What is it about spooky Halloween that still draws us?

​I’ll be going out this afternoon to build a fire.

Maybe you’ll light jack-o-lanterns this evening to welcome trick-or-treaters. But I bet you don’t know much about why we’ve held on to this remnant of an ancient tradition. Makes sense since we’re not a culture that pays much attention to what’s over and done with.

But over the past few years there’s been a shift. Many of us have started to reclaim a long-ignored respect for the indigenous peoples who first lived on the lands we call home.

As I’ve learned about the Native tribes who tended our Berkshire land and rivers for millennia, I’ve become curious to explore and welcome my own indigenous roots.

It’s likely that my Celtic pre-Christian ancestors marked this half way time between the autumn equinox and winter solstice with fire (as did with the three other cross quarter days at the midpoint of each season). Before this time was Christianized into All Hallows Day or All Saints Day by early missionaries to Britain to honor church saints and those who have died, Halloween was Samhain (saa·wn) which meant “the end of the harvest season.”

We know that the Celts set Samhain fires at this time to ward off harmful influences roaming the Earth. They felt — as we still do — the trepidation of what’s to come with another winter ahead.

But ancient cultures around the world were attuned to the cycles of the seasons in a way we find hard to imagine. They couldn’t ignore how their lives depended on the land and its fertility. Famine could kill their children.

As everything around them was dying, half way between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, communities who lived in temperate climates observed a time to recognize the end of the growing cycle and protect themselves from the very real risk that came along with the coming of winter.

It seems humans felt a need to recognize the cyclical nature of this time of year with ceremony and fire, trusting the promise that new life will be born again in the Spring after all that is dying now

As much as we try not to feel what scares us the rest of the year, this time can’t help but draw us into , if we let it.

Death is real. It can’t be avoided. There are beginnings and ending. Leaves fall to the ground. Relationships evolve. Everything that is alive on Earth will eventually die.

And yet, paradoxically, just as our indigenous ancestors knew, breathing into this truth can birth a greater sense of safety and freedom. Before it was commercialized into vapid meaninglessness, Halloween helped humans play with what scared them in order to embrace a greater truth.

But we Westerners avoid death. Daily we try to manage away every risk, hoping that eliminating life’s uncertainties will keep us safe and secure. And it most surely has. We are living longer and with fewer injuries than any previous generation.

Still, I wonder if we are a just a little obsessed with avoiding risk. We try to do all that’s in our power to protect against what we just can’t know. We speculate. Hypothesize. We tie our lives up in a bow that looks good from the outside, but too often leaves us over-scheduled and un-satisfied, overly-obliged and under-nourished.

In trying to push away the anxieties, we too often exchange any possibility of life-giving spontaneity for a packed day that squeezes out the joy and aliveness that having a more nuanced relationship with the unknown can bring. Guilty as charged! Because no matter how full we keep our waking hours, ghoulish apparitions wake us in the wee hours when we’re most vulnerable.

All our careful precaution can’t quell a deeper fear that lives inside us. The unknown is still our boogie man. And that fear is just as real as our ancestors’.

In our culture we’ve been taught to trust our speculative fears as the truth we can count on, to be afraid of the unknown, and instead mistrust our instincts. But what have we lost? When we place such a high value on our intellect’s need for proof and surety, I believe we colonize our bodies’ wisdom, as every indigenous culture came to know with horrifying results.

We’ve learned to trust our fears instead of what else is what is likely more true.

I’d like to suggest that this Halloween time is in need of re-hallowing. With all that’s dying around us in this season, I believe we need to feel our feet more firmly planted in our Earth’s rich soil, trusting the beneficent cycles that hold us.

We need a deeper connection and reverence to our bodies and the land that so thoroughly nourishes us, just as those who came before us. To walk on the earth, to smell the fallen leaves. To feel the truth of what we fear AND also how securely we are held. We need to learn to trust again.

​​I believe that a holiday of sickly sweet candy can never satisfy our desire for the real nectar we’ve lost becoming so modern. ​It’s too easy in everyday life to forget who we are at our core. So we run away from the darkness. From what we can’t predict. From mystery. From a sense of ourselves and our connection to our community, bigger than the fear that we’re taught we could ignore.

This is what I know…

​I need opportunities to remember and honor the mysteries of my body and inner knowing as an expression of Nature’s cyclical energy. I believe we long to reclaim the mystery that we are, but have been taught by centuries of patriarchy and colonization to mistrust.

​This Celtic Samhain time gives me a rare opportunity to go there. Maybe with you, too?

If you’re local and can carve out time for yourself this afternoon, join me around my fire. There’s still time to register here.

And if you live far from me on your own sacred land, join me Tuesday evening on Zoom.

Our deepest feminine nature – no matter your gender – has always known how to trust the unknown. How to listen to our bodies’ wisdom. How to tend a safety sourced from within. How to trust a shared wisdom in community. We just need help re-membering the majesty and mystery that we are!

How will you let Samhain and a deeper sense of this Halloween time give you a chance to go there. I hope you’ll share with me in the comments below.

Re-Hallowing Halloween

​There’s more to Halloween than the proverbial plastic jack-o-lanterns and twinkling orange lights.

More than candy, trick-or-treating, and kid’s dress up. 

Have you wondered about the deeper significance of this holiday and its powerful mysteries?

Ancient cultures around the world were attuned to the cycles of the seasons in a way we find hard to imagine. They couldn’t ignore how their lives depended on the land and its fertility. Famine could kill their children.

As everything around them was dying, half way between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, communities who lived in temporate climates observed a time to recognize the end of the growing cycle and the very real fear that came along with the coming of winter. They celebrated Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Soul’s Day.

It seems humans felt a need to recognize with ceremony the cyclical nature of this time of year, trusting the promise that what is dying now will be reborn again in the Spring.

As much as we push away what scares us all year long, this time of year invites our presence and curiosity. Death is real. It can’t be avoided. There are beginnings and ending. Leaves fall to the ground. Relationships evolve. Everything that is alive will eventually die.

But paradoxically, breathing into this truth can birth a greater sense of safety and freedom. Before it was commercialized into vapid meaninglessness, Halloween helped humans play with what scared them in order to embrace a greater truth.

But we avoid death. Daily we try to manage away every risk, hoping that eliminating life’s uncertainties will keep us safe and secure. And it most surely has. We are living longer and with fewer injuries than any previous generation.

But I wonder if we are a just a little obsessed with avoiding risk. We try to do all that’s in our power to protect against what we just can’t know. We speculate. Hypothesize. We tie our lives up in a bow that looks good from the outside, but too often leaves us over-scheduled and un-satisfied, overly-obliged and under-nourished.

In trying to push away the anxieties, we too often exchange any possibility of spontaneity for a packed day that squeezes out the joy and aliveness that having a more nuanced relationship with the unknown can bring. Because no matter how full we keep our waking hours, ghoulish apparitions wake us in the wee hours when we’re most vulnerable.

All our careful precaution can’t quell a deeper fear that lives inside us. The unknown is still our boogie man. And that fear is just as real as our ancestors’.

Our fear-averse culture has taught us to trust fear, to be afraid of the unknown and to mistrust our instincts. But what have we lost? When we place such a high value on our intellect’s need for proof and surety we colonize our bodies’ wisdom, as every indigenous culture came to know with horrifying results.

We’ve learned to trust our fears instead of what else is true.

I’d like to suggest that this Halloween time is in need of re-hallowing. With all that’s dying around us in this season, I believe we need to feel our feet more firmly planted in our Earth’s rich soil, trusting the beneficent cycles that hold us.

We need a deeper connection and reverence to our bodies and the land that so thoroughly nourishes us. To walk on the earth, to smell the fallen leaves. To feel the truth of what we fear AND how securely we are held. We need to learn to trust again.

​​I believe that a holiday of sickly sweet candy can never satisfy our desire for real nectar we’ve lost. ​It’s too easy in everyday life to forget who we are at our core. So we run away from the darkness. From what we can’t predict. From mystery. From a sense of ourselves, bigger than the fear that we’re taught we could ignore.

This is what I know…

I need opportunities to remember the mysteries of my body and being
as an expression of Nature’s cyclical energy. I believe we long to reclaim the mystery that we are, but have been taught by centuries of patriarchy and colonization to mistrust.

​This Celtic Samhain time gives me a rare opportunity to go there. Maybe with you, too?

Beyond gender, our deepest feminine nature has always known how to trust the unknown. How to listen to our bodies’ wisdom. How to tend a safety sourced from within. How to trust a shared wisdom in community. We just need help re-membering the magesty and mystery that we are!

Mary offers online programming exploring seasonal holidays and celebrations.

