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 was 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.

How to manage uncertainty

Wow, has November been one wild ride!!

All week I’ve been reeling from the precariousness of this week’s election.
Shocked at how close we came to the unthinkable. 
Disturbed by a country where half the population’s values aren’t yours.
Feeling ungrounded and adrift in a sea of waiting game.
And now finally, it’s clear, and there’s hope again!

But… who knows what’s yet to come in the COVID-crazed winter! It’s the “who knows-ness” that makes us feel scared and disconnected.

Humans don’t like uncertainty, we do everything in our power to protect against it.

When I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed on Wednesday morning,
and stepped outside to feel the sunshine on my face, I felt something change.
it was Nature’s beckoning that helped me find my way back
to what is ALSO just as real as the news.

I’m not a scientist. I don’t understand why, but being out in Nature makes humans feel better. I have my suppositions, supported by what science is learning about mushrooms and trees and our new understanding of our vast interconnectedness with the more-than-human world.

But this week the why didn’t matter.
What did was how I felt calmer when I got back into my car after a hike up to Laura’s Tower. 
Taking in nature’s leaf-dropping wisdom let me let go of some of the angst, my anxious mind’s preoccupations, and tune in to a knowing far deeper.

Our bodies and senses receive the natural world around us.

Wednesday’s immersion in nature shifted me and expanding my perspective.
Being out in Nature always does! Have you noticed?
It’s what I SO needed that morning… and do every day.

In this email – and those to come this fall – 
I’ll be offering the practical sense-based practices I employ
to help me come back to joy and balance NO MATTER WHAT else is going on.

AND… in case you’re longing for a break
I have something coming in March to tantalize you with!
(You can check it out down below.)

Because connecting to the pleasures that are ALSO here
waiting for you to receive them
will provide way more than just getting through what’s coming.

Uncertainty is tough, and here’s why…

As humans we like to KNOW what’s coming. It makes us feel safe. Like we’re in charge. Only, we’re NOT in charge. If we actually realized all that could befall us despite our best laid plans, I don’t think we’d ever leave the house!

Life is uncertain.
This year with COVID, the election, and the protests for racial justice, it may feel as though the life you knew is gone, maybe even for the better. But beyond all the uncertainty, there’s another truth, just as real. And it’s been my message for years.

The masculine energy in us likes to have a plan, to project into the future and use our brilliant brains to figure out how to get all the details right so things work and we’re safe. Such a beautiful and necessary tool! 

The feminine part of us knows how to flow like a river, trusting in her wisdom how to move past rocks that stand in her way. When there is nothing to count on and our very future is threatened, she knows how to come back to a sense of safety and security in the face of the unknown. The feminine’s magic comes from grounding in the now.

You’ve got this, no matter your gender. It’s the feminine that trusts, beyond evidence, because we feel what’s ALSO true. When we have access to the body’s sense awareness and its inherent deep knowing we come back to our senses, so to speak. Only most of us weren’t taught how to tune into Nature and her wisdom. 

Because this is true… 
We do have support! And far more than can imagine. We’re used to thinking that it’s all up to us to figure it out.

Yet beneath us we have an Earth that holds us more beneficently than we can comprehend, feeding our bodies with what they need to thrive and our souls with daily sustenance, if we remember to tune in. The very air we breath has the exact proportion of oxygen necessary to perfectly nourish our lungs and blood and every cell in our bodies.

We didn’t need to do anything to earn this gift. Receiving it more fully through our felt senses — the feminine’s in-this-moment territory — can break through uncertainty’s illusions if we allow it. We calm down when we drop out of fear and remember our connection to Nature’s holding.

Tuning into our senses and the ever-present pleasures that surround us DOES make a difference. Especially when so much is uncertain. But for most of us, we’re out of practice with receiving pleasure. We’re all about doing, getting things done, producing. And of course we need that. But when we live in a masculine world, unpracticed in accessing the pleasure our feminine essence brings, life is all work and we miss out on the joys that help mitigate so much struggle. 

I’ve been working on my laptop most of the morning, but when I glance out the window, I first notice the white birches, bright in the sunshine. Behind them a tall pine offers a green backdrop with dark woods just beyond. But then I catch sight of the flares of orange bittersweet. I know this plant is invasive and killing the trees, but I can’t help loving its beauty, and receiving what it brings to the November brown.

