Haiku Horizons: Week 176 -Tree

Breezes sway the tree

graceful leafy boughs give way

Springtime brings storms





Changing weather

Headed to a meeting on a summer day, I found myself driving into some interesting weather. At a stoplight I quickly snapped this picture And yes, I know that phones and driving don’t mix.  The cloud formations proved too difficult to resist. Upon arriving at the meeting I ran without a needed umbrella or raincoat to a nearby door. The door was locked. By the time I found an open one, I was drenched. A kindly person told me I had the wrong address. Deciding that the weather and the meeting would continue with and/or without me, I called a colleague I knew was attending, sent my regrets and went on to the next to-do in my day.

A relative told me I was driving into a storm front. Googling images of storm fronts I found numerous images. Mine was not unlike those that turned up in the Google search.

Thinking about the image and the experience drew my attention to change. The clouds take on this appearance when two fronts collide. A cold weather and a warm weather front might cause this. When I’d left the house, it had been sunny and warm. The forecast had predicted rain, but later in the day. I thought I was prepared. Things change.

Change is often comes on suddenly. While some changes can be planned for; a new job, a new baby, a vacation come to mind, many changes come upon us seemingly without warning. As a creature of habit I know I resist. There are schedules and commitments to keep. My reactions to change are not always pleasing to me or I’m sure to others. When lane closures on the road (and on my metaphorical journey) cause me to be late or delay my plans I am too often and too easily frustrated. I get angry, which is often an indicator that I’m not recognizing my feelings of disappointment or failure, whether real or imagined. These feelings also bubble up when I feel ill prepared, lacking in confidence, and fearful.

Going forward I hope I can, even if only at a stoplight moment, pause and see the beauty in the impending change planned or spontaneous. I’d like to witness and be present to change without going to a worst case scenario, remembering that life happens and as I’ve told my family, “this or something better” when plans go awry, will serve me and those I love. Although they appear ominous, the clouds that day ultimately ushered in a cool spell. Whatever the weather, may dark clouds bring the proverbial silver linings. May I stop and notice those moments, too.



Looking for light

Haven’t felt much like writing. In a year of transformation, energy comes and goes. Truth, turns into a masterful thief, stealing illusions that have become important parts of the  life we lead. We believe that those we love will always be there, even as we  know that this is one more illusion. Facing the knowing levels life. We stop, hoping for a new beginning, making room in a broken heart…someday.

Loss is a patient teacher.  It moves in. As it settles down for the long haul we learn self reliance. Pain is confirmation of a relationship to another. The gentle ways in which one life transforms because of the love of another. Love shares the beauty in wheat fields.

Grief teaches us that we have loved deeply. It is confirmation that loss is love with no place to go. Loss of another calls us as witness. We become more aware of  our ability to engage in caring for more than our own life. It reminds us that someone who  seemingly just showed us one day changed us in immeasurably lovely ways, giving us tools to change our own wild life. In mourning we may not see it, but light still shines.




Under an oaken sky


“I was hiding in her. You do that sometimes. Sometimes you decide you’ll take refuge in the good, gracious enthusiasm that another person has for you and the love and the nurturing that somebody gives you.” Jackson Browne

Recently,  I had the occasion to sit on the lawn at Ravinia.  If you are not familiar with Ravinia,  it is a  Summer concert venue just outside of Chicago Illinois. Having grown up surrounded by the annual summer concerts held there, when I return I am surrounded by ghosts of concerts past. In my mind I find Pete Seeger walking past my friends and me saying hello to us .I see Janis Joplin arguing with Ravinia staff regarding what they perceived as her inappropriate read to sheer manner of dress. I hear Rufus Wainwright’s rich, dreamy voice singing songs I love. And I hear Jackson Browne singing many of the songs that have become touchstones guiding my life. Sitting under the oaken canopy as the night envelopes the trees and the trees cloak those of us gathered on the lawn, I’m feeling a sense of  peace and abiding joy.

With a full moon to light the night and beautiful music to relax and inspire, I wonder about the trees. Do they feel the vibrational pull of the music. Do their roots grow deep, stirring in summer to soak up what we hear? Does it encourage them to provide shelter, air, and beauty for us? Do they long to hear what we do? When the music stops at the end of the summer, are they left wanting more? Do they wish for an encore? Does  their memory run deep, deeper than my own? Do they wish for a concert or two to return to?

In the comfort of my chair, staring at the softness of the full moon, under the feathery oaken cloak, the world is dreamy and fine. I give thanks for all that is good and gracious, and for a place such as this to find rest.

Earthbound Oracle

The Earthbound Oracle is currently the deck I am very interested. Make that the deck that really hits my intellect and soul.

The pairing of the glorious artwork with different actions and thoughts and the trust and curiosity A.L. Swartz places in those who use the deck, (no assignation of meaning to the deck, thereby allowing each person to create her own meaning) draw me back to it again and again.

Here is a reading I did today. My question was can I move my intent to my very part time work as a reader and energy medicine provider. Here are the cards I drew.

At first glance I read it from the bottom up. Labor will transform into wealth. But then I went back to the placement, wealth first, then transformation, which is labor. Does that mean I will take my wealth of knowledge and transform by making it my labor, (of love?)

