
No matter their shape, color, or national origin.
If they are your people, go with them.
~ Rumi

My Experience of the Cycle

The day of this new moon I was involved in providing music for a celebration of 100 Years of Love! The director of Francis House of Prayer, a diocesan retreat center located in Willingboro, NJ, was celebrating her Golden Jubilee - 50 years as a sister of St. Joseph. 50 years dedicated in love to helping people, from many different backgrounds and spiritual affiliations, find God. The retreat house is located on a farm and the land surrounding the house has been farmed by the same farmer for the past 50 years. 50 years dedicated to faithfully and lovingly tending the land. Each does their own thing. Each brings a unique beauty to the world. Because of these two, Francis House is quite a special place. If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and stop in! Peace and tranquility are quite palpable. For me, it was a day of service, of sharing my gifts as well as reconnecting with the family of Francis House... many of whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. It was a most memorable day!

Though Rooster ushered in the month, Deer was very prominent. The meaning of Deer is also associated with the dawn, the moon and the easterly direction. Words like love, grace, peace, beauty, fertility, humility, swiftness, regrowth, creativity, spirituality, abundance, benevolence, and watchfulness are associated with Deer. It is rare to see deer in the daytime. I have typically seen them at dusk or early evening. All of the deer I saw this cycle were seen in broad daylight... not to be missed. Turtle also made a cameo appearance. Did you know the turtle is one of the oldest living animals walking on the earth today? The oldest turtle fossils date back 200 million years - highly symbolic. It indicates that turtle is a symbol of longevity, endurance, persistence and the continuation of life, sometimes against incredible odds. And because of its longevity, is attributed with a symbolic meaning of wisdom. Furthermore, the turtle takes its wisdom one day at a time - not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural methods. (Animal symbolism from www.whats-your-sign.com) How many times have I wished I had taken a breath instead of jumping right in? Seriously!

I received a double dose of a song by Marty Haugen called "Canticle of the Sun" on the first day of this cycle. The text is adapted from a song originally written by St. Francis of Assisi. From Wikipedia:

The Canticle of the Sun in its praise of God thanks Him for such creations as "Brother Fire" and "Sister Water". It is an affirmation of Francis' personal theology as he often referred to animals as brothers and sisters to Mankind, rejected material accumulation and sensual comforts in favor of "Lady Poverty".

Saint Francis is said to have composed most of the canticle in late 1224 while recovering from an illness at San Damiano, in a small cottage that had been built for him by Saint Clare and other women of her order. According to tradition, the first time it was sung in its entirety was by Francis and Brothers Angelo and Leo, two of his original companions, on Francis' deathbed, (two years later) the final verse praising "Sister Death" having been added only a few minutes before (his passing.)

St. Francis, then, was so intimate and familiar with the wonders of creation that he embraced them as "Brother" and "Sister," that is, as members of one family... in a very extended sense as "ohana." If you remember the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch (or if you happen to live in Hawaii), you'll recall that "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten." When we, connected to the Divine, can experience all life - both human and in all of creation - as ohana, where everyone and everything matters and belongs, where all are cared for, named and have a voice we can begin to grasp the symbolic understanding of this mandala.

This theme caused me to think about the symbols we might find in our everyday life that represent this kind of unity. My first thought was an orange, with the rind that holds it together and affords the fruit a barrier of protection. Inside we find sections... some sections have seeds, others do not, the sections are all different in size and shape, some sections are large, some are small, some are oddly shaped, some hold two portions within the skin - similar to a double yolk in an egg which reminds me of twins - yet all belong... all belong to and come from the same orange.

I recently read about a new finding... like "Avatar for real!" - where the trees of the forest are connected to one another through a fungus found in the forest floor. Through this network the trees in most need of nutrients are fed and given priority. In places where the "mother trees" are no longer found, the survival rate of saplings is greatly diminished.

Another image was that of a book. The cover and binding hold the book together, protecting the pages and giving us a glimpse of what the story might be about by its title. I thought of each of us as being like a letter. When we combine/gather together we create words, phrases, paragraphs, chapters... and I wondered, what story, individually and collectively, are we telling? What does the gospel of our lives, this 5th gospel, say about what we believe? About who we are? About how we love and care for one another - especially the weak, the voiceless, the marginalized and the world we all live on and in?

I have to say I had to giggle when I read the quote about family... that "virtue will never be more tested than by your family." Few words are more true. Inside or outside of our immediate families, in those unfortunate circumstances where no love can be found, may we, at the very least, greet one another with tolerance, dignity and respect remembering that when we speak we speak to Christ. Even in discord we are linked... we are ohana.

It is with the greatest respect, admiration and love that I share the final lines of the canticle in memory of Patricia "Trish" Robinson, who, in the words of Sandra, was "mother, grandmother, great grandmother, 2nd mother, friend, mentor, spiritual advisor" (to which I add, poet and writer), who passed from this life into the next during this lunation cycle.

... Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape...

... Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
And serve Him with great humility.

In gratitude for the gift that she was and continues to be, we lift Trish up into the light of Your Face knowing that in love we are never parted. May Sister Death find us happy at the time of our passing from this life, having been found, like Trish, serving the Lord, by our love and service to others - each in our own valued uniqueness and giftedness, in compassionate community, tending and caring for the world around us, with great humility.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn xxx

2013 Cancer New Moon Mandala
July 7/8, 2013

"Home at Last"


With each passing moment, a soul sets off to find itself.

The day this cycle began we returned home from our family vacation. Because technology was not available to us, we were not so distracted... so isolated. And with no schedule, except a promise to show up for dinner at a particular time, our vacation created an environment for re-connecting... playing card games, talking, laughing, singing... just being together and enjoying the company of family. The experience had such an impact that upon our return, we were inspired to commit to technology-free Sundays. Part of our Sabbath experience would include a weekly commitment to personally connecting and interacting with one another and just being family.

Within the week of our return from vacation I left for my childhood home to celebrate with my Godfather and his bride of 50 years. I connected with many relatives, former neighbors and family friends that I had not seen in years. I was able to stay with my parents who are full time RVer's - what a blast that was!!! Too much fun! What a life they live!! And, So happy for them! This cycle's travels caused me to ponder the concept of where a family dwells... the various concepts and definitions of "home." And so this cycle began...


"Colors associated with Cancer are light shades of blue and green, and iridescent hues. The color of the spectrum is Yellow-Orange." ~ZodiacArts.com

From the get go, there was an ease, a softness and a flow to this mandala. The bold colors that I typically use were not going to work. My inspiration came from the gemstones associated with Cancer: predominately the moonstone and lesser the Crysocolla whose turquoise color reminded me of the beautiful Caribbean Sea I had just left behind. So creating the light and shadow of moon and the iridescence of the moonstone in particular became the focus.

The central figure in this mandala is the Star of David strongly associated with Judaism, "but also appears in the Buddhist, Theosophical and various other Eastern and Westerns Traditions. It is fair to say that it is a symbol of integration (linking heaven and earth - as above, so below)" ~ Mary Fortier Shea... and from my perspective, from the Lord's Prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Overlapping circles create the Star of David and the series of Mandorlas (Italian for almond) or Vesica Piscus (literally the air bladder of a fish) that surround it. "The circles symbolize interacting but complementary opposites. The space within the overlap is the place in which we are called to "remain", the "liminal space" Richard Rohr speaks of... This is the place where you arrive after you leave one room and have not yet entered another. In this place, you are living on the threshold and this requires faith. All transformation takes place in liminal space." ~www.kyrie.com/symbols/mandorla.htm A Mandorla is also likened to a birth passage way... a birth canal if you will.

There are 12 moon-like, crescent-shaped ribbons (or maybe kite tails? More below :) encircling 3 rings or bands. Twelve, the symbol of whole-ness - a perfect and harmonious unit. Three, the number of divinity.

30 moons, in the outer ring peek over the horizon. 30 - "perfect balance in the cosmic organization" or "the maturity of a crop - a readiness to witness." ~www.ridingthebeast.com.

Then to pay homage to a major influence of this cycle, the Goldfinch which is described below, I added Yellow-Orange to the outermost ring. The color also reminds me that a moon is receptive - it has no light of its own - it can only give out what it receives from the sun in its own unique way. Quite symbolic, indeed.


Home...where we live, where we were born, typically a place of comfort, safety, and extreme familiarity - a place where one could walk with ease... completely blind, in the dark and not stumble.

God's timing is always perfect.
~Today God Is First/TGIF

Where God guides, He provides.

Always a good idea
to let the One with the plan lead.
~Terri Campbell

In the final days of this cycle, we were able to spend some wonderful family time together again. We decided to go to what could be called our "beach home"... our "shore home." Not a house, per se, but our favorite place to be "down the shore" as they say here in the northeast...the plot of sand we like to call "home away from it all." It is very familiar, calming, relaxing and close by! We know where the bathrooms are, the best places to eat - truly the only place to eat as it has become tradition for us. We also know that we need to bring quarters to plug the meter. As we turned onto the road closest to the beach, we realized we had left the quarters back home, the street was a parking lot, traffic was jammed and, having pain-stakingly traveled the entire expanse of the road, a parking spot could not be had. Never had we seen so many people! We decided to circle back around to where we had gotten onto the road, but instead of turning left as we did the first time, my husband decided to turn right and go to the next town over. As we left our favorite stretch of beach behind, it was apparent that God had something else in mind. Honestly, what could be better than the familiar? Sure enough, within a couple of blocks we had snagged the perfect parking spot, there were no meters to plug or worry about and the beach was not as busy...so, there was more space to place our blanket and our beach chairs. It was perfect. And a beautiful day to boot!

Another day this cycle I was scheduled to play for a funeral. My calendar said 10am... my head said 11am. I had left the house in a panic... too late to make a 10am funeral on time but really early for 11am. The traffic lights were yellow light after yellow light and finally I got the message. I was being told to slow down and take it easy. Sure enough, the funeral was at 11:00... no need to rush after all. The messages were all there.

Today look around and really notice all the abundance in nature.
It is unconditional and creative.
So be like nature. Unconditional and creative.
~FB/Power Path

The early animal visitors this cycle were Rabbit and Black Bird. Rabbit - symbolic of abundance, comfort and vulnerability (do these words not speak of home?) - is typically very timid and can literally be easily scared to death. But my experience of rabbit was contrary in this cycle. Instead of scurrying away frightened and scared, they tended to stay put... in place... and did not move. There was an unusual, a-typical courage about them - of standing their ground in the face of fear.

I had Black Bird in the back of my mind with a promise to look into the symbolic meaning and then one day a tree full of them... too many to count... nothing like getting hit over the head. So then, Black Bird... symbolic of "Transition and Transformation... of life in the heavens, (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the color black is symbolic of pure potential. Between the two, there is no limit to human transformation. Through consistent unveiling of your inner depths, positive/active utilization of these inner impulses become exposed to the light of your own consciousness." (Whats-your-sign.com) (Interesting...)

Focus on what matters.

Let what brings you joy lead the way!
Just trust and let your heart sing.
~Jane Lee Logan @Princess Sassy Pants

As we sat talking that first morning of my visit home ;-), my mother noticed and drew my attention to a Goldfinch that was sitting on the passenger side mirror of their RV facing forward. Words associated with Goldfinch that most impacted me were "Joy, Simplicity, Appreciation, Happiness, High Energy, Enjoying the Journey. When finches come into our awareness it is a sure sign of ebullient times ahead - (I was there after all to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. But there was more... so much more.) Finches are a sparkly omen of high energy and bright days on the horizon." ~whats-your-sign.com (Now we're getting somewhere...)

When your past calls, don't answer. It has nothing new to say.
~Back Toward Light

Breathe in, breathe out. Move on.
~ Jimmy Buffetvia FB/Heart Highlights

To live in the present moment and
open yourself to every new great experience to come,
you must forgive the past and leave it where it belongs... In the past.
~ Debbie Ford.

Sometimes you need to let it go.
You cannot change what happened or bring back the past.
But you can change the future by being strong and
having faith in yourself.
A lot lies ahead of you... hope and new beginnings.
So take life by the horns and turn it around.
Be a wounded warrior, not a victim.
~FB/Back Towards Light

Knowledge is learning something every day.
Wisdom is letting go of something every day.
~Zen Proverb

Believe what God says about you rather than what your past experiences are telling you.

Your journey will be much easier if you don't carry your past with you.

Your past is just a story. Once you realize this, it has no power over you.
~FB/ The Buried Life

You've been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
~Louise Hay

The greatest gift you can give another is
the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.
~FB/Back Towards Light

Goldfinches also have a bouncy flight pattern... a happy-go-skippy kind of way about them... it's not a straight shot - it's more like a dance... a happy dance, a joy-filled dance. Yes! "Enjoy the journey," said the finch - and along with the side mirror was saying, "and don't look back. Leave the past in the past. Drop the baggage you are carrying - drop it where you stand and keep your eyes on the path ahead."

My home has no address
My tracks leave no trace
I am neither body nor soul.
What can I say?

I belong to the self of the beloved...!

The purpose of life
Is not to transcend the body,
But to embody the transcendent.
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

Being a Liturgical Musician, I am privileged to minister to those who grieve and have played and sung for countless funerals. It is often said at one's passing that they have "gone home to God." I have given this statement considerable thought. It implies that God is not here... that one cannot be at home in God here. My experience is SO contrary to this statement. God is EVERYWHERE!!! The statement below hangs in my parent's RV and while a 5th wheel is pictured, it can also be applied to our spirits:

Home is where you hook up.

And guess what? Our spirits are hooked up, here in this physical plane! More and more I understand that wherever the spirit dwells whether in body or out of the body... is home. Being conscious of the presence of God, getting out of the way and being a conduit for bringing heaven to earth - now that's a purpose!

Silence gives answers.

In truth, we are nothing more than a conduit - PVC pipe if you will, through which the grace of God flows. The ease of flow depends on how open the pipe. A clogged pipe is formed by the debris of the false self. If you've ever cleared out a piece of plumbing then you know what a nasty mess that can be! The more consistently we surrender into the silence, into the prayer of quiet, the more the Divine Plumber can free us from this false way. The more free we are, the more authentic and God-like we become - the more comfortable and at home we feel in our own skin.

A positive attitude leads to a positive outcome.
~ On the wall at the New Glarus Brewing Company

Live the way you want to be remembered
~ Back Toward Light

Our local Whole Foods Market pays a nickel a bag for using recycled bags. The customer has the option of receiving the 5 cents per bag or donating it to a local charity. Two options are usually provided. One day, as I was checking out, a lady stopped me and thanked me for shopping that day and told me that I was making a difference by choosing to shop there. A percentage of the day's sales was being given to a charity to help children with special needs. The power of what we can do together - simple little things like donating a nickel a bag to a worthy cause when joined by the efforts of others can mean thousands of dollars to benefit those in need.

Another strong image for me this month was that of a kite. Uplifted and supported by the breath of God, and tethered to the earth by the purpose for which we have been sent, our ability to soar and allow God to bring joy into the world through us depends on our lightness, our level of freedom from the false self. So, to what can we surrender? What masks can be removed, what baggage can be dropped right here, right now, so that God can lift us to higher and higher altitudes bringing more and more peace, love and joy into the world? What needs to be moved out so that God can live more abundantly in us and through us? So that, like this mandala suggests, we become a full-spectrum people... healed, whole and whole-ly.

The task ahead of you.
Not as great as the power behind you.

On my flight to and from Wisconsin, I was so struck by cloud formations. One in particular looked so ominous! Like a wall - a towering wall of dark clouds, straight up it went. As we approached it I began to wonder what would happen once we entered it. Would it cause trouble with the flight and make for a bumpy ride? Interestingly enough, and like most ominous looking things, it was really nothing. It looked far worse than it was. As we entered it, I found that I could still see the ground unlike the white "happy" clouds where once you enter them, you can't see a thing! This "ominous wall" was nothing more than a grey mist.

Life is a series of liminal spaces... thresholds... doorways.... of standing between where we most recently were and our desire to be in perhaps a happier place... a better place. And, the continuous process of surrender, letting go and of walking by faith. The above picture was taken at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin during my recent visit there. I thank my Mother, the consummate photographer (with an amazing eye) for the picture! And, my Father for making it possible for me to share it with you. She takes them, he downloads them. :) This picture spoke volumes to me... of standing on this side-where we are, seeing the comfort of the bench on the other side and the dark space in between... the path that must be traveled to reach a place that holds the promise of the comfort of home. There is no over, no under, no path around...there is only through. And, what of the dark passage? What fear keeps us bound and unable to move forward? Or like the wall of clouds, is the darkness really nothing at all?

All that is necessary is that we trust the One with the plan. Like our day at the beach, God often has a better idea and, as mentioned above, perfect timing. All we have to do is to listen, trust, be not afraid and follow where He leads... to where heaven meets earth, where God meets us. Home to Self. Home... at last.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2013 Leo New Moon Mandala
August 6, 2013

"Sacrificial Love"


A Sacrificial love is self-sacrifice with the pure motivation to alleviate the suffering of others. This supreme love is suffering love, love that requires involvement in the knotty problems of the world, love that bears with the failings and weaknesses of others, love that is committed to helping others regardless of the cost.


The world offers you comfort,
but you were not made for comfort.
You were made for greatness.
~Pope Benedict VI

I was absolutely exhausted the day before this cycle began, but spent time preparing for the Communion Service I was scheduled to lead on the 6th - the day of the new moon. I had thought a couple of weeks prior to get a sub as my daughter was having oral surgery that day, but figured I had sufficient time to do both. I arrived at church that morning, reflection in hand. At the same time another leader arrived thinking she was on the schedule. We went into the Sacristy, a place where one prepares for Liturgies... sacred books, linens, garments and empty vessels are also stored there in preparation for their future use. We checked the schedule and sure enough, I was the scheduled leader for the service that day. There was a time when my ego would at least have thought (if not said out loud), "I am right!!" Or "I'm on the schedule so I'll do it." (It has been said of me that I am duty bound to a fault.) But in that moment the tension left me and a softness washed over me. I explained that I had thought to get a sub a couple weeks back - actually she was an answer to prayer and if it would be okay with her, I would leave and she could lead the service that morning. With the sweetest smile on her face, she agreed. So I left. My daughter had a much better morning and I was given the gift of being a more loving mother. Did I mention that we were celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration that day? The feast when sleeping disciples awaken to see the Lord's glory. That evening I was reflecting on the day... how that softness had stayed with me and the question arose: If I am love (and by extension if we are love) how does love express itself? Moments later I received Sandra's Leo New Moon Mandala template. Could the answer to my question have been more perfect? And so the cycle began...

2013 Blank Leo mandala


The colors associated with Leo are the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), colors of the sunset and gold. The color of the spectrum associated with Leo is yellow. Gem is Ruby. Power stone is Amber. Metal is Gold. Bold, generous, commanding, and vital are the key words reflected in these colors.

Seven Circles radiate out from the center as if to send the message it contains outward. Seven - to be complete or full (~Australis.com.)

The centrals figure is a cross - it appears to me to be a Tau cross. "This graph was originally a Semitic symbol, the tau cross, St. Anthony's cross, crux commissa and the Robbers' cross. It appears to be associated with life and security." ~symbols.com

From The Franciscan Friars:

The first recorded reference to the TAU is from Ezekiel 9:4, "Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter "T".

At the Fourth Lateran Council, on November 11, 1215, Pope Innocent made reference to the TAU and quoted the above verse in reference to the profaning of the Holy Places by the Saracens. (Could this be more timely with all that is going on in the world?) It is widely accepted that St. Francis (of Assisi) was present at the Fourth Lateran Council and that he heard the words of Pope Innocent III when he said, "The TAU has exactly the same form as the Cross on which our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and only those will be marked with this sign and will obtain mercy who have mortified their flesh and conformed their life to that of the Crucified Savior. From then on, the TAU became Francis' own coat of arms. Francis used the TAU in his writings, painted in on the walls and doors of the places where he stayed, and used it as his only signature on his writings. St. Bonaventure said of St. Francis, "...He traced it on himself before beginning each of his actions." ~ http://www.thefranciscanfriars.org/taucross

Upon seeing the five flowers encased in circles I immediately thought of the "five wounds of Christ" - hands, feet, side. Since one is larger than the rest the number 5 is expressed as 4+1: 4/Matter + 1/Spirit = Incarnated Consciousness. (~ridingthebeast.com) So the wounds then, symbolize a physical death... death to the thoughts, ideas and ways of the world. In choosing death - death of the ego - we also chose life to a higher way of being - a place from which the fragrance of Christ emanates and intoxicates the world.

Behind the cross are three forms. (3 = divinity) At first I thought them to be hearts, but upon further study found them to be drops - like blood, sweat and tears. But because of the five wounds, I decided they represented blood (red) and water (blue) that flowed from the side of Christ when pierced by the sword. In Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr states that the blood symbolizes Eucharist, the price of letting go, and the water Baptism, an invitation to union and being nourished by the divine.

How does love express itself? Though sacrificial love...by letting go and letting God.


A precursor to this cycle was the sighting of swans. I wish I had had the forethought to have taken a picture. It was amazing! On the 4th, as we traveled to our favorite "beach-home" we passed this sweet little lake FILLED with swans! Never have I seen so many in that spot. Symbolism from Whats-your-sign.com:

Our first symbolic clues from the swan can be taken from observing them in nature. They are waterfowl, closely connected with water, even nesting near the water.

Water is symbolic of: Fluidity, Intuition, Dreaming, Emotions, Creativity.

In this respect, we can intuit the swan's appearance in our lives as an arrow pointing to our dreamier depths and feelings. Furthermore, we get the sense of balance from swan meaning as it lives harmoniously amongst three of the four Aristotelian elements. Grounding herself on earth, lofting to great heights in the air, and winding through waters with magnificent elegance.

Words associated with Swan are: Love, Grace, Union, Purity, Beauty, Dreams, Balance, Elegance, Partnership, Transformation (ugly duckling),

The swan may also bear messages of love and relationships. They pair for years, sometimes male-female unions are sustained for a lifetime. When the swan glides upon the waters of our awareness, it might be a symbol of love, and a reminder of the blessings found in our relationships.

Notable quotes:

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
~Zora Neale Hurston

Embrace the mess.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear!

Everything comes to us that belongs to us
if we create the capacity to receive.
~ Robindranath Tagore

To love is human.
To feel pain is human.
Yet to still love despite the pain is pure angel.

Love is the vital core of the soul,
And of all you see, only love is infinite.

Life is not a dress rehearsal... Seize the day.
~Sanctum the movie

I have learned to give not because I have too much,
but because I have known the feeling of not having.
~ FB/Back Towards Light

Tension is who you think you should be
Relaxation is who you are.
~Chinese Proverb

Staying calm does not mean you're doing nothing.
It means that you're responding with purpose rather than panic.
~ Ralph Marston

A human's best chance of finding God is to look in the very place where they abandon God."
~ Meister Eckhart as quoted in Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr

God is right there in the experience of your falling.
~Richard Rohr

Your beliefs don't make you a better person,
your behavior does.
~FB/the Optimism Revolution

In my deepest wound I saw Your glory. ~
St. Augustine/Gruenwald Guild

If you don't believe in miracles,
perhaps you have forgotten you are one.

LOVE is the greatest gift for it holds no wrong and
it keeps the heart filled with joyous bliss.
~Sherry Caudill/TGIF

Whatever you do in conscious union and love is prayer.
~ Richard Rohr

Mary is the archetypal name for all those
who live out their True Selves and know its Source.
Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr, p 181

A life not lived for others is not a life.
~Mother Theresa

A single act of love makes the soul return to life.
~St. Maximilian Kolbe, Feast Day

Be kind to a stranger.
You might just change someone's life forever.

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.
~Wm. W. Purkey

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.
~St. Francis if Assisi

Love is that never sleeps, nor even rests
Nor stays too long for those that do.
Love is a language that cannot be said.

Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~Mark Twain

The world is changed by your example,
not your opinion.
~Paul Coelho

Do your little bit of good where you are;
its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
~Desmond Tutu

Make every effort to change things you do not like.
If you cannot make a change,
change the way you've been thinking.
You might find a new solution.
~Maya Angelou "Letters to my Daughter"

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
~St. Francis of Assisi

We can all do small things with great love.
~Blessed Mother Teresa

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough."
~Lk 13:24

Mary Magdalene is the icon and archetype of love itself -
needed, given, received and passed on.
~Immortal Diamond, p 180

This cycle I have witnessed and been the bearer of sacrificial love in large and small, simple and profound ways. I have been in awe of the efforts of people who have stood up for others being unjustly treated or persecuted throughout the world at this time. This love so often takes the form of parents, who, for love of their children, will do what is needed at personal cost to themselves. All this through a love that is, as modeled so well by Mary Magdalene, needed, given, received and passed on. We cannot give what we, ourselves, do not have. We cannot do what we, ourselves, have not experienced. Each time we choose love, we choose death... death of the ego/me-centered self... because love - sacrificial love - is by definition self-less. And, though my efforts this cycle pale in comparison to the sacrifice of others I have read about, by entering the narrow gate in my own life experience, I have been moved out of my comfort zone, have been challenged and stretched, have faced fears (not as gracefully as I would have liked at times), I have fallen and risen again to face the challenge set before me... all for the sake of love. Sacrificial love is at once a way of being and a way of doing. It is often messy, challenging and requires courage, faith and trust in something greater than oneself.

I opened this Journal Entry with a quote from Pope Benedict. This kind of love sets greatness on its ear - greatness that is contrary to the way the world views it.

[St.]Paul says, "While we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4;11). Thus, according to his view, the passion and resurrection of Christ are going on all the time. They are always present and not limited to an historical moment. It was rather an historical moment which introduced the eternal values of the cross and resurrection into the whole of time. We participate in Christ's divine life through baptism and the other sacraments. As a consequence, we must learn how to express the risen life of Jesus rather than our false selves in our conduct and relationships. To attain this union involves the transformation of our inmost being and all our faculties into the mind of Christ. This is the very fullness of salvation. The chief expression of the mind of Christ is found in the classical text of Philippians 2:5, 7-8, NRSV:

"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus...
emptied... humbled.... obedient...
~Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, August 11

Last year I had a very real sense as the year began what the theme of 2012 was about. It has taken me to this point in this year to crystallize the idea that all the cleaning and clearing of 2012 was to make room for the divine to be expressed in and through us. I was compelled to revisit the first mandala I did for this year and decided my first representation was spot on.

The edges of the overlapping hearts are shaded in brown. In retrospect it represents love coming out of the darkness... out of the dirt... out of the mud. Though the path challenges and faith and trust are required to follow where He leads, we are charged to bring heaven to earth one baby step, one loving moment, one loving gesture at a time in and through our own unique way and circumstance. We were not made for comfort, we were made for greatness. Through choosing love in its many forms at personal cost to ourselves through mercy, forgiveness, justice, standing up for what is right and true in loving and peaceful ways God alleviates the suffering of others through us and we embody the Christ-Life of Sacrificial Love.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2013 Virgo New Moon Mandala
September 5, 2013

"Seek What Is Above"


The day of the new moon the license plate pictured above appeared in front of me. [THE BUCK] As if to say, "The buck stops here." There was such a measure of responsibility in those two words. And, these questions flooded my mind: What am I responsible for? What is mine to do? What am I putting on myself that actually belongs to someone else? Do I fully embrace my responsibilities? And, so the month began.


The colors associated with Virgo are pale earth tones, slate blue, deep shades of violet and green Like many Virgos I know: down to earth, unassuming, understated, colors that compliment (or get along well) with other colors (people). There are no fireworks here! No bold attention getting here. Just a quiet sweetness that oozes from every pore. The color of the spectrum associated with Virgo is Yellow-Green... the color of nature in the late summer. If you live in the north you may be seeing hints of yellow in nature as the vibrant greens give way to the golds, oranges and reds yet to come. Echoing the Virgo pallet, the gem is Peridot and the power stone is Amethyst. Flowers associated with Virgo are the morning glory and the pansy - truly the sweetest of flowers, don't you think? Virgo energy is critical, discriminating, modest, and service minded.

In this Virgo New Moon mandala template created by Sandra Mosley, the center figure is created by a single line in a repeating pattern which forms a flower. Within the flower are what appear to me to be vases, or empty vessels - something that can be filled. The use of the single line to create this flower symbolizes for me an interconnectedness... a singular, sacred one-ness which is further expressed by the circle that surrounds it. The pattern repeats 8 times. Eight for me the number of the Cosmic Christ. You can find more on the significance of the number 8 at www.ridingthebeast.com.

The circle encasing the repeating pattern of eight rests on a six-pointed star - a symbol strongly associated with the Jewish people.

M. Hirsch Goldberg in his book The Jewish Connection states: "The Star of David is not of Jewish origin- and the ancient Israelites never used it as their religious symbol"(they used the Menorah or Seven Candlestick). So, why did the six-pointed star become known as the Jewish star? This symbol was widely adopted, not because the Jewish people chose it, but ironically because Adolph Hitler forced all Jews to wear a yellow six-pointed star during the holocaust. The word holocaust means burnt offering, and the six-pointed star was used in the past when burnt human sacrifices were offered to Moloch and Ashtoreth in Baal worship. The few Jews who had anything to do with the Six-Pointed star (hexagram) were those who were involved in occult practices. Back to Hitler, would he put anything good on a Jew? Hitler meant to insult and destroy the Jews, and being wrapped up in the occult (read the book, The Nazis and the Occult ), he may have meant the Jews to be his burnt offering for power.
~ http://ojgraham.com/SixPointedStar.htm

What resonates with me in this story is the term "burnt offering" - a sacrifice - to choose to become a sacrifice... that the intention with which we live our lives, by our choosing, can be sacrificial in nature... an offering in love to Love.