This was one moment. Probably a ten second break from the work at hand. But I feel refreshed, allowing in this simple touch with nature. The work seems less difficult and I carry a bit more joy into my day. 

This practice is so simple. I bet you do it already. You might just intend to do it a little more often for the joy it brings. I doubt it will give you any immediate answers to climate change or resolving a polarized country. (But who knows?)  

Here’s what I do know…

When I feel myself grounded remember what’s ALSO here right now, my mind is sharper, my intuition more on target, and I feel calmer. Then I’m far more in touch with the resources I need bring my energy and focus to my work and the world.

Would you like more practice?

I booked my 7th retreat at Haramara over a year ago,
before there was even a hint of COVID on the horizon.
I’m still weighing the risks, but just might decide to take a group of us to Mexico this March.

There are the uncertainties…
Will it be safe to travel by then?
There’s no way to know right now, My Dears.
But feel into this.
If you feel the tingle of a maybe bubbling up inside, then let me know!

If we go and you decide to join me,
you’ll experience more fully how to ground in trust and in your senses,
expand your access to your own feminine energy,
and receive an incredible dose of the beauty and pleasure Nature has to shower upon you,
in this entirely open-air paradise

I need to make a decision by early December.
If you think you might like to join me, DO let me know asap.

Enjoy this spectacular day and the hope it brings, Dear Ones.
And join me next week for more supports to expand your feminine to manage life’s uncertainty with grace and grit!

It’s Time to Let Go of Needing to Be “Special”

Autumn is a time of letting go. Facing all the uncertainty of this strange year, I’m wondering if you’re feeling as I am that it’s time to let go of what’s not been working?

We all seem ready for a real change. And fortunately we’re helped right now by a rare moment of synchronicity with the natural world during this short season when our ancient foremothers believed the veils between the worlds were thinnest. 

No one is trick-or-treating anyway, so I’ll be using Halloween to hallow what wants to die in me.

You see, I’ve been noticing lately an old pattern that’s ready to go. Like all habits, it began innocently enough. And it made me feel really good at first. But I’m realizing now that it’s actually ensnared me for too many years! I know it’s time to let it go. 

My life has been run for way too long by a need to feel special. 

I felt special sitting on my daddy’s lap as a toddler as he read to me every night, before my other four siblings came along. 

Special with my mother’s effusive, “GOOD GIRL, Mary!” learning that obedience could earn me that special feeling. 

Special in my 4th grade class of 35 kids, when my teacher caught me whispering, and with a mock scolding smile chanted, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary.” (It’s amazing how strikingly clear that memory still is!)

Special getting good grades, when I realized that I could earn specialness.

Special winning blue ribbon rosettes at the county fair for my meticulous sewing.

And intoxicatingly special when Randy held my hand in our 9th grade assembly. That began decades of striving to be special to men. 

                .   .   .

But trying to earn all that specialness came with a price. My happiness was dependent on someone else letting me know how special I was. Or me striving to prove it to myself. When I didn’t feel my partner’s adoration, life felt dull and uninteresting. No one was feeding my special appetite. 

I’ve spent half a century chasing approval to feel valuable and worthwhile. With years of good therapy and spiritual development, and oodles of self-development workshops, I know the roots of all this. And at my core I know I really am good enough, whether or not someone else or my successes make me feel that way. 

But this fall I know I want the help of something wiser and more powerful than my intellect to really let this thing go.

That’s why I’m turning to Nature’s guidance and a wisdom that lives in all of creation. Like the leaves falling right now — letting go of the life they’ve known all summer as they surrender to the wisdom of the seasons’ cycles — I can feel the impulse to let go, too. And the encouragement.

Nature lets go every autumn. She can show us how when we let her in. Her example can help us trust that what’s dying now will make space for new life to be born. 

    .  .  .  

I’ll be building a fire in my backyard firepit on Sunday evening, November 1st, using ritual to support me in helping my worn-out grasping to be special die. We don’t like to think about death. But autumn has always been a time to honor the dying, even if our materialistic culture has reduced it to a children’s cartoon-ish Halloween trick-or-treating. Still, if you’re willing to take it on, there’s a deep and powerful opportunity now to use this brief season for a broader view of the transformation it invites.

Are you curious about what’s wanting to let go in you? Something likely just below the surface right now? That troubling pattern, belief, or situation you know is old and not serving you anymore, but is comfortable because you know it so well. 

Take a moment now or sometime in the next few days to begin to listen for your own inner wisdom. Then journal your discoveries before the end of the month, when Nature is uniquely supporting you to allow real change to find you. 

Ask yourself what is ready to die? 

  1. Write about a habit or way of thinking that has lost its usefulness and is holding back your happiness or potential?
  2. Remember FIRST how this old pattern might have served you. How did it bring you what you needed so badly? How did it benefit you? Can you allow yourself to acknowledge what was good and what came your way because of this old strategy? If you can acknowledge its benefit, you’ll also be able to more easily let it go.
  3. During these few liminal days when cultures all around the world honor the dead, follow their ancestral wisdom to guide you as you create your own simple ritual. Tear off a small piece of paper and, in a few words, write what you’re ready to let die.
  4. The ancients used fire to symbolically burn away what was no longer needed. Light a candle or, if you can, a bonfire and speak your intention as you burn the slip of paper and the words you’ve written to call out this old pattern. Watch the flames eat your sacred offering.
  5. Then, notice how your body and being feels. There may be regret or confusion or a sense of freedom. Honor whatever is there and be gracious with yourself, allowing all the time that’s needed to integrate. 

The darker days to come will offer you time to let what’s old decompose. And it’s likely that between now and the solstice, you will watch flare-ups of this old pattern before its dying embers completely smolder and extinguish themselves. Allow this letting go have your attention in order to take the time it needs, just as seasons compost leaves into rich humus and fertile soil.

I hope you’ll join me next weekend — in person here in Western Massachusetts or in your own private ritual. Allow the mystery of this liminal season, nighttime darkness, and the full moon’s brilliance to help you honor and let go of what wants to die in you. Then you’ll be cleared out for what you want to be born!

As always, sending my love,

Mary

Finding Grounding and Balance in COVID times

In this message, I’d love to share with you a little gift and an offering.

With the uncertainties of this COVID time
I’ve noticed how much my private clients have needed grounding.
And how much I’ve needed it, too.

So…
1. I planned an in-person event for September’s Fall Equinox
(See more here)
2. I amped up my own grounding practice and began starting every client’s session with a few moments of grounded mindfulness.
I thought you might enjoy listening to a short version…

You see, when COVID landed, life as we all knew it hit the brakes… 

My retreats and every in-person event I had planned screeched to a halt. 
And I haven’t seen a client in my office since February. 
I felt confused, ungrounded, lost in the what ifs.

But here’s the thing…
As my life was forced to change
I began to see what what I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise…
I could see more clearly exactly what hadn’t been working all along.

I’d put up with A LOT,
made due with situations that weren’t pleasurable (to say the least!)

I was working way too hard, 
putting off what I knew would make me happy.
And then feeling ashamed of myself.

I’d acclimated to living with that undercurrent of yuck!
But COVID came like a fierce March wind to wake me up!

Here’s what I learned…
I was unbalanced WAY too far toward the masculine end of the spectrum. 
Doing, doing, doing.
But out of touch with being in the moment with my emotions and senses,
IN SHORT… what I was FEELING,
and the feminine wisdom and joy that are my birthright.

Maybe we all have been?

When research began to speculate that we were all safer out in the open air,
that’s where I went.
And where I found real grounding.
Rain, snow, March muck, whatever.
No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

I began meeting a client or two on the phone, walking down Haley Road to the river.
Or we climbed the trail up to East Rock side by side
(6′ apart of course). 

Almost every day I got myself outside…
and I found a balance I’d needed BADLY,
but wouldn’t have chosen without being forced to.

You, too?
What’s your story?
Maybe you’re just now getting this balance thing…
That your joy — the core of your feminine being — is sourced in connection.

But not just any connection.
Connection to yourself first.

I needed time and space to hear the wisdom that wants to speak.
That’s what I find most easily when I’m in Nature.

There without the distractions,
I can tune into my senses to really feel what’s really going on
and what brings me joy. 
In that expansive state my body relaxes,
and I can choose the next wisest step.

In every private session I share with a client,
I listen to my intuition for what might be of greatest service to her in that moment.
Then I let a guided meditation flow through me.
These have been so helpful to those I serve that I’ve decided to record a few to share with you. 

Take a moment now to find your ground now.
To sink into your deeper wiser self
and remember the grounding that’s always there for you.
I hope you enjoy this little gift… and those I’ll keep sharing right here.

And stay in touch. 
Connect with me if you could use a little help these days. 
You’re not alone!

Sending much love
Mary