Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What? It's almost Christmas?

Yes, it's almost Christmas!

At home there is a little tree lit up with glorious color, our seven year old, Aurora, is beside herself when she gazes at it. Today she put her own presents around the tree. We are all collecting those small thoughtfulnesses into colored packages and placing them around the table under the tree. Everyone feels good. warm. happy.

It has been noted that dysfunctional families are all predictable: it's always something and it's always a soap opera. Happy families are endlessly creative, dynamic, and, most of all, fun! Something new every day. Lots of fun.

My friends, please take a deep breath, no matter when it is that you choose to read this blog, have a perfect day in paradise right now. Let it be your Christmas. Let it be your New Years, Valentines' day and birthday as well, all on this day. Have fun. I am!

In perfect peace there is no fear.

By way of explanation: the computer now works better than ever. I am traveling the next two months and perhaps longer. Blogs will be intermittent. I will diary some because I will have battery power in the van to capture the ideas as they flow out of the desert realms where I intend to roam away from cold wind, damp snow and icey roads.

Be well. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What are you thankful for today?

What are you thankful for every day?

Thanksgiving celebrations come around only once a year with family gatherings, big turkey dinners, lots of kids, decorations, maybe even an early tree set up in the living room with lights blazing in the late afternoon twilight. In many places in this country, already the cold rainy weather is upon us and along with it the winter coats, scarves, gloves, boots and hats array the hooks in the hallway ready for outside adventures. This day also marks the beginning of the countdown to Christmas usually a little less than a month away.

Giving thanks is the theme we play today. What are we thankful for every day?

I always have a few notebooks running where I collect the bits of my mind in writing. Here is where I take a little minute often to remember what I am thankful for every day. I am thankful that I can and do remember, that my body is holding up quite well for 7 decades of use. I am grateful for the good friends I have where I may be simply what I am at the moment without pretensions. I am happy to be the elder and to give freely the wisdom I have accumulated as I have taken care of the best and worst of myself and life as it flows onward through the seasons and years. I am thankful for some things: I have a reliable vehicle to get around in, my computer opens me to a world of information and knowledge and my far away friends.

Mostly I am thankful for the basic goodness of life. I see my world with clarity not attempting to make it rosier than it is. I choose to see its natural beauty, the beauty of people as they do what they do to make it, the exuberance of children becoming wise in their kid ways. Oh, yes, there is evil in the world and as I accept that as a truth, the very understanding allows me to overcome what I must that is close to me in my small, tidy community in southern Oregon. With patience I continue to work on myself in the arena where I can accomplish useful changes.

While you munch on turkey today, and pumpkin pie, remember again to be deeply thankful. And remember also to consider every day what is good, kind, charming and beautiful in your life.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What? Computer hospitalized: terminal motherboard

The facts are that the computer went up in a flash of light across the entire screen with instant shut down on or about 10/10. It took a while to find the right person to find the right new motherboard for the repair and we have been off line for over a month. Lost the Christmas buy season in the delay.

The good news is that the new motherboard is in and functioning perfectly. The less than good news is that we are way way behind on things.

So, please, any of you who are wishing and hoping for the next blog to come forth, be patient for a couple more days.

Your blogger will be house sitting for a few days over the Thanksgiving holiday with the cat and my own internet connection, floor space of yoga on, and a luxe bathtub to loll in. It will be fun and I will be prolific for a few days.

Take care of yourself. Enjoy your version of giving thanks and afterward, let me know what it was about for you. I love you all. Blessings to one and all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What? There are 2 principles for body health

There really are only two basic principles to keep in mind when managing health: hydration and alkalinity.

Hydration: water is really simple: drink more of it.

The simple terms: the body required at least one half of the body weight in ounces daily. If I am a 150 pound woman, I need at least 75 oz. or another big glass more than 2 quarts of water. If I am a 200 pound male, my body needs to drink 100 oz. daily or another big glass more than 3 liters. And if I work hard or play hard, or it's hot hot outside, more water is needed. When your body is properly hydrated, you will be naturally thirsty for water when it is needed.

The bottom line? The body requires sufficient water for digestion, for breathing, for moving muscles, for thinking, for replacing cells, simple daily functionality. There is a connection to be made between chronic dehydration and disease conditions.