Link here to explore more: https://www.diviningbeauty.com/re-hallow_halloween.html

Preparing for the summer solstice: living from your “good enough-ness”

We are in the midst of high summer, the few weeks on either side of this Sunday’s summer solstice, the longest day of this finally-reviving year. Have you been out playing in it?

I’d like to invite you to use this expansive, sun-filled time to celebrate all that’s good and right in you and the world.

Most women I know are trying to do it all, spending our days as self-improvement junkies. We see what we think could/should be and how we’re never doing enough. I’m exhausted just typing that!

I remember my first therapist back in my late 20s suggesting that I might consider my good enoughness.

This flew in the face of my Calvinist heritage and our American culture that has sprung from it. You should always do more/be better. I remember responding to her by exclaiming, “But I never AM enough!“

Decades later when I named my work Divining Beauty, I’d hoped to help women (and myself!) remember and connect to their beauty — inner and outer — that too often is obscured from our awareness by all that blocks our love and joy.

Even with so much trouble and insensitivity in the world (and in ourselves), there is goodness, too. I think all that light should get its day in the sun.

What if sometime around next Sunday’s solstice, instead of perseverating on improving what’s not yet good enough and getting it all done, you spent part of the sun’s longest days remembering the light that you are and what is right and beautiful in this exquisitely beautiful world?

I’ll be doing just that next Sunday here in the Berkshires at Jug End reservation in South Egremont. If you’re local, join me from 1:30-3:30 that afternoon to revel in Nature’s high summer delights and our shared beauty and goodness.

And if you’re lucky enough to still have your father with you, you might invite him to join you on a Father’s Day walk. Or you could find some other way on that day to remember and honor what goodness he brought to you.

I believe that deep Goodness is just as real as all that’s not.

Remembering that truth may be the key to enjoying our one precious good enough life.

With so much love and delight,

PS — If these thoughts are resonating with you and you’d like to go deeper, let’s chat. Here’s my calendar link. This expansive summertime may be the very best moment to resurrect in you the awareness of your light that wants to be illuminated. xoxo

What are you doing for the Solstice?

SOULstice Awakening website header (1)

Saturday, June 20th
4 – 10PM

At Mary’s garden in the Berkshire countryside

SOULstice Awakening Ticket

$90.00

SOULstice Awakening In-Person Gathering

If 2020 has been opening your eyes to uncomfortable truths

— asking you to look more closely at what’s been dulled in you —

then turning into the natural world this Solstice
could be the right medicine to help awaken your awareness
and strengthen your resolve.

Why Celebrate the Solstice?

Before Christianity co-opted Earth-based holidays
we have stone records that for many thousands of years
humans celebrated their indivisibly deep connection to the natural world
on the solstices and equinoxes.

On the summer solstice,
— on this first day of summer and the longest day of the year —
we honor the sun and light
and the promise of what can be
if we choose to stand in the power of our awakened intentions.

janus-clemmensen-jGbSl2lXcoU-unsplash

IS IT TIME FOR YOU TO
…tune in more deeply to nature’s wisdom,
deeper than you may ever have before?

…align with her cycles
and an intimacy with your own deeper knowing?

…sharpen your intuition for the messages and mystery
found in the land, in the rocks and trees and stars?

The Afternoon and Evening’s Experience

Soulstice agenda2

On the night of Saturday, June 20th
we will experience a fortuitous conjunction of new moon and the shortest night.

I invite you to dream into what you wish to leave behind
as an individual, a community, and a culture

Then choose what you will vow to cultivate
during this fertile and opportune time of high summer growth and expansion.

Summer Solstice image for site 2020

Gathering in the Time of COVID

In this time of increased precaution,
I will do my best to create a safe environment
for us all to commune and connect.

I will look to each woman who attends
to do what is right for her to maintain safety.

Guidelines:
Attendance will be limited to 10 women.
All activities will take place outdoors so that we may maintain proper social distancing protocols.
Masks are optional.
A bathroom indoors will be available and hand sanitizer will be provided.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to share them with me!

ANCIENT CULTURES KNEW WHAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN…

We are inextricably a part of the natural world around us.
We are fed by its life blood.
Schooled by its power and resilience.

But in our disconnected and hyper-materialistic culture
most of us have been forced to cut the umbilical cord to her sustenance.

We rarely attune to her.
Rarely make time to listen for her messages.
Rarely allow ourselves to relax into her holding.

Little wonder we lose our vibrance and vitality. 