All of this rests on a background of eight - but not equally spaced. It appears to me that a cross is the framework that holds these images. In the outer rings are outward-pointing triangles (representing the Trinity.) Like so many of my experiences in this cycle in particular, whether we trod in darkness or sunshine, in times of trial or prosperity and abundance...God is present... loving, leading, guiding, and pointing the way.


Isn't it time you gave yourself to God completely,
once and for all?
~Mustard Seeds

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. ~Roald Dahl
Funny, the first time I wrote this, I used the term moonbeams :)

Make time for quiet moments,
as God whispers and the world is loud.
~Gwen Smith/TGIF

I was getting a lot of pictures of rainbows and double rainbows on Facebook:
The double rainbow is a symbol of transformation.
~ www.sarovara.com/OETI.html

Everything in this life can be used to transform us,
To bring us closer to our essence and our dreams.
~Debbie Ford

This is a great exercise for expressing renewal and transformation!
Check out Auntie Moon and the Virgo anti-aging moon ritual.
Find something that needs polishing and allow it to symbolize something in your life that needs to be renewed or transformed in some way. This could be a great Lenten exercise as well.
~ http://auntiemoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-virgo-new-moon-cycle-the-anti-aging-moon/

The Spirit is the heart of the world.
The active prayer sentence from 8/22-9/10
~Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Thomas Keating

Sometimes all you need is a hug from the right person and your stress will melt away.
~FB/Back Towards Light

Do not chase people. Work hard and be you.
The (right) people who belong in your life will come find you and stay.
Do your thing.
~Back Towards Light

Even when it hurts
Even when it's hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
'Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart.
~Kari Jobe, "Steady My Heart"

Once you conquer your selfish self all your darkness will turn to light.

Develop the quiet, even state of mind.
When praised by some and condemned by others
free your mind from hate and pride
and gently go your way in peace.
~ Buddha

Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
~ Psalm 90

The greatest obstacle in life isn't danger, its boredom.
~Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Season8 of Dexter

On the vigil of The Feast of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace,
Pope Francis invokes Catholics to prayer and fasting,
and the whole world to pray for peace.

Better things are coming.
~Back Towards Light

When you stop chasing the wrong things,
you give the right things a chance to catch you.
~Back Towards Light

When you are down to nothing,
God is up to something.

So much of the world is broken and
I want to be part of its healing.
~Back Towards Light

When God steps in, miracles happen.

Too blessed to be stressed.
~Back Towards Light

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.

"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God...

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry...
By these you too once conducted yourselves,
when you lived in that way.
But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.
~Collosians 3:1-11

Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same
outweighs the pain of change.
~ Arthur Burt

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of his blood ? to be received by faith.
A beautiful description of Yom Kippur and the Baptism of Jesus can be found at http://www.arrayofhope.net/index.php?option=com_easyblog&view=entry&id=12&Itemid=162

Those who wish to sing always find a song.
~Swedish Proverb

Grace means
that all your mistakes now serve a purpose
instead of serving shame.
~ FB/women at the Crossing

When God is the reason to live,
you will never have a reason to quit.
~ http://godsgracefulness.com/?p=4690:

You are blessed with a deep connection to God that
will allow you to know your true worth and
understand why you are here.
~Debbie Ford

You never know how strong you are,
until being strong is the only choice you have.
~FB/Back Towards Light

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
~Pema Chodron

What would you do in the last hour of your life?
Where would you be?
Who would remember it?
What would it look like?
How do you want to be remembered?
~ Man in the Red Bandanna, A documentary about Tyler Jewell
who perished on 9/11, saving others.

Everyone that can stand, stand now.
If you can help others, do so.
~ Man in the red bandanna, the last words of Tyler Jewell

Consecrate your vocation...
as a gift to be given to others
~Aaron Thompson
Vocation: to be given to another

Realize your value!!
~Planetary Apothecary

Your destiny is not only to find love;
it is to be the most loving person you can be.
~Lovability by Robert Holden

I love my friend neither with my heart nor with my mind.
Just in case heart might stop, mind may forget.
I love them in my soul.
Soul never stops or forgets.

First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the (people) should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.
~1 Tim 2:1, 8

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
~Luke 6:45

"The more light you allow within you,
the brighter the world you live in will be."
~Shakti Gawain

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.
~ Don Henley

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
~2Corinthians 4:16-18

The cycle began with [THE BUCK] and the theme of responsibility and as we neared its end that theme came down hard as everything for which I am responsible occurred all in the same week. When children are healthy and special or seasonal projects are well managed and scheduled, there's usually no problem. But the craziness of that week came down to partially poor planning on my part and partially sometimes stuff just happens. I won't bore you with the laundry list of happenings, but I was totally stretched to the extreme. I can't remember a time I was that busy! Typically when I over reach and take on too much, I become short tempered and am neglectful of the needs of my body, mind and spirit... like not getting sufficient sleep or grabbing the closest thing to eat, healthy or not so healthy or not taking time in my day to center.

Thanks be to God, none of those were evident during that week. As a matter of fact I rather enjoyed the week. My energy is struggling a bit in this last week of the cycle, but the "week of insanity" itself was quite remarkable. It ended in a retreat day on the last Saturday morning of the cycle. I had the extreme pleasure of attending a half-day retreat at my parish sponsored by the women's group A.C.T.S., which stands for Actively Caring Through Sharing. After the week I had had, the morning of rest and connection was much needed and appreciated!! The theme of the retreat was based on a book by Joanna Weaver and could not have been more perfect for me. It was entitled, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. (Luke 10:38-42). So how do we take care of the responsibilities of our lives, do what needs to be done (and truly is not that list never ending?) and still find/make time to seek what is above? I have found throughout the month it is not so much what we do, but how we do it, not so much the attention we give to things, but our intention. By inviting God into the ordinariness of our everyday lives, our lives are blessed, the people we meet are blessed - everything just flows - and, everything becomes sacred.

For example: one of the things I on my list during the "week of insanity" was to take my car in for service. It was truly the last straw to the week. The key battery had been LOW for some time. I noticed one evening that one of my headlights was out and my husband was leaving on business for a couple of days so I decided that I REALLY needed to take care of it. Now, one of my least favorite places to be is the dealership where I bought my car. I have had SO MANY bad experiences there that it is truly the last place on earth I want to be. The next morning I called to see if I could get in the same day (I could already feel the tension in my shoulders at the thought of having to be there.) They had a spot open at 1:30. Great! I decided if I'm going to have to be there, I would make the experience as positive as I could. So I gathered up a prayer shawl that I was working on and went in. I was promptly greeted by a smiling, jovial gentleman, who turned me over to the service guy (who truly could have been a Virgo - so sweet!) who notified me that there was a factory recall on the windows that needed to be addressed - that was going to add 45 minutes to my time there above the key and the headlight, but I agreed to take care of it. I turned down a free car wash because when I go there I'm typically there half a day. I didn't want to be there any longer than necessary.

So okay... I made my way to the waiting area, took a seat and a deep breath, said a prayer and got to work on the shawl. After a few minutes one of the other ladies in the room came over to ask about what I was making. We had the best conversation! And for the first time EVER the work on my car was done UNDER the estimated time! I was out of there in 38 minutes! That NEVER happens. And I was having so much fun talking to Sue, that I really wasn't ready to leave. She gave me her card and a promise to drop off a book that she recommended to me. I got in the car, took the identifying tag off the review mirror and drove home. Once home, as I was throwing the tag away I looked at the number: 4333. And, then laughed. "I Am Here," He said to me through the numbers..." Wherever you go, I AM WITH YOU." The tag is now in my prayer space. I had opened myself to the events of the day without any attachment to outcome, invited God into the dreaded and the mundane and from beginning to end, the whole experience was such a blessing!

I leave you with Psalm 23 For Busy People, which was shared at the retreat:

The Lord is my Pacesetter
~Toki Miyashina

The Lord is my pacesetter...I shall not rush.
He makes me to stop for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.
He leads me in a way of efficiency through the calmness of mind
and His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours
For I shall walk the pace of my Lord and dwell in His house forever.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2013 Libra New Moon Mandala
October 5, 2013

"Dance in the Light"

In the Balsamic Phase of the Virgo cycle I came across a beautiful patch of mushrooms underneath a towering pine tree. I saw this:

And INSTANTLY thought of this:


And the word that popped into my head was community... followed by fun and delight. There seemed to be a strong sense of joy-filled community in this gathering?little did I know at the time how my understanding of these little fungi would shape this cycle. And so the month began?


The colors associated with Libra are pastel shades, yellows and blues. The color of the spectrum is green. Flower is rose. Gem is opal. Power Stone is Diamond. The colors suggest softness, but the stones sparkle, shimmer and shine. With Libra we enter the second half of the natural year. In terms of the body, we reach the center or the heart chakra - the place where heaven meets earth. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the feeling associated with the heart is joy.

This mandala is joyful and whimsical and has a "go with the flow" sort of feel to it. It almost dances. There are three sections and the number 8 is prominent. The outer ring holds eight kisses - more on that in notable quotes as to the character of the kisses. The middle or second section reminds me so much of twirling around the dance floor - there's movement and a flow to this section. Threes kept popping up for me this cycle - all birds ... threes that suggest a newness of life - very spring-like in nature and a sense of elevation - of loving and living on a higher frequency. Something new is definitely brewing... so I decided to honor the dance of the mushrooms and the sparkle and shine of the gem and power stone by placing three balls of glitter in each yellow section. In the center section we have two intertwined ribbons which encircle an eight-petaled flower. Yellow - the color of joy. Pink - the color of unconditional love. Green - in terms of chakra represents the heart. Eight - the number of perfection, infinity, the cosmic Christ.


About the same time I came across the mushrooms I was waiting in the entryway of the High School for my daughter and I observed the officer at the attendance desk as he interacted with the students. He is truly one genuine human being. He brings his own flavor to his job in a most remarkable way. I came away from the experience thinking, "This guy brings himself to the party!" Full on... full throttle... HIMSELF! And, so many of the messages at the time were about being true to self. Be who you are and those of same thought and mind will flock to you. Almost as if to say, "stop hiding... stop being who the people in your life want you to be... and just be you!!!" This is a time to reset, reboot... Remember who you are! Like the rebooting of a computer that gets rid of the "bugs"?. Come clean. Just be purely YOU!

Notable Quotes:


Feelings are like children.
You don't want them driving the car but
you don't want to lock them in the trunk either.
~FB/Thanks for Sharing

Mary's greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.
~ Pope Benedict XVI, an invitation to Faith

Work for a cause not for applause.
Live to express not to impress.
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt.
This poster hangs at the entryway of my daughter's school

There is a death/rebirth quality to the month.
Theme RESET. ~Powerpath

In the presence of your own loving attention you create
the inner conditions that are necessary to step into
the next greatest evolution of yourself.
~Debbie Ford

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
~2nd Timothy 1:7

I appreciate all that I am and all that I have.
~Wayne Dyer

Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We only have today.
Let us begin.
~Bl. Mother Teresa

How are you serving those in need?
~Dynamic Catholic

Dear Mom and Dad, about my leaves, I gave them all away. That's what you do with gifts.
~Timothy Green, The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Pope Francis has been making headlines for lots of things he has been saying this month, but what he has really challenged me to think about is my relationship with the poor... So, this month, I encourage you to think about your relationship with the poor. Jesus loved them. Too often, at best we tolerate them, or worse, we ignore them. But God continues to invite us into a relationship with the less fortunate of this world, and through them we find ourselves immersed in God.
~ Matthew Kelly

I commit to being a dancing monk,
cultivating creative joy and
letting my body and "heart overflow with
the inexpressible delights of love."
~ Abby of the Arts

Martha & Mary... Just be.

Seek out that gentleness within that encourages people to be comfortable around you.
~Mustard Seeds

You are the endless love.
You are the heavenly song.
You are the mother and the father.
You are the one I will always know.

I want that love that...
moved mountains
split the ocean
Made the winds tremble
Roared like thunder
Will raise the dead
Lifts us to ecstasy
Is the silence of eternity.

I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do Malala?' then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.' But then I said, 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that 'I even want education for your children as well.' And I will tell him,
'That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'
~Malala Yousafzai, 16 year old Pakistani advocate for women's rights and access to education.

Life is a special occasion.

The best place in the world is in the arms of someone who will not only hold you at your best, but
will pick you up and hold you tight in your weakest moment.
~ Back Towards Light

Charge me with your glance
so my eyes can shine with Your love.

The world is in dire need of change. People are hurting.
People are turning to empty promises searching for answers.
All along, we have the answer: Jesus.

In Holiness Revolution, your eyes will be awakened to the need for change in this world.
You will be challenged to live a life of radical discipleship that brings that change.
It is time to stop making excuses and start taking action. Only from God, only from the saints,
does true revolution come. Will you join the revolution of holiness?
~ Holiness Revolution, Dan DeMatte

May God bless each one of us with prayerful spirits and gentle hearts formed through prayer.
God will use prayerful spirits and gentle hearts as instruments to bring about unity.
- Mustard Seeds

Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.
~Maya Angelou

When you become brave enough to be silent,
the answers you seek will finally reveal themselves.
~ Cheryl Richardson

Amidst the noise of the world you will find the pathway to hell.
In the silence of prayer you will find the narrow trail leading to eternal life.
~Mustard Seeds

Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you.
In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives,
they wouldn't have the time to sit around and talk about you.
What's important to me is not others' opinions of me, but
what's important to me is my opinion of myself.
~ C. JoyBell C.

Be crazy.
Be silly
Be stupid
Be weird
Be whatever
Because life is too short to be anything
but happy.
~ theteenagerquotes

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and
the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.~2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Let your mind dance with your body.
~Yogi Detox tea bag tag

There is beauty in your presence.
~ Yogi Detox tea bag tag

Comfort -
(give it.)
~Taditional Medicinals Detox Tea bag tag

~Traditional Medicinals Detox tea bag tag

Be yourself.
~ Deacon Joe DeLuca

Yes! As if I weren't already getting the message, the homily, given in the last days of this cycle by our good Deacon Joe DeLuca, was all about being you!

The autumn winds have returned. Mother Nature is cleaning house... blowing leaves and dead twigs from the trees. A week ago, I calculated my Werewolf Name from a Halloween Facebook post: Fierce Hound - and the shoe fit! I thought it was a good idea to join Mother Nature and do a cleanse of my own. Having lived a simpler life and eaten a mono diet for five days now, I find that my heart is lighter and my head is clearer. I feel healthier. In this cycle, I have realized a great emotional healing in my life... one that I have long held. I have polished yet another section of my tarnished spoon representing this newfound "lightness." (For more on this practice, see Auntie Moon's Virgo Anti Aging Moon. http://auntiemoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/the-virgo-new-moon-cycle-the-anti-aging-moon/) Having taken this time for self care, it seems that I am much more "myself."

At the end of the cycle, a new growth of mushrooms emerged in a spot near the first grouping. Interesting things - these mushrooms... when they are fresh and coming out of the ground their caps are tight. The older they get the more open the cap - almost umbrella-like - to the point that eventually the edges begin to turn upward reaching for the sun. Mushrooms are agents of change and transformation... changing dead organic matter into rich soil. They are ANCIENT - dating back some 90 million years. They can be used not only as food and medicine (great immunity builder!) but can also be used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste, in places where they threaten the environment. (~http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/facts-about-mushrooms.html)

But of most interest to me, was the fact that they are all connected by what cannot be seen. It is a hidden kingdom. The part of the fungus that we see (the mushroom) is only the "fruit" of the organism. The living body of the fungus is a mycelium (vegetative part) made out of a web of tiny filaments called hyphae. The mycelium is usually hidden in the soil, in wood, or another food source and can cover great distances. (http://www.gmushrooms.com/info.htm)

You see, we - you and I and everyone on the planet - like these lovely little mushrooms are all connected by something that cannot be seen. We are in relationship... whether we want to be or not. And we are called to live from this divine source. Yes, we are imperfect. Yes, we say and do things that cause great pain to ourselves and others. Yes, many of us hold emotional pain that needs to be expressed and released. But... we are called to be more. We are called to be holy... called to be saints... called to be conduits of the cosmic Christ in the world - to hear His music and dance. To bring the best expression of ourselves that we can muster to this party called life! And, finally for once and for all let all fear and expectations go and just be ourselves! Ours is not to wallow in the darkness... but to seek out and dance in the Light!!!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2013 Scorpio New Moon Mandala
November 3, 2013

"Transforming Fire"

The early signs of this cycle were the words "practice, practice, practice," and a license plate that read [ZOMB RDY] which I interpreted to mean Zombie Ready. Interesting... but, nothing quite took my breath away like the first image of the cycle. I was driving to church to play for morning mass, and lying there on the side of the road was a dead deer. Standing on top of the deer was a vulture... a very... large... vulture. In an instant I went from one transforming agent - those lovely little mushrooms of the last cycle -to another. I wish I had stopped the car to take a picture so I could share it with you. The image was so jolting; however, that I can call it up as vividly in my mind as the day I had first seen it. The deer, (death) and the Vulture (agent of transformation) all in a single image -ominous... jarring.... and one can't help but wonder what's coming next. And so the month began...


The colors associated with Scorpio are dark shades of red and black. The gem is topaz and the power stone is garnet. The color of the spectrum is green-blue.

There are four sections of the mandala each holding a multiple of six. In the outermost circle, 24 interlocking arcs (24: complete harmony); 12 interlocking arcs in the next (12: completed, that which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit, wholeness); 18 arcs split in half by a circle that divides (the divide suggests choice or change/metamorphosis; 18: In Hebrew, each letter has a numeric value. The number 10 is the letter Yud. The number 8 is the letter Ches (Chet). Ches-Yud spells the word Chai, which means "living" or "life." (~www.jewishanswers.org) In the center is a six-pointed star which holds in its center various sets of six. A six pointed star is a symbol for fixed stars, in particular the pole star (www.symbols.com). Used as a guide then, one can always find home or at the very least the right direction. For me, there is an inherent struggle in the number six... of holding both the things of the world and the things of heaven... or perhaps the struggle of having to choose between the two. The fixed star at the center gives us stability... ground to stand on. It gives us a point of reference from which all our actions and decision originate. It radiates outward, through the choices that bring life and help us live to the full, into wholeness and eventually complete harmony with the cosmos. Perhaps another word for the 24 is divine union. It is not an easy road. It is the narrow gate so often quoted as few choose to travel by that road.


Notable Quotes

How does one become a saint?
Just like your times tables: Practice, practice, practice...
~Deacon Chris Murphy

...that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in Him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.
~2 Thes 1:12

Breathe in love.
Breathe out everything else.
~ FB/MyRenewedMind.org

Let Silence take you to the core of life.

Never a mistake.
Always a lesson.
~FB/Soulful Healng

Resolve not to be overcome by evil,
But to combat evil with good.
~Pope Francis

Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back.
What you sow, you reap.
What you give, you get.
What you see in others, exists in you.
Zig Ziegler

Understand that you
own nothing.

Everything that surrounds you
is but temporary.

You are perishing.

You came to this place with
only one thing ~ self.

Self can love or hate.
Self can build up or tear down.
Self can tell the truth or tell lies.
Self can walk in the light or in darkness.

Only the self will last forever.

Love deeply, build up others in truth, BE the light you already are.

In this manner you will leave with all the beautiful things you came with.

Self ~ it is the only thing you own.
~the Other Side of Ugly, Letters to Humanity/Sheri

The reward of our work is not what we get,
but what we become.
~Paul Coelho

Gossip is the Devil's radio
So don't be his DJ.
~ FB/Holy Bible

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
~ Aristotle

May you always know angels walk with you.
~ Jane Lee Logan

Ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I will find peace."
Spirit says, "find your peace, and everything will fall into place."
~ Marianne Williams

Toddler's Rules:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.
11. If it's broken, but you are having fun playing with the pieces, it's mine again.
12. If there is ANY doubt, it's mine.
~ Unknown

As people grow up they realize that
it becomes less important to have more friends and
more important to have real ones.
~ FB/A Different Approach

Be the type of person you want to meet.
~FB/Soulful Healing

I don't know the actual meaning of maturity, but for me
maturity is when a person hurts you and
you try to understand their situation rather than
hurting them back.
~FB/Beyond the Veil Where Angels Ascend

Don't sit and wait,
Go out there and feel life.
Touch the sun and
Immerse in the sea.

You may feel lost and alone, but
God knows exactly where you are and
He has a good plan for your life.
~ FB/Holy Bible

People who are too weak to follow their own dream
will sometimes try to find a way to discourage yours.
~ FB/Calming Your Inner Storm

No matter what we face in life,
God will be there with us.
Only God can turn our worst tragedies into victories.
~ TGIF (Today God Is First)

Come follow me and
you will find the way.
~ Rumi

The inner work to do whether sailing through tranquil waters or stormy seas is one and the same. Returning time and time again to being the silent peace at the center of the wheel, life spins all around us, while we, at ease, are going nowhere,

Through exercising our Higher Consciousness, of empty, spacious Awareness, staying connected to being the hub, all remains eternally calm and still.
~ FB/David, Walking in Spirit

It's up to you to find beauty in the ugliest of days.
~ FB/Spiritually Thinking through Waves of Gratitude

When you connect to The Silence within you
That is when you make sense of the disturbance going on around you.
~Stephen Richards FB/Watching Whales via Soul Speaking

In the midst of your struggle lies the ability
to help someone through theirs.
Don't Give Up!
~ FB/Kennedy's Cause

10% of conflicts is due to difference of opinion
90%is due to wrong tone of voice.
~ Ritu Ghatourey via FB/Health is wealth

Negative company will never give you a positive life.
Examine what you tolerate.
~ unknown

Adversity, challenges, bumps in the road are often first signs
that a great healing has begun.
~ tut.com

The two most important days in your life are
the day you were born and
the day you find out why.
~ Mark Twain

You are God's masterpiece.
Believe it!
~ Eph 2:10

You are more powerful then you know and
you are beautiful just as you are.
~ Melissa Ethridge

I am my most powerful when I am working with life
rather than against it.
~ Anita Moorjani

The next time Satan reminds you of your past,
Remind him of his future.

Negative people need drama like oxygen.
Stay positive. It will take their breath away.
~ unknown

Live simply.
Dream big.
Be grateful.
Give love.
Laugh lots.
~ Paul Coelho

I aspire to be a giver
A giver of love.
A giver of good vibes.
A giver of strength.
~ FB/The Joy of Dad

God didn't give you the strength to get back on your feet so you could
run back to the thing that knocked you down.
~FB/Holy Bible

At the end of the day, the only questions I will ask myself are:
Did I love enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I make a difference?
~ FB/Holy Bible

You don't always need a plan.
Sometimes you just need to
breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.
~ Mandy Hale

This world is like a mountain.
Your Echo depends on you.
If you scream good things, the world will give it back.
If you scream bad things, the world will give it back.
Even if someone says badly about you, speak well about him.
Change Your Heart to change the World.
~ Rumi

One day someone is going to hold you so tight that
all your broken pieces will stick together.
~ unknown

Today I close the door to the past and open a door to the future,
take a deep breath, step on through and
start a new chapter in my life.
~FB/The Joy of Dad

Create a life that tickles your soul.
~ Suzanne Zoglio

Repent (change the direction in which you are looking for happiness) and
be willing to change.
~ Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Fr. Thomas Keating

Bring all your complaining to the Lord,
and He will bear it and transform it.
~ Jer 31:25

Dear Lord, Grant me the ability to speak kindly,
respond gently, and at times, to hold my tongue.
I want my actions and reactions to please and reflect You and Your Love.
~ FB/Holy Bible

Your best stories will come from your struggles.
The seeds of your successes are in your failures.
Your praises will be birthed from your pains.
I have never seen a storm last forever.
Be encouraged!
~ FB/Holy Bible

My friend, you've got nothing to be scared of.
I'm here and you're not going to do this alone.
~ McGarett, Hawaii Five O

The motto at my high school was, "LUCEAT LUX VESTRA,"
which is Latin for "LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE."
On each day of my life to live this motto will be a new challenge.
- Matthew Kelly, Mustard Seeds

When I look at him I see myself.
When I see myself, I see him.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and
some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
~Mother Teresa

Be open and patient with your learning and growth.
~John Morton

I would like to express my gratitude for you...
For the person you are.
~from the movie: Meet Joe Black

You deserve nothing less than love.
~Sleepy Hollow

Accept fully what you cannot change.
~FB/Power Path

Only love is spoken here.
~FB/Laura Fenamore

If we could look into the hearts of others and
understand the hardships that everyone of us faces daily,
I think we would treat each other with more
gentleness, patience, tolerance and care.
~FB/Walking in Spirit

For in [Jesus]all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
~ Colossians 1:19

One could argue that Love can be a powerful transformer. Forgiveness - really just love in another cloak - is another agent of transformation and change. We promise to do many things for love and in the name of love. But my personal experience tells me that there is a stronger agent of change yet... The real power to change and transform comes from the invitation to let go, to release, to allow one's self to die in large and small ways. Noting rattles the cage, moves the heart, brings our attention to what is most important or makes us finally take a firm hold of life than an invitation from the Angel of Death. Everything stops. And what becomes the focus of our life in those moments is what is most important to us -most often, it's the people we love. The questions have often been asked, "If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? How would your life change? What would you be doing? Who would you do it with? Who or what would you hold on to? Who or what are you being invited to let go of and leave behind?"

God has interesting ways of reshaping a heart... of teaching us to love in greater and broader ways. The most obvious perhaps is to serve... to help someone in need or to accompany someone on their journey in ways that even if for a short time alleviate pain and suffering. To be a listening ear... much needed laughter...a soft shoulder... a conduit of grace in times of difficulty. Sometimes God will just sneak something in and catch you by surprise. For example, while we were watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade a commercial for Wells Fargo come up. It's a little over a minute and a must see as we head into the holiday season. The selfless generosity represented here will make your heart smile! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3W23IZo8eg

Lately, I keep going back to that first image of this natural year... the image of the tiller. And, having experienced more than half this year I am coming to a different interpretation of the symbol. Though at the time it was a sign of relief for me, I have come to know that this year was not at all time to plant as I had earlier thought, but rather a time to till... literally... to break the crust, turn the soil and allow the space for what is buried deep within to come to the surface - however ever painful - to be experienced, felt, acknowledged and released.

The invitations of death in large and small ways throughout our lives offer us opportunities to be transformed. The Zombie in us is at the ready. When death invites, will we choose return to old, mindless, and perhaps destructive habits? Or will we embrace the change and pay more attention to what is most important - to live more freely...more lovingly in the light? All I can say from my experience so far this year: never doubt for a moment that God has a plan for your life. It doesn't mean that life will be a bed of roses. It doesn't mean the road will be smooth or the journey uneventful. All it really means is that we are held in Holy Hands. We are guided and loved beyond words and that we are not alone. (Remember the mushroom...connected by what cannot be seen?) There is a plan for this pain, for this anguish, for this temporary challenge or what may appear to be trial by fire. Held in those hands it is safe to let go and let God (or go with the flow if you prefer.) In terms of eternity anything that happens here is truly temporary. And in times of transformation, of death and rebirth, Faith and Trust are the best of companions. (and the love and care of family and friends is a tremendous gifts!) Keep them close as you travel this journey called life, all the while staying fixed on the Pole Star -on the One in whose holy hands we are held and by whose hands we are guided - and all will be well as we endure the transforming fire.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2013 Sagittarius New Moon Mandala
December 2, 2013


Of all the cycles this year, this one was perhaps the most startling. Not because anything in particular was said or read, seen or sighted, but because there was literally nothing. No animal, no bird, no sun, no license plate. Nothing... nothing but overcast stillness... quiet... solitude... which were quite palpable. At a time when the commercial world was ramping up, the earth was eerily quiet... still... waiting... resting... and calling me to do the same. And so the cycle began...


Colors associated with Sagittarius are true blues and lighter shades of purple. The color of the spectrum is blue. The gem is Turquoise and the power stone is Lapis Lazuli.

At first glance a song text came to mind. The author of the text is unkown and the first English translation was done by Theodore Baker. The music was written in 1599 and first harmonized by Michael Praetorius in 1609. 'Es ist ein Ros entsprungen' has become a timeless, classic Christmas Carol and Marian hymn. And in lieu of the traditional analysis:

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

1. Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

2. Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.


Notable Quotes

Lord, empty me of me, so I can be filled with you.
~TGIF/ Today God is First

I looked in temples, churches and mosques.
I found the Divine within my heart.

God is more present to us than we are to our selves.
~St. Francis deSales

Love is the absence of judgment.
~Dalai Lama

You know...the only thing that really matters is that
the people you love are happy and healthy.
Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae.
~Paul Walker 11/12/73~11/30/13

From understanding comes love.

If you planted Hope today in any Hopeless Heart.
If someone's Burden was Lighter because you did your part.
If you caused a Laugh that chased some Tears away.
If tonight your Name is Taken when someone Knees To Pray,
Then your day has been Well Spent!

If you are always trying to be normal
You'll never know how amazing you can be.
~Maya Angelou

A beautiful life doesn't just happen.
It is built daily by prayer, humility, sacrifice and hard work.
~ unknown; FB/Holy Bible

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be.
If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end
by really becoming incapable of doing it.
On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if
I may not have it at the beginning.
~Mahatma Gandhi

All that is worth cherishing begins in the heart,
not the head.
~Suzanne Chapin

Got Joy?
~ Theme of my reflection for Daily Mass

Be great in little things.
~St. Francis Xavier, feast day

God is the God of second chance.
He will never give up on you.
~TGIF/Today God Is First

Within all of us is a light that can guide us
even in our darkest hour.
Remember this.
~unknown; FB/Waves of Gratitude

Keep honoring God with your life.
Stay in peace.
Trust His timing and
God will open doors that no (one) can shut.
~JCLU Forever (Jesus Christ Loves U-Christian clothing)

I am a product of God's grace.
~FB/Holy Bible
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more
naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
~Nelson Mandela 7/18/1918 ? 12/5/13

Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity,
It is an act of justice.
It is man-made and it can be overcome and
eradicated by the actions of human beings.
~Nelson Mandela

Life is so much brighter when we focus on what truly matters.

Close your eyes.
Fall in love.
Stay there.

I firmly believe in small gestures:
pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don't
feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid's runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him,
try to be larger than you are? particularly when it's difficult.
People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it's done to (for) me. Small gestures can be an
effort, or actually go against our grain
(I'm not a big one for paying compliments...),but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you
feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.
Jonathan Carroll (born 1949),Author

Don't see everyone's flaws,
Don't listen to everything you're told
Don't speak if it's not kind
Always look for the good in people.
Not everything is truth.
Only speak words of kindness.
~Live Life Positively

Let love be at the center of your attention.
FB/Walking in Spirit

Sometimes you need to look at life from a different perspective.
~FB/Waves of Gratitude

And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It's quiet
But the roots are down there riotous.
~ Rumi

On Pain

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
~ Khalil Gibran

What's really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior
But the graphite inside.
So always pay attention to what's happening inside you.
~Paul Coelho

You have within you more love than you could ever understand.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of Mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real Spirit of Christmas.
~ Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if
they were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend to them all the care, kindness and
understanding you can muster, and do it
with no thought of any reward.
Your life will never be the same again.
~ Og Mandino

I look back over this year grateful I had not known what was coming. After the cleaning and clearing of 2012 I was not looking forward to another year of same... yet alone at a deeper level. The quiet and stillness of this cycle remains ? from beginning to end has accompanied me. It's as if we're slowing down as one does when changing direction. Think of a car or a bicycle turning a corner... one must slow down to make the turn. My dreams are telling me that life is similar, yet different. The conversation of the natural world tells me this is no time to hermit... to isolate... but a time to be connected to like minds, like the migratory birds... to travel in community... with a community that "soars."

I have taken the ancient practice in recent years of receiving a word for the year. My word for 2013 was "abundance." Even with all the challenges of the past year, I can look back and see the abundance of God in my life... having received what was needed in every moment and circumstance ? wishing now I had been more patient and trusting. Over the past few weeks I have been speaking to God about the word for the coming new year. While out shopping for a gift, I was looking at some Willlow Tree figures. One caught my eye ... cute but the word was similar to abundance so nope... that wasn't it. Another one caught my eye. It was a female figure lifting up a dove. I was thinking it probably said "peace" and while peace is a wonderful thing, the word was not rocking my world. You know it when you know it. The third time past the figure I just had to pick it up and see what was underneath. The word nearly took my breath away. It said: SOAR. It's going to be an interesting year. For more on this ancient tradition and selecting your word for 2014: http://abbeyofthearts.com/blog/2013/12/09/give-me-a-word-2014-fifth-annual-abbey-giveaway/

This "stillness" and "waiting" have a feeling of threshold to me... of standing in the doorway between rooms...not in the previous room, but not yet in the next one either. After the events of this year, this liminal space is most welcome. I am quite content to be here... to rest... to catch my breath and allow God the space to work. No matter what lies ahead, this I know: God is with us and God will provide for all that is needed. 2013 taught me that. As we journey into 2014, let us be mindful to bring forth the highest possible good in every situation, to carry the Christ within, bringing love, joy and mercy to those we encounter. Let not Christmas be a day nor season, but a mindset that we carry with us throughout the coming year. Let us be courageous, like Mother Mary, Theotokos - God-bearer, and endeavor to be conduits of God's grace in whatever manner we are called to present it.

A quote by a saint typically accompanies my word for the year. The quote below recently made itself known. Wishing you every possible grace and blessing in the New Year, I leave you with this quote by Teresa of Avila:
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing; God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2014 Capricorn New Moon Mandala
January 1, 2014

"The Gift"

Happy New Year! And what a year it is shaping up to be! Last cycle you might recall I had written that, at a time when the world was ramping up in celebration, I was called to slow down into the stillness and the quiet that was so present to me in the natural world at the time. That it was almost as if I were slowing down so as to be able to make the turn in the road ahead. And make the turn I did. What a shift! With the new cycle, the new moon , the new month, the new year I came to realize I was coming out of a grief I had been carrying for some time. Three years ago at this time of year, I began the process of sending my oldest off to college. I began marking time... noticing "last time for this" and celebrations he would no longer be here to celebrate. And as excited and happy as I was for him, as open-handed ("letting go") and as supportive as I thought I was, I had became aware during this cycle that I was still holding grief at the loss of his presence in my life. When he went off to college, we stopped eating at the dinner table - a place where his presence would obviously be missed. For the most part, I did what was necessary... and I truly didn't care about many things including the care of my body. I had stopped exercising. I used to be such a good cook... a quality I just couldn't seem to hang on to. If anyone had told me as I was grieving, I would have laughed at the thought. And yet, here I am in the realization that it was truly a time of grief for me. Grief is an interesting thing... truly a "winter-time" of life. And just as Spring arrives when it arrives regardless of the date on the calendar, grief takes as long as it takes and no one but you can decide when it's over. I am most grateful to those who walked the path with me in love... with prayers and patience... accepting me for where I was and not trying to push me into a life I was not yet ready for.

I began to question who I was becoming now that my children were leaving the nest. During this cycle I joined an online retreat experience through Abby of the Arts (which Sandra Mosley had introduced me to some time ago - Mahalo!) and I found myself trying to introduce myself to a group I had never met. "I am____" - the name usually comes first and then we often define ourselves by any number of relationships (daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother), occupation (church musician, cantor), interests (leader of prayer, artist,) and way of life (contemplative, Catholic.) I found that "I am ____" can also relate to descriptions of body (overweight and out of shape) and feelings (exhausted, apathy.) In this exploration of "I am_____" this cycle began:


At first glance the words "The Light Within" came to mind. Capricorn energy is focused, organized, responsible, serious. What more appropriate time is there to strengthen our resolve by compiling our New Year's Resolutions? I hope you've made some good ones - the ones that really speak to your spirit! Colors associated with this sign are black, dark blues, and greys, and earth tones. The color of the spectrum is blue-violet. The gem is onyx or jet and the power stone is quartz crystal.

Two sets of 5 - inner star, outer pentagon = manifestation, I often also think of body
One set of 6 - (personal meaning) struggle, choice, decision; can also relate to home and homing
Four sets of open-ended 3s - These look like triangles to me but the tops are missing. I think back to the Gemini New Moon Mandala of June 1, 2011 - where the triangles were content to just be where they were... static and unable to move without some type of outside influence to urge them onward. This arrangement speaks to me of movement... of taking the lid off and "letting something out" ... allowing the divine to move in the world
3 vesica picsis/mandorla-like diamonds - (mandorla is Italian for almond) a symbol for threshold, gateway, of birthing
An inner circle surrounded by 15 triangle "tops" or points at the center- all pointing outward: 15 is a dynamic and creative agent; it represents the blooming of life in the creation ~ridingthebeast.com
The inner circle speaks to me of potential...

The mandala as a whole speaks to me of revelation... of revealing, or more specifically giving birth to, the Light within.


Notable Quotes

Love is the measure of our ability to bear crosses.
~Teresa of Avila

Pelt me with miracles
Like rain soaking the cracked desert floor.
Caress my soul
With Your grace.
Steep me in Your love
Like peaches in wine...
For I am utterly and shamelessly
Your very own.
~Tosha Silver

One resolution I always make and try to keep...
Rise above the little things.
~ John Burroughs

You do not need to know precisely what is happening,
or exactly where it is all going.
What you need is to recognize the possibilities and
challenges offered by the present moment,
and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
~ Thomas Merton

God's plans for you started long before you were born.
Trust Him. He's got this!!
~ FB/TGIF: Today God Is First

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.
plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
~Jeremiah, 29:11

Christ wants to reach out and touch every person on earth.
He wants to extend the hand of love and friendship to all.
The problem is very often the only hand He has to use
is the one attached to the end of your arm.
- Mustard Seeds

"Re-evaluate what you value" seems like a great mantra for the next six weeks
What brings me pleasure?
What yields me experiences of inner harmony?
How can I create more beauty in my life?
What truly fulfills me in a relationship?
How do I treasure myself? Self affirm?
Move your attention away from the external as the arbiter of beauty,
and connect to the radiant sense of inner beauty that we all have,
accepting ourselves in a deeper and richer way.
~ Stephanie Gailing

Tomorrow is the first blank page in a 365 page book.
Write a good one.
~ Brian Tracy

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair,
but manifestations of strength and resolution.
~ Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931) via Zodiac Arts newsletter

You can become anyone you want to be.
It doesn't matter what happened to you or
what you've done!!!
What matters is WHAT YOU DO NEXT!

I have a plan.
Do you trust me? - God
~ TGIF/Today God is First

Let your intentions be good - embodied in good thoughts,
cheerful words, and unselfish deeds - and
the world will be to you a bright and happy place
in which to work and play and serve.
~Grenville Kleiser, (American author 1868-1953)

Look at one another and see the goodness there, regardless.
Look for the good in difficult situations in the world that
seem difficult and so unnecessary.
~ John Morton

Do not let your life be like a shooting star,
which lights up the sky for only a brief moment.
Let your life be like the sun that always burns brightly in the heavens,
bringing light and warmth to all those on earth.
~ Matthew Kelly

Blessing for the Senses

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful
and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful
and recognize that your senses
are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is
mindful, gazing, feeling, hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to
celebrate the universe and the mystery
and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.
- John O'Donohue in Anam Cara

Try not to resist the changes that come your way.
Instead let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better
than the one to come?
~ Rumi

It's time to grow up.
~ George Sands, Being Human

The Shimmering Hours
A Blessing for Women's Christmas

There is so much
I want to say,
as if the saying
could prepare you
for this path,
as if there were anything
I could offer
that would make your way
less circuitous,
more smooth.

Once you step out
you will see for yourself
how nothing could have
made you ready for this road
that will take you
from what you know now
to what you cannot perceive
except, perhaps,
in your dreaming
or as it gives a glimpse
in prayer.

But I can tell you
this journey is not
about miles.
It is not about how far
you can walk
or how fast.

It is about what you will do
with this moment, this star
that blazes in your sky
though no one else
might see.

So open your heart
to these shimmering hours
by which your path
is made.

Open your eyes
to the light that shines
on what you will need
to see.

Open your hands
to those who go with you,
those seen
and those known only
by their blessing, their benediction
of the road that is
your own.

~ Jan L. Richardson from the book Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas.

Will it help you become the best version of yourself?
Make this question a constant part of your inner dialogue.
~Matthew Kelley, the Narrow Path

Storms make trees take deeper roots.
~Dolly Parton

You cannot become more like Christ and not become more perfectly human.
- Mustard Seeds

Lord, I trust in your plans.
Please show them to me.
- Mustard Seeds

The most important thing in life is
to learn how to give out love and to let it in.
~ Mitch Albom

Let's put the LIFE back into life.
~ unknown

To accomplish great things,
we must not only act, but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe.
~ Anatole France

Feel great,
Act great, and
Be great.
~Yogi tea bag label

I was reminded recently of a story from the desert fathers where an Abba says to a seeker,
"Do not feed your heart what does not nourish it."
This can be easier said than done,
since we are inclined to so many "comforts" which only serve to numb and distract us from life.
~ Christine Valters Painter

To play a wrong note is insignificant.
To play without passion is inexcusable!
~ Ludwig Van Beethoven

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
~ pleasefindthis

Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone's face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love?
These are the real questions.
I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will be many fruits,
here in this world and the life to come.
~ Henri Nouwen

I hope you live a life you're proud of.
If you find you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Never get tired of doing little things for others.
Those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.
~ unknown

Love Song to My Body:
Body when we dance we are hearing the earth
we are seeing its songs
we are its waves and its whirlings
and its rock bottom
when we sing we are huge inside
we are the first cave
we are the lighting of the stars
we are the sound of the river
flowing in the dark.
~ Elizabeth Cunningham, from her book "Small Birds"

The soul should always stand ajar,
ready to welcome the ecstatic experience!
~ Emily Dickenson

The most beautiful things in life have to go through a lot of dirt
before they get to blossom.
~ Will "Story" Rivera

Keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window and
look out to see who's there.

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.
guard yourself against excessive tiredness.
~Matthew Kelly, the Narrow Path

[God's] breath vibrates in yours, in your voice.
It is the breath of God that you breathe - and you are unaware of it.
~Theophilus of Antioch

It is said that simple pleasures are the best.
Do what you can to keep a clear conscience.
It is the ultimate simple pleasure.
~Matthew Kelly

Remember, you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.
This life is fleeting.
Make your life count.
~ Matthew Kelly

"When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams,
we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother,
we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force.
When we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs,
we make space for our dreams to come into being.
When we speak the truth from our healed hearts,
we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet."

"As women, we are continually writing the history of the Legacy of Women.
We cannot point a finger at men or each other without owning the pain of past generations
who forgot how to give or teach human compassion.
Our own family trees are filled with teaching situations and with tragic examples
that may have blinded our own Ancestors to the values of truth as it is found in love.
Now, the destiny of wholeness of the human race falls to the Sisterhood because all things are born of woman."
~ Jami Sams, The Thirteen Original Clan Mothers

I am a feather on the breath of God.
~ Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen offers this beautiful image of being a feather on the breath of God.
This is a radical act of yielding ourselves, surrendering our expectations about how our lives should go and embrace things as they really are.
Hildegard invites us to say yes to where God might carry us.
What would it mean to offer obedience to the divine presence speaking through our bodies?

Obedience means the radical yes to God's daily invitations.
It means making space to hear and see those shimmering moments.
It means saying yes to what I discover there in the stillness.
Holy pause and holy yes seem to dance together.
~ Christine Vaulters Painter, Abby of the Arts, online Abbess

To remember who you are,
you need to forget who they told you to be.
~ unknown

I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You're not a bad person.
You're a very good person, who bad things have happened to.
Besides, the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters.
We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.
~Serious Black, Harry Potter, Order of the Phoenix

Do you want to know who you are?
Don't ask. Act.
Action will delineate and define you.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Love is the reason of my life.
~Bl. Teresa if Calcutta

We Are All Energy; New Study Offers Evidence That We Are Vibrating Frequencies Of Energy
A new scholarly research paper reports the development of a new imaging microscopy technique
that gives credence to the importance of our "vibrational frequency" being a key element of life.
The idea that proteins in our body vibrate has always been suspected,
but this new technology has given us the first verifiable evidence that this is true
and is able to be observed on the smallest of scales.
~ EFTtappingtraining.com

You are God's beloved...Yes, you!
~FB/San Rafael First UMC

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.
When life is dragging you backward with difficulties,
Imagine that it is going to launch you into something great.
~ unknown

Thanks, Lord, for the gift of who I am.
~ Thomas Keating, Daily Reader for Contemplative Living
Active prayer sentence 1/26-2/4

We are constantly in a state of becoming... giving a fuller expression to the gifts we are.
~Lynn Keefer

As I emerge from this winter-time of life, I can look back over the past six months or so and see how God/the Divine Beloved/The Universe... whatever name you give to the Source of all that is... has been gently nudging and pulling me back into life. I certainly have more energy and am more focused on what is life-giving for me. But just as the ice must melt and the earth soften before Spring truly arrives regardless of the date on the calender, I am guided by mother earth to be patient with myself - to ease in and not "run on the ice that is still in need of melting."

My family recently joined a gym and I met with Sue Singer, fitness director and certified personal trainer at Snap Fitness in Medford, NJ. She suggested I create a vision board. I've done them before and decided to give it a go. In the creation of the board, I found it to be important to be totally devoid of what I thought should be on it and chose only those words, phrases and pictures that grabbed me - made me say, Ooooo! Ahhhhh! Ohhhhhh! Mmmmm... and Hmm... By keeping the mind out of it, it is truly a message from my spirit. In it are images of a passionately lived life - not to be held back by a body with limitations. It speaks of being the best possible me I can be, aging well and in good health - of being "well preserved", and (now that my children are getting older and will soon all be out of the house) to making connections with friends and a deeper connection to my Lovie-Dearest. It reminds me that I am a work in progress and asks "How good can you feel?" The doorway puzzled me at first. Why that picture? I've come to understand that the doorway represents choice - my choice to "walk through the door" - which has become code for taking care of my body, the vessel of my spirit. Every time I see the door I ask myself, "Did I walk through the door today?" It can also apply to life in general and the question "Am I truly living? Or just taking up space?" The central greenery was so important to me. In the online retreat I am taking we talked about Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine Abbess, who was also a theologian, visionary, musical composer, spiritual director, artist, preacher and healer, who was recognized as a saint in 2012. One of her fundamental principles is Veriditas or the greening power of God. This central picture represents the desire for a life that has the life-giving lushness of this greenery - a fullness of life that is cultivated in both body and spirit. And the reminder "La vie est belle" - that life is, indeed, beautiful.

All of our life experiences form and shape us... through the experiences we choose, those that are imposed upon us by others and those that naturally occur because that's just the way life works (such as the natural progression of having children and watching them grow into the world). Through all of our experiences - all the different threads that make up the fabric of our lives - like the weaving of a fine tapestry we are constantly growing... developing... becoming. And the more I contemplate the question "I am ____" the more I have come to believe that I am, you are, we are GIFT - each one God's special and unique gift to one another endowed with a myriad of talents - some cultivated over time through concentrated effort or life experience and others naturally inherent. And, when we choose to be the gift we are, we become light in the darkness, given to bring comfort, mercy, and love with tenderness, patience, and compassion.

I have become so aware of the rhythm of this life and how much it reminds me of the seasons of the year... All of life is comprised of these natural cycles - of newness and growth, of fullness and ripening, of quieting and letting go, and of stillness, waiting and the death that is needed to springboard us into newness once again. I have definitely turned the corner and am more sensitive and compassionate toward those experiencing the winter-times of their lives for having had the experience. I feel as though I am waking up. I am more myself than I have been in some time... perhaps ever. I'm consistently exercising again and back in the kitchen cooking (and baking) up some really delicious and nutritious foods. My fatigue and the occasional sense of "overwhelm" remind me to be patient with myself... to not take on too much and to be especially attentive to those things that nourish me and to reconsider involvement in those things that deplete me. But, I am definitely moving toward a spring time of life once again. The circle at the center of this mandala captivates me... and, I wonder what it is that I am giving birth to at this time? One can only hope that it is a fuller, more authentic expression of myself and the knowledge of the gift of who I am.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2014 Aquarius New Moon Mandala
January 30, 2014

"You are the Light of the World"

You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
It is set on a lampstand,
Where it gives light to all in the house.
MT 5:14-15

I mentioned in last month's journal entry that I had felt that for 6 months or so I could feel like I was being pulled out of my grief and back into life. One of the ways that happened was through the formation of a new ministry at my parish. I awoke abruptly one early summer morning... VERY early... too early to get up and yet sleep would not come, so I decided to get out of bed and do some Centering Prayer. What else is there to do at 2:30-3:00 in the morning? As I sat, the thread that kept going through my mind was an invitation to start a Prayer Shawl Ministry, the when, the how, and the why of it... everything one might need to know to get one started. So many times I gently brought my sacred word forward and yet the message was persistent... unyielding. Since the prayer time was not at all restful, I decided to do another 30 minute set. This time it was much more peaceful as I could sit quietly, undisturbed and watch thoughts float by. Feeling a little more refreshed yet still too early to make noise in the house, I decided on a third set. Again, the "instructions" were insistent. I finally said, "Okay, Okay! I got it! Will do!" The sun began to rise and it was time to move into the day. September came. I set the date of the first meeting, set up posters, put notices in the bulletin and set up a donation bin where members of the parish could donate their yarn. 22 women joined the group. We have been meeting on 3rd Thursday of each month since to pray, craft, and consider avenues for our talents and gifts. We've even set up another date in the month for those that want to learn. The work of our hands and hearts has gifted and blessed couples at their wedding rehearsals, the homebound who feel alone and forgotten; they have warmed and comforted those who are going through a hard winter, and those that grieve, they have blessed couples who are preparing to welcome a child into their homes through natural birth or adoption and at the end of January our youth group took supplies, coats and our new, handmade scarves to the homeless whose address is Tent City, Camden, NJ. So often these garments are received with tears of gratitude and a realization that someone out there cares enough to craft simple yarn into something warm and comforting as a symbol of love, care and concern. We had our January meeting two weeks prior to this new moon and there was no time in my crazy schedule to bundle, label and get the newly made shawls ready for our various ministries to pick up and deliver. And yet, on this day, the day of the Aquarius New Moon - a time marked by brotherly love and humanitarian efforts as well as innovation and ingenuity (I was thinking I need to find a quicker and easier way to get these ready "for market" LOL) I finally had time. Interesting synchronicity don't you think? And so the month began...


The first thought: You are the light of the world which is the title given to the work. Colors associated with Aquarius are white, electric blue and lighter shades of blue. The color of the spectrum is purple. Gem is amethyst. Power stones are sapphire and black pearl.

I found this mandala to be very complex and profound! 10 is a reoccurring number in this mandala... in the center flower, the 10-pointed circle, and the outer petals. The circle is divided into four parts, which makes it directional in quality... We can get a sense of the North, South, East and West in the division. A large triangle is easily missed as the central, crystal-like flower draws the eye.

Ten, then, being the symbol of matter in harmony; along with the triangle we get a picture of the Creator and creation... coexisting in peace. I felt moved to color the background different shades of purple, representing the four directions and the seasons they represent: N/Winter, E/Spring, S/ Summer and W/Fall. This indicates to me that this message of "being light" through acts of brotherly love and humanitarian effort is not just for a season - such as Lent for example when one might focus on charity - but rather a year round, full time way of being.

I can't help but think of the song made famous by the 5th Dimension when I look at this mandala, particularly the third paragraph:

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation
Aquarius! Aquarius!

...Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in
The sun shine in...

But rather than letting the sun shine in... this mandala invites us to be the light that we are and let the light shine... out!


Notable Quotes

Through the Holy Spirit Christ himself is present in us and takes form in our lives.
Through us, he is the one who prays, forgives, spreads hope and consolation,
Serves our brothers and sisters, draws close to the needy and the least,
creates unity and sows peace.
Pope Francis

You were made from love
to be love
to spread love.
Kid President

I know myself by my acts of humanity.
Affirmation, Zodiac Arts Newsletter

Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse asks: Are you awake?

Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual.
You have an obligation to be one.
You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this.
Eleanor Roosevelt

For me, to be a saint is to be myself. Therefore the problem with sanctity and salvation is
in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
Thomas Merton

Uncover what you long for and you will discover who you are.
Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

A meaningful life is not being rich,
being popular, being highly educated or
being perfect...
It's about being real, being humble,
being able to share, and touch the lives of others.
It is only then that we could have
a full, happy and contented life.

Do your little bit of good wherever you are.
It's those little bits added all together that overwhelm the world.
Desmond Tutu

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance lean down, pick something up and throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water. He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up, and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean." The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" To this the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented. "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."
Loren Eiseley

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But if that drop was nothing the ocean, I think that ocean would be less.
I do not agree with the big way of doing things...
To us what matters is an individual.
To get to love the person, we must come in close contact...
I believe in person to person, every person is Christ for me,
And since there is only one Jesus,
That person is the one person in the world at that moment.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

In our busy lives we often overlook the simple acts of kindness and generosity
that we are able to extend and receive.
We don't realize that God is present in the good we hardly notice, ...
Yeah, it's a big ocean. But, in the vision of God, every drop of grace matters.
Rev. Andrew Jamieson

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) Three waitresses at an Illinois restaurant say they could only stare in disbelief when a woman over the weekend handed them each a $5,000 check. The woman told the waitresses to use the money for school and "everything else in life." The money will be used to pay for a last semester for one of the waitresses to earn her associate degree in criminal justice, which was too expensive, but she will now return to school.

Share your bread with the hungry.
Shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothe the naked when you see them,
And do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
And your wound shall quickly be healed;
Is 58:7-8a

Let the world know why you're here
And do it with passion.
Dr. Wayne Dyer

We awaken in Christ's body
As Christ awakens our bodies,
And my poor hand is Christ.
He enters my foot, and is infinitely me.

I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly whole,
Seamless in His Godhood.)

I move my foot and at once
He appears like flash of lightening.
Do my words seem blasphemous? Then
Open your heart to Him

And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him
We wake up inside Christ's body

Where all our body, all over
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us, utterly, real,

And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably
Damaged, is in Him transformed

And recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light
He awakens as Beloved
In every last part of our body.
Symeon the New Theologian, 9th-10th c Eastern Orthodox monk

Hurt people hurt people.
That's how pain patterns get passed on,
generation after generation after generation.
Break the chain today.
Meet anger with sympathy,
contempt with compassion,
cruelty with kindness.
Greet grimaces with smiles.
Forgive and forget about finding fault.
Love is the weapon of the future.
Yehuda Berg

Be the reason someone smiles today
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

You say you are confused because it is complicated.
Allow Paul to clarify and simplify things for you.
This is the will of God: That you be saints.
Matthew Kelly, The Narrow Path

A negative mind will never give you a positive life.

Love as Jesus loved?
Everyone, always, wholeheartedly.
Fr. James Martin, SJ

That's the thing about inner beauty?
Unlike physical beauty which
Grabs the spotlight for itself
Inner beauty shines on everyone
Catching them, holding them in its embrace
Making them more beautiful too.

Be both.

It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.
It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
L.R. Knost, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

"How does one fly?" she asked pensively.
"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers

Everyone is my teacher.
Some I see. Some I subconsciously attract.
Often I learn simply by observing others.
Some may be completely unaware that I'm learning from them,
yet I bow deeply in gratitude.
Eric Allen

Our greatest strength lies in the
Gentleness and tenderness of our heart.

In the tapestry of life, we're all connected.
Each one of us is a gift to those around us.
Helping each other be who we are,
weaving a perfect picture together.
Anita Moorjani

Heaven on earth is a choice we must make,
Not a place we must find.
Dr. Wayne Dyer

Generosity will make you rich.

A candle loses nothing by lightening another candle.
Go light the world!
Living with Christ

If you're going to rise,
You might as well shine.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
And that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
...the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
1 Cor 3:16, 17b

It's a game changer and really very simple. Be the light that you are! No striving to become... no working toward..."You ARE the light of the world." When we stop instead of walk past... when we help instead of ignore... listen instead of turning the other way... smile instead of scowl, we ARE light and that light shines on everyone in the room. And yes, it really is just that simple. And as I have said and written on numerous occasions on a grander scale you can wear yourself out doing this work - There are SOOOO many in need... so much to be done - so be mindful of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs and limits. Thomas Merton said, "To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times." There will ALWAYS be a multitude of starfish to throw back into the ocean. Know when to stop and take care of you so that you can rise the next day and serve the many you will encounter with patience, tenderness and love. So where do we start? Consider: What's important to you? What makes your heart weep? What stops you dead in your tracks with compassion, sympathy, empathy? What breaks your heart? What feeds your soul? If need be, what can you let go of to work for that? Ask God and be open to what comes... as crazy as it might seem to you in the moment... be open and trust that The Eternal Light will guide you to where you are to be, doing what is your purpose to fulfill, shining a light that only you can shine. In the meantime, smile more, stop and smell the roses - actually, don't just smell them but really look at them and take in their beauty - that goes for people too! (Well, maybe not the smelling part but you get the picture!)... hold a few doors, let the person behind you in the grocery line with just a few items or the one in a terribly hurry (or a crying child) go ahead of you... love your children, your spouse, the people in your life and be the light of the world...for them.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2014 Pisces New Moon Mandala
February 28, 2014
"Unless A Grain of Wheat"

With Pisces we reach the end of the natural year and review and release in preparation for the new natural year fast approaching. The buzz word for the cycle has been compassion - for myself and others and has been coming to me from a variety of sources. Compassion literally means to suffer through with.

In nature, the trees in particular have been ''speaking'' to me this cycle. The cleansing spring winds have arrived and I muse at how a strong wind can make the trees dance. I pondered how it is that they can sway so from side to side and fall crashing to the ground. I marvel at their rootedness and I question, ''What roots me?'' On the way to church this morning, I noticed that the trees are getting especially fuzzy as they prepare to ''leaf out'' and ''put on'' their new spring coats. When they released their leaves in autumn various homes were revealed...bird nests and hornet nests that had been safely enclosed in the blanket of leaves remained visible throughout the winter months. With the coming spring, they will be covered, enclosed...safely hidden and protected once again. And I wondered, ''What makes its home in me?'' I have spotted a solitary bald eagle on two different occasions in two different places in the past month... a rare sight for this area of the country. I have only seen one prior to these sightings in the decade or so since we moved here. My maiden name is Adler which means eagle in German so this particular bird has much significance for me. Crow continues to make her presence known and the mourning doves are once again nesting in the tree outside my window. The morning air is filled with the happy song of our feathered neighbors as they return from their winter?s sojourn. After uncharacteristically brutal winter we?ve had I don?t think I could be happier to say ''spring is in the air.'' Hope, renewal and new life are making their presence known.

The Mandala

Colors associated with Pisces are shades of purple and iridescent greens. The gem is Aquamarine, the power stone Tourmaline and the color of the Spectrum is violet-red. Christians around the world entered the season of Lent five days into this cycle. Interesting to me, the color associated with Lent in my faith tradition is also violet-red (where Advent is a blue-hued violet or depending on the parish, blue.)

The eight petal ''flower'' at the center instantly reminded me of wheat - winter wheat in particular... and hence the name. And this passage from John 12:24:

Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a single grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

Winter wheat is planted in the autumn to germinate and develop into young plants that remain in a vegetative state all winter long (appearing to be dead) and resumes growing in the spring.
Eight - perfection, infinity, cosmic Christ, divine power, new life, initiation.

The ten circles around the ''wheat'' represent endings and beginnings. Ten holds all the numbers that precede it, and so the colors of the spectrum were chosen. Everything that has gone before has brought us to this time... to this place... to this moment - it?s all part of our fabric.

16 (7+8+1) Large, egg-like ovals hold the majority of the space in this mandala and for me express a great deal of energy - like electrons revolving around a nucleus. These ovals are sectioned off by 16 lines emanating from the center circle of ''wheat.'' 16 indicates achievement of the material power; being considered the ''final'' number of emanation, it represents the Incarnation completed, (according to Abellio.) I chose the color Aquamarine here with a glitter overlay. Unfortunately, the scan doesn?t pick up the glitter. This area pops, sparkles and shines!

48 suns peek over the horizon in the outer band. My favorite symbolic understanding of this number from J. Boehme sees there the symbol of the divine humanity. I chose the colors of the watermelon tourmaline for this band. Tourmaline, for its cleanings properties...watermelon in particular for its balancing properties. The colors just make me happy when I look at them. Maybe this particularly long, brutal winter has me longing for warmer summer days?

There is so much energy in this mandala! It speaks to me of endings and beginnings... of death and a movement toward the new life that awaits us. And at the center of it all is our connection to Christ.

The Month
Notable Quotes

Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental.
They are very demanding.
If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (born 1931); Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve.
You don't have to have a college degree to serve.
You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace.
A soul generated by love
Martin Luther King Jr.

Keep calm and carry on?
No thanks.
I'd rather raise hell and
change the world!!

Everything you have experienced in life has served a purpose:
it brought you here, to this exact point.
Your struggles and tragedies and triumphs brought you here.
To this night.
To this moment where you can now choose to be happy,
where you can now choose to serve with excellence,
where you can now open to love,
where you can now live as your highest self.
You've been through enough.
Brendon Burchard - Live. Love. Matte

For every minute you are angry
You lose 60 seconds of being happy.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For every minute you are angry, worried, anxious...
You lose. Period.
Lynn Keefer

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you?
...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Gospel MT 6

Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity.
He started giving each one a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.

Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing others around and there was utter chaos.

At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.

The speaker began- exactly this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.

Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. And this is the purpose of human life.
with Virgil Sanchez, Myro Casas and Singh Ravinder Ramgarhia
Source: I Can't Believe It

The question is not, "Will you find your wings?"
But rather, "What will you wear with all those magnificent feathers?"
Curly Girl Designs

My To Do List:
Let go of Judgment.
Be open to possibilities.
Smile a lot.
Trust my intuition.
Practice Mindfulness.
Be enthusiastic.
Be creative.
Embrace Change.
Be happy
Zen Mamma

Surround yourself with the Dreamers and the Doers,
the Believers and Thinkers
but most of all
surround yourself with those who see the GREATNESS within you,
even when you don?t see it yourself.
Edmund Lee

Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.
The Dalai Lama

I do not understand the mystery of grace -
only that it meets us where we are and
does not leave us where it found us.
Anne Lamott

What zest life acquires when we allow ourselves
to be filled by the love of God!
Pope Francis

Don't compare yourself to other Christians.
Compare yourself to Christ.
He's the one you're following.

The tongue has no bones,
But it is strong enough to break a heart.
Be careful with your words.

A connection to Spirit
restores your confidence
relieves your anxiety,
and frees you from the desire to
control everything in your life.
Sonia Choquette

Always say ''yes'' to the present moment.
What could be more futile, more insane,
than to create inner resistance to what already is?
What could be more insane than to oppose life itself,
which is now and always now?
Surrender to what is.
Say ''yes'' to life -
and see how life suddenly starts working for you
rather than against you.
Eckhart Tolle

The past is a ghost,
The future a dream.
All we ever have is now.
Bill Cosby

She stood in the storm
And when the wind did not blow her way
She adjusted her sails.
Elizabeth Edwards

It is the supreme paradox of the Christian spiritual tradition that we become filled with joy precisely in the measure that we contrive a way to make of ourselves a gift. By emptying out the self in love for the other, we become filled to the brim with the divine life. The smile of that Missionary of Charity, which was the same smile Mother Teresa bore, signaled the presence of a joy that no wealth, no security, no pleasure, no honor could possibly provide, and that can emerge even in the most miserable context.

The secret to joy is self-giving love. Mother Teresa imparted that to her sisters,
and she offers the same lesson to us.
Fr. Robert Barron

Honor and love who you are,
You are a beautiful and powerful reflection of divinity.
Doreen Virtue

Our prayer may be awkward
Our attempts may be feeble,
But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it
And not in the one who says it
Our prayers do make a difference.
Max Lucado

We are a pencil in the hand of God.
Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I have just three things to teach:
Patience and
These three are your greatest treasures.
Lao Tzu

Find the sweetness in your own heart
Then you may find the sweetness in every heart.

Living under Christ's kindness

Choose to remember there is nobody else in the universe like you and
reclaim your power as both a human and a divine being.
Debbie Ford

Everything on earth has a purpose,
every disease an herb to cure it,
And every person a mission.
This is the Indian theory of existence.
Mourning Dove/Christal Quintasket, Native American author

What if you looked in the mirror and saw your character
instead of your face?
Sue Fitzmaurice, author

Your mind is a garden,
your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers, or
you can grow weeds.
Ritu Ghatourey, author

The smallest act of kindness is worth more
than the greatest intention.
Kahlil Gebran

Find the road to happiness
by helping others.
Fortune Cookie message/FB share from Tosha Silver

I will be waiting here.
For your silence to break.
For your soul to shake.
For your love to wake.

Anyone who is concerned about the Christian personality and
its self-realization will always be anxious, willy-nilly, about his own growth
while the witness of Christ par excellence speaks thus:
He must increase and I must decrease.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Swiss theologian and Catholic priest,
author You Crown the Year with Your Goodness

Live in such a way that if anyone should speak ill if you
No one would believe it.

One message at the heart of the Christian faith is this:
your life is not about you.
Father Robert Barron

While praying one day a woman asked,
"Who Are You, Lord?"
He Answered, "I Am".
But, Who Is I Am? She Said.
And He Replied .."I Am Love, I Am Peace,
I Am Grace, I Am Joy,
I Am The Way, Truth, And The Light ...
I Am The Comforter,
I Am Strength, I Am Safety,
I Am Shelter, I Am Power, I Am The Creator,
I Am The Beginning And The End,
I Am The Most High".
The Girl With Tears In Her Eyes Looked
Toward Heaven And Said,
"Now I Understand.
But Lord, Who Am I?"
Then God Tenderly Wiped The Tears
From Her Eyes And Whispered,
"You Are Mine".

Sometimes your only available transportation is a
Leap of faith.
Margaret Shephard

Sometimes you get the best light from
a burning bridge.
Don Henley

Set yourself on fire and
seek those who would fan your flame.

For you were called for freedom, brothers.
But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
Galatians 5:13

Anna: Olaf...you're melting.
Olaf: Some people are worth melting for.
From Frozen

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness... This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud... I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God?s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed...
I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
Thomas Merton

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven't found it yet,
keep looking.
Don't settle.
Steve Jobs

There is but one question: Does our Lord want me to do this for Him?
Dr. S. Mary Glowery, JMJ, Servant of God

It is in giving ourselves,
emerging from ourselves
that we find true joy.
Pope Francis

Do unto others is a great big step in healing whatever hurts you.
Bro. Mickey McGrath

At the center of every rose window is a depiction of Christ (even when Mary seems to be the focus, she is carrying the Christ child on her lap), and then wheeling around him in lyrical and harmonious patterns are the hundreds of medallions, each depicting a saint or a scene from scripture.

The message of the window is clear: When one's life is centered on Christ, all the energies, aspirations, and powers of the soul fall into a beautiful and satisfying pattern. And by implication, whenever something other than Christ--money, sex, success, adulation--fills the center, the soul falls into disharmony.

Jesus expressed this same idea when he said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given unto you" (Mt 6:33). When the divine is consciously acknowledged as the ground and organizing center of one's existence, something like wholeness or holiness is the result.

Don't live your life on the rim of the circle, but rather at the center.
Focus on that reliable, unchanging point where Christ resides.
Fr. Robert Barron

I began this natural year with the Mandala ''See as God Sees.'' To truly see as God sees we must die - not a physical death - but death to the part of us that wants what it wants when it wants it - the part that desires power, control, affection, esteem, security and survival - the Me, Me, Me part of us. To see as God sees, we must look with love and compassion upon the other and know that they are us and we are them, united in the most sacred of bonds at the deepest, purest level of being where there is only love... dwelling in radiant beauty...shining like the sun... in indescribable peace and contentment. And the paradox of it all, is that we find our joy and happiness in this human form when our life is not about us...but rather, when we give our lives away - when we are more concerned for the happiness of others. And that, at its core, is a Christ centered life. He must increase...we must decrease. May the Beloved One find a home in us so that, like the wheat which grows and produces more through its death than it can as a single grain, we may pour ourselves out for the life of the world.

Blessed Lent!
Love, Hugs and Blessings,

Lynn :)

2014 Aries New Moon Mandala
March 30, 2014
#HappyNewYear, #freshstarts, #Love, #Hope

Usually in the balsamic phase I start getting a sense of what's coming. But the day before the new moon nothing was really registering. That evening driving home I finally got it!! And I laughed! Following the theme of the past three years and speaking metaphorically, we've been preparing a plot of land for planting -preparing for a new way of being: the first year we cleared away small stuff... Things easily removed. The following year we uprooted dead trees and cleared away large boulders... Not fun and not a year I would care to repeat, but necessary. Thinking back to last year I am humbled to remember that sometimes a symbol can be misinterpreted. After having been through two years of cleaning and clearing I really wasn't up to another one. Upon seeing the tiller last spring I was relieved to think that we were getting ready to plant, only to find that it was indeed going to be another cleaning and clearing year? this time at a very deep level. On the last day of the balsamic phase...the second day of a three day "soaker" (soaking rain) the symbol came: RAIN!!! The symbol for this year is rain! And as much as it pains me to say it... we're still not planting -still in the process of becoming. We may dream about those beautiful flowers and long for their intoxicating fragrance or those amazing garden grown vegetables - drooling already, especially over the tomatoes - but this year it's all about that first spring rain. During the winter months the earth compacts and hardens. The tiller begins the process of breaking up the dry, dense, hard earth and allows what's buried beneath to rise to the surface. Tilling cracks the crust, and turns under old, outworn growth as compost for future growth. But the first rain of spring? What's the big deal about the first spring rain? It softens. And so this new natural year and the Aries cycle began...

The Mandala
Aries energy is assertive, competitive, impulsive, pioneering. Colors associated with Aries are light, bright shades of red, white, gold and deep blue. Color of the spectrum is red. Gem is diamond. Power stone is ruby. The germination from last cycle continues... and something new unfolds. From the outside in then:

Three circles, not concentric, but are reminiscent of last month's "budding" cell division.
Three: invokes expression, versatility, pure joy of creating, fruitfulness. ~whatsyoursign.com
Two perpendicular, intersecting rectangles create a cross, not unlike the Red Cross or a medical first aid symbol.
This cross with equal sides can also symbolize relationship and balance, integration, connection.
~Br. Mickey McGrath, Circles and Squares mandala class
Square "on point" - square symbolizes earth to me... solid... grounded ... the four corners of... but this one is standing "on its ear" which says to me, whatever is being revealed or birthed is new... radical... will change the way the world looks at things or the way the world functions.
Four concentric circles - brings our focus to the center, like a target, a bulls eye.
Four quadrants - not directional in nature (NSEW) but along with the concentric circles creates a sight of sorts - along with the concentric circles focusing our gaze.
Four diamonds - again not directional, but here perhaps added to indicate something precious, rare, valuable; or a covenant - like marriage. Diamonds are often given in promise of marriage.
Four intersecting circles - creating mandorlas/vesica piscis that form the central cross. Mandorals (Italian for almond) are symbols of womb and "birthing" - door ways through which the divine manifests... the coming together of heaven and earth... spirit and matter.
Four: stability, grounded nature, solidity, calmness, home-ing, get back to your roots, center yourself. Can also indicate a need for persistence and endurance. ~whatsyoursign.com
Cross: symbol of sacrificial love.

And over the whole thing what appears to me to be a hash tag (#) but also turned on its side - a new way of communicating?

The Month
Notable Quotes

When it rains look for rainbows.
When it's dark look for stars.

Remember that deciding to be happy and healthy
requires courage and focus.
It is ever so much easier
to let allow negativity and fear to run your life.
Dr. Christiane Northrop

I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in that religion or this religion,
we are all seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness...
"Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

There will be a time when the world needs you to be courageous
When your family and friends count on you
When your dreams are on the line
When giving up won't make sense any more
When the power of love
begs to break through.

That time is now.
Brendon Burchard, author of Life's Golden Ticket

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if
he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and
more time tasting her sweetness and
respecting her seniority.
E. B. White

It is our collective and individual responsibility
to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.
Dalai Lama XIV, he says pointing to his brain

Do something today your future self will thank you for.

If only we can bring the wisdom of the body to consciousness,
spirit will no longer be homesick for home.
Marion Woodman, Leaving my Father's House

It is the supreme paradox of the Christian spiritual tradition that we become filled with joy precisely in the measure These last few years I have been asking the question of how I might not just see caring for my body as woven together with how I care for my vocation, as the body is the vehicle for my expression in the world. I am beginning to see the care of my body itself as the primary vocation, regardless of how that facilitates my doing.

This is a subtle, but profound, shift I have been working to integrate. What if beneath the many important things I am called to do in this world, the most fundamental of those is to cherish my body being, this sacred vessel, my soul's address. Not just so I can work harder, but because my body, just as it is, is the most profound voice of wisdom I can access and the very shape of my being in the world.

What if you are in this world to learn to cherish and adore this exact vessel that is your birthright? How might this change your relationship to your body?
Christine Valters Painter Phd.

Eat like you love yourself.
Move like you love yourself.
Speak like you love yourself.
Act like you love yourself.
Allison Tibbs

Because you do love yourself.
(Or else you absolutely should.)
The Light Within, about the previous quote

In the confrontation between the river and the rock
The river always wins
Not through strength
But by perseverance.

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day
unless you're too busy;
Then you should sit for an hour.
Old Zen Saying

You are stronger than you think.
FB/Letters of Gratitude

Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking
the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

Don't wish for it.
Work for it.
FB/The Get in Shape Girl

Animal totem: eagle
The Eagle is a sacred messenger and omen of good news. With great courage it soars over all the trouble below. Like the eagle, you have great clarity of vision - follow it...
(Three circling eagles circling overhead this morning ?amazing!)

Do you love the ocean?
Keep an ocean mind.
Light Stays

Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much,
whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much;
as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much.
You must lead a good life.
And a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter.
These are not sufficient.
A good motivation is what is needed:
compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy;
just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and
respecting their rights and human dignity.
Dalai Lama XIV

There are three gifts you control
your thoughts
your speech
your behavior.
With these three you can change your whole life and the whole world.
Sue Fitzmaurice, author

There is a stereotype that we must be depressed at Lent. Lent is the Church's springtime. Jesus says this is the time of fulfillment. As his ambassadors, we must embrace joy.

In Lent we are called not just to be born again, but to have a relationship with Jesus, not just in the bread and wine, but with each other. If we can't find the presence of God in each other, then we'll never find it in the bread and wine.
David Haas, composer

The Resurrection is the very heart and soul of Christianity. Without the Resurrection, Christianity collapses. It's the standing and falling point of the faith. Therefore, to deny the Resurrection is to cease to be Christian. You might pick up bits and pieces of Christianity here and there, and you might follow Jesus as a wise spiritual teacher, but without the Resurrection the whole thing falls apart.

Speaking more practically, the Resurrection is key to spiritual detachment. If God has a life for us beyond this life, one not so much opposed to this earthly life but inclusive of and beyond it, then I'm able to wear this world much more lightly. I'm not as obsessed with finding my joy here.

Those who are not convinced of the Resurrection, who believe they'll just die and that's it, naturally chase after wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. But once you're convinced of the Resurrection, you know this world isn't ultimate. You can let go of those earthly pursuits, stop chasing them, and aspire toward a life on high with God, which is a life of love. Becoming a person of love thus becomes your central goal.
Fr. Robert Barron

When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
... When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
Because it is the time and place that the cour
se will divert!
Rumi, The Essential Rumi

People don't always need advice.
Sometimes all they really need is a hand to hold,
an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.

Grant me the strength to focus this week,
to be mindful and present,
to serve with excellence,
to be a force of love.
Brendon Burchard

In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?
Gautama Buddha

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.
Andrew Murphy

True renewal is achieved at the cost of some pain.
St. Francis deSales

Be completely honest with yourself.
Try it.
It requires real effort, self awareness and grace.
Matthew Kelly, The Narrow Path

I speak to everyone in the same way
whether he is the garbage man or
the president of the university.
Albert Einstein

Beneath every challenge
is a gift designed to
transform my life.
Cheryl Richardson

The world is transformed through suffering love.
Fr. Robert Barron

No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.

I'm fat.
No. You're so much more.
Rachel Wiley

It's hard to fly when something is weighing you down.

Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer Thee this day all my thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings.
Daily offering, Short form

What we say, think and feel are extremely important.
But it's what we do that changes our world.
Paul Boynton, Begin with Yes

Let yourself be carried by others to God.
Pope John XXIII

John XIII shows us it's okay to have a sense of humor, as a matter of fact I think its a requirement of the spiritual life. He was a joyful person. People were drawn to him, drawn to his sense of humor, drawn to his jokes. So, I always say John XIII's Message for us is, "Have a laugh...for God's sake."
Fr. James Martin about Pope John XIII

A life richly lived is actually filled with good days and difficult days ?
Hearts overflowing and broken hearts too. It all comes with the territory.
You've been through a lot and now you're ready to be bold and brave and you know that, whatever happens, you'll be OK!
Into the mystery we go.
Paul Boynton, Begin With Yes

Dear God,
Thanks for this beautiful life and please forgive me if I don't love it enough.
FB/Daily Bible Message

Blessing the Body
This blessing takes
one look at you
and all it can say is

Holy hands.
Holy face.
Holy feet.
Holy everything
in between.

Holy even in pain.
Holy even when weary.
In brokenness, holy.
In shame, holy still.

Holy in delight.
Holy in distress.
Holy when being born.
Holy when we lay it down at the hour of our death.

So, friend,
open your eyes
(holy eyes).
For one moment
see what this blessing sees,

this blessing that knows
how you have been formed
and knit together
in wonder and
in love.

Welcome this blessing
that folds its hands
in prayer
when it meets you;
receive this blessing
that wants to kneel
in reverence
before you:
you who are
home for God
in this world

Jan Richardson

Humility calls us to the path of yielding and surrender, where we release our own agendas and need for
accomplishment and keep asking where our bodies are asking us to go next.

If there is anything one thing I hope for you after this journey together it is to remember this commitment to gentleness with yourself. Imagine if we each have softened our edges and made a willing descent into the dark and lush space of flesh? Imagine if we no longer held ourselves bound to the endless criticisms of how we look, both external and internal?

What if humility could remind us of the root of the word, humus, or earthiness? What if humility called us back to the work of softening again and again, until our armor had all been laid aside and out of the tender places grew blossoms and fruit?
Christine Valters Painter

The Swan
This laboring of ours with all that remains undone,
as if still bound to it,
is like the lumbering gait of the swan.

And then our dying? releasing ourselves
from the very ground on which we stood?
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself
into the water. It gently receives him,
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,
as wave follows wave,
while he, now wholly serene and sure,
with regal composure,
allows himself to glide.
Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Barrows and Macy

Know this is not your home
but you live in-between
the stars, moon and sea
where you resonate
near edges and borders
shore of rocks and waves
land and river
the space with those
you practice love

Home is not a house
condo, villa or studio
but how you dwell
in each place of your life
there are as many spaces
as there are vegetables
and plant species.

Take comfort in unrest
and know we are all made
for something more
between particles and stardust
the living One is within
your chest and breast
and lives in the ache
of your longing to belong.

The world is temporary
but the love you know and feel
for daffodils and dance
children and creativity
friends and fauna
music and manna

Love breaks form
as you were made from dust
You carry the universe
within you
the mark of great longing.

Don't be fooled
by quenching with false waters
Retire into the life
created from the inside out
an eternal home
a heaven within.

Know the earth
is inside and outside you
here is the space for taking care
of your precious essence.
Make peace with your desire
and be brave
to know you are enough
a home unto yourself.
Celeste Snowber

If we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane.
Robert Frost

As we move into this new year
let us remember that sometimes
it's okay to listen to your heart.
I know it's risky.
Take that leap of faith.
Happy New Year everybody.
Character Sam Ahern, Jr. as he addresses the crowd in the movie New Years Eve

"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788[2][3] and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.

The song's Scots title may be translated into English literally as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago," "days gone by" or "old times". Consequently "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

We'll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.
Robert Burns

There are so many things in this world we can't control...earth quakes, floods, reality shows...but it's important to remember the things that we can: like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts. Because the one thing that turns the world from a lonely place into a beautiful place is love.
Love in any of its forms. Love gives us hope.
Hope for the new year. That's new year's eve to me. Hope. And a great party.
Sam Ahern, Jr. conclusion to the movie New Years Eve

As we enter this new year, let us raise a toast to honor all that has gone before - the good, the bad and the ugly, for within each have been lessons to be learned and assimilated. Let us also remember to be patient and kind with ourselves. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself... with my humanness... thinking I should be growing more... be more than I am. I was driving the other day and the sight of this tiny tree just struck me... spoke volumes.... and I thought in the scheme of things we are not mighty oaks nor towering pines, but sweet, tender, saplings... perhaps thinking or pretending that we are mighty oaks or towering pines. In this time of softening, let us remember our sweetness, our sincerity, our purity, our holiness... and take the risk to be vulnerable once again.

As the first rain softens the earth come spring, may compassion soften our hearts that we might also consider what others might be feeling and experiencing... and as best we can imagine, walk a mile in their shoes... to speak in soft tones with kind words... or perhaps lend an ear to listen, a soft shoulder to cry on... anything to make their road a tad easier to travel. And let us walk softly on this tender earth.

Wishing you every grace and blessing as we journey through this great party called life!
Happy New Year everyone!
May the softening begin!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2014 Taurus New Moon Mandala
April 29, 2014
"In The Flow"

I have looked for conversations with God all my life. The last 11 years, however, have intensified and I have developed what I would call a symbolic life. And by that I mean, because Spirit speaks in symbol, everything means something...everything, and by extension everyone, communicates a message. It requires that one of the ways we hear is with our eyes. And so as I go about my day I'm always looking for The Message...what do I need to know...what is God saying to me today? I never go looking for anything specific, but like Lectio Divina (one way of praying with scripture) I pay attention to what catches my attention, what pops out at me...strikes a chord. Often these messages come through nature, though it can come from a billboard sign, a license plate, a song, quotes, lines from movies...really anywhere! And I have found that a message will keep coming until I get a hold of it and fully unpack it. Last month, with the new natural year and the Aries new moon, a 3 day-soaking rain became the new "umbrella symbol" for the year. I stated that the first spring rain softens the earth. So, this year would be about softening the heart...a softer side to life and living. On the first two days of this cycle, during the Taurus new moon, once again, we had a soaking rain ? two days this time - and I was asked to revisit my interpretation. It occurs to me, that in addition to softening, a spring rain also awakens...it tells sleeping nature, "Wake up! Awake and sleep no longer! It's time! Get up! Get dressed and put on your best coat! It's time to live once again!" These spring rains can also cause flooding, requiring us to get creative and take a different route. So soften! Wake up! Take a different route! ('cause whatever it is, it's not working?) And so the month began...

The Mandala
The initial feeling of this mandala was living "In The Flow." Lots of expanding energy! From the center then:

I envision the twelve (wholeness) crescent moons (expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity) as a flower bud beginning to open...in the process of revealing the gift that it is. There is movement...the movement of unveiling...revealing...yielding to the gift held within. The flower is held by a hexagon (six is symbol of home ? a place of safety, comfort, ease, close abiding relationships, refuge from the world.)

Holding the flower and the hexagon is a triangle ? a symbol of divinity for me. You'll notice that the triangle extends beyond the square (square representing earth, the place of physical manifestation.) All of these shapes converge at the center of a five-pointed star. These "thin" stars often remind me of the physical body... head, arms, legs. So it appears that all of this activity is centered at the heart... in the heart.

A second larger triangle is found outside "the box"... God within...God without...like a fish in water, we being the fish and God the water. The outer area also holds 12 "petals" if you will...what is budding or being unveiled within the heart is flowering out in the world. These twelve petals hold at their tips 24 triangles. Twenty-four. The symbolic number for rebirth.

The Month

We are bathed in the sweetness of Your grace.
Preface Prayer, Holy Thursday

Eat cupcakes
Anna Taylor

Sometimes the best thing you can do is
not think, not wonder
not imagine , not obsess.
Just breathe and have faith
that everything will work out for the best.

What herb am I? Sage.
You're the type of person who has already learned a lot from living. For you, life has been a character building exercise.
Your dream is to live a life you cherish. You don't want to waste time on things that don't matter. You are always
observing and thinking. You appear calm and self-possessed to the outside world. You are concerned with inner beauty.
You think once we understand ourselves, we are beautiful on the inside.

I feel called to do what I do.
Temple University Hospital commercial

This is about you letting go of your insecurity.
This is about you letting go of what other people think.
This is about you learning to accept your imperfections.
Dr. Jen, sports Psychologist to Candace Cameron Bure on DWTS

Who cares what other people think?
With a picture of Sally smiling and swinging on a swing set/FB:Snoopy

Perfection doesn't live here anymore.
Joy does.
Cheryl Richardson

Sending love
wherever it is needed.
Born this Way via Art of Dharma

How people treat other people is a direct reflection
of how they feel about themselves.
Light Stays Retreats

You have inside you everything you need for today.
Use it all up.
Tomorrow you'll wake up with exactly what you need for that day.
Greg Braden

Ponder the fact that God has made you a gardener...
To root out vice and plant virtue.
St. Catherine of Siena

On the path of Love we are neither masters nor the owner of our lives.
We are only a brush in the hand of the Master Painter.

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence.
The only consequence is what we do.
John Ruskin

Throughout history, the crow has been associated with
both positive and negative symbolic meanings.
The most common are:

Life magic; mystery of creation
Destiny, personal transformation, alchemy
Higher perspective
Being fearless, audacious
Flexibility, adaptability
Trickster, manipulative, mischievous
Other traditional meanings associate the crow with bad omen, death, and dark witchcraft.
The crow also carries the power of prophetic insight and symbolizes the void or core of creation.
Spirit Animal Info.

Preserve everything in a pure, still heart
and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving
and for every breath a song.
Konrad von Gesner

To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
G. K. Chesterton via Matt Mahr

I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassions
and where it isn't...that's where my work lies.
Ram Dass

So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
Acts 5:38-39

When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully
because only two things can happen.
Either He will catch you when you fall or
He will give you wings to fly.

Human psychology says, "Find yourself; the answer is in you."
Jesus says, "lose yourself. The answer is in Me."
MT 16:25 - Spirit 104.5

Lord, use my hands, my feet, my voice, my heart.
Use whatever you need of me in the service of Your love.
I am Yours. You are mine. We are one. Amen.
Personal prayer, 5/18

Overcome by paschal JOY
Preface prayer, Easter

Smiling is contagious.
Start an epidemic.
Billboard on Stokes Road, Medford, NJ

Near the end of the cycle I had a visitor in my car. This could be the transition into the next cycle:
Symbolic Wasp Meanings
The prime season of the wasp is spring, and so it is symbolic of new beginnings, and starting new projects.

The wasp is very social, and has special means of communication with its family. When the wasp appears in our lives it is a message for us to consider our own methods of communication. The wasp might be a sign that we may need to express ourselves more clearly.

Because the wasp is symbolic of communication, order and productivity, those who encounter the wasp may ask themselves:

"Are all my affairs in order?"
"Am I aligning myself with my goals?"
"Am I procrastinating about something?"
"Am I keeping myself from reaching my highest potential?"
"Am I allowing my progress to be held back by others?"


The first sign came in the balsamic phase of Aries. I license plate that said GRR8FUL. It just made me smile and reminded me that I have much to be grateful for. A soft heart is grateful.

I have just been enamored with the unfolding of spring in our area this year... the "wee ones" in particular. I've been on the lookout all month for the goslings and baby birds ? signs of new life...new beginnings...the continuation of life. I have been watching the crab apple tree in the back yard from buds and bees to early "fruit." The landscapers have been busy and chopped off a limb of one of the trees. The tree had other ideas and sprouted new limbs. I watch the growth of the pine trees...growing very slowly... perhaps just an inch per year and I am reminded to not get too frustrated with my own personal growth or lack thereof. I've noticed that new growth comes in a different color...a lighter green than the rest of the plant. There is a joyfulness in the color that says, "Here are the new ones!" There is an ease as it all unfolds... Not to worry or be anxious. All is as it is meant to be. As another license plate frame stated: Life is good! Enjoy it!

There is joy and an ease in living in the flow...even when driving in Memorial Day traffic. We went to Belmar on Memorial Day Monday for a much needed day off. We have often gone there over recent years during the summer months for a day to unwind. It is just BLISS! As we got into town, the traffic was very heavy. I said, "No worries. The perfect parking spot is already selected and waiting for us." My husband laughed, frustrated with the slow movement of traffic. My son said, "You think she's kidding?" Sure enough, there it was and for the first time since we've been going, we didn't have to pay for parking. And the drive home was a breeze too.

Another time I was asked to play last minute for a funeral instead of singing for it. I didn't have time to pull my music before I left, so I just got in the car and thought I'll just let the cards fall where they may. Wouldn't you know it? I had green lights all the way to church... that NEVER happens! Record time! (The cantor had the same experience.)

I have found that I need to find a different route in the care of my body. I have found than when I am in transition, the vehicle of my spirit (and The Spirit) is the first to go by the wayside. During this cycle, I finally had time to research and compile some healthier recipes and menus for the coming warmer weather.

A couple of other quotes caught my attention this cycle as well:

Thank you! And thanks for the feedback.
I need to see what people like or don't so I keep going in the right direction. :o)

We can change our lives. We can do, have and be exactly what we wish.
Tony Robbins

To the first quote I would say, "Always, always, ALWAYS follow your heart." The heart ? the place where heaven meets earth...this seat of the Spirit will never lead us astray. The path before us might be confusing, counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, even challenging ? but it will never steer us wrong. Using our body as a compass, if feels right in the body, it's a good thing. Even if we don't want to do it...it will feel right in the body if it is meant for us to do.

And to the second quote: "This is only true if we are in alignment with what God wants." Everything has its time...its place. When feeling overwhelmed take up the next most important task in the spirit of child-like trust. What needs to get done will get done when it is time ...and let everything else go. When at a crossroads and not sure what next?...or where? We open our hands and ask for guidance again in child-like trust knowing the answer will come at the appropriate time. I have found that the truest path is to be found when we open our hands - let go of what we want - and offer ourselves as a conduit to the divine to express the gift... doing the will of the One Who sent us...fulfilling the purpose for which we have been sent for the life of the world...for the greatest possible good ... bathed in the sweetness of God's grace, overcome with joy, to live In The Flow.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn :)

2014 Gemini New Moon Mandala
May 28, 2014
In All Your Glory

So I've been exploring the softening of these Spring rains. And you may recall last month I wrote that it has been my experience that a symbol will reoccur until you "get it"... until you pick it up. Well... guess what? Yup. Rain again! (And five days of rain surrounding the full moon as well.) I had picked up the message... I understood it, but it wasn't enough just to understand it. I had to take the next step and integrate it into my life. On the 28th of May, the balsamic phase of the previous cycle, as I wrote about being in the flow, I was as far from that concept as one could be. It was an overly programmed, busy day. I was working on a deadline and had no wiggle room in my schedule... .no room for errors... no time for adjustments... "clockwork" was key! And my darling daughter decided to stay after school to finish a project and missed the bus home which would make us late for her appointment. And I. Blew. A gasket! Went off on a rant, dropped what I was doing and out the door I flew. And so the previous cycle ended and this cycle began:

The Mandala


Already in the very center we have a description of the duality of our being: square and star... .heaven and earth...above and below... spirit and matter. Yet, the light within cannot be contained by the physical body...like an aura it shines out surrounding the physical body, affecting the energy around us.

Twelve is the dominant number -found around the small center circle, the 12-armed-star and "the party line." More about that below.
Twelve is the number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit. In the ancient civilizations, like Oriental and Judaic, it corresponds to the plenitude, the completion and the integrality of a thing. Represent the manifestation of the Trinity to the four corners of the horizon - 3 X 4. Number attributed to the government of the world or the cosmos. It is the creative capacity, and in some religions, it expresses also the Divine Mother.

Another prominent number is Six and is seen in the two stars:
The symbolism behind number Six is legend. With Venus as its ruler, Six represents harmony, balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Six naturally reveals solutions for us in a calm, unfolding manner. We invoke the Six when we need delicate diplomacy when dealing with sensitive matters. The spiritual meaning of number Six also deals with enlightenment; specifically "lighting" our path in areas we require spiritual and mental balance. Sixes beckon us to administer compassion and consciously choose forgiveness in a situation.

And the Four of the two squares:
The symbolic meaning of number Four deals with stability and invokes the grounded nature of all things. Consider the four seasons, four directions, four elements all these amazingly powerful essences wrapped up in the nice square package of Four. Fours represent solidity, calmness, and home. A recurrence of Four in your life may signify the need to get back to your roots, center yourself, or even "plant" yourself. Fours also indicate a need for persistence and endurance.

In the outermost circle is what I like to call "the party line." For those who may be unfamiliar with this concept:

In twentieth-century telephone systems, a party line (also multiparty line or shared service line) was an arrangement in which two or more customers were connected directly to the same local loop. Prior to and during World War II in the United States, party lines were the primary way residential subscribers acquired local telephone service. British users similarly benefited from the party line discount. Farmers in rural Australia used party lines, where a single line travelled miles from the nearest town out to one property then the next.[1]

This "party line" is one continuous looping line which lends movement and energy to the mandala...but the energy is not as frenetic as one might first suspect. Each large loop holds two smaller loops and shares them with adjacent, adjoining loops. They are interconnected... the energy is slower, deliberate, contained, yet potent and powerful.

Over all, the cross beams of the four directions...north, south, east, west...along with the circles are reminiscent of last years "sights" giving us a sense of focus.

The Month

What makes something better is connection.
RSA Shorts - The Power Of Empath

When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote
"No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn."
Maya Angelou dies, 88, author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer.
But above all, she was a storyteller - and her greatest stories were true.

Do God.
Fr. Andrew Jamieson

Proverbs 15:4 A gentile tongue brings healing.
Its amazing what a few kind words can do.
Words have healing power.
Joel Osteen

For one minute please stand here in silence
look at the sky and
contemplate how awesome life is.
The mind Unleashed with M. Caleykix
On the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven

There's no Wi-fi in the forest,
but you'll find a better connection.
The Mind Unleashed

I believe in God.
Never panic.
Just pray.
Daily Bible Message FB

Actions speak louder than words:

More than anything else in the world, Hailey Bretzius, 9, wished she could share her favorite book - Wonder by R.J.Palacio, and its powerful message to choose kindness-with her classmates at Burns Park Elementary school in Ann Arbor. 5-year volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation said, "It's the first wish I've had that the child was thinking of other people."

Choose kindness.
Kennedy's Cause

I signed up for Smile.amazon.com,
You shop. Amazon gives.
Choose a charity and 5% of eligible Amazon Smile purchases will be donated...automatically.

8 year old Michael Diamond of Ohio lost his grandmother recently. He overheard his parents talking about how they couldn't afford a proper burial, so last Thursday, he decided to help out by setting up a stand selling Kool-Aid to raise money for his grandmother's funeral.

He sold $55 dollars worth the first day, but the local news found out about it and did a story on Michael. The next day tons of people came out to buy Kool-Aid! Some people paid $100 a cup. By Monday, he had raised over $5,500! Enough to give his grandmother a decent service. One boy with a selfless plan + lots of generous people = inspiration and respect.

105th birthday of Sir Nicholas Winston
Who rescued 669 children destined for death camps from Nazis,
arranged for them to have homes and smuggled them to Great Brittain.

Let nothing dim the light that shines within.
Maya Angelou

Live more complain less.
More smiles less stress.
Hate less, more blessed.

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get.
Life should be touched, not strangled.
You've got to relax, let it happen at times,
and let others move forward with it.
~ Ray Bradbury via Elephant journal on Facebook.
Ed: Kate Bartolotta

Make love a verb.
Cheryl Richardson

Because some questions cannot be answered by Google.

Like the Good Samaritan,
may we not be ashamed of touching the wounds of those who suffer,
but try to heal them with concrete acts of love.
Pope Francis on Twitter

Most of all, let love guide your life.
Col. 3:14 via The Art of Dharma

I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

Being a good Christian demands concrete action and deeds.
Pope Francis, VATICAN CITY

Orchid Symbolism
love, luxury, rare and delicate beauty, strength, virility.

Doe and fawn crossing the road in front of me today:
Deer, Power Animal, Symbol of Gentleness, Unconditional Love and Kindness
Deer has entered your life to help you walk the path of love with full consciousness and awareness, to know that love sometimes requires caring and protection, not only in how we love others, but also in how we love ourselves.
Ina Woolcott,

Actions speak louder than words;
let your words teach and your actions speak.
St. Anthony of Padua

People should not worry about what they do
but rather what they are.
If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant.
If you are righteous, then what you do will be righteous.
We should not think that holiness is based on what we do
but rather on what we are, because it is not our works
that sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.
Meister Eckhart, Dominican theologian

The words you speak become the house you live in.

Dear past, thank you for your lessons.
Dear future, I'm ready.
Dear God, thank you for another chance.

From Elizabeth Gilbert:

I'm a big fan of the notion of the inner child. It can be a really healing construct. Once, when I was going through a particularly dark season of self-loathing, I taped a sweet photo of myself (age 2) on my mirror, and taught myself that any harm I did to me, I also did to HER. It made me kinder and more tender to myself. Imagining other people's inner children makes me kinder and more tender to them.

So the Inner Child is a good thing.

These days, though, I spend less time thinking about my Inner Child lately, and more time focused on my INNER CRONE ? the old lady who lives inside me, whom I hope to someday be. Because she's a serious bad-ass.

The really old ladies always are bad-asses. I'm talking about the real survivors. The women who have been through everything already, so nothing scares them anymore. The ones who have already watched the world fight itself nearly to death a dozen times over. The ones who have buried their dreams and their loved ones and lived through it. The ones who have suffered pain and lived through it, and who have had their innocence challenged by ten thousand appalling assaults... and who lived through all of it.

The world is a frightening place. But you simply cannot frighten The True Crone. Some might consider the word "crone" to be derogatory, but I don't in the least. I honor it. The crone is a classic character from myth and folklore, and she often the bearer of great wisdom and supernatural power. She is sometimes a guardian to the underworld. She has tremendous vision, even if she is blind. She has no fear of death, which means: NO FEAR.

So these days, when my Inner Child gets all fluttery with the panic of living, I just ask myself: " WWMICD?"
"What Would My Inner Crone Do?"

Ask yourself that same question. See what she tells you.
One thing I can promise you she will never say? She will never say: "WORRY.
She will more likely tell you this: "ENDURE."

Let us free our mind for a moment.
Let us release from the roar of distraction,
and sense our heart and our space.
Let us simply be afloat in awareness,
a harmony and acceptance and gratitude to what is all around us, now.
Yes, let us simply be. Amen.
Brandon Burchard, author of Life's Golden Ticket

i found god in myself
and i loved her
i loved her fiercely
~ Ntozake Shange, American playwright and poet

Turtle Symbolism:
The turtle totem wisdom teaches us about walking our path in peace and sticking to it with determination and serenity. Slow moving on earth, yet also incredibly fast and agile in water, those who have the turtle as totem or spirit animal may be encouraged to take a break in their busy lives and look around or within themselves for more grounded, long-lasting solutions. Traditionally, the turtle is symbolic of the way of peace, whether it's inviting us to cultivate peace of mind or a peaceful relationship with our environment.
By Elena Harris, SpiritAnimal.com Editor

To practice art, no matter how well or badly
is a way to make your soul grow.
Kurt Vonnegut

Dear God,
I know that words matter.
I know that I can build up my family or tear it down just with my words.
I pray that you would help me today to be in control of my words and
use them to build my family up.
In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Internet not working...needed to scrub, uninstall old programs (old version of Java causing problems and upload update).
It works now!!! On another note...a cup of Java in the morning is really helpful these days!! Lol

Gi-normous, dutch-oven-sized horseshoe crab seen at Ocean City
With a mixture of moon, copper, feminine and that hard exoskeleton... we start to get a symbolic-horseshoe-crab-dialog that says something like... "Yes, I am soft on the inside. I am beautiful, vulnerable, sweetly feminine...but you've got to get past my hard exterior to find my lovely silver linings of beauty." That's a fabulous message for women and men alike, isn't it!? This is about being aware of our inner tenderness... our innate beauty... and encapsulate ourselves in a layer of tough power. Although I'm sure men can appreciate this in their own lives...I think the symbolic message is more profound for women. It's all about balance (as Venus would have it).
It's about being utterly lovely, but uber-powerful too.
It's about harmonizing soft vs. strong.

Sometimes the facts in my head get bored and decide to take a walk in my mouth.
Frequently this is a bad thing.
Scott Westerfeld, So Yesterday

Fidelity to the Contemplative life will actually gain more souls that way.
It's wonderful to do something beautiful for God
but much more so, to be something beautiful for God.
That's what we're called to do.
Mother Cecilia Snell, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Lent at Ephesus

In a way, we're each here to express the music in our soul.
Tosha Silver

Risk being seen in all of your glory.
Jim Carrey

I always seem to find in this cycle a challenge of some kind... to clean and clear out. This year the cycle was about making amends... of "do-overs" and fresh starts and forgiving the past. From our dog who was in bad need of grooming to a friendship that had been strained, to my computer which needed to get rid of old programs to function properly once again (Java joke aside, it made me question what old programs I held that need to be scrubbed out as well - once and for all.) Sometimes you just need to clear the air and let the pieces fall where they may... and start over. It often requires us to be vulnerable and truthful... to be truly human and acknowledge our limitations... to forgive easily and often...especially ourselves. And then, begin again. Continue. Endure.

In a nutshell, the lesson of this cycle: Let us not spin our wheels caught up in what we do, or have done for that matter, for what we do, tied to this physical plane, can be prone to momentary error... error in judgment, second guessing, filtered through the programs for happiness that never satisfy. The "doing" of this world can also be rooted in those false programs for happiness. Rather, let us be more concerned by what we are. To be something beautiful for God... whose works and words, then, are good, righteous, and radiant. Be more concerned by what you are... that rare and delicate beauty and risk being seen in all your glory!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Cancer New Moon Mandala
June 27, 2014
Ambassador of Love

On the first day of this cycle in my Catholic faith tradition we celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The next day we celebrated the Immaculate heart of Mary. The theme of heart and what is planted there has been a major focus this cycle as we explored scripture passages about seeds, soil (beaten path, rocky ground or thorny), Sower, and weeds. Having been inspired by a group of Benedictine Sisters at the end of the last cycle through a PBS show called 'Lent at Ephesus,' I found myself longing for more structure... and a need for more of a rhythm to my day. I decided to incorporate more prayer by praying the Liturgy of the Hours, which, along with the Mass is the official public prayer life of the church. I signed up for an online retreat based on The Hours, which I will enjoy in the month of August, but I wanted to start integrating the prayer in preparation for the retreat. I belong to a group of Dancing Monks in the World and polled them as to what resource to use. In addition to the resources, one person suggested I move into it slowly. The "go get'em" "do it all" in me decided to just jump right in to the whole prayer! After a few days I found myself realizing what wisdom she had given me and deleted the reminders to pray from my calendar. I found that, of all the prayers, I very rarely miss the first prayer of the day so I decided to started there...

The Mandala



I fell in love with this mandala from the get go! It unfolds so softly and gently. Bee popped in at the end of the last cycle and visited again early in this cycle. The triangles instantly became my nod to Bee. Shortly after came Dragonfly and the shapes behind the "bees" quickly became dragonfly wings and the blue of daytime sky behind them.

The ten-petaled flower in the center (10: new beginnings at a higher level, the upward spiral of life) gently unfolds. It appears to be at the center of the "5" which speaks to me of the five points of the body -head, hands, feet. The flower then is at the "heart" of the 5 and from the beginning was pink in my mind -the color of unconditional love. The pink is again repeated in the 12-sectioned band (12: whole), which surrounds the star-filled night sky. It occurs to me as I write this that these lights could also be a nod to the fireflies, which began their evening dance during this cycle. In any event we have light in the darkness.

The gentle arcs or new moons surrounding the flower (7-completion, 6-home and homing) create this sense of outward movement and suggests that what is coming to fruition -the fragrance of whatever it is that is blooming - is intended to be shared -intended to intoxicate ever so gently, softly, lovingly or perhaps suggest the bloom yet to come? And behind them all, though star-like in shape, which suggests a "night light" - feels more moon-like to me.

There is the sense then, of blooming or flowering in the soft, gentle glow of moonlight... where the interior shadow places dwell. Interestingly enough, dragonfly is my symbol for the spiritual journey. And who doesn't know a busy bee? So then to balance the busy with the contemplative in the light of day and allowing what is hiding in the shadows the space to reveal its gift. Standing in the light of day... no longer hiding... balanced... whole... and w-holy.

The Month

Notable Quotes


Unexpressed emotions will never die.
They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.
Sigmund Freud

My heart just aches for her:
-brings to mind how desensitized and oblivious
we can be to the needs of the people we come in contact with...
how what is okay for one or many (the waiting room of the OBGYN)
is wholly inappropriate for another (the tragedy occurring in their midst.)

No matter your obstacles, live a happy life:
Don't focus on what you can't do... focus on what you're passionate about.
Make adjustments and put things in the CAN DO category.
Surround yourself with people you want to be around.
Appreciate and love your family, friends and acknowledge your mentors and your community.
Keep moving forward.
Always have something to look forward to... something to strive for.
Never miss a party if you can help it.
The wisdom of Sam Berns, who passed from this life at the age of 17 from the rare disease progeria,
which causes rapid aging and various other side effects,
none of which could prevent Sam from leading a happy life.

Just as a snake sheds its skin,
we must shed our past over and over again.

Also seen in this car ride "honeycomb-like" rear lights on another car...
unfortunately not ready to take a picture and traffic began to move.

Keywords for Bee Meaning and Symbolism
Speaking of family, community and nurturing... bee meaning primarily deals with the theme of life. Aside
from the unique way they insure continuation of colonies - the bee provides life for a huge faction
within nature... .Flowers. Bees flit from flower to flower-gathering pollen for their purposes. Pollen
clings to their fuzzy legs, and when the bee visits another nearby flower, the pollen rubs off - thus
pollinating the plant - assuring its continued survival. In this light, the bee asks us what we are doing to
insure the growth of our inner gardens. If our heart is a garden,
how are we pollinating it?
What kinds of beauty can we visit in order to allow growth
in our hearts, dreams, minds and emotions?
What are we feeding ourselves in order to feed our dreams?


Quote for this cycle:
In family life, love is the oil that eases friction,
the cement that binds closer together, and
the music that brings harmony.
Eva Burrows (1929 - ) Australian community welfare organizer
Via Zodiac Arts Newsletter

From Fr. Andrew's homily on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"I do want to be a burden on my loved ones just as I want them to be a burden on me - it's called looking after each other... My existence
is fundamentally bound up with yours... Of course, I will hold your hand in the long hours of the night. (Stop talking) about being a burden. I love you.
This is what it means to love you. Surely, there is something extraordinarily beautiful about all of this."
DrGiles Fraser is priest-in-charge at St Mary's Newington in south London and the former canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.
He writes the column Loose Canon for the Guardian

In the "Sacred Heart" of Jesus, the compassionand love of God is revealed; in the emptying of
His heart we are made new in the "water" of God's life-giving reconciliation and resurrection;
in the generosity of His heart, our spirits are enriched and animated in the wisdom and grace of God.
Fr.Andrew Jamieson

God's love is at the heart of every kindness.
Dayspring Thank You card cover from a Prayer Shawl recipient

Dear Friends:
It is important to note that Saints Peter and Paul, the two men we call the "pillars of the church," were
both flawed and gifted human beings. Peter, the "rock" upon which Jesus built his church, was a simple
fisherman who was the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and also the first to deny knowing him.
Paul, an educated Roman citizen, intended to imprison Christians but ended up becoming a follower of
Jesus himself. He was Christianity's first missionary, establishing communities throughout the
Mediterranean world. We are each called to live the gospel message.
These stories offer reassurance that our weaknesses are not too much for God to overcome.
Father Andrew

Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything.
Maybe it's about un-becoming everything that really isn't you
so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

What if I fall?
Oh, but my darling... what if you fly?
FB: Kind Spring

I choose... to live by choice, not by chance.
To make changes, not excuses.
To be motivated, not manipulated.
To be useful, not used.
To excel, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice. Not the random opinion of others.
- Unknown via the Mind Unleashed

You can't just give up on someone because the situation's not ideal.
Great relationships aren't great because they have no problems.
They're great because both people care enough about the other person
to find a way to make it work.
Unknown shared by Lynette DeTata

The grass isn't greener on the other side.
It is green where you water it.
Unknown via The Mind Unleashed.

When you are alive with joy, gratitude, and genuine interest in others,
you are your most beautiful.
Remember that.
Now go stun the world.
Brendon Buchard, Live. Love. Matter

Even a mute man can sing in his heart.

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson

You had the power all along my dear.
Glinda, the good witch
Let your power guide you home.
Kate Trafford

One day I was making waffles.
The way the light was shining on them
it looked like they were studded with diamonds.
What makes your heart sparkle?
What brings you joy?

People are made for happiness.
Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness.
Christ has the answer to this desire of yours.
But he asks you to trust him.
True joy is a victory,
something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle.
Christ holds the secret of this victory.
Top 10 Quotes of Pope John Paul II
at World Youth Day 2002. (Welcoming Address, 2)

Enter the classroom of silence.
Matthew Kelly via Array of Hope

The past is your lesson.
The present is your gift.
The future is your motivation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Declaration of Independance, John Adams, HBO Mini-Series

Walk yourself out of your bad mood.
Studies show that even a 10 minute walk
immediately boosts brain chemistry to increase happiness.

Let them explore.
Let them discover.
Let them struggle.
Let them find their way.
This is their journey.
Let them fly.
Sue Fitzmaurice on children

Spiritual practice is not just sitting and meditating.
Practice is
eating and
Every act, every breath every step can be practice
and can help us be more ourselves.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddah asked, "what have you gained by meditating?"
He replied, "Nothing!! However let me tell you what I have lost:
fear of old age
and death."

Remember you are accountable to yourMaker for all your words and actions.
Abigail Adams to her son as he leaves on a journey with his father, John.

Let us remember that love lives by sacrifice and is nourished by giving.
Without sacrifice there is no love.
St. Maximilian Kolbe

Children of light
Collect, morning mass

I thought of the egg whites from earlier in the week... how they sparkled... so it's not just about light but
sparking light... A light that is active and alive... that literally dances with joy.

I've been contemplating the bee I saw on my back patio earlier in the week See collage above. Right in
the middle of the slab, not to be missed. I've been wondering what that was all about. As you can see,
she was perfect in every way but literally dead on her feet. And I wondered, "Am I living my life to the full
or am I dead on my feet? Am I just going through the motions? Or do I bring loving intention to
everything I do?" We're also taking some vacation time this week so I also "read" into her the need to
take some rest... and not overdo it this week. So easy to be the busy bee and get caught up when what I
really need is to kick back and recharge. Since we're not going anywhere in particular I'm making sure to
program some meaningful family time and fun into the week.

Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out.
Unknown via Mary Borris

See the light in other's and
treat them like that's all you see.
Dr. Wayne Dyer via Kennedy's Cause

We are not artists because we create beautiful and tangible things or events. We are artists because we
live in awe... then endeavor to share our wonderment with the world. We sense there is something
more than meets the eye. We seek to live in a space and time that others do not see. We feel our way
through life with wider eyes and open hearts. Then... we work to translate something intangible
to something tangible.
Jeanne Besette

I Thank You God...
i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;
this is the birthday of life and love and wings:
and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting, touching, hearing, seeing,
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
E.E. Cummings (1894?1962) via Dottie

Live more complain less.
Through the light shinging in the trees (see collage above:
God calls to us to Himself
through the light...
inviting us into prayer...
into union...
into oneness.
Such grace.
Such peace.

Moving video of Sir Nicholas Winton (who I mentioned last cycle) in 1988 unknowingly surrounded by
some of the children, now adults, he rescued from the Nazi death camps.

Make love a verb.
Still purging... cleaning, de-cluttering... throwing away... putting away... reorganizing.
The house... my computer... the prayer shawl stash.
Lots of anxious energy.
I am reminded of the horse sculpture shared by a friend and the freedom and joy it expresses.
(See collage above.)

Raise your energy.
You attract what you radiate.
Cheryl Richardson

Today's focus was on our Higher nature (Spirit) and our lower nature (flesh).
Fr. Jim Dever, homily 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I pray for the faithfulness to choose courage over fear,
understanding over ignorance and
risk over inertia.
In the memory of Sister Thea and a thousand other hidden saints like her, may the Spirit of Christ ignite
in us the courage "to live fully until we die," until that happy day when God calls us together again
around the great welcome table.
Christopher Pramuk is an associate professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
This essay is adapted from his book, Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line (Liturgical Press)

Most of all, let love guide your life.
Here I stand in the light of day.
Elsa, from Frozen

Here I am... This is Me. No longer hiding in the shadows... Standing tall. Standing firm. Standing strong
in who I am..bearing the gift that only I can bring to this world (though the gift may at times feel like a curse.)

Dragonfly found on Sunday in my trunk perfectly preserved. (see collage)
So... when I come upon animals in symbolic interpretations who have passed on from this physical
plane, I interpret it as a sign of transition. An animal death reminds me of a Latin phrase I hold dear:
"Omnia mutantur omni tempus" (all things are changing - a time for everything).

What do I need to let go of? What do I need to embrace?
Fr. Andrew Jamieson, funeral homily

When you get caught up in the craziness of life, remember who you are:
an ambassador of love in a human body.
Cheryl Richardson

Always speak the truth even if your voice shakes.
Tomorrow is too late,
yesterday is over and
NOW is exactly the right moment.
So start.


Love continues after death.
Funeral message

When we die to self, all that is left is Love.

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Dawna Markova

Embrace the glorious mess that you are.
Melissa Gilbert

The beast things in life are free.
Good memories
FB share

Parables are not meant to test human intelligence. They are a means of grace that test our heart's
willingness to surrender to and be enveloped in the always-surprising generosity of God. The surprising
generosity of God is exactly what the parable of the sower reveals. (Gospel of Matthew 13:24-43,
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/072014.cfm) It doesn't matter what kind of soil you are. God
doesn't care either. Because Godis the sower. And God doesn't stop sowing the seeds of divine love
because the soil isn't perfect. Rather God is busy sowing indiscriminately, irresponsibly, irrationally. This
parable is a reminder that it doesn't matter in your faith is dried up, withered and dead. God is still
sowing love and always will. God is the relentless and lavish sower. That's the scandal of this parable. It's
not about the quality of the dirt. It's about the quality of God, the divine sower...

Every part of our life has been sown with the seeds of God and you know what happens to seeds.
Given the right conditions apple seeds become apples.
Peach seeds become peaches.
God seeds become...
Fr. Andrew Jamieson, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Rather than question a miracle,
why not question your skepticism.
Cheryl Richardson

Worry is using your imagination to create something you don't want.

The world is full of magic things
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
WB Yeats

Anna flings herself off the side of the mountain in complete trust that Kristoff will catch her and says,
"That was like some crazy trust exercise."

Fling yourself into life! Trust the path. Trust God.

A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.
When you wake up, take a second to think about
what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.
The moment you start acting like life is a blessing,
I assure you it will start to feel like one.

Prayers vs. Prayer
Prayers are wrote, formulaic.
Prayer is abiding in God.
Fr. Andrew (paraphrased)

The three C's in life: Choice, Chance, Change.
You must make the choice
to take the chance
if you want anything in life
to change.

Peace is not the absence of trouble
it is the presence of God.
Judith Toth Bingham

Get your happy on.

This, the answer to my plea for help
Answered in the Short Reading from Liturgy of the Hours that same day:

Be consecrated to me, because I, the Lord, am holy...
Leviticus 20:26


Playing a funeral at St.John Neuman. They have a statue of their patron outside and the statue points to
the center of the chest. My mind says, " What is the condition of your heart?
What makes its home in our hearts?

Crow has been very present all year. I am working at our parish festival this week and as I drove into the
parish parking lot I was met with might be called a vision from Hitchcock's Birds. Crows... EVERYWHERE!
Obviously I'm not getting it. Nothing like being hit over the head. And regrettably the movement of the
car frightened them before I could get a picture...


The Colors of My Life
Are bountiful and bold.
The purple glow of indigo,
The gleaming green and gold
The splendor of a sunrise
The dazzle of a flame.
The glory of a rainbow, I'd put 'em all to shame.
No quiet brown and grays,
I'll take my days instead and
Fill them till they over flow with rose and cherry red.
And should this sunlit world grow dark one day.
The colors of my life will leave a shining light to show the way.

The colors of my life are softer than a breeze,
The silver gray of eiderdown,
The dapple green of trees.
The amber of a wheat field, the hazel of a seed, the crystal of a raindrop are all I'll every need.
Your reds are much too bold, in gold I find no worth,
I'll fill my days with sage and brown the colors of the earth.
And if from by my side, my love should roam,
The colors of my life will shine a quiet light to lead him home.
From the musical Barnum, Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Michael Stewart

In putting the collage together I noticed that in this year of the "horse" there are many insect pictures.

Insect animal totems all seem to point to a few key characteristics: tenacity, patience, and detachment.
Seemingly unaware of their surroundings as they go about their business, insect animal
totem meanings herald the importance of minding our own business. Yet, at the same time, most insects have a strong
sense of community. The trick is keeping balance, and insect animal totems certainly do that.
Insects are progressive, and proactive - always adapting to the environment, and never letting little
things like natural disasters get in their way of progress. When we get discouraged, we could all learn a
thing or two from insect animal totem meanings. It's their unsinkable nature that reminds us to keep
moving forward for progress.


The theme for this natural year is softening and my word for 2014 is Soar. I find that prayer softens me. That connection to the Divine helps me deal with the ups and downs in a much more loving and productive way. It has to do with feeling "at home."

As you may know I am a church musician. In the final two weeks of this cycle there have been a great many funerals - atypical for this time of year. I mentioned above that I have also visited by a dead bee... and a dead dragonfly. Death is ultimate the symbol of transformation. We often hear in death "She has gone home to God." But in truth we do not need to leave the body to be "home." In God we have all that we need and what is meant for us will come to us. There have been many instances of God's timing this month that just blow my mind. I'll share just one:

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I started a prayer shawl ministry at my church back in September. What an amazing group of women!!! We had heard that one of the members of our community was in Hospice care. We had given Bob a shawl many months ago and continue to lift him up in prayer. Judy, one of our Prayer Shawl Ministers (as I refer to them) takes communion to patients in that particular hospital on Tuesdays and said she would take a shawl to his wife, Theresa, who was also referred to me by another person who had seen her at mass the week before. Our parish is having its festival this week so Judy wasn't going on Tuesday as usual. So she decided to go after mass on Sunday. She was joined by another Prayer Shawl Minister who wanted to go with her and off they went. As they walked into the hospital, they ran into Carol, another Prayer Shawl Minister (who later told me she lost her way trying to get out of the hospital. I told her she didn't get lost, but rather she was being delayed so she could meet up with the two.) Carol decided to join the two and up they went. Together the three of them ministered to Theresa... praying with her, letting her talk... vent... cry. Bob passed from this life in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

God has a plan. God is with us. God IS here. Be open to the path laid before you -though it may scare you half to death and you know nothing about it or feel you don't know enough. Be bold. Be courageous. With God in the lead, it cannot fail. Live life... in all its colors... in safety, security, at peace. Relax. Enjoy. Open your hands. Let go of the worries... let go of what you think you need in the knowing that all that you need will come to you in the proper time. That what is yours will come to you... in God's time.

In God we are home (with a much broader sense of family than most perhaps have: it means we are all related... siblings... brothers and sisters. So at the very least, let us be kind.) Wherever our spirit dwells there is God... lavishly loving, guiding, providing. Live in joy and gratitude with a genuine interest in others. STUN THE WORLD through His presence in you! We are meant to be happy... to live joy-filled lives. Turn to God... trust in God. Be victorious! Let the "God seeds" planted in your heart take root and grow and become the Ambassador of Love in a human body that you were sent to be.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,


2014 Leo New Moon Mandala
July 27, 2014
My Soul Doth Glory

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. New, at the beginning of this cycle, was Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

The Mandala



Very early in this cycle and scattered throughout was the challenge to be uniquely ourselves - deeply passionate about something and totally devoted to it! We were asked how the Divine would describe us in 3 words? and to get in touch with who we truly are... deep, deep down. For some, change was in the air as we found ourselves not as authentic as we'd hoped to be - able to see how we were making decisions through the framework of the ego and the need to please, the need to be who people thought we ought to be, the need to _______ (and you can fill this one in.?)

Through many sightings of turtle we were invited to connect to the Eternal One... the Ancient of Days... The Alpha and The Omega, and the way that the light dances through the trees and spills onto the floor at this time of year called us to connect with the Divine... called us to prayer. We were invited to laugh, play and create like little children... to be without a care or worry in the world. Yet, knowing that life brings it's challenges and stormy days - I personally found the third week of this cycle to be particularly so - we were encouraged to a different kind of faith... a "stay in the boat kind of faith" and to know that we are never, ever alone... that what is needed will be given... to stay the course and know that what is ours will come to us in the proper time. It made me wonder why it is that some people always seem to be so happy. I, myself, found a model in Mary, the Mother of Jesus as we celebrated one of many Marian feasts in my faith tradition during this cycle. As we sang, "My soul doth glory in Your love, O Lord," the light bulb came on! In that moment I came to deeply understand what had been expressed all month long: our ability to be child like... to be carefree and not worry... to be authentically ourselves... to know we are never alone - especially during those long, dark, stormy days... (and for some of us: dark weeks... and months upon months) - all this with a profound joy because we know we are loved beyond our wildest imaginings. This LOVE fills our very being to overflowing and we cannot help but be filled with joy.

In the final days of the cycle we were called once again to connect to God, to ourselves and to others. Some were SO filled with Divine Love that it spilled out into the world. The "God seeds" from last cycle had taken root and were found in full bloom: from the ice bucket challenge for ALS... to the Silly String Pie in the Face for AT... to Bubbles Beyond Borders which supports the dreams of women and young girls throughout the world... to signing petitions to free those who were oppressed and persecuted... to volunteering for a cause we deeply believed in and supported. (Interesting to note how delightful, joyful and truly child-like many of these events were!) We loved beyond our borders... beyond our selves... because we knew Love, Love knew us and we reveled in it!

In truth, the happier more connected and fulfilled you genuinely feel,
the more you have to give.
Tosha Silver

The love that flows through us is unlimited.
Begin with Yes

Do you see yourself as you really are?
You are a chosen dearly loved, child of God!
Sharon Jaynes

Love, Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Virgo New Moon Mandala
August 25, 2014
One Glorious Mess

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. New, at the beginning of last cycle, was Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

This cycle started out remarkably quiet - how Virgo! The Virgos I know are So sweet...so quiet...truly darling people. The stillness at the beginning of the cycle was so palpable and remained so throughout the cycle. In the northern hemisphere, nature was beginning to take the inward turn though many of our lives were ramping up - especially those of us with children yet at home...back to school and new routines pushed us up against the natural tide. Even at church many had donned their black and had put their summer colors away before Labor Day! We were all feeling it...all sensing it... the end of summer BEFORE "the end of summer" - early this year. The song of bird was replaced by the hum... the love song of cricket and cicada. In this quiet...this stillness...surrounded and engulfed by the resounding hum-song of love... the cycle began.

The Mandala

At the core...the very center of the mandala is a light infused heart surrounded by a square turned on it's point which speaks to me of a radiant love that turns the world on its ear.

This in turn is surrounded by another, larger heart... connected to three interlocking rhombi. Three nearly always speaks to me of the Trinity...so here the greater love of God Love...Divine Love...the kind of love that transforms the world...that stretches the corners and creates a new world...a different world... where the corners are not so neat and tidy and uniform... a world that embraces the shadow... a world that allows for "different"... odd ...other ...or better yet: ALL. Humanity...we are surely a "mixed bag," aren't we?

These two rest upon a six petaled flower...the God-seeds that were planted a two cycles ago are now in full bloom. Their mandorla shaped petals speak of divine gateways...of birthing the divine...bring heaven to earth...as above, so below.

Behind the flower is another square... which could symbolize the earth - perhaps in its current state? Square is also grounded and grounding...very earthy - yet another Virgo trait - they are typically so down to earth! With the square lie two pentagons. I typically connect five to manifesting...and here we have two...a double dose if you will...or perhaps duality - of darkness and light? I am inclined to go with the latter. With one of the focuses this cycle on our health and well being, I am reminded that in Traditional Chinese Medicine there are five yang organs and 5 complimentary yin organs...so the health and well being of the whole being...both the darkness and the light. I was also reminded of a familiar story late in the cycle of the two wolves/dogs, and read a great take on embracing and "feeding" and nurturing the shadow side as well...those dark places we all hold within: http://www.elsaelsa.com/astrology/2014/09/22/pluto-and-the-dark-dog-on-pluto-going-direct/

Entwined within are two ovals...two intersecting eggs that create a cross-like shape - suggesting that this "new potential" does not come without sacrifice...without suffering. The world may even balk at...may be uncomfortable with... perhaps not like the "You" you are becoming.

And lastly, the entire mandala is divided into seven sections...the number of perfect completion. Oh what a world this would be... takes my breath away just to ponder it.

The Month

License plates were particularly vocal this cycle...and spoke volumes about taking care of the body.

Whether eating more healthfully, working out at the gym, taking some "me time" or taking care of our hearts in some way ...even a reference to scripture on the back of a carpentry van spoke about how crucial it is to take care of the body - the vehicle of our spirit: "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person, for the temple of God which you are is holy..." 1 Corinthians 3:17 (Did you catch the name of the business? "New Creation Carpentry!" LOL ...and I almost missed it!)

Since I believe that God is a god of love, my personal interpretation of this passage: If we allow it... God will chisel away the destructive patterns we have that harm the body so that the destructive person that we currently are would live no more. Rather we would be transformed into the original masterpiece that God intended us to be...filled with love, care and concern not only for others but ourselves as well. We can do what we can do...but real transformation comes from a source and power greater than our own. The video link below was shared recently with the adults who attended the Living in Faith Together or LIFT program at my parish. It is well worth 11 minutes of your time: youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg -- and I thank Jeff and John for sharing it with us!

A favorite new word introduced to me during this cycle was "perspectacles." LOVE that word! My sister said it best when she wrote, "I'm not going to stress out that I am behind... I have my perspectacles on and I'm doing the best I can." She also said, "It took me fifty years to learn that I need to put my oxygen mask on first before I assist others." What a great image representing the need to take care of our needs... physical, mental, emotional, spiritual... so that we have the energy and patience to deal lovingly with the craziness that is all too often the modern day life. Filling our tanks will also give us a reserve of love to treat those darling people in our lives with the tenderness and compassion they deserve. So however that is expressed for each of us...maybe it's getting enough sleep so we feel refreshed in the morning, or 15-20 minutes of prayer or meditation everyday - or even at moments throughout the day, leaving the house and going for a walk...even if it's just around the block, reading a book that uplifts and inspires us, having lunch with a friend, attending mass more often, creative time, singing in a choir, time away from technology, learning to delegate more, enjoying a weekend retreat, turning over the things we can no longer carry to a Higher Power... not always easy things, but the possibilities are endless. It is necessary to take the time - schedule the time if need be - put our own oxygen masks on and fill our tanks. And I'm certain everyone around us would be all the more grateful that we did.

Which leads to another focal point for this cycle: Gratitude - finding and acknowledging the positive things in our lives. I was challenged to five days of positives for five days and inviting 5 people to do the same. What a game changer! Talk about elevating a mindset! It occurred to me that it would be a great spiritual practice at the end of every day to find one...two...maybe three positive things from the day. They could be things we said or did...things someone else did for us...time spent with people we love, or perhaps something we observed during the day. A positive attitude/attitude of gratitude has the power to elevate our thoughts and give us new "perspectacles."

And that brings us back to the mandala: How do we change the world? Complaining about the condition the world is in does no good...it just drags the energy down even further into the dirt and the darkness. Rather, let us commit to changing the world one person at a time - each of us individually addressing our own needs or even the plank in our own eyes (Matthew 7:5)...each of us individually committing to be the best "me" we can be so that there is more love in the world. Each doing our part - and when we can do no more... letting God do what only God can do - we enter openly and willingly into the process of becoming one beautiful, original, loving masterpiece at a time.

A healthy lifestyle is not just about what you eat,
it is also what you consume emotionally, mentally and spiritually...
Shamala Tan @Modern Medicine Woman.com

If it doesn't nourish us...we don't have to eat it.
From my dear friend, Jean Pollock

Embrace the glorious mess that you are.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Take great care!!
Love, Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Libra New Moon Mandala
September 23/24 2014

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

Autumn is the necessary transition between summer's fruitfulness and spring's new life.
No new growth will come unless autumn agrees to let go of what has been.
The same is true of our lives.
S. Joyce Rupp

How strange that the nature of life is change,
yet the nature of human beings it to resist change.
And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us
are the very ones that can break us open
and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.
Elizabeth Lesser

If you've been following The Journal on Facebook, you know that the themes for the month have been kindness, relationships and courage. For me there has been a continued, underlying them of the need for self care.

The Mandala

Prominent numbers in this mandala are seven (perfect completion) and five (5 circles: manifestation - bringing the divine to earth) and three (Trinity) with one eight (perfection/Christ consciousness.) So from the center:

The center flower has seven petals, with an eight center (7+1) and represents the Christ within. Attached to this flower are eight waxing crescent moons or balsamic moons...a designation for the end of a cycle as we have entered the "end of days" - seven of them together reiterate this idea of completion. The harvest is in and it is time to take stock of what we have harvested, what has been - and release what no longer serves us...which in turn will enrich the soil... by turning under and composting what remains to feed the new growth of next spring.

The center flower with moons are held within what I see as three hearts joined...the Trinity of Love joined in the shape of an inverted triangle. While this symbol is the precursor to the symbol of for the heart, this image is very womb-like for me - safe, secure, nourishing, warm, relaxed - and is the center of creativity.

Outside of this womb, are seven flowers. I've been noticing some new growth this fall particularly in the winter plants like pine, holly, and some newly sprouted weeds...so late in the season for there to be new growth...but the color of their flowers is white. With Christ at the center of our creativity, our "doing", our co-creation, this seven - this completion - represents the beauty of our good deeds. It is actually a seven (petal) plus seven (center) or 14 = 1+4=5 - so the many and varied ways we have brought Christ to the world.

The next seven represents how we choose to bring Christ to the world and is perhaps the focus for this month for me. If we start at 1:00 and go around the wheel, there is a progression of growth and decay.... of growing brighter and of dying. As I begin the journey of entering the "crone years," (read into that wise, calm, dignified, strong, witty, charming, delightful, comfortable in her own skin - I always think of Grandmother Willow from Disney's Pocahontas when I think "crone.") Anyway, as I was saying, as I enter these years, I recall a tree I had once seen that made such an impression on me. Its overly stretched branches ached to reach the heavens and its leaves were ablaze with glorious color! As I enter these wisdom years, I pray that I do so, not by lying down and playing dead before my time, but that I go out in a blaze of glory - arms aching to reach heaven, yet rooted to earth and ablaze with loving kindness.

So how do relationships fit into this? My mind says this mandala should be brighter! Lighter! And yet my spirit says, "Nope. I can't see it in any other color. It is exactly as it should be." Last cycle we talked about taking care of ourselves and this was a warning for me. I was becoming over taxed...over stretched and was in close range of burning out. Recognizing that We cannot give what we do not have, I decided to do a seven day Ayurvedic detox.... I pulled back, did less (I actually said "no" to a few things), got to bed earlier, ate simply, removed sugar, caffeine, and processed foods from my diet. I started doing yoga again, and restorative yoga in the afternoons (I found this to be most especially enriching!) and a Centering Prayer practice twice daily. I was in essence letting go of some things to give myself the time to quiet, recharge, filling the well...the tank. The darkness of this mandala speaks to the need for quiet, the need to be connected to the indwelling Spirit - the need to pull back, recharge, refill, to go within. Because of this practice, I am feeling oh so much better! Because I am more myself, I can give more of myself to the people in my life. In effect, because I am grounded, calm, more patient and am able to be more loving and kind.

The Month

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness
Kindness in giving creates love.
Lao Tzu

In addition to the detox mentioned above, I attended a Ministry day at my parish and was inspired by Kristin Costanza from Church of the Nativity in Maryland who spoke about "Overflow" - love, Love, LOVE that term. Again we cannot give what we do not have. I was inspired to participate in 21 days of Kindness...small acts that change the world. License plates said [-Bye] and [Tos-Toss] and encouraged us to let go. When contemplating how it is that we are hidden in Christ my answer was confirmed with [Yah Baby] - (I laughed out loud!) and another license plate encouraged us to find "Z Love" complete with Pepe lePew and the object of his affection. Too adorable! Blue Jay made his presence known - a harbinger of communication - a reminder to keep my communication calm, kind and loving. Interesting early in the cycle, he was very vocal. Late in the cycle I was feeling very grounded, calm and centered, he showed up again with a beautiful silent swoop and up into a tree. Message received. Courage is often needed when we need to speak our truth - especially when telling people how they are to treat us and what we need. There is always risk in these conversations...what will they think? How will they respond? What do I really mean to them? I actually said "no" to a few things to give myself some space and encouraged others with calm loving communication to step up so I could do less. There were also little reminders to carefully choose our thoughts like we choose our clothing and the art of listening was mentioned as well. Knowing my need for structure, at the end of the cycle, I began an online class called The Herbal Hours with Tonja Reichly at Moondance Botanicles. The ancient prayer of the Catholic Church mixed with mandalas, herbs and essential oils. It's like the class was designed for me!

Let the radiance of your heart flow out to all beings.
Janet Stone, Vinyasa Flow Yoga Instructor

So the question is: How radiant is your heart? We are no good to anyone when we're tired and tapped. I know for myself I can be short, snippy, impatient, cantankerous, crabby, and brutally sarcastic when I am stretched too thin. In a word: ugly - and no fun to be around. We owe it to ourselves, our families and the world to take good care...to let go of what is not necessary, no longer needed or not even ours to begin with... to make time to fill the well - spiritually, physically and emotionally - and to be deeply rooted in love. Then, and only then, can we fully and gently respond to the needs of others. Then and only then can our hearts overflow.

In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived, and
how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

Soul nourished in the silence,
divine energies joined.
Now I journey outward to serve.
May I practice
patience over irritability,
compassion over judgment,
openness over stubbornness,
courage over complacency,
may I know the wildly unimaginable love the Divine has for me
and reflect this love in my work, my service and my action.
Tonja Reichley

Love Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Scorpio New Moon Mandala
October 22/23 2014
The Call to Love

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

What do you hear?
Daily Sacred Act from MoonDance Botanicals

If a tiny spark of God's love already burns within you,
do not expose it to the wind for it may get blown out.
But rather, stay quiet with God.
St. Charles Borromeo

Every cycle has its own character. Typically, a lot of information comes in early, beginning in the balsamic moon phase of the previous cycle, and as we get closer to the full moon, the funnel slows down allowing space to be with what has been presented. If information is coming at me right after the full moon it's usually to clarify or make a turn in a new direction because I've not understood what's been presented. This cycle started utterly silent. The quiet and stillness I had been feeling for some time was intensified perhaps because the mandala, itself, said so much.

The Mandala

My first impression of this mandala was, "Twinkle, twinkle little star..." (I even received a Macy's ad a few days later saying "Twinkle, twinkle you gorgeous little star! For real!) but then almost immediately my mind went to Disneys "When You wish upon a star..." And then came Daniel 12:3 shortly thereafter -

"But those with insight shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever."

There are 11 concentric circles - 11, the number of wisdom - and in the shape of circles feels more like ancient wisdom... so, eternal wisdom... holy wisdom... God wisdom.
Stars can symbolize light/wisdom/truth - and then there are two of them, one within the other...so this sense of bringing out what is within or perhaps nurturing something within...the idea of or the beginnings of something - a way of being perhaps?
The flower has movement and seems to unfold and bloom, revealing what is within and is built on these numbers:
8 - perfection/Christ consciousness
5 - manifesting
The outer ring is comprised of 5 sets of 3 - a pattern of 2+1 ...perhaps unifying or yolk-ing the duality (matter and spirit).

So the early questions posed by this mandala seemed to me to be:
What dream/desire/wisdom is making its presence known? to be nurtured within?
In what way are you being asked to be a light in the world?
What wisdom-gift or truth are you here to share?
In what way are you intended to bring all that is good, kind and loving into the world?

The Month
It was, indeed, a very quiet month. With the information funnel going quiet outside of myself I was naturally turning inward...so it has been a very introspective cycle as well. A key word that came to me early in the cycle was "simple" or "simplicity." My daughter's sporting event had concluded for the season so there was more time... I was less busy... We were "back to normal" which is busy enough. That certainly simplified my life somewhat, but that kind of "simple" didn't seem to satisfy...it wasn't the kind of "simple" I was looking for.

I quite often look to nature for inspiration and in this cycle had been once again pondering the trees... so easy to do in the fall! I love trees. They have so much to "say!" The leaves had nearly all fallen and were on the ground as of this writing. And yet, I could see the trees were also preparing for spring. The tulip tree outside my door, pictured above, is donning tiny buds that will eventually bloom into beautiful flowers. Other trees are similarly sprouting buds...preparing the greenery of their new spring coats. But before these tender buds are allowed to unfurl, they must endure the long, cold, dark winter which is early upon us this year.

As the trees appear to die and then bud in preparation, I, too, look to spring and ask myself, "What new or different way of being would I like to see blooming in myself come spring?" As I was working on the mandala I had thought to choose brighter, light-hearted colors for the outer ring...like blue, orange, pink, yellow - something fun and whimsical. I was perhaps already feeling the cold of winter and dreaming of brighter and warmer days. And yet, when I came to the outer ring, my heart did not want to go there. The mandala held more of feeling of "as within, so without" - of bringing out what was already present within. And then back to the trees... it occurred to me that they prepare for spring already knowing what they are. Tulip and other flowering trees prepare blossom buds. Other trees prepare buds that will become tender leaves. I had to ask: As we look ahead to spring, do we truly know what we are?

One day she realized that she was not born to hide away but to SHINE brightly!
So she decided to stop listening to her fears and finally focus on what made her feel truly ALIVE!
Anna Taylor

We need to compassion-eyes this planet. For real.
Not simply to talk about all-oneness, but to bring it into everyday life.
To walk past a homeless person and to really be with them.
To hear a friend's story of suffering and to be fully present with it.
To bring those into our heart who need refuge.
To inconvenience our lives in an effort to help up someone in need.
Real unity.
Jeff Brown

It doesn't matter what you are.
What matters is what you do."
Character Sam Winchester, Supernatural

In many and varied ways, the answer to the questions of this cycle has been really simple - not easy...but simple. The response to every question has been to choose Love. In all our relationships, in each encounter we have...to ask: "What does Love look like? How does Love express itself in this moment?" As my friend Jeff Siedlecki recently said, "What will we do with our next and most precious breath?" Will we bring love or ruin? Will we build up or tear down? Will we run ahead and stand alone or will we bring others along with us? The choice is ours.

As we complete the shedding of what needs to go in our own lives this fall, and as we prepare for and look to the spring, let our hearts be open... let us listen... dream... wonder... ponder... desire to know how Love is preparing to be made known in and through each of us. And in those moments when we feel resistance to what is being presented, let us pray for the grace to answer the call - the call to love...no matter how terrifying it might be...no matter how inadequate we may feel... no matter what others might think... no matter our own plans - to perhaps delay or put aside our own plans in favor of the plan God secretly whispers in our hearts. May each of us in our own unique way, with the talents we have been given... fulfill our deepest desire and answer the call to love.

Love Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Sagittarius New Moon Mandala
November 22, 2014
Witness to the Light

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

Your light will come Jerusalem.
The Lord will dawn on you in radiant beauty.
~The Liturgy of the Hours - Advent, Morning Prayer

As much as the last cycle asked, "What are you?" this cycle seemed to ask "Who Are You?" We can look to our ancestry and heritage - the people that have come before us. Certainly they impact who we are. We can also look to the many relationships and associations of which we are a member... religious affiliations, social groups, clubs and our belief systems. Our own life history has in impact on who we are... our choices and way of being are reflected in our thoughts, words and actions.

As I shared on the Journal's Facebook page, much of who I am is rooted in my faith tradition, my belief in Jesus as The Christ and my relationship to Him. During this cycle we celebrated the season of Advent which often times is lost or non-existent in a culture which seems to be all about Christmas. In my home we count the days through Advent calendars, lighting candles in an Advent wreath or in my case on my mantle. I found that we spend more time in the living room and so moved the wreath to that area of the home. A few years ago I made Jesse Tree Ornaments, which symbolically tell of Jesus' family and heritage. I chose to display them on the wreath this year and use various Willow Tree statues aside the four candles to help represent the four Sundays of Advent.



The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ, the Light of the World. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and through the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His second Coming at the end of time. We hear about Mary, Joseph and many other people during Advent. This year I was most struck by the character of John the Baptist the namesake of my childhood parish. The voice of the one crying in the dessert has certainly flavored who I am and my way of being in the world.


The Mandala



At first glance this mandala reminded me of a package with ribbons everywhere -- so a gift. Then I began to analyze it and found that it is, indeed, a gift.

The first set of 30 is found in the outer ring of the mandala and reminds me of a diamond -- which without light is nothing special. But when clean and in the presence of light, sparkles and shines and is truly beautiful to behold. It is considered to be one of the most precious of gems. Not seen here... this 30 has some glitter on. :)

The second set of 30 is found in the crescent moons (9+9+12)... and are found here in various sizes. Looking to this time of year they symbolize waning moons... shorter days... the longest of nights -- the darkest days of the year if you will. Interesting thing, the moon, like a diamond has no light of its own, but also has the ability to reflect light.

As an aside, the energy of this cycle once again felt quite intense -- reminiscent of the creation of a diamond -- tremendous pressure creates this beauty. The current purifying energy seems to be hitting another high point... perhaps climaxing? And even the strong are having difficult days... some to a devastating degree. So let us be particularly mindful, kind and attentive to one another.

In the center we have an 8 and a 4. The eight reminds me of a flower. I had thought of using red it is the color of the Cosmic Christ (8). But if I'm answering the question "Who are you?" there can only be one color -- maybe two... so I went with a blue-hued purple... the color of Advent and answer to the question.

The four hearts dancing in the center help us prepare... Hope... Love... Joy (the 3rd Sunday of Advent is Gaudette or Joyful Sunday) and Peace. Grey for service and servant (the other possible color)... and pink - the color of unconditional love also associated with Gaudette or Joyful Sunday. On them I wrote the words associated with this season: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.

So then, this gift... the gift represented by this mandala is the gift of self-giving, of knowing who you are, of assembling together with others to witness to and reflect the Light Who is, Who was, and Who is to come.

The Month

As I mentioned, the stories of John the Baptist really caught my attention this cycle. On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, we heard a group of people ask John, "Who are you?" (Jn 1:6-8; 19-28 http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121414.cfm) His answer? "I am not the light." John knows who he is and who he is not. Then he quotes Isaiah, "I am the voice of one crying in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord."

The Sunday before we heard the reading he referenced from Isaiah 40... "Comfort, give comfort to my people.... A voice cries out: In the desert, prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God." http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120714.cfm John witnesses to the Light... and in doing so tells us that the way to prepare for Christ... is to go to the desert... the dry places... the wastelands... the place where nothing is growing... the places in need hope, love, joy and peace and get to work... witness to and bring the Light.

In these days of growing darkness and festivity we tend to light more candles. My favorite contemplation for the month actually came from a match. "Don't be the candle" it said, "for like John, you are not the light. Rather, be the match which gives its life wholly and entirely to usher in the Light. Be a vessel that brings the light to those in darkness."

Who am I? To answer the 8 from the mandala colored in the blue-hued purple: I am a Child of God, daughter of the Most High, heir to the kingdom who endeavors by the grace of God to be a gift to the world in thought, word and deed -- a Witness to the Light.

I wish you every grace and blessing in these holy days! However you chose to celebrate the coming of the light, may you celebrate them well... with great joy and festivity!

See you in the new year!
Love Hugs and Blessings,

2014 Capricorn New Moon Mandala
December 21/22, 2014
Christ in Me Arise

NOTE: The journal is taking a turn and moving in a different direction. Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

As I write this Journal Entry, we are at the end of the cycle - the celebrations are completed... the decorations are (mostly) down and put away for another 11 months... 10 months or less for the early birds. The kids are back to school and college kids have moved back to campus. The routine of ordinary life is settling in. In my faith tradition we have returned to Ordinary Time... ordinary coming from the word ordinal meaning to count. We keep time by counting the weeks between the high feasts... the seasons of Advent/Christmas/Epiphany - the manifestation of the Christ found in Jesus - and Lent/Easter/Pentecost - who we are because of Him. The old year has passed and we are at the beginning of a brand new year. Some have perhaps made New Year's resolutions - have given themselves the opportunity to press the "reset" button - to begin again... to make better choices... more loving choices for themselves and others. One wonders what this year called 2015 will bring.

The Mandala


One hardly knows where to start... Do we start in the center with the 10 +10? - ten meaning "elevation" and "a new beginning at a higher level." These tens (inner and outer flower) extend themselves to hold 20 "seeds" of possibility if you will... possibility in spirit and matter yet to be made manifest. I first thought of magenta for this 10 - but then thought to the time of year. These are dream seeds... existing in the depths of shadow... dreams... and hopefulness... the seeds of yet to be. There is so much potential waiting to be expressed in these seeds.

Or do we start at the outside border with the 12 + 12 = 24: the wheel of rebirth... of beginning again?

Or the great 12-pointed Epiphany Star which is so prominent? Twelve in Christian art often represents completeness. The 12-pointed star may be used at Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, on which the church celebrates the manifestation of Christ as the Son of God. It is on this day that we marvel at the universal love of God. In this 12 we come to know the expansiveness of God's love. This 12 is a much bigger, broader and more inclusive expression of love than the 12 that preceded it.

Sandwiched in between the 10 and the guiding star are two squares - earth symbols. One is straight forward and grounded and holds the other - a diamond - a square on point as if to say try something new... something surprising... something... different - or do what you're doing but to it differently.

The possibilities and potential expressed in this mandala are exciting and endless!

The Month

The energy is shifting
The darkness subsiding. Something new is about to be born.
Get ready for the reemergence of Light.

One of the Christmas gifts I always ask for from God is a word - a word that will guide my year much like the Epiphany Star guided the Wise Ones to the Christ. Typically this word is accompanied by a saint and a prayer or quote.

My Word for 2015: Simplicity was an early favorite... then light-filled beings were drawing my attention so Light became a possibility. I received an email in the very early days of January from KindSpring.org. The theme of this year's challenge? 21 days of Simple Living. Okay then!

The Saint: As I have mentioned before, I schedule the Ministers for the Tuesday morning Communion Services at my church. I knew my son would be home from college over the holy-days so I had schedule myself to cover the earlier civil holidays in October and November so I could take the time off at the end of the year and not feel guilty about it. As it turns out, it came to be known that one of the ministers was unexpectedly going to be away between Christmas and New Year. I told him I would cover his scheduled day - the Monday after Christmas. I knew I would be out late on Sunday night, so I asked to switch to Tuesday - all that re-scheduling and re-routing to introduce me to Anna, an 84 year old widow, prophetess, contemplative and witness to the Light who was written about in the Gospel passage that day. Being a practitioner of Centering Prayer, the contemplative component of this faith-filled woman especially resonated with me.

The Prayer: Inspired by one of the wise women of my parish, I picked up a copy of Out of the Ordinary by Joyce Rupp. 'The New Year' expressed the simple life I longed to live. It expresses what truly matters.

I make a card from what is given to me and make copies... one for my car, one for my night stand, one for my prayer space and another for my makeup table.



In addition, I put a picture of the saint as the background on my phone and iPad. I was drawn to "Anna at the Temple with Jesus" pictured above by Jerry Bacik because of its luminous quality.

Meditate like Christ.
He lost himself in love.
Neem Karoll Baba

What is most important is not seeking Christ
but, allowing Christ to seek me.
Do I allow God to love me?
Pope Francis via Bro. Mickey O'Neill Mcgrath, OSFS

There is no need
Simply become a place for God.
That is all.
Ann Voskamp, the Greatest Gift.

It is just that simple - to clear away the unnecessary... to remove the clutter of our environments and lives... to restructure the complicated into simpler forms and processes gives us the space to see what is really important and have more time to give ourselves to what we find there. No longer distracted by the clutter, the busyness, the stress, we open to the presence and action of God within and find that which is already here though perhaps hidden... those Christ seeds slumbering deep within. Without having to grasp, perform or perfect we find in God our highest Self, our truest form, our unlimited potential. Christ in me arise... and I will rise with you.


Happy New Year!
Love, Hugs and Blessings,


2015 Aquarius New Moon Mandala
January 20/21, 2015
"That in all things God may be Glorified"

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

This has been a very mind expanding cycle sprinkled with the gifts of "aha" moments -the first of which came on the first day of the cycle. Most of last year, I was struggling with apathy. The deepening sense of "I don't care" permeated my being until I felt like a polluted pond. On the first day of the new church year (1st Sunday of Advent, November 29) I went to confession as I had had enough and it was time to turn the corner. I knew the sin...I didn't know its source. As my penance, my pastor asked me to consider where God was in all of this. I responded by expressing my feeling that God is everywhere, all around... loving, tending, guiding, holding me. Again, he said, find some quiet space and bring it to God. So for all of December and most of January I sat, pondered, and prayed.

The Mandala


Complex! And yet it breathes! Expansion! Light! Hope!

The seven pointed star at the center symbolizes the seven gifts of the Spirit described in Isaiah 11 and Revelation 5:12 - wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord (awe), and delight in the Lord (joy) and speaks to me of spiritual maturity. This small star is echoed in a larger star that reaches to the edge of the "globe." The two stars together represent 'as within so without' or that which is held interiorly will naturally be expressed outwardly.

Dancing around these central seven pointed stars are 5 sets of 5 pointed stars with an additional "double stopped" 5 pointed star. (A double stop when playing a string instrument, such as a cello, is the ability to play two different notes at the same time.) Here one star echoes the other...one star inside the other. 5 pointed stars represent the nativity... the incarnation... the Divine becoming human. It occurs to me that there are 30 points to these stars (6x5). 30, as I have shared before can symbolize a readiness to witness and is a number associated with John the Baptist and the year in which Jesus begins his public ministry.

Seven outward moving circles give us the feeling of ripples in water and echo the themes of the central star.

The next two are linked in my mind:
5 vertical ovals - think egg! And impending birth! For me, human birth of the Divine! (Vertical feels divine to me.)

The 7 horizontal ovals feel more global or earth bound... again think egg! They speak to me of the mission of those who follow Christ..."Go out to the whole world and tell the Good News." -Psalm 117. But don't just speak of it - bring it! Live it! Be it to the best of your ability in God.

The Month

And so I started on the first day of this cycle with this revelation: I felt abandoned by a desired coaching relationship from a year ago which left me without hope of reaching a desired goal. (Interesting...after that experience, I received a new word for the year. The first word was Soar. In the spring time, I received a new word: Soften.) And where was God in my desire? Absolutely nowhere. But, little by little God called me back to myself...to the path laid before me. I have had many grace filled moments this cycle. I have rededicated myself to a daily centering prayer practice. Those first, grace-filled, 20 minutes of the day make all the difference.

During this cycle I sat at the bedside of my friend's father and sang to him and prayed with them as he was transitioning from this life to the next. It was so amazing and wonderful to find how music calms and soothes us even in those final, perhaps struggling hours - the ebb and flow of holding on and letting go. It so reminded me of giving birth... breathe... push... rest... breathe... push... rest....

We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton this cycle, and noted how 100 years later, Merton still matters. Years after his passing, he continues to be an extraordinary presence for Christian living, creative expression and social action in this world. His books have never gone out of print. Talk about mind expanding!

During this cycle, another spiritual favorite, Fr. Richard Rohr was a guest on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. It's not a show I typically watch but I love his message and set my cable box to record! I have yet to watch the whole thing, but what struck me most so far:

Our true self is who we are in God.
No one can give it to us and no one can take it away from us.
It is the struggle with the false self that the true self is revealed to us.
Our true self is not our soul because our true self is at least 10% physical.
Our embodiment and our struggles with it also lead us to God.
When we live out of our true self, we don't live out of fear anymore. We live out of connection.
Fr. Richard Rohr

My best friend's husband had been struggling with brain cancer for some time. The first day I had taken Communion to him and prayed with him, I left his house, turned the corner and saw a bald eagle high up in the tree, and pondered what that was about. Just last week I was on my way home from having played a funeral and had gotten a text from my dear friend saying that her beloved spouse was dying. He had had a seizure in the early morning hours which had paralyzed the right side of his body. I texted back: I'll be right over! As my friend and I sang to him, a smile would come over the left side of his face as the right side had been paralyzed by the seizure... he was present... he was here... he was aware. The next day I had taken my daughter to school and was debating...should I wait to hear from her? Or should I just go over? My intent was to serve ... make breakfast, run errands, do whatever the family needed but not intrude. I was talking to God about this and mulling it over in the quiet of my mind and as I drove back to my development, a bald eagle flew over my car. My muddling was done, the connection was made, both questions were answered and I turned the car around.

If you follow this journal entry, you know that the guiding word given to me for this year is "simplicity." What I have learned so far, is that it really boils down to: "What is most important?" And, "Where is God in that decision?" I am not sure how you would answer those questions, but for me, it's about people... being present in love, care and concern for the welfare of others. The next most important thing is not what we do - not the busy-ness...like the laundry or the job - but, with Christ at the center, infusing love into all that we do... so that in all things God is glorified.

We are Christ's hands and feet, ambassadors of reconciliation.
The question is: How is that coming across in your life?
Phil Vischer, founder Veggie Tales

My recent experience at the Mid Atlantic Conference introduced me to a new metaphor...that of a reservoir. I used to think of myself as a conduit - a pipeline that grace could flow through. But, as a reservoir, we are literally filled to overflowing. So the importance of self-care, of taking time to refill is becoming primary.

To use another metaphor, I feel as if I have been repotted. You know when a plant has out grown its pot and becomes root bound it ceases to grow - even ceases to thrive. Placed into a bigger pot, with fresh dirt, it has room to expand and grow. As we enter Lent today, we also have yet another opportunity to experience a second mind-expanding Aquarian New Moon this year! I leave you with these words from Fr. Ricky Manalo as he shared his new song, Be Still and Know I'm Here at the conference. Look for it from OCP perhaps by summer!

Oh, in this encounter we begin.
Oh, be still and breathe me in.
Oh, you must surrender to draw near.
Oh, be still and know I'm here....
be still and know I'm here.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,


Ed's Eagle

"Don't fly with pigeons. Soar with eagles!"


February 18, 2015
2nd New Moon in Aquarius
Emerging... from Earth to Air... from Darkness into the Light

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

I took Maggie out for her walk first thing on the first day of this cycle and was greeted by a cluster of ice covered holly leaves. Indeed, the whole tree was covered in frozen droplets of water.


Symbolic messages from Holly:

Let your beauty shine within even in times of dormancy
Rule the day, let your generosity be your legacy
The energy of life is ever present

The ice covering the leaves begged the questions: What has us frozen in place...unable or unwilling to move...or grow? What needs to melt for us to be able to be our true selves in God, shinning with glorious inner light, generous and fully alive? Interestingly enough, this first day of the cycle was also Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40 day pilgrimage of Lent for Christians - the perfect time to be asking such questions. And while I have done very little posting on Facebook this cycle, the month was filled with a bounty of images from God through nature.

The Mandala


The central flower has 12 water-drop shaped petals, which over lap to create the 9 layers of petals.
Water: Symbolic of life, motion, renewal, blessing, intuition, reflection, subconscious, fertilization,
purification, transformation. ~whats-your-sign.com
12: Wholeness
9: being the last simple number, it is the number of finalization... the end of a thing.

The flower also holds at its center a 13th drop of water.
13 being symbolic of the eternal return (12+1) - so cyclical in nature...never ending... (very feminine)... a very important change - transformation, the end of something (the death) and a renewal.

The flower is encased in a circle, representing a quest for self actualization; wholeness and unity.
Just outside the circle, I envision, 6 spring suns just cresting the horizon, but they are boxed in... blocking the light... holding it in reserve... it's not quite time... not quite ready... still germinating... still dreaming. There are choices to be considered... decisions to be made... before the resurrection that springtime so beautifully symbolizes.

The Month

Early images were all about light...light where there typically is none to be seen! We had a few ice storms that covered roof tops nearly blinding me when the sun hit them and yet gave a beauty to the trees... almost as if they glowed, sparkled and shimmered with light...even in the moonlight. On March 1st, the 2nd Sunday of Lent, we heard the Gospel story of the Transfiguration of Jesus and these early images helped me to consider what it might have been like to witness this transfiguration:

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
John 9:2-3.

Snow storms soon followed and much of the same imagery came... trees clothed in pure white...so beautiful to see...not so much fun to drive in, but certainly beautiful to look at!

Another image that came from these second set of storms was the scattering of deadwood - dead branches broken loose from the trees. Some of the deadwood made it all the way to the ground where if left alone, would decay and become compost to feed future new growth. Other branches remained stuck in the trees. One tree appeared to actually hang on to a significant branch unable to let it go. And I wondered what deadwood I was carrying? What part of me, that is no longer life giving, am I still hanging on to...unable or unwilling to let go of?

But my favorite experience of the cycle came from a dream. Though it terrified me at the time, the more I unpack the dream the more it makes me giggle. In the early morning hours of the 11th, I dreamt I was at my church. And as I walked the hallways I came upon a small golden statue (in my mind a golden "idol") about 12 inches tall, with a substantial base. The image was that of an alien...with a large head and great big eyes. In this statue I sensed the presence of pure evil - and I mean EVIL. It was palpable. I started to give it what for! I shouted, "YOU WILL NOT..." and though I cannot recall how I finished that exclamation, the sense I have of it now is that I was telling it that it had no power here... no place here - so just be gone already! The eyes began to glow a bright green, and the evil presence in the statue began to expand. I could feel the presence coming closer to me as it expanded and it woke me up! Heart pounding...breath quickened... absolutely terrified! In short order I realized it was a dream, but just in case said a quick prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and then drifted back to sleep. That following Friday, one line in the psalm for that day especially caught my ear:

There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god.
Ps 81:10.

Though quite a serious matter and it did give me pause to consider what other gods I might be worshipping... (chasing after... or am driven by) - again, thinking about the deadwood I may be carrying - and having had the recent dream experience with an "alien god" I have to say it gave me quite the giggle.


In our area of the world, spring is indeed on her way. The first migration of song birds and mourning doves returned about two to three weeks ago. However, the cooler temperatures are keeping our winter friends, the juncos, at our feeder... truly, my favorite bird! I watch for the last day I will see them this winter and will miss them when they leave for their spring mating grounds further north. The hummingbird migration is making its way up into the southern parts of the US as of this writing and geese are seen leaving their flocks in favor of pairs. I was greeted by raccoon last week at our ground feeder (considering the nature of the masks we wear perhaps?) and groundhog has arisen from her winter slumber (urges us to clear away destructive thought patterns and habits. Focus on the positive. Since this is a hibernating animal, my mind also goes to leaving the tomb and resurrection.) The silhouette of the trees are beginning to look fuzzy and are getting ready to pop when the warmer weather returns. Resurrection and new life are certainly in the air.

During this cycle I always like to revisit the past year and see how the guiding word has impacted my life and ways of being. This year those questions are: Where have I softened? What in me could use a little more of that warm, softening rain? And, what can I simplify?

I also look forward to the first day of spring when the message always seems to set the tone for the coming year. As we leave the past year...well, in the past...there is a decision to be made in this mandala. Will we be content to stay in the dark or let the light shine? Can we be courageous enough...strong enough... free enough to live in the light and be the best possible expression of our true self in God?

As we approach the first day of spring, I also wonder, having done the work of the past four years of cleaning and clearing, uprooting, tilling and the softening rain of this past year... I wonder if the soil will finally be ready for planting. And yet, a part of me can't help but wonder if the plant is already there... is already rooted ... and making its way through the dark earth? I can hardly wait to see what God has in mind. For the time being I am content to continue this process of emerging...from earth to air... from darkness into light.

...wipe away what is old in us,
and increase in us... newness of life.
From the Catholic Mass
Prayer over the gifts, 4th week of Lent, Wednesday.

Bro. Mickey McGrath

Love, Hugs and Blessings,


March 20, 2015
New Moon in Pisces
The Blueprint of Christ

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

The first day of this cycle fell on the first day of Spring. And, we had fresh, new fallen SNOW! With all the beautiful flowering trees and bulbs we see now, it's hard to believe we had snow on the ground a month ago. But if you think about it... snow could not have been more perfect on this particular day... on this first day of the Pisces Lunar cycle. In his article, Spiritual Meaning of Snow, Simon Jacobson writes, "Mysticism teaches that everything in the physical universe has a spiritual counterpart. Water in all its forms is a symbol of knowledge."

In the article I learned that in addition to cold air, there are two other components to snow: water (vapor) and a nucleus. The nucleus is made up of dust, minerals or other microscopic particles in the air. Earth being the material world, without any recognition of G-dliness; and water, the knowledge of G-d divine energy without any containers. Snow, then, is half heaven and half earth. And heaven and earth are exactly what I found in represented in this cycle's mandala.



"Blueprint" was the first word that came to mind when I saw this mandala for the first time. No doubt about it. But, a blueprint of what?

The square represents earth - as in the four corners of...

The five-pointed star is comprised of five hearts -you can see their gentle curves tucked underneath the square. Love, then, is the highest form of "light" - an unimaginable love that is beyond the wildest dreams of this world.

The circle itself is divided into 8 sections - eight for me almost always represents the Cosmic Christ. The "8" is echoed in 8 larger circles connecting to 8 smaller circles - which to me symbolizes that descending water of falling snow - imparting information from above to below...from the greater to the lesser...from Teacher to student... or disciple. In addition, another 8 circles flank the outer mandorlas.

The "8" is compounded by an interesting depiction of a cross. The cross, a method of torture and death from Roman times, became for Christians a symbol of resurrection... of new life in Christ...of Christ-like love in service to others. Interestingly enough this cross is made from five mandorlas -or gateways... often depicted in art as those almond shaped spiritual birth canals. It seems that for one to be born again in the Spirit, one must die. Not a physical death...but a death of the small self...of the mind or the ego. In this death, the narcissistic, self-centered me-ness of ego is left behind for the embracing, all-encompassing we-ness of the humble servant of all.

And, in the "blue chip ring"...oddly enough I subconsciously colored in only 12 of the possible 15 squares in that ring. 12 is the number for whole-ness. "The number 15 in the Bible, however, pictures rest, which comes after deliverance, represented by the number 14. The 15th day of the first Hebrew month (nisan) is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread, a day of rest for the children of Israel (and for Christians). The 15th day of the 7th Hebrew month begins the Feast of Tabernacles, also a day of rest."
-http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/15.html This speaks of not having to work toward...but resting in what already is.

The central circles hold seven smaller circles - seven can be symbolic of the cross (six directions + center = above, below, left, right, front, back + center) - all encompassing...embracing everyone... excluding no one. Having sat with this mandala for a month I can say that this seven is most assuredly the nucleus of the whole piece... the union of earth (4) and sky (3)... of G-d in creation (all of creation) - for me in blueprint form the potential for divine union.

Four sets of 3 dots form a divine conduit transmit information connecting the inner to the outer arms of the cross.

Funny thing...I first did this mandala in blue and white. It does look like a blueprint after all. Though this mandala speaks to me in colors representative of The Christ - red(Cosmic Christ), gold (associated with things that are holy to G-d; wisdom and knowledge, http://www.biblebasics.co.uk/colours/col9.htm) white (peace, cleansing, illumination, purity, innocence and the highest understanding. - Whats-your-sign.com.) However, those colors did not sit well with me. So then, this is literally a blueprint of Christ potential... of Christ not yet manifested... of the possibility of Christ as you and me.


I have always said that God plays a mean game of hide and seek. And the overwhelmingly impactful piece or experience for me this cycle was the idea of being present but "hidden"... of "being there" but not seen... no one would have been aware that I was, indeed, there in a very hidden way.

During this cycle, Christians around the world celebrated Triduum -The Three Days. For practicing Christians, these are the highest holy days in the church calendar. Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Triduum, then, begins at sundown on Holy Thursday and ends at vespers (or evening prayer) as the sun sets on Easter Sunday - from sundown to sundown, to sundown, to sundown... three most holy days. During these days we recount the passion, death and resurrection of the Jesus, The Christ. As I shared on FaceBook, I didn't sing a note this year -very unusual for me. My heart had been pulled to another parish whose organist was out with an injury and would not be healed in time to play. Marie is a dear friend and often calls to say, "Hey Lynn...can you play...?" So I didn't lead sung prayer at my parish this year. It made me sad to think I wouldn't be there... and the celebrations I would miss being a part of... the washing of feet and the recommitment to humble service... the veneration of the cross and embracing my own cross... the baptisms and of course the Eucharistic Celebration with the people I know and love. But, then I got to thinking about all the things I was doing for my parish... and realized that I would be there but in very hidden ways...in the worship aids and the prayerful environments that I helped create, in the paper ornamentation that would catch the wax from the burning candles of the newly baptized, putting scripts together in binders... in many and varied little and hidden ways I was there. And this thought still brings a smile to my face, joy to my heart and tickles me with delight. In addition, I was being called to love more deeply, in a broader way, a more selfless way and to embrace on a deeper level the all encompassing way of the cross.

Back to the snow on that first day of this cycle... You know, the beautiful thing about snow...the many unique flakes - just as we are unique with our varied gifts and talents...the way everything stops - like school calendars, ad arrivals to work until the roads can be cleared. There is an inherent beauty an stillness in the snow. When looking out, it is hard to see each individual flake... we don't see them that way...we just see what they create together... a beautiful, cleansing, peaceful, equalizing, landscape. No one flake more important than another...no single flake more visible than the others. All are hidden within the whole. And so, we endeavor to let go of the small self and conform ourselves ever more to the blueprint of Christ, the love, compassion and mercy of God living through human form.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,

April 18, 2015
New Moon in Aries
I Am

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

I work with a group of people at my church to provide a catechetical or faith-learning/sharing experience once a month for our faith formation families -those whose children are in grades 1 through 8. We gather together for Mass and then share a light meal. After the meal the children are typically dismissed by grade to discuss a topic on their level and the parents remain in Hoffman Hall where an adult member of our parish leads a discussion of the topic on an adult level. Twice this past year the children stayed in the room and instead of the typical instruction, pageants were presented - one during Advent on Christmas and the other during Lent on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I typically provide dinner music - a compilation of contemporary Christian music on topic played while they eat; quiet music for meditative times which I play on an electric keyboard and sometimes a closing experience which might include hand gestures and light dancing to an upbeat contemporary Christian song - again on topic. During the development of the Lenten program I was having difficulty working with the group for this particular session. Unable to effectively communicate my position, regrettably and to my dismay, I lost the argument. I felt that it was really important for the person in charge to get to know me better, because I felt that if he really knew me, if he knew my background and how I function (how my brain works) he would not have made the decisions he made. But with holy week on the heels of the event and as a liturgical musician a VERY busy time for me, there was no time to get together and talk about it - until now. In the first week of this I AM/Aries cycle, I found myself writing down my story, my education, my training, my work experience, certifications, who I am and my personality traits. Interesting, huh? They say timing is everything. Coincidence? I think not. G-d always has a plan! And the longer I live, the more I am aware of the role of the Divine in my life!



What a striking mandala this was to work with! So active! So filled with burgeoning potential! So much energy just ready to explode! Through a variety of shapes, Sandra brought together pairings of symbols that create this idea of expansion. Even the six pointed star loses its straight edges and curves to accommodate the growth within. From the outside in then...

The red rim of Aries.

Next, the egg (yellow) pairs with a wider oval (pale green). The egg is a symbol of new life and in the early spring they are everywhere! What a perfect symbol for the beginning of this astrological new year.

Held within the egg is the six pointed star with curved edges as mentioned above. While the six-pointed star is of ancient origin and is used in many religions with a variety of meanings, in Christianity, the six-pointed star is known as the Creator's Star or the Star of Creation. Its six points stand for the six days of creation, and also represent the six attributes of G-d: power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy and justice. Some of its points extent beyond the "egg" like the beak of a baby bird tapping its way out into the sunlight... out into the air where it can finally breathe.

In that same plane, are two, crisscrossed, paired, egg-like ovals, also in green and yellow, each presenting one egg within another. Together, they not only have this feeling of expansion, but also have an "electron-like" quality giving movement and energy to the mandala.

Within the Star of Creation and the crisscrossed eggs, is the nucleus of the piece:

We begin with a seven-pointed star which you might miss because of all the "bubbles" surrounding it - more on that in a minute. The Seven Pointed Star from a Christian perspective represents the seven gifts of the Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord. http://www.planetgast.net/symbols/stars/stars.html

About the fear mentioned here... it is not as in "to be afraid of," it is more in the manner of what we might call mysterium tremendum et fascinans - or AWE! And the interesting thing about this star for me is that when you draw the seven points, you can draw the whole star without ever lifting your pencil. This lends a never ending, eternal quality to the piece.

Now to the bubbles I mentioned! Well, they look like bubbles to me - blowing bubbles or making bubbles and how they multiply and stay connected when you blow air into the mixture. They can also be seen as neutrons and protons or even cell division. In any event, these interconnected circles express the beginnings of tremendous potential and are thus colored in the pastel colors of the spectrum. There are 13 circles in total, seven smaller and six larger. The seven smaller circles are encased in another seven pointed star though with tips rounded, almost as if held within a membrane.

Seven small circles, then: http://www.ridingthebeast.com/numbers/nu7.php
In addition to the seven gifts of the Spirit already mentioned, seven also has the qualities of being a perfect number, of divine abundance, a sense of change after the completion of a cycle and of positive renewal, the totality of the created universe, and divine union.

Having their source within the circle but venturing beyond the membrane are the Six larger circles: http://www.ridingthebeast.com/numbers/nu6.php

  • Its form is a continuous curve without angle, without line. It is the total love. It is almost spiral, it is on the point of going towards the infinity. 6 is also the form of the fetus in gestation.
  • Sign of the mediation between the principle and its manifestation.
  • Number of the indecision and the choice that is required. (6 almost always has this quality for me.)

Thirteen (7+6): http://www.ridingthebeast.com/numbers/nu13.php

  • Number that cleans and purifies.
  • The number 13 brings the test, the suffering and the death. It symbolizes the death to the matter or to oneself and the birth to the spirit: the passage on a higher level of existence.
  • For the cabalist, the number 13 is the meaning of the Snake, the dragon, Satan and the murderer. But it is also for Christians the representative number of the Virgin Mary, she whose mission is to crush the head of Satan.
  • It is the element of too, that which makes pass from a cycle to another with what this change implies of anxieties by the arrival of a new unknown cycle.
  • Represents the eternal love illustrated by Jacob and his twelve sons, Jesus-Christ and his twelve apostles.
  • The thirteenth mystery of the Tarot does not have a name. It marks the uncertainty, the hesitation, the fickleness or again a transformation, the end of something (the death) and a renewal, a rupture, that is to say a very important change.

At the very center we find another Star of Creation and held within this second six-pointed star we find the center - a diamond on point:

[This diamond shape] is emblematic of time and space as complimentary elements. This rune speaks of the partnership between night and day with the center-point represented as the dawn. Metaphorically, the dawn marks an awakening to all new understandings. This diamond motif is seen throughout the ages and cultures. For our purposes, we look to the Futhark (rune alphabet) for symbolic insight where this is known as the Ingwuz rune and is the foundational geometric symbol of creation. Indeed, ancient European tribes deem this symbol to represent the literal image of the birth canal or vagina. So, literally, this symbol means creation of life.

More on the Ingwuz rune found here: http://www.runemaker.com/futhark/ingwaz.shtml

The Month

I began the month preparing for this long awaited meeting with the person in charge of the group. Again, I felt if he knew me better, he would not have made the decision he had made. Using the three judgments used to select music for Liturgy as my base, I calmly stated my qualifications, adding into the conversation my personality traits from the perspective of Myers Briggs (INTJ) and the Enneagram (1w9). (Funny I am most often pegged as a Two... but through this process I learned that INTJ's hate small talk - which I do! And I would rather be helping out doing stuff than sitting and chatting. (Lol) I also talked about my perception of how I had been treated and also, what I saw from the perspective of the interior witness - there are always two sides to every story. Trial always brings a gift and for the first time I could see ego at work - mine and others. The meeting went very well and the information was well received. I also had a renewed sense of self and as a result asked for a raise to bring my pay up to the industry standard at one of the parishes at which I sometimes sub if it was within their means to do so. Later in the month I had another conversation with a different group of people. Again, I began by stating my qualifications, work history and personality profile as they pertained to the issues at hand and then went on to calmly discuss my concerns and suggestions for improvement - because that's what INTJs do...they're always pulling the box apart and looking for ways to make things better.

The first striking image found in nature was the way that some trees were hanging onto their old leaves. For whatever reason, these trees never dropped all of their fall foliage. Here it is spring, and as they welcome in the new growth, they're still hanging on to old, dead, leaves. The questions posed by this symbol were, "What are you still hanging on to?, "What do you need to let go of?" and the command to "Let go of the old and make room for the new!"

The second striking image was that of a hummingbird and her joy-filled message that connected to a Centering Prayer session. See Facebook for "the rest of the story."

And finally, in the final days of the cycle, I prepared to return to where my story began, back to my hometown to lead sung prayer for my aunt's memorial service. On the last day of the cycle I traveled with my family to my Son's graduation, and the area where much of my early work experience and early adult development occurred. It was almost like an end cap to the month - returning to where it all began... to where I began this life.

For those of us who minister at funerals, we know how emotionally challenging that can be, but doing one for a family member all the more so. And yet, as I shared on Facebook, as I was preparing for this event, I was also being prepared! In the two weeks prior to the event, G-d was there in many and varied ways, loving me, guiding me, preparing me to minister to my family at this tender time.

Because of the events of this particular cycle, and the personal work I did putting all the pieces of my puzzle together and really seeing all the aspects together for the first time, I can say that, for the first time in this life, I am standing in my own power. I am really okay with who I am whether anyone else understands me or not. I get it! It all finally makes sense. I know who I am and where I belong - and where I do not. I know what makes me tick and how I function. I don't feel like I need to justify myself. Finally standing in the light, seeing myself as I am, I can finally breathe freely and am comfortable in my own skin. In addition, through the events of the last two weeks in particular, I am reminded of Whose I am, that I am never alone, that I am wildly and unimaginably loved, and guided by the One who is as close to me as "butterfly kisses."

The creation of life... the creation of a life... a joy-filled life... patterned on the attributes of I AM: a powerful life (not like the kind that one lord's over others, but rather, standing in one's own personal power), a wise, majestic, loving, justice seeking, and merciful life. What a change! What a challenge! What a way to start this new year!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,
Lynn xoxxx

May 18, 2015
New Moon in Taurus
I Have

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

New Moon Mandala in Taurus
May 18, 2015
I Have

I never know from where inspiration will come... well I do know the Source of inspiration but I just never know to what G-d will bring me to or how things will be revealed. Since 'Nature's New Year' began in March, I seem to be pulled to the Key Phrase for each cycle. The last moon cycle was in Aries, the "I AM" cycle and interestingly enough it was still making its presence known at the beginning of this Taurus moon cycle. As one might suspect, a repeating message means there's more to be revealed... that I don't quite have the message yet. One thing I do know is each of us can say, "I am spirit" -- that immortal diamond, book of the same name by Fr. Richard Rohr, while G-d, according to Moses, said, "I AM" -- which is being itself. Our true, authentic essence is spirit... spirit that lives beyond this physical existence... eternal, precious, pure. The key phrase for Taurus is 'I Have' and my first inclination was to say:

I Have:

... a body. And then, all that comes with being in the physical world which includes things, or the stuff of this world.

... gifts and explored how those gifts are cultivated either through positive, nurturing circumstances or through adversity. I shared a picture on Facebook of a small sapling growing out of a drain pipe high up in a church steeple which just spoke volumes to me about living in spite of adversity.

... relationships... and while this statement started out as an "I Have" statement, the more I think about it feels more like 'I am in a relationship' so perhaps more of I Am + I Have... ? Hmmm. And again, as I stated on Facebook, while I have or am in many wonderful relationships the most prominent relationships in my life are with my Lovie Dearest (husband, Gary) and of course the single solitary, most important relationship through which everything flows is my relationship with the Divine Beloved... the Hound of Heaven... the Source of all Being... Lover of souls... pure Love itself... G-d. I cannot think of a time in my life when I did not talk to/question/consult with G-d and look for G-d's answers.

My life skill review continued as I worked on a translation of The Prayer by Sager/Foster and found a typo in the process. Had I not individually translated each phrase of Italian I would have missed the error and would have miss spoke, miss sung, miss communicated. And while no one might have caught the error had I sang it as written, it is important to me to be authentic... to be faithful to the language. One never knows what another will understand. I found this exercise to be quite affirming.

Two profound messages came through nature in this cycle. The first was moth, through whom came the question, "What destructive habits or people need to go?" I am aware of at least two of us who have walked away from mentally and emotionally destructive people... burning the bridge and ending the relationship. As for myself, I can say that I hold no animosity. I truly wish for this person every grace and blessing. And while I can see that perhaps this action makes me intolerant of another, for now at least, I'm feeling the need to step back, step away, and let go.

The other message came through a turkey feather. As I mentioned on Facebook, I have wanted a Hawk feather for some time... but this feather was literally in my path. It was an "I MUST HAVE." Interesting that in this earth element cycle, a predominantly earth-bound bird would be so prominent. The symbolic meaning of turkey feather is "abundance, pride, fertility." We can want... but we are always given what we need. I must say that at my age the idea of being fertile makes me shudder! LOL... But then, I realize that while one can be physically fertile, there are also other ways of being fertile... in mind, in spirit, through good deeds and creativity.

The Mandala

There are really only three numbers represented here: four sets of 8 for the Cosmic Christ; two sets of 11 for wisdom, and two set of 3 for the Divine... the Trinity represented here in red-orange, the color of the spectrum for Taurus and the three sets or rings of petals.

I loved the idea of this three-fold blossoming and chose the colors of white (for purity), blue and pink (associated with Taurus) to represent the blooming that is happening all around and within us at this time of year. Dark yellow, also associated with Taurus, was used for the "suns" which just peak out over the edge of the "horizon" -- representative of this "early morning" time of year. I used it in the central circle of the central blossom as well as the small adornments at the outer ring which also look like rising suns to me. While I am certain Sandra had something entirely different in mind when she created this mandala, I couldn't help but give a nod to Moth and Turkey interestingly enough showing up in the two sets of eleven. One releases the destructive (moth) while the other (turkey) gives or encourages us to receive abundance, pride (as in self acceptance) and fertility.

As the cycle closes I find myself tremendously grounded and the two words that resonate with me are choices and responsibility. While I find the spiritual path intriguing, enlightening mystical, almost magical... the physical plane has always been much more challenging for me. Learning to say no, not over doing or over extending myself, taking care of the body I have been given, have always been challenging for me. And yet, I find myself in these latter days of the cycle with a renewed sense of commitment to take care of this body, the vehicle of my spirit, and to close the door on those relationships that are not love affirming.

You may remember that my word for this year is Simplicity and regrettably the first three weeks of this cycle were anything but! Last week I shared with my pastor that it appears that if I don't simplify my life, G-d will do it for me. On June 21, within a week of the coming cycle marking the new moon in Gemini, I am to call in and see if they want to poll me for jury duty for a nearby federal court case. Talk about a game changer - to be focused on just one thing... everything else to be laid aside for eight weeks. I can't imagine and yet I need to try to imagine that. (What's really important? What can I really let go of?) I understand the importance of taking care of one's self first. Like the airplane attendant always says, "Put your face mask on first, before assisting others." Get yourself some oxygen so you can function and be of service. Fill your reservoir FIRST so there's something TO give. My tank has been running on low lately and I've been feeling tapped and somewhat trapped... kind of like the moth I saw this month stuck between the screen and the window -- alive but not really living, surviving but not thriving. Something needs to go. I pray for the guidance to make wise choices that can be life and love affirming not only for myself but for those whom I serve.

So I have made a commitment to take care of this vessel. In the final evening of this cycle, I planned an anointing ceremony for my body... complete with bubble bath. My daughter has me hooked on Lush products! Great stuff! And, once in a while I indulge myself. In addition, I always delight in being supported by the Divine. Yesterday, while looking for some extra dark chocolate for those times when I would like a little something, I picked up a bar -- so intent on looking for anything labeled 75% chocolate or higher I wasn't really paying attention. My son pointed out to me, "Did you read the label, Mom?" It read: Divine -- with a heart in place of the v. And then a bunch of asparagus out of place but where I would find it... and the last bag of low-fat string cheese that my husband likes... and the perfect parking place and many other such beautiful blessings that might be construed as coincidences. It reminded me of the bumper sticker I saw earlier in this cycle: Godyou! And I realized, I do, indeed, have... everything I need.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,

New Moon in Gemini
I Think

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

New Moon Mandala in Gemini
June 16, 2015
I Think

If you've been following the Journal this year, you know I have been led to focus on the key phrase for each cycle. With this third cycle just beginning the instinct was to circle back to the beginning with this familiar statement: "I think, therefore I am." by Rene Descartes. This statement creates a short loop back to Aries just two cycles ago. Yet there is so much more to this "I Think" and 9 more cycles yet to go this year!

The Mandala

The most prominent feature of Sandra's Gemini New Moon Mandala is the Eight Pointed Star, known as The Star of Redemption, also known as The Star of Regeneration. (from religionfacts.com)

The remainder of the mandala is created primarily from:
12 (completed, forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unity) found in the outer loops and inner "leaves," two of these three circles of leaves hold an echo... a "duality" if you will.

8 (perfection; infinity; cosmic Christ; symbol of new life, the final Resurrection and the anticipated Resurrection that is baptism.) The eights are found in the star and the petals of the "blossom."

7 circles (perfect completion), the outermost of which holds a Trinitarian theme in seven sets (3x7 or 21: perfection by excellence; the harmony of creation; the maturity and responsibility of an individual).
(Number Symbolism: Ridingthebeast.com)

This mandala calls us to a rebirth - to the highest possible expression of Self.

The Month

The more I experience the Gemini cycle the more I know it to be the cycle of "Spring Cleaning." There is healing associated with this cycle, and a duality that requires balancing or re-balancing if you will...course corrections and choices to be made.

My favorite memory from the cycle comes from part of a movie I caught at lunchtime early in the cycle. I sat down to 'You, Me and Dupree' and my ears perked up near the end of the movie when Dupree spoke about "ness" - in my case my "Lynn-ness" or in yours: (your name) + ness. It is that innate thing or way of being or perhaps even "being" itself that defines us at our core. Once realized, how do we manifest our "ness"? How do we live it out and give ourselves (and others) permission to make choices that are true to our-selves? true to our essence? true to our "ness"? Funny... as I write this a Miller Beer commercial is on TV: "They tell you "it's" out there, somewhere, upon a star, over a rainbow, through the woods, down a road less traveled, where the grass is greener, life is a dream and everyone's happily ever after. But "it's" not on a map or some app... it's not success or excess. It's not someday or somehow. It's wherever you are - whatever is true, here and now, when you are you."

I realize that adjustments and course corrections may be needed over time due to health, limiting energy reserves, changing family structures (starting families, children going off to college, grandchildren being born, etc.) and our ability to say 'no' when it is not a good fit on either or even one side. An early sighting of rabbit after bunny after rabbit in this cycle encouraged me to retreat, to burrow, connect to Mother Earth and collect my Self.

During this cycle I have allowed myself to let go of things and people that no longer resonate with me, to even let go of things that resonate but just don't realistically fit at this time. I have also let go of situations where I am the odd one out. Having realized my limitations, I pray for acceptance and as always, to do the will of the One Who sent me in this newly forming landscape.

One of my favorite sounds returned to the area last Friday - the annual love song of morning cicadas and night time crickets. Can we sit with them and sing that love song along with them? But, rather than sing in search of another, let us sing this love song to ourselves. In the spirit of this Gemini cycle, can we be open enough....free enough to love ourselves into beautiful, joyful and peace-filled "ness"? And allow others the space to do the same.

Love Hugs and Blessings,

New Moon in Cancer
I Feel

NOTE: Lynn Keefer's Mandala Journal is now on Facebook. If you enjoy the quotes and the occasional throw back mandala, please come and "Like" the page. If you don't want to miss anything, be sure to press "Like" again and select "get notifications." Hope to see you there!

New Moon Mandala in Cancer
July 15, 2015
I Feel

When this cycle started I could then say with all honesty, "I feel... exhausted!" And indeed, I did. I was also preparing to go into one of the most exhausting (and exciting) things I do in a given year, volunteering for our parish festival. The hours are long, and every time we get together it's like old home week. I love this group of people like family and look forward to being with them every year! However, feeling exhausted was not a good way to feel going into such a demanding week. Thankfully I was able to reduce my obligations and make time for some serious self-care!

In addition, I remember this cycle coming in energetically heavy --- like being submerged into the deep where it's calm, peaceful and quiet. Even the very lively and boisterous places I frequented were easily calmed and quieted. It was as if a luscious patch of deep yin (inward moving, receptive, calm) descended in the middle of the Yang season (outward moving, expanding, super-excited). This inward respite was the perfect place to ponder the changes I had begun last cycle. Do you remember the singing cicadas and crickets? How's your love song coming along?

The Mandala

There are some very interesting symbols in this mandala!

Three circles lay the base for this mandala... which can symbolize an ever present, triune God: Father/Son/Spirit; or the feminine Mother/Maiden/Crone or my personal favorite for this mandala the three-fold completeness of a human being: body/mind/spirit.

In the outer circle, are 12 circuitous loops. Twelve is the number of "the whole" as if to say "It's all here, there is nothing missing." Following the loops is almost dizzying...as if we are meant to get lost in the motion, which has a rocking kind of feel to it if you give yourself to following it. The loops, then, are a repeating cycle with no beginning or end, just a constant, rocking flow. The more I sit with it, the more it feels like the breath of Spirit to me, the gentle caress of wind, of being gently rocked into love.

Journeying inward, next we find two squares (often symbolic of earth) but one is set on end, which for me symbolizes a foundational change. Something that has always been, is now on its ear and will never be the same again. It is radically changed, radically different. Symbolically stated, a way of doing things or a way of being is now forever changed.

These squares can also be directional in nature, representing a compass rose if you will: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and back to North. This too, has a feeling of extension and expansion in all directions, symbolic of something that touches everyone -the whole world.

Within the squares we find a most amusing configuration -and yet it strikes me as so sad at the same time. In this section I see 12 Pac Mans. Now, I played the game many times in my youth and must I admit, young adulthood - the incessant munching, of chasing and being chased. Here it appears that there are many chasing each other. In the blur we see many where I would suggest there is possibly only one... like a snake biting its own tail...or perhaps chasing itself through different phases or different times. It's all here...the darkness and the light - a voracious hunger that will not be sated and yet in its unfulfilled chase something different and beautiful is revealed. In the chasing, the grasping, we find what we had all along, here, symbolized by a beautiful 12-petal flower (wholeness, w-holy-ness), whose center reveals the 8 -perfection, infinity, the cosmic Christ - also surrounded by a very tiny 12. This same eight is echoed throughout the mandala through lines that create 8 equal sections.

This Cancer New Moon Mandala holds the extremes... the craziness of the chase/the insatiable hunger within and the answer to the craziness... the answer to our deepest hunger. It speaks to me of accepting life as it is and ourselves as we are and the call from Christ and the Spirit to be authentically ourselves -- whole and holy in body, mind and spirit.


The Month

The most visible symbol for the month was dragonfly. She showed up in beautiful blue and purple very early in the cycle and in many guises throughout the month. I was fascinated to read that, as a totem, the dragonfly represents change. (http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-dragonfly.html) For the past 13 years the dragonfly has been my symbol for the spiritual journey. Theresa of Avila wrote about the silk worm, others have used the layers of an onion to describe the journey, but the dragonfly was given to me -and in the dragonfly we have the silkworm and the onion all in one.

I had returned from my retreat in the spring of 2002 not having learned how to journal and not sure what was next. (You can read about that experience in the side panel above.) I turned to learning about mandalas as sacred circles and was also learning about and experiencing Centering Prayer at a local retreat house. During a Centering Prayer practice at that same retreat house, we had prayed over scripture about the Good Shepherd. My mind was filled with verdant pastures and restful waters, and, of course, my sacred word...lol. In the middle of this sacred, silent time, it felt as if something had landed on my nose, and then tickled my cheeks. In my minds eye, I saw a dragonfly whose fluttering wings tickled and my journey into symbol as "language" was ignited.

I learned that Dragonflies lay their eggs on a reed in the water or drop them directly into the water as they fly above. Water is often a symbol for the mind -- air a symbol for spirit. As these tiny newborn creatures enter the water they go to the bottom, living in the darker, muddier regions -- representative of our state when we begin the spiritual journey -often in the dark and blind to our own afflictions, affectations and attachments.

Dragonflies will molt several times (up to twelve) in its lifetime, each time living closer and closer to the surface, closer to the light. The last time it molts it will crawl up out of the water in the dark of night, dig its feet into a reed and break free of the body it used to navigate in the water. It then spreads its wings, which must dry before it can fly. Through the night it rests, waits and dries out, becoming stronger, sturdier, occasionally testing its new wings. When the dark of night begins to fade and the light appears, it flies to greet the rising sun.

As the title suggests, the key phrase for Cancer is "I Feel." One can feel many emotions in a given day. And how one feels is, for many, quite a personal, private experience. That is perhaps part of the reason I haven't been posting on Facebook -the other due to the busyness of this cycle. Some feelings are buried so deeply that it takes time for them to bubble up and allow us to figure out what is going on. I have spent much of the last 13 years connecting to my feelings, which are often buried very deeply. Mandala work and Centering Prayer have been a large part of reconnecting and reclaiming that part of myself.

In the Gemini cycle I became aware that I was out of balance. Having set time aside early in this cycle for some serious self care to offset my demanding schedule, my aim was to continue the patterns I had established that crazy week into in my life going forward. So, I have scaled back on my commitments so as not to over stretch myself. I will add that some of these were very difficult to let go of. I am eating healthier having removed or greatly diminished some inflammatory foods from my diet, which by the way is helping the early signs of arthritis, and am back in the kitchen cooking more often than not. I exercise most days and am finding first thing in the morning to be the best time for me. I even get my bike out a few times a week. I schedule some "pamper me time" with some good Epsom salt soaks and am getting more sleep, though I find myself waking up around 3:15 most mornings. I'm trying to figure out if it's just the amount of sleep my body is used to getting or if my body is asking me to examine my emotional life. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, 3:00-5:00am is Lung time and the correlating emotions are grief and sadness. So I am taking stock of my dreams to see what may need attention. I just signed up for a new online session from Abby of the Arts starting in September. I had attended Coming Home to Your Body early last year and LOVED it! With this refocus on self-care routines it seems to me to be the perfect time to revisit!

So some changes were made and yet something was still missing... I still didn't feel I had captured the essence of this cycle, UNTIL my son and I went to see the new Mission Impossible movie, Rogue Nation, on Tuesday morning. SO amazing to me how it all comes together in the Balsamic Phase! Anyway, there was Ethan Hunt on the hunt again and as I sat there, watching this character -- albeit fictional - I was so moved by him. And in a single moment I realized that what I wanted most was to feel ALIVE! I'm not sure yet what that's all about, what it means exactly or how it will manifest, but I do know it will have nothing to do with jumping off of buildings or engaging in high speed motorcycle chases. More than likely this feeling will have something to do with continuing to sing the love song I started singing in my heart last cycle, continuing the new habits I implemented in this cycle and taking note of those experiences, people and things that fill my heart.

Now we're not even halfway through the natural year so I know there's more to come. And, I think back to March when at a conference the keynote speaker of the day said, "Be a reservoir -- one that is filled by love and allows that love to overflow." I don't know what lies ahead, what the Divine Beloved has in mind, but I have a pretty good feeling about the direction in which I'm headed and continue to remind myself to stay open and keep singing!

Love, Hugs and Blessings,

New Moon in Leo
I Will


New Moon in Leo
August 14, 2015
I Will

All summer long, the love song of cricket and especially the cicada have been drawing me in. At first song, I invited us to sing this love song to ourselves - to take care of ourselves in deeper ways on every level. In these last days of summer, their song seems to be more desperate...crickets singing past night into day, and cicada song long into the evening hours still in search of "the other." It seems to me to be truly one of the loneliest songs on the planet. "Interestingly enough" (lol-I find myself saying that a lot lately) on the day of the Leo New Moon I found a cicada attached to the screen of the window of my home office - the place where I write, create, work on projects, prepare for meetings., etc., etc., etc..... For several hours, this lovely little creature stayed with me making its way slowly up the screen. I have come to know, that if a symbol repeats itself, I have not completely unpacked its meaning and have not fully received its message. So back to Cicada I went ...and while love is the message, "They purr in large groups, as a whole. Cicada's are very big into teamwork, and they sing in unison for the benefit of the group rather than exultation of the individual." ~What's Your Sign

For years I have associated Goose with community and usually, but not always, in the Capricorn cycle. I can hardly wait to share how this new symbol of "community" manifested in my month!

The Mandala

You know, sometimes you see a mandala and all you can say is "WOW!" They are just so powerful! And this is one of those! So here we go...

At the very center we have a 12 pointed star: "When a star is used as a symbol in the Christian faith, the number of points it has is especially significant because it adds meaning to the sign.

In this case, the number 12 has a special symbolic meaning in the Bible, often depicting completeness. Both the Old and the New Testaments find special meaning in the number 12. In the Old Testament, 12 often represented God's people because Israel was comprised of 12 tribes. In the New Testament, 12 may represent the church, which was built upon the life and ministry of the 12 apostles. The 12-pointed star may also be used at Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, on which the church celebrates the manifestation of Christ as the Son of God." ~ Symbols in Art by Walter E. Gast. (For me, Epiphany has always represented the manifestation of God in human form.)

This 12 pointed star is at the heart of a 5-pointed Star: "...the five-pointed star symbol in Christianity is also known as the Star of Bethlehem and represents Jesus' birth and incarnation. Also known as the Epiphany Star, it is used especially for church decoration during the Advent and Christmas seasons." Carolle E. Whittenore, ed., Symbols of the Church.

Radiating from the center we have two sets of 12 diamonds (feminine) and over all, a large Triangle (in this inversion, masculine): "The diamond symbol, triangle symbol and similar motifs that form a construction of other (more complex) symbolic designs occur in every era, culture, religion, and esoteric sect. Overwhelmingly, the diamond symbol or the triangle symbol motif expresses itself in terms of clarity, ascension, and wisdom. Not of the ordinary sort of wisdom, though. I speak of a clarity and wisdom that transcends the banalities of our everyday realm..."

This particular diamond shape "speaks of the partnership between night and day with the center-point represented as the dawn. Metaphorically, the dawn marks an awakening to all new understandings." This particular shape "is the foundational geometric symbol of creation... the literal image of the birth canal.... So literally, this symbol means creation of life. ". ~What's Your Sign

Here, too, the light shines and extends in straight points of light (masculine) and then makes a turn in the reverse or counterclockwise movement with the second set of diamonds (feminine).

In the outer ring, Sandra alternates masculine (triangle) with feminine (new moons?) - "30 each - representing perfect balance in the cosmic organization. To Cabalistic, this number is associated with the letter "lamed," in the form of sickle "to express the maturity of the crop." (So perhaps not new moon, but sickle?) It corresponds also to the 12th Arcane of the Tarot, the Hangman, which is interpreted generally as the Expiation, the Sacrifice, The Martyrdom." ~Riding the Beast

The Month
The Key Phrase for Leo is "I Will." It implies an action...something we will "do" - a commitment, no holds barred. Nothing will get in the way of accomplishing it.

The energy of this key phrase does not stop or step back like the phrase "I will not" or hesitate like "maybe" or "I might." The energy of "I Will" is forward moving. All cylinders go! Full steam ahead! Whatever "it" is...it will be done.

Last fall the reigning booster coordinator of my daughter's High School volleyball team asked me if I might like to do her job "next year." I burst into laughter and said, "My husband will divorce me if I take any more on." She responded with, "Not the response I was expecting."

Near the end of the season, another mom (who REALLY didn't want to do it) was working me over pretty well. Seeing her perspective and me being the kind of person who will do what others will not because it needs to be done and after much convincing I agreed and said, "I will do it." Truth be told, I was not happy about it. I knew the time constraints of coordinating this group would mean a sacrifice on my part - of letting go of some of the things I really enjoy doing. But in agreeing to do it, I resigned myself to this: It's only 5 months. I can do anything for 5 months. In the scope of my life...maybe 95 or more years (I have very old genes in my family), 5 months is a blip on the radar. I also made a commitment to myself: I will not be their mother (and bear the full burden of this, i.e. do it for them) nor would I be a martyr and over do - which I am prone to do. If I was going to do this, it was going to be a partnership - which meant I needed to invite everyone to the party, let go of outcomes and let things happens - Que sera, sera - and so be it...VERY out of character for me. I'm much more of a "make it happen" kind of person with very high expectations.

Much of the Leo cycle has been spent getting ready...organizing ...getting people to chair fundraising events, pulling a directory together, developing a Team Roster so we can get to know one another a little faster. Time spent doing these things required that I did not do other things...like praying daily with scripture. I decided, for this season, I would just focus on the Psalm response for each day. It's a short phrase that I could carry with me throughout my day.

I had a spiritual director who once said, "God is never outdone in generosity." The psalm response on August 22 was "See how the Lord blesses those who fear Him." The word fear is often misinterpreted...it really means to be in awe of... so, See how the Lord blesses those who are IN AWE OF HIM. On this very day, August 22, we kicked off the season with our parent's meeting. The coincidence (if you believe in such things ;-) of the Psalm Response and holding this first meeting gave me a giggle - I felt very supported. 65% of the parents showed up and began to add their "I Will" to mine. That day our first Tournament was almost completely staffed and donations were almost completely met. Unheard of! We had a great start to the season and were on a roll.

I continue to marvel at my word for the year, "Simplicity." Had I not heeded this word I would surely be insane and bald by now. I needed to let go of some things to be able to fully accept this new mission in my life.

I can only do things one way. It's the way my parents taught me. If you say "I Will" to something, you give everything you have to it to the best of your ability. I can say with all honesty when you give you get so much more back. It seems that in this cycle, I would do what I have always done, but like the change from Goose to Cicada, I would change streams and do it with a different group. Instead of organizing the Prayer Shawl Ministry, (even that is on the back burner right now), lending my talents to my parish Faith Formation and leading sung prayer, I am coordinating fundraising efforts, finding sponsors for our tournament and taking up a collection in memory of our Coach's mother who recently passed to be donated to the Susan G Komen Foundation. I'm still me just in a different venue. And yet, my hands are more open...less grasping. I'm learning how to better balance "doing" (masculine) with "being" (feminine) and accept what is.

In the dark of the moon, the day before the Virgo New Moon, and in true energetic hand off fashion, the boosters came together to cheer on their daughters and carried with them bottles of Gatorade, trays of mac and cheese, baked goods, rolls or crock pots filled with sausage and peppers or meatballs and sauce. Others donated their time. Even a booster from last year, whose daughter had graduated, lent us her coffee urn. The "I Will" shifted to "We Will" for the benefit of the greater good.

The memory of that day still brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with joy. It was a glorious day!

Love, Hugs, and Blessings,

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Lynn Keefer is a wife and mother living in the Northeast. She is a classically trained musician and cantor in the Roman Catholic tradition. She also enjoys Centering Prayer, yoga, Qi Gong, dancing, unpacking dreams and walks in nature.

"It was suggested to me by those on a spiritual path that it would be good to write down my thoughts.

To my dismay, journaling was an absolute impossibility for me - my mind was as blank as the page in front of me.

In the spring of 2002 I went on retreat for a few days in the desert of the southwest. While there, I planned to take a journaling workshop in the hopes that it would help me connect to my words. Oddly enough, the journaling workshop was canceled. The instructor had car trouble and couldn't make it to the center.

The class was rescheduled and canceled again. I was given a journal and it was suggested that perhaps journaling was not for me… things happen for a reason.

A few months later, I learned about Mandalas, or sacred circles, and a whole new world opened up to me. As I drew, the words came.

I have often referred to my colored pencils as 'my words.' This work of the heart has been a source of self reflection and contemplation and I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you."

One year later…2012

I recently mentioned to Sandra that this process has changed for me over time.

Last year, I purchased 12 black frames and as I completed each mandala, I would frame it. The mandalas of the past year are lined up in the meditation area of my home. Early last year, my thinking was more month-to-month.

As the year progressed I began to see connections between months, and began to think seasonally – in part because they were always in front of me as a whole unit. I had thought that as I approached the new year this past spring, I would empty the frames to make space for the year ahead. But as I got closer to March 20th, I realized that there were still connections to the past year going beyond season.

So I decided to keep the year in tact and would empty only one season at a time. So in the final days of the winter season, I emptied out the frames for the spring months and so forth. It’s funny, I find that as I put the last mandala for each season in its frame, there is a strong need to make room for the coming season and the next set is immediately emptied out.

As to content of the journal writing, I have been realizing that the events of my life are connecting to this “HeART-work” in a very profound way so I decided to keep a journal – making and dating entries as things strike me.

I remember SO much more by making these journal entries and am better able to analyze the events of month. I’m still learning the language of symbolism and truly I think that education will continue until I breathe my last.

The same story is being told not only in front of me in the art, but also around me in the circumstances of my daily life, to the point now where as we enter the final days of each moon cycle, I begin to become aware of what’s coming next. Images, stories, quotes, and words begin to filter in and define the next cycle before I even see the new manadala template. And, as I wrote in the Taurus 2012 Journal entry, I am no longer surprised to see what I find in the next template.

What began as a way to connect to myself, has become a way to connect to the greater story around me – the awareness of and the connection to the on-going conversation available to us all if only we have the eyes to see it - of a transcendent love that guides and inspires, and our role in manifesting that love to others.



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