I’ll be pondering this today as I spend my day at Enlightened Balance. https://www.enlightenedbalance.com/

Come by and see me. Phone readings also offered.

Side by side

In my garden there are a couple of echinacea plants. This flower is native to my location and there are so many reasons that I love this plant.

  1. It blooms for much of the summer.
  2. I’ve not seen deer eat them, so they endure and live peacefully with most of the local flora and fauna.
  3. Although the flowers on this plant are purple, the species itself has a diversity of colors. I am partial to the purple flowers but all are quite lovely.
  4. The plant itself is hardy and the echinacea in ,y garden have survived some harsh winter temperatures, going down to below zero (f).
  5. The plant seems to have some medicinal properties, although there are those who would dispute that.

What I appreciate about this particular plant is that if you look very closely at the bottom right corner of the picture you will see a flower that seems to be growing apart from the others. The stem of the plant extends horizontally at ground level and the flower is healthy and blooming. It appears a bit less purple, but is part of the whole plant none-the -less.


Why is it that some of us are supported when we ‘bloom where we are planted,” as the saying goes? Why do some children seem to be the stereotypical black sheep? Why are black sheep shunned? What allows for acceptance? What does it take foster a climate of love, peace, inquiry and a willingness to accept and celebrate our differences?

Why do some resist new and different ideas? What frightens us about being different? Is it that explanation of survival of the fittest? Is it that early humans had to agree and support each other, dependent on one another for their existence? Do we fear ‘the other’ because he may be smarter, more creative, or stronger than we are? Might her ability to endure backbreaking labor be better than ours?  If so, what do those who cultivate their gifts and use them for benefit have to teach us? Why are we often afraid to acknowledge the lessons?

Does the curiosity of one eager mind diminish my own capacity? Perhaps all are needed for survival, because each person has her own singular gift to share. Rather than celebrate only commonalities, we might be better off to embrace and cherish the diversity of each person, knowing that all contributions to the well-being of humankind are needed.

Are we born to be obedient? What convictions, if any do we hold sacred?  When do we break with authority and when do we hold fast to it?

It might not seem relevant to ponder the idea of conformity and obedience with my little plant. I just can’t help but wonder how nature, in this instance at any rate seems to share to effortlessly support the totality of the plant and yet as humans too often we struggle to accept those we name as outliers.




Finding Hope

The earrings shown below were a gift to me about 15 years ago. Working as a hospital chaplain, I wore them often. In my mind they were the physical reality of what I hoped I was able to help patients (re)discover.

In a hospital there are a lot of stressed out people. Overworked staff, anxious families, people in crisis and/or pain. I wanted to be the embodiment of a merciful higher power when I went into a room.

At first, going into a room reminded me of trying to sell something to a stranger. Or it felt like what I  most probably naively imagine an investment counselor. I imagined my nervous self that first year of my clinical pastoral education (a seminary requirement; for the curious see here.)   https://www.acpe.edu/   as trying to sell someone on God, or perhaps the comfort of a higher power that had a plan for us. I fell in love with chaplaincy and stayed.  Patients were inspirational, their families were too. The stories I heard startled me, piqued my curiosity, amazed me, turned me toward God in a way that I had not experienced.  I learned that sometimes the best comfort I brought was hope. Hope that things would get better. Hope in the form of a temporary respite from pain, sometimes in the form of hearing and affirming a person. Sometimes in helping someone work a crossword puzzle. Sometimes in just being silent when words weren’t enough.

Sometimes it was in just holding a hand and understanding that this was comfort enough. Being present, showing up, offering to hold a cup to lips that were parched. Holding a hand while a patient was being wheeled to surgery.  Sitting with nervous families as they waited for test results.  Sometimes sitting with families and offering a prayer around a dying person as we shared our thanks for the work they had done, the love they shared, sobbing and often times laughing as we held their spirit close to us with each rattling death breath.

These earrings became an extension of my desire to bring hope to those I served. Until one day, several years after I left hospital work and served in another place as a pastoral counselor. Until I came home one evening and realized that one had gone missing. This was in 2010. I couldn’t bear to part with the remaining one. Hanging on a wooden earring rack, I took it off every now and then to polish the tarnish away.

Three weeks ago while at the counseling office I opened the drawer of the desk I use one day a week. Shutting the drawer for a moment out of surprise I gasped and opened it again. It was still there. Not a dream. Hope when I needed it most. Hope because I had almost lost all of mine. 2016 has repeatedly kicked who I am, what I do, and what I believe to the curb. Rearranging my life and tossing out things I did not know were trash.  Making way for whatever wonderful new thing is coming.

I hear it again and again. Loss and pain, overwhelming and staggering. Not only in my life, but on the news, in the lives of my clients.  There seems to be this repeating theme of a cosmic garage sale that is not making much sense.

I’d all but given up on hope and then there it was. Staring at me. Daring me to pick it up. My own glass slipper come home. Inviting me to bring hope to others. Encouraging me to hold on to it a bit, too.

If you are wandering on a path without much hope please find some here. Wherever life is bleak, take time for the comfort of a friend to cheer you When you least expect it, something good may show up along the way. Life is movement. Beloved families are made and changed every day. If you are lost, you are not alone. There are many of us on the same path, wandering at times seemingly without direction. If you are in need of hope, I hope it finds you. Maybe when you need it most it will show up.