This SOULstice event is your chance to share in ritual,
as our foremothers did,
to remember what’s been long forgotten.

There has never been a more important moment in my lifetime
to set a new course.

As we join together to fortify our determination this solstice,
will will create intentions to hold through the winter solstice and beyond.

If you feel called, please join me!

This investment in yourself is $90.
Please message me if your only reason for NOT attending is cost.

SOULstice Awakening Ticket

$90.00

**FREE BONUS**

I’ve also created a
FREE DIY SOULstice Fire Ceremony Guide
for those of you who aren’t able to join in person!

Visit the Divining Beauty website on Saturday, June 20th
to download your copy!

I’m ending this Sunday Sanctuary epistle with this powerful poem
written by Adrie Suzanne Kusserow.

 Thoughts After the Poem “Wild Geese”

You do not have to become totally Zen,
You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
your body slimmer, your children more creative.
You do not have to “maximize its benefits”
By using this time to work even more,
write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
everything capitalism has taught you,
(That you are nothing if not productive,
That consumption equals happiness,
That the most important unit is the single self.
That you are at your best when you resemble an efficient machine).

Tell me about your fictions, the ones you’ve been sold,
the ones you sheepishly sell others,
and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world as we know it is crumbling.
Meanwhile the virus is moving over the hills,
suburbs, cities, farms and trailer parks.
Meanwhile The News barks at you, harsh and addicting,
Until the push of the remote leaves a dead quiet behind,
a loneliness that hums as the heart anchors.

Meanwhile a new paradigm is composing itself in our minds,
Could birth at any moment if we clear some space
From the same tired hegemonies.

Remember, you are allowed to be still as the white birch,
Stunned by what you see,
Uselessly shedding your coils of paper skins
Because it gives you something to do.
Meanwhile, on top of everything else you are facing,
Do not let capitalism coopt this moment,
laying its whistles and train tracks across your weary heart.

Even if your life looks nothing like the Sabbath,
Your stress boa-constricting your chest.
Know that your antsy kids, your terror, your shifting moods,
Your need for a drink have every right to be here,
And are no less sacred than a yoga class.

Whoever you are, no matter how broken,
the world still has a place for you, calls to you over and over
announcing your place as legit, as forgiven,
even if you fail and fail and fail again.
remind yourself over and over,
all the swells and storms that run through your long tired body
all have their place here, now in this world.
It is your birthright to be held
deeply, warmly in the family of things,
not one cell left in the cold.

It’s time to ally with Nature to strengthen us for what will be needed going forward. We as Sisters are called to raise our voices now! And we will need support!

Please join me to celebrate the solstice as you can, to honor the vast interconnectedness of all of the cycles and systems of the natural world that hold us.

With so much love,

marysig

Are you trying to chase happiness or relaxing into joy?

If you’re like me, you just want to be happy. You want circumstances around you and the people you interact with to please you.

For most of us, our happiness depends on external conditions. I’m happy when it’s a sunny day or my daughter calls to chat.

Happiness has its opposites, too…usually when things happen that I don’t want and over which I have very little control. Like the COVID lockdown. Frozen magnolia blossoms from last week’s 29°. A friend’s betrayal. A frightening diagnosis.

You have your list, too, I’m sure. Unhappiness comes in degrees and visits us all. 

But then, there’s joy. That’s not quite the same as happiness.

Joy tends to be less about what’s happening to me and more of an internal state that is me, interacting with the world around me. 

The good news: I can cultivate joy. 
The bad news: I tend to forget to.

Too often I’m so busy doing life and it’s dramas that there’s no space to receive the delight that’s also there, freely offered for my joy. I’m just too oblivious to notice.

Joy has a chance to catch me when I’m awake to my senses and surroundings. 

~ A hawk perched on my fencepost. 
 

~ Pear blossoms bursting white on a gray day.


~ Spring announced by the first peepers’ love calls from the wetland behind my house.

Opportunities for joy come in a thousand variations, mostly small and easily missed.

But receiving joy demands something of me. I must be willing to catch the moment. To be distracted from my agenda. To open my senses for what’s waiting. We’re not trained for this.

Joy likes to surprise me. It’s not something I can plan. But it is my choice to receive it.

Joy reminds me that I’ve been gifted a life on a miraculously exquisite planet, here for my delight. 

I just need to make space and create an intention to en-joy it.

This is where I do have control, if I choose to. But that’s a truth I can easily forget in my busy, too-full life. 

Life is hard enough. Simple joys make life easier. And maybe that’s enough. 

But here’s why I think the practice of receiving joy is so essential right, especially in such a troubled world. 

When we engage practices to receive joy more consistently, we begin to notice subtle shifts in how we interpret circumstances that seem antithetical to our happiness. Ancient teachings, right?

We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change how we receive it and what we make it mean.

When we invite Joy to inhabit our lives, we change from the inside out. And the balance we’ve longed for begins to shift. 

It’s just remembering that’s hard.

I invite you to open to receiving Joy. Being easy with yourself. Just noticing what’s there to surprise you out of your stress and into what’s been waiting to make your day easier.

Sending so much love,

What’s been dormant in you and ready to burst to life?

Happy April, Beautiful Ones,

I’ve been out walking most afternoons in this early New England springtime.

On every hillside or hedgerow, leaf litter covers the ground. A few beeches still cling to their almost-transparent curled leaves, but the landscape remains a backdrop of skeletal trunks and branches.

The calendar says Spring, but most of life around me appears still dormant. Waiting.

You might ask: What’s been dormant in me, waiting?

Western religious traditions reflect this early Spring dichotomy – the old giving way to the new. People pack up for a Promised Land. What was dead opens to the irresistible mystery of an empty tomb.

Whether we observe the traditions of our ancestors or not, they live within us. Just as the natural world impacts us, far more than we notice. No matter how dormant life feels, we cannot hold back what wants to live. 

If you’ve stopped long enough to tune in, you might actually be feeling the shift that’s starting to happen. 

But we are a culture of doers. We don’t stop. We worship busyness, forward movement. We hate to wait. With ever more tantalizing ways to distract ourselves, we resist stillness in favor of something, anything that feels like we’re busy and productive. Or is it just me?

If you haven’t already, take a moment this weekend to get outside, feel the changes coming, and feel into yourself. What part of you is asking for a shift? What dormant part has been oh-so-subtly calling for your attention and love? What wants to cycle back to life?

Our traditions observe emerging new life in story and metaphor. Nature insists upon it. Those green tips of sprouting daffodil bulbs in my garden will not be denied, even by this week’s flurry of late Spring snow.

Our deeper shifts don’t happen in a vacuum. I believe they are ushered along by innumerable forces aligned for our growth, if we allow it.

Let your connection with Nature be an organic guide. Give yourself the gift of a quiet walk with yourself. Perhaps contemplate what’s done, and what wants to be born anew in you. Ask and then listen for the guidance that is most surely there. Then let’s celebrate what’s longing to come alive in you.

Happy Spring, Dear Ones.

Mary 

PS… As a spiritual counselor and embodiment coach I offer you my hand to help with the shifts that may be calling you. If you’d like a companion on the journey, just ask. We are in this awakening together!


Plan ahead now…May brings Beltane 

Celebrate with me: Sunday, May 2nd

Is it time to reclaim your time?

Remember how your schedule used to feel?

Even if we were working way too hard,

the week had a routine to it, 

and weekends meant a break.

Now, between the internet and COVID

every day can slip into some kind of perpetual slog.

There’s always another should right there waiting,

haunting what used to be called free time.

Without the usual outer-induced structure

It’s easy to float along distracted by pings and posts,

Feeling insubstantial, ungrounded.

Overwhelmed with an endless stream of stuff to do.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize during this ever-so-odd year.

Humans need routine. 

Structures hold our inventiveness.

Rituals cradle our intentional potential.

Too stiff a structure and we feel hemmed in.

Too loose a framework and we lose our way.

When I was out and about every day, 

my calendar gave me the variety I loved and the structure I needed.

It gave my days — and life — a feeling of equilibrium and flow.

But this past year, without the usual balance of spontaneity and rhythm

I needed something to hold my life, or organize the passing of time.

Something I could lean into to feel held and connected amid the timelessness.

So last June I decided to observe the Summer Solstice. 

I spent most of the day outside, 

and built a fire that evening to mark the day.

Very simple. 

Then, as each season approached, I began to invite others to join me.

And here’s what I noticed:

When I made it a point to notice and observe the season’s turnings throughout the year

I’ve felt more grounded to the fact of my interdependence with all that is,

more reflective and purposeful to the evolution of my personal life,

and more awake to the wonder of being alive. 

So I’m planning another celebration for this coming Sunday…

The Spring Equinox.

Maybe you will, too.

With schedules still so asque and the usual gatherings impossible,

Maybe you, too, could use something that feels solid, 

A time to tether you to what is real around you, beyond the daily dramas. 

A time to remember how deeply the natural world holds you.

A space for feeling your connection to the Earth and her beauty and wisdom.

You might give yourself the gift of rising next Sunday morning to catch the sunrise.

Schedule some time outside now (thank you, structure)

to stop and be wowed by the first snowdrops.

Be curious. 

What else is there to notice?

Watch how your body responds when you’re still for a few moments,

when you let yourself really sense the natural world instead of just observing it. 

As I’ve done for nearly a year now,

I’ll be finding creative ways to mark these changes of the seasons this Sunday.

Observing the balance of day and night that is the equinox 

deepens my connection and trust in the balancing cycles of my life

and this beneficent world where I’m beyond-belief blessed to live.

Whatever you do this coming Sunday

I invite you to make time to notice and connect to the Earth.

Receive her beauty.

Breathe in her spring scent.

Catch the morning chorus of birdsong right outside your door.

Or let a pussywillow’s soft touch brush your face.

You are One with this world, Dear Ones.

Imbibe.

Feel.

Taste.

Lap up the sap

Rising in her and in you!

Happy almost Spring!!

Xoxo

PS…I’ll be on Baldwin Hill Sunday morning at 6:45am. 
If you’re local, come and join me!
Or find a spot near you with a view,
and take in the magic of the morning.

Here’s a site to find your location’s sunrise timing.

Then mid-afternoon I’ll make a fire again on my land.
Up to 8 of us will gather, socially distanced of course,
to connect, reflect, and celebrate.
Here’s a link if you can make it. 

Or watch the later daylight-savings-time sunset.
And then link up to zoom at 8PM for an hour with me,
Tuning into what wants to bloom in you this Spring.

Is trust hard for you? (Part 2)

It’s been a scary winter! Like no other. Every client I see has been struggling with trust. 

Affirmations alone haven’t cut it. Pie in the sky, Pollyanna positivity hasn’t stood a chance in the face of what this year has dished up. Hard stuff happens! And will. No amount of positive thinking will change the flow of events.

But how we receive the support that’s here can make a surprisingly monumental difference!

You see, I think very few of us really know how to receive support.

Instead we get freaked out. Something happens, and then there’s the story we make up about what might happen. Covid has killed 500,000+ people so far, just in the US. Someone we love — or I — might be next! 

When it’s hard, when we project into the future to what might happen based on what has happened, fear will co-op our minds. This dangerous territory is what I wrote about last month.

So what can we trust? The story we fear isn’t likely to play out. We know that! But why doesn’t logic and probability help? How can we learn to relax out of the panic and settle into what’s also always true.

See if this makes sense to you… 

When you’re scared, you can’t think straight, right? I bet you know that by now! Our trusty pre-frontal cortex shuts right down. On guard instead is the more primitive part of our brains, telling us to fight, flee or freeze. The body wants to help.

Only we default to that trusty intellect of ours to try to figure stuff out. If we can only just get this right, right now, it’ll be ok. We’ll be safe again. We scramble to fix or blame or ??? you fill in the blank. What’s your go to? 

I’ve had a series of concussions over the last two and a half years. I’ve fallen off a bike, gotten whiplash, fell on the ice while skating, and even just did too many up dog/down dogs in a row when I wasn’t fully healed. Geesh!

All my life I’ve relied on this brain of mine to keep me safe. I was a smart cookie. But lately it’s not been doing its job so well. I’m forgetting stuff and losing track of things. Believe me, this is scary. When I let my worried, hobbled-enough-as-it-is brain have it’s way, I can get even more crazed, lost in a myriad of what-if scenarios. Not at all fun! 

In times like these my wise body can be my ally, if I will just let it. 

I’ve learned that when I tactilely feel the support that’s there beneath me, I can more easily trust that I’ll be ok, no matter what else is going on. 

When I feel my feet in contact with the earth or move my pelvis on the chair, my body convinces me that right now, in this moment, I am safe. 

When I can remember to take several slow breaths, counting to five as I inhale and five again as I exhale, my body will calm down, and so will my mind. 

When I practice receiving the sensation of my body in contact with the solid ground beneath me, I don’t doubt that I’m deeply held by the Goodness of this Earth and its sustaining nourishment.

The more I sense this connection, the safer and more sane I feel.

My body helps me trust what is true, amidst everything else that can upend me. Because in this moment I am far safer than my anxious mind fears. My challenge, and probably yours as well, is to receive what’s here already, instead of trying to run off and look for a solution elsewhere.

What do YOU do to remember that you really are safe, when your freaked-out mind tries to tell you otherwise? What helps you trust and receive the Goodness that holds you?

I’ll be sharing more about learning to receive support right here next week, and this Wednesday evening on my DiviningBeauties FB group. Come request to join me if you’re free.

Dear Ones, let yourself receive all that’s here to help you through. Spring will come and this pandemic will end. You can trust these truths… and so many others that Nature gifts us.

With my love,

Mary

PS… This is tough stuff. It’s been a long and difficult winter. If you’d like a helping hand to instill a few very practical steps to deepen your trust in life, please book a 30-minute time for us to chat. I’m right here and have a few openings in my calendar. 


Please join me to celebrate the Spring Equinox, March 21. We’ve waited long enough! No matter the weather I’ll be up on Baldwin Hill that morning to greet the dawn. Then a limited few of us will share a ceremonial fire on my land that afternoon… and finish the day online together, if you’re not close enough to join me in person. Get the details here.

Do you have trouble with trust?

Brrrrr… what an icy few weeks we’ve had! It’s February after all, the coldest and snowiest month of the year. I’ve had my woodstove blazing both to keep me warm and remind me that this too will pass.


When it’s so cold out, it can be hard to remember that even here in frigid New England, the green tips of crocuses and snow drops will begin to break through the soil in just over a month.


Spring cannot be denied.

Unless you’re an early riser, you may not be noticing the sun’s light coming through your window just a bit earlier each morning.


And here’s another bit of good news I didn’t know! As we near the spring equinox — now just a month away — this increasing light is happening ever more quickly. As if excited for what’s to come, the sun speeds up its return to almost 4 minutes a day by the vernal equinox! Every year! No matter what else is going on.


There’s no denying this. The light is returning! Hallelujah! We just have to hold on and remember what we know is true. It’s a fact that, no matter how difficult these interminably cold days may feel, just like every other year this like-no-other winter will end.

The natural world is here to help us trust. And give us a bit of perspective. I need that more than ever in February!


Because if you’re anything like me, fear, given half a chance, will co-opt your own personal histories, partner up with the incessant scary news, and project doom into your future. Isn’t some variation on that theme what wakes you in the night?

It’s when we’ve disconnected ourselves from the Natural world and our bodies — as we are want to do living in a culture that for hundreds of years has mistrusted the body’s cycles and it’s knowing — that we lose touch with a basic trust in what supports our wellbeing.

Then it makes sense why we rely on our flailing minds to try to figure out how to keep us safe, to get it all right. We just need to try harder to figure it all out. Sound familiar?

So, how do we find trust?


When my mind has gone off the rails into whirling aberrations of ghoulish possibilities, I know the best route back to sanity — and trust — is remembering what’s also truth. That’s where memory does help, and coming back to what I can feel with my body.


Spring will come again. It always has! The Earth is round. By some beneficent gift of the natural world, beyond even humanity’s demonic proclivity to mess it up, the sun returns every Spring. We can trust it, yes? The earth’s cycles hold us.

Every morning the sun’s light returns, just like the Springtime. Though its every-day-ness can dull us to the mystery and magnificence of it all, somehow without any effort from us, the sun will continue to rise each morning.


That’s something to trust!


And this. With our first breath of the morning – and every breath until our last – no matter how difficult the night has been, our lungs receive the exact proportion of oxygen needed to perfectly supply our bodies’ needs.


That’s something to trust!

Or this. Your intestines have evolved over eons to absorb the vitamins and antioxidant nutrients in last night’s broccoli that itself grew from some exquisitely proportioned blend of sun, rain, and nutrient-filled soil to provide your body with exactly what it needs.


Again… something to trust!

We are held by the Natural world. We are supported far more than we realize… far more, in fact, than our science knows or we can begin to comprehend.


It’s just that we forget.


We forget to really take in — to receive — what is true! We are so busy doing and working and putting out that we fail to take in what can soothe and support us through even the scariest days yet to come this winter.


Remembering that we can trust the Natural cycles helps us remember what is truth, despite whatever scary demons keep us up at night.

I know it’s cold! But today, no matter what’s there pestering your thoughts, why not take your body and its senses out for a walk? Or buy a bunch of daffodils for your kitchen table. Take in what is also true. Take in what’s there for you to receive!!! Those gifts are here to support and bless you, and they didn’t need you to make them happen.


No matter what other craziness will happen today, let your body remember — and receive — the infinite support that’s everywhere around you. As you walk, can you feel the solid ground beneath you? Can you let yourself trust this?

Because while feeling this always-present ground of support may not stop the pandemic or reverse climate change or figure out how to pay the bills, when we live actively receiving the abundant blessings of the Natural world, we are more resilient to manage whatever else might come our way. Don’t take my word for it… Get out there and see for yourself.


See you next Sunday. Right here.

PS… Mark your calendar for the Spring Equinox, March 21. And if you’d like, come join me to celebrate. We’ve waited long enough! No matter the weather I’ll be up on Baldwin Hill that morning to greet the dawn. Then I’ll do a ceremonial fire on my land that afternoon… and finish the day online with you, if you can’t join me in person. Get the details here.

Imbolc Celebration

This has been a winter like no other! This season’s darkness is never easy, but with the pandemic’s isolation and political insurrection we might forget what’s also just as true.

Amid huge challenges there is also the promise of what’s to come… finally a new president and the end of this horrible virus. 

As if to remind us that even in the dark of winter, spring always returns, nature gives us a minute each day of the sun’s return. Are you beginning to notice?

To mark the promise of what’s to come, ancient Celts celebrated the holiday of Imbolc on the first day of February, approximately the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It couldn’t come at a better time for me.

One day early this month, at the very beginning of this new year, I re-concussed my poor brain. 

It was just a little fender bender and I came away with nary a cut or scrape, but my brain didn’t like the jostling. I was able to make the hour drive home, thanks to a heavy jolt of adrenaline. But next morning up early working on my book, I couldn’t remember how to cut and paste. What I’d written made little sense and I began to doubt the work itself. Who needs another book? And who am I anyway to think I have anything to contribute?

I decided to cancel the seven-week course I’d been creating that would’ve begun next Sunday. I just didn’t want to do all the work to promote it. It was four hours before I put two and two together. Brain fog. Memory lapses. Grumpiness. And a worsening headache on the left side of my head. Oh, RIGHT. It’s back!

I knew the drill by now after my three previous concussions over the past few years. In order to recover I had to rest my eyes, forswear all screens, and try not to think too hard! Quite the challenge with all this January is dishing out.

At first the little girl that lives in me would have none of it! She hates limitation! Don’t tell her she can’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t do whatever! But thankfully my body couldn’t be ignored. 

Surrender has taken time, but eventually I’ve begun to think of this concussion as my “get out of jail free” card. The book and Zoom will be there when I can look at screens again. And I’ve enjoyed the brilliance of many of the Berkshires’ best healers. Since I have to rest my eyes I’ve been spending my days in sixth century Britain listening to fiction for the first time in years! I’m resting, and I’m starting to feel better.

Through all this, Imbolc’s wisdom has been calling to me. If nature is our teacher, winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation. It’s a time to listen — to nurture ourselves, to notice what is no longer needed, and prepare for what’s to come.

But like me those first days after my concussion, most of us are resistant to subtle messages from our bodies, the part of us most aligned with Nature itself. The constant drumbeat demand of productivity or collapsing in exhausted relief keeps us busy and deaf to the healing and restoration we so badly need, especially after all we’ve been through over the past year.

If you’d like help re-orienting to the ancient wisdom you know instinctively, perhaps you’d enjoy what I’ll be offering me next Sunday.

If you’re able to join me carefully distanced in person, we’ll spend two hours in the late afternoon around a bonfire here in my Berkshire woodland paradise listening for the wisdom that wants to emerge.

If being out in the cold or distance keeps you away, join me at 8 PM online. Though I’ll limit looking at the Zoom squares on my screen, I’ll be sharing practices you might like to include at this time to remember what’s also always true in the midst of any challenge…

We are vastly supported by a Wisdom we’ve been trained out of listening to. 

Regardless of the noise continually assaulting us, that knowing is here and always available. We all just need a little help hearing it. 

Join me next Sunday by donation to reclaim the ears to hear what you are most in need of recognizing. There is so much here for our support, Dear Ones. 

With my love,

Mary


Note: I would also like to thank Augusta Rose for typing this blog out so that I can protect my eyes from screens!

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