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,

PS… Maybe you’d like a little help remembering how to receive joy? You might join me for 7 weeks of practice. 7 week to SPRING into Your Sensual Nature

Celebrate with me
Sunday, May 2nd
I’ve been celebrating May Day for almost 30 years. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I go out early in the morning to wash my face in the dew. I clip willow branches and pick flowers to decorate my home and my hair. And I invite a restoration of my own sensual nature, too long asleep in the colder months of the year.

In the Celtic tradition, Beltane marked the beginning of summer, a time when the veils were thinnest and magick was expected. That’s why I celebrate it… and why I’d like you to join me for the party, in person that morning or online at 8PM ET!!! Come and let’s play!

 So…  as you consider what’s been laying dormant in you, let Beltane (and playing with your sisters)  help you bloom again! See if a little delight draws you, Dear One. Whether you join us live or online, we’ll share prompts and practices to help you reawaken as the Earth, our Mother, blossoms forth. What in you has been waiting for the sunshine over this long COVID winter and wants to come alive? Let Beltane’s magick help you call it in, Sister. There will never be a better time! Can’t wait!!!

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!

Permission Granted

Are you exhausted? Maybe here’s why, Dear One…

For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence — as hunter gatherers or agrarian peoples — this time of less daylight brought rest. Before electricity made it possible to ignore the yearly cycles of light and darkness, it’s likely that our ancestors spent much more of the winter asleep. Ah ha!

But we have a multitude of flashy distractions to help us deny or ignore our own evolutionary need for quiet and rest. Human evolution can’t possibly have caught up with the speed of our modern technological advances. 

With all that light, we’re  drawn outward. Toward all that must be done. We indulge our fascination with the endless possibilities for work and play, always occupied, always busy doing, doing, doing.

We are a culture addicted to doing. If we’re not catching up on work, these dark evenings are likely to find us exhausted, scrolling through social media or watching Netflix.

When we’re not running so fast or collapsed in distracted recovery, the subtle messages that draw us to our own wisdom can’t help but emerge. Only we’d rather avoid them, right? Maybe that’s why we stay so busy. Amped up on caffeine to get through our long list of have to’s, it’s easy not to notice that deeper primordial ancient impulse calling us back to the quiet.

What December usually brings are parties and staying up late, with an amped up light show everywhere we turn. Then we can’t help but be distracted from going inward to nourish ourselves with what we most innately crave. Usually we don’t even feel the longing. Instead we call it depression. 

I’ve been wondering lately if SAD — seasonal affective disorder — is less about the lack of light in our lives near the winter solstice and more about how we don’t attend to our very real human need — body and soul — for downtime.

But maybe this year, it could be different. 

As we move day by day into the December darkness and approaching Solstice, I invite you to let yourself off the hook of all that over-doing, and receive the spaciousness and revelation that this growing darkness can bring.

Beyond just our bodies’ need to harmonize with our surroundings, if we allow it, this time offers a chance to tune in and listen for a deeper calling from our essence. And settling in to listen for the longing beneath all our doing opens us to the Wisdom this time can reveal.

During the few weeks before and after the solstice there is less than one minute’s change in the amount of light and darkness.

As much as we may try to distance ourselves within the comfort of our homes, we are undeniably a part of nature and it’s cycles. At this darkest part of the year I invite you to experience your body’s natural alignment with its surroundings, with Nature that you are undeniably of

So try this…Give yourself permission, if only for a few minutes during these rare evenings, to sit quietly with all the lights off.  

With each in-breath receive the darkness, as if a gift to your tired being.

Let each out-breath invite some tight muscle or mind grip to let go. 

Notice your body’s inclinations. What part of you is wanting to sink down in relief?

Then listen for what’s here. Do you feel a longing to light a candle and watch the flame dance in the darkness? Notice your own mood, thoughts, and awarenesses. 

This may not be easy for you. Sitting still you might notice what a challenge it is to release the mind’s perpetual occupation with planning, plotting, and puttering. Ah, sweet mind! It’s been doing it’s thing so incessantly, for so long! So be gentle with yourself. See if you can sit with this discomfort and let yourself just feel it. You will not die, I promise! Then listen for what’s beneath it. What do you most need, Dear Friend? 

Would the simple pleasure of a few quiet minutes be something you might like to infuse into many of your evenings as we come closer to the solstice on the night of Sunday, December 20th?

If so, please join me either in person for a socially-distanced outdoor Winter Solstice Gathering or for a Virtual Solstice Gathering on Zoom.

How to Take Yourself on Vacation if You Can’t Travel: Feminine Embodiment Practices to Amplify Joy and Make it Through This COVID Winter

This week the COVID numbers are going up everywhere. Thanksgiving is canceled. Christmas might be too. I haven’t seen my daughter in LA in a year. And she won’t let me come visit this year either. “It’s too dangerous, Mom!” she says. So I guess I’m grounded…at least for the time being.

I wanted the warm air and ocean breezes. I wanted a sense of freedom. I wanted a good diversion from my Zoom screen and my comfortable, but oh so familiar home. Dammit, I just wanted to get away!

Then last week a new computer update messed with my printer interface. That was it!  Feeling powerless with the accumulated build up of this all pervasive COVID-inspired craziness, I broke down in frustrated tears, stomping up the stairs, and swearing at everything that isn’t working in the world right now. 

When I finally collapsed onto the couch and caught my breath, I realized what else was going on. Without the spontaneous diversion my out-in-the-world life used to hold, I’d been at home, working way too hard and forgetting the very principles I teach. Geesh!

Like almost every woman I know these days, that familiar masculine drive gets in the way of the beautiful life we’re here to live. 

Even when I forget, at least I know my way back home…

Determined to stay in the moment – the feminine’s realm of pleasure – I found my jacket and went outside for a walk. 

November in New England doesn’t offer what we usually think of as beauty. Autumn’s blaze of maple red and poplar yellow were gone. Only the oaks and pines remain to offer their hint of color to the landscape. But I was determined to take in what was there, not fall back into complaining about what wasn’t. 

I’ve found that all that’s needed when spending time in Nature — like any good meditation — is to drop the doing and simply receive the beauty that’s there. 

First I noticed how my body relaxed as I walked on the path’s soft earth and took in the breeze on my face. Those last oak leaves had turned a rich, waxy cordovan like leather. I let the way they dangled delicately from their stems, pirouetting in the wind, draw me in for a longer moment. 

Then the contrast of white birch and green pine caught my breath. There’s so much beauty there! As with the crunch under my feet and the subtle autumn leaf scent that transported me back to childhood visits at my cousin’s farm in Ohio. And above me, the sky was a clear blue–a rare joy for a Berkshire November. 

As I returned ten minutes after a left, I realized I wasn’t just back home to my house, but in my centered self again. 

There is so much beauty here if I really look. What we need right now more than ever is to receive a greater dose of the medicine that’s already here to help get us through. No matter where you are, there is beauty waiting for you to receive it. To tune in to the present moment and simply notice what’s there. 

Only it’s not so simple, is it? You’ve likely been well trained to prioritize work and what must be done first before you can allow yourself to have even a moment of pleasure. Beware! This is the fatal trap that deprives you of joy. Every one of us has a feminine essence that revels in pleasure. We just don’t feed it. Joy lives in receiving what is here right now. 

Even if–like me–you can’t get away to those warm ocean breezes and sand between your toes, your imagination can help shift your mood, as long as you let yourself receive the delight that your senses and memory can conjure.

If you’d like a taste of your own feminine magic – and the pleasure it will bring – I’ll be offering a luscious, long (and free) visualization/meditation this Tuesday evening at my private FB group, Divining Beauties

Join me at 8pm EST Tuesday evening for a 45min FB Live deep dive practice to help you remember what you love and find more of it, right here, no matter where you are and no matter what else is going on. This is one of the practices I plan to use this winter to access my own feminine sensual delight! If you’re not already a member at Divining Beauties, ask to join here

Hope to see you Tuesday night!

Mary

PS – The CDC says this COVID spike should peak by mid-January. That could mean that travel by March might just be possible. And that’s what I’m hoping for. My feminine will be ready to enjoy every moment, receiving the delight of sand between my toes and those moist jungle breezes. Consider joining me at the Haramara Retreat in Mexico. Check it out right here.