The second principle is alkalinity: the blood is slightly alkaline (7.3 something pH) and naturally balances itself to that alkalinity. We know that obesity can be reversed when sufficient water is given. There is more to learn: check out: "The pH Miracle" by Robert O. Young and his wife, Shelley where you will find histories of people who reversed unhealthy conditions with attention to dietary alkalinity, as well as the science you need to understand, the method to follow and recipes. This is a really helpful book.

The next blog will offer something more about the principle of alkalinity and some easy tips to steer you in the right direction.

To your health!

Why? Yagottawanna! It's your health.

It's a word of thumb these days, yagottawanna” : you have got to want to, yup, got to want to be a healthy, vital, vigorous, happy person.

Simply put, health is a matter of self esteem. I can love myself enough to love myself healthy. And I must act on the intention I have to live a healthful life.

It's also more than just the body: mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a sound body. I must wish to educate myself sufficiently to be able to create health for myself, health and well being in all its aspects, a whole, healthy and well person able to respond to the many different varieties of life's experiences.

These next few blogs will be about your health, that you really can make a big difference for yourself because without a good body, life simply does not work as well, now does it!

There is very little real information in our world and you must work to find it for your benefit. I wish to help you by drawing on the knowledge that I have developed for myself over 30 something years and share it with you. Take what you can use and skip the rest.

And go for it, there is nothing to lose by being able to respond to your life.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why? Understanding renewal for you!

When I went yesterday off to the local store which specializes in supplements at very good prices, I realized that there was a fine topic here to blog upon. How is it possible to regenerate, restore and rejuvenate our bodies and what in the world do we do to accomplish that?

For the past over 30 years, I have delved deeply into many facets of Chinese medicine, Japanese acupressure, kundalini yoga, Tibetan meditations and some martial arts mostly because of my interested in building my whole health and well being. The techniques I use, the philosophies that explain why and how to use them have become an integral part of my daily life. From my practice I bring practicality and from philosophies I bring understanding. Take what is useful to you and discard the rest at your personal responsibility and discretion.

First of all, I think it is important to renew our understanding of the changing of the seasons which means literally to review the precise journey that the earth, (tilted on its axis at 231/2 degrees) and sun make together annually.

Beginning with the spring equinox, approximately March 21st, we notice that the sun is hovering over the equator of the earth on its northward journey toward the Tropic of Cancer. On May 1st, it reaches the half way point between equator and tropic: this marks the start of the summer season. Mid summer, the solstice, is when the sun hovers over the Tropic of Cancer, its northernmost point on June 21. By August 2nd summer ends as the sun reaches the midpoint half way to the equator between solstice and equinox. This is the beginning of autumn, the fall season. Fall equinox comes approximately September 22nd. when sun hovers again over the equator now on its southward trip to the Tropic of Capricorn. The mid point between equator and tropic is reached November 1st marking the beginning of winter. Winter solstice, when the sun hovers over the Tropic of Capricorn, its most southerly point, is December 21. On February 2nd, the sun reaches the midpoint on its return between tropic and equator. This is the beginning of spring which advances as the sun travels northward on another equatorial pass, spring equinox once again.

It is important to note the five major stations of the sun across the planet: equator, two mid points between equator and tropic and two extreme points over the northern and southern tropic lines. The Druids gave us names to designate the celebrations of the seasonal changes which made the tribal year:

March 21, spring equinox : Oestre
May 1st, beginning of summer: Beltane
June 21, solstice, mid summer: Litha
August 2nd, beginning of fall: Lugnasa
September 21, fall equinox: Mabon
November 1st: beginning of winter: Samhein
December 21, solstice, mid winter: Yule
February 2nd, beginning of spring: Imbolc

When you check out for yourself the annual journey that the earth and sun make together, you can understand that the calender is off by at least half a season. This can make a difference to you when you are considering the plan to make to regenerate your body.

Even before there were Druids, there were earth people who noticed the seasons and the herbs, grasses, and plant foods available for nourishment throughout the year. In Asian lands, the people that collected the plants and ate them could feel and understand which of the systems of the body each was feeding.

Then, they made an important next step: they wrote down their observations on bone, stone and jade. Approximately 2800 BC of the fourth world, a head clan chief named Shen Min collected all these artifacts and synergized them into a treatise known to this day as the Yellow Emperor's Treatise on Yin and Yang and the Five Transformations.

This Chinese shaman identified five elements and five changes: fire, earth, metal, water and wood and noted that with the annual advance of the sun and planet, the seasons, each of these transformations came to prominence and then changed into the next. Fire marked the summer season, Earth was late summer, Metal (air) was strong during the fall, Water at mid winter, then beginning in early spring, the Wood element came to its own. The five elements, also known as the Five Transformations, form the basis of understanding today of the study and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and acupressure, martial arts, healing techniques such as shiatsu, and moving practices such as tai chi.

The next blog will develop these understandings further. What can it all mean? And mean to me, you ask? With understanding comes the ability to make wise choices.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More about a renewal of culture

The mountain attracts many travelers throughout the summer season which begins when the last of the snow drifts melt above Bunny flats sometime in June and goes until the snow flies in October. Those of us who live nearby don't entirely understand what it is that brings people here from around the world. Even though Mt. Shasta is the tallest peak in North America, it is out of the way from the larger west coast cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland where we might imagine the tourists will go. Some are glossy in fine automobiles and some are dred-locked skinny young people wearing colorful costumes and unusual names.

Meet J. Galaxy, she is Kansian. We had quite a lot in common as she is a sewer and jewelry maker. She told me that she is a teacher who takes the whole summer off to travel. And travel she has, many countries and many different cultures and ethnic traditions. She explained:

"I took a course in college on ethnic studies. The teacher asked each of us about our ethnic heritage. I am Kansian, was her answer, I was born in Kansas."

"That's not an ethnicity," the teacher replied.

Galaxy explained that having been born on the edge of the American plains where many formerly European people came by covered wagon through frontier hardships when very bad weather and devastated crops left everybody starving so much that their older people, mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers died leaving no information concerning their origins. No one who was left could remember their original homes lands, so, Kansian became their adopted heritage. I think of myself as frontier stock, a survivor among very tough people who made it in a very difficult land. After the class, my grandmother and I did some work on genealogy tracing our family back several generations to Scotland and France. But all that disappeared when we first came to the raw, flat, new land of Kansas and managed somehow to survive."

She also suggested that this lack of identifiable background has made her open and curious of people's heritage wherever she has traveled. For her, renewal has come to mean rich experiences of food and fun from many different places where she took her Kansian survival mentality to share across Europe and south to Mexico and Central America.

There is a fellow on the mountain who hosts the campground at Panther Meadows. Elders of the Indian nations, who have lived near the mountain for generations, persuaded the Forest Service to create a job for him. Johnny get paid to watch over the whole camp ground, to guide visitors seeking to hike the mountain and to clean out the outhouse making sure there is paper and a swept floor for all campers. He spends the entire summer on the mountain.

He visited our camp and shared the reasons for his being the camp host. He had spent many summers since his teen years hiking and camping on the mountain. As a friend to the Indians in this region, he attended many ceremonies and sweat lodges. He shared the story of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, part of which forms the basis of the United States Constitution, a story of peacemaking among strong nations that became a renewed code of honor among them and which placed the elder women (the grandmothers who watched over all the children) in a wisdom place: any one chosen as chief or any law which was not true for all the people could be vetoed by the grandmother council.

While I have been searching and listening, myself an elder grandmother, I have been gathering a greater understanding that the ideas of renewal that I am investigating are actually not a new phenomenon even in my quite small circle of influence. There is a great deal going on in our first world that is not reacting to the downturn of real estate values and the growing takeover of the central banks which squeezes the low income formerly middle class workers and their families. There is a turning inward instead to the small circles of the families and the close neighbors.

I remind people not to be defeated by their powerlessness in the workplace, in the face of the police and war mentality, or before the economic power of the central banks. I remind them that when we look at each other and recognize the heart within and the heart before us, we may experience being power-full, i.e. full of the power of our own spirit. In the circles of our peaceful confederacies, in our families and in our neighborhood circles, there we are power-full, there we are the decision makers guiding our lives in wisdom and peace. No insitution outside of these places can compromise our individual spirit, indeed, it is one and eternal in all people and all nations.

People may lose everything, may starve from lack of food, waring may maim or kill, spirit forever remains.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who? Some whos comment on renewal.

I was up again on Mt. Shasta this time for my own purposes. During the few days I was there, I met a group of mostly women who had come from the Province of Quebec, Canada. There were about half a dozen ladies of various ages led by a couple.They had flown from Montreal to San Francisco to drive and climb up the mountain for several days of meditations, yoga and discussion about personal and spiritual renewal. They were excited to be on the tallest mountain in North America, to simply be there, to sense the energies of a sacred mountain and to search deeply within themselves what that might mean. We had several moments of great fun recalling my Montreal history from the 1960's: how I loved the big city, how it was so different in language and customs from what I had come from in western Canada. Their focus was personal and yet there was a spirit of something new, yes, renewal that they had been contemplating while they were there. They were taking away with them a magnificent experience and food for much thought for the next months. I gave them my blog card in the hope they will let me know about their progress.

Just a couple days later when I was in Mt. Shasta, the town, I met again some old friends: Djin and Becky. His 60th birthday was only a few days away. He was telling me about finding a reel-to-reel tape of music from the 70's which had been stored in a friend's basement for lots of years. When they were able to play it and download it to disc, they sent it to a recording company. Their response was highly enthusiastic: would he consider signing a 5 year contract to perform and record again? Here he is, at the 7 decade of his life renewing his musical heritage and giving it to the present generation. Now that is truly about a renewal.

Is there something in us that reverses aging? That could be known as: Youthing? Maybe so.

What is it for you today, growing older or growing younger?

Friday, September 12, 2008

What? With my reporter's hat on, I'm asking about renewal

While I have been out and about these past few days, my 'reporter's hat has been on my head. Sitting in the late afternoon sun at Panther Meadows on Mt. Shasta who should come walking over but a gentleman friend of long past who I have not seen for at least a couple years. After the greetings, I showed him my card and asked him if he had thoughts to share about renewal.

Bob is 72 this year, came from a highly technical corporate background to settle a few years ago in Siskiyou Co where he married again and had 2 children now nearly teen aged. In this time, rather than using his mind on detailed engineering problems, he leads vision quests for other men who, like him, are exiting the tech world to rediscover their very human cores.

"I've been renewing myself for a couple of decades," he says, "I guess my second family has shown me some things about what I missed before, like, that I have a very mushy heart, I love to play frisbee and checkers with my kids and that I was probably much too serious about money and prestige in my younger years. Being in love again has warmed me up and I like that very much."

"Vision quests are my gift to some of the men of my generation who kind of lost themselves and are taking back the power they gave away to their bosses and an ideal which left them hollow and dissatisfied by the attaining of the very accomplishments they had striven for as worthwhile."

"Renewal means to me, renewing myself first. Now what I am doing feels very much more like real accomplishment."

The next morning while I was walking around the alpine campground there were two beautiful, very young people relaxing in their camping spot. I went over and introduced myself. After hearing a little from them, I asked them for their ideas about renewal.

River is 29. He lives where ever he is out on the road, working when the need arises. He says he is concerned most about improving himself, seeking to learn true spiritual ways. "I'm not sure I can marry and have a family. I've seen so much of that kind of life that I am a little scared that I would lose what I have found of myself. Still, I love my woman. We talk about what if we should marry. There really are no clear answers yet for me. I see the world changing. I have no place in the world of my parents, nor do I have any idea how I might make my way in an emerging world. I believe that if I keep my heart open, a way will be shown to me."

While many of my peer group have settled in front of the TV, on the properties or in the homes their hard work achieved for them, only a very few realize somewhere that the need our society shows us to have our own money, our own house, lawn, and automobile somehow robs us of experiences of a collective wisdom, shared resources and a more human spirituality not church or organizationally based.

The younger ones, say those with only 2 decades or 3 behind them, are convinced by the ecological mess the natural environment is in that there must be something better. It is hard to break out of the old conditioning but they are daily breaking down barriers. They know it is a real challenge making a living as a fringe dweller.

They are saying there is more to life than surveillance cameras watching and recording every move we make, that the burgeoning prison culture is anathema to the pure spirit in each person, They believe that fewer things and voluntary simplicity can renew us all.

Money is not it. Love is. What is the state of your heart today?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why? Inventing a renewal culture beyond ecology.

When I began a few days ago to write this blog, I thought I might be fairly glib about what I thought a renewal of culture was all about. It has turned out quite differently. There is a great deal to say and it's taking me a lot longer to make it sensible to my readers, bless you, every one!

There is my own personal history: all that has led me to consider the idea of renewal in the first place. Perhaps every writer has these experiences: not so much what to write but what to leave out of the narrative, to hone the work to an intelligible clarity and sharpness. It's not hopeless and it is much more enormous a task than I first anticipated. So, darlings, bear with me while it all gets sorted out.

I trust you (as few and as rare as you are right now) will assist with feedback from your lives. Thank you before you read and thank you after your comments!

The beginning of the tale:

I was born just at the outset of World War II, raised in Canada by later Victorian children who lived through the Great Depression. Everything in our house was used and used again. I remember the first plastic bags my mother got from the store: they were washed out and put on the line outside to dry to be used over and over - for months!

Now, say only 60 years later, it's hard to conceptualize that 30 billion plastic bags are used every year and 10 billion paper.

My parents saved dimes and quarters over many years so they could go to the car dealership to buy a new car for cash. Can you ever remember being able to buy any kind of 'big ticket' item without credit? You might be met with some serious questions should you appear in a car dealership today with cash in your wallet to buy a $20,000 automobile: where and how did you come by this much money? hmmmmmm?

Our western, so-called first world society in the early 21st century consumes much more than its share of the world's resources and still we buy like there is no tomorrow. Some people don't even believe in tomorrow thinking that a religious rapture will take them away to heaven. Trash the earth, we won't be around to worry about it.

In my view, it seems obvious that the real value of resources, from the ordinary plastic bag to the lawnmower sitting in the garage, lies in the use, and sharing, of such resources. Does every household really need their own laundromat, even their own automobile? A renewal culture goes way beyond the style of capitalistic considerations of 'ours' and 'theirs' seeking, instead, how many may share the use of fewer things.

Here, I think, is where the consideration of renewal may begin: with an inventory of what we own that may be shared, that may even by superfluous, or even toxic to us and to our overall well being. What could you, quite nicely, do without?

A person is rich who knows they have enough.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What? Our local Freebox in Ashland, OR

In the same lot as our thriving local recycle center is to be found our freebox. It is a small wooden building with one open side housing a long rack which is crowded with used clothing on hangers. Underneath it is a shelf with piles of shoes and boots for everyone you know from the man of the house, the teens needing those famous Nike's and even a bunch of baby shoes and sandals. In front is also a long shelf with boxes stuffed with clothing and below it, more boxes and more clothing. On the front is a sign: Please, no torn, wet or dirty clothing.

There are people in our neighborhood whose entire wardrobe is to be found at the freebox. Ashland is a relatively upscale town in southern Oregon so even famous labels may be found crowded into the boxes: Lands' End, Eddie Bauer, Ralph Laren, Ann Klein. It's good pickin' there: the farming hippies come from Williams to comb for t-shirts, skirts and pants, hoodies and later in the season, wool sweaters. Our Mexican mothers take dresses with them and small pants and shirts for their babies toted on their backs in slings. The teens, both girls and men, assemble colorful outfits to take off into their lives. Older women, and a few men as well, search through the sweaters to be found there wool, cotton and acrylic to keep their bones warmed even in summer.

I have a woman friend who prefers what might be called an eclectic wardrobe. She finds a pair of orange spandex tights which she fringes on the bottom, a slippery polyester knit printed top in shades of green and turquoise with yellow which straps are removed to be worn upside down on her hips with a pink belt also pulled from the depths of the pile. Her top is a blue cotton knit tank and on her head is a green cap slung over one ear with the peak floating at a rakish angle across her face. She has a large storage unit with masses of stuff: her own kind of freebox! Once she gave me an all wool Ralph Laren hand knit sweater great for the in-between season, in-between winter freezes and spring warming, in-between summer's ending heat and the stormy blasts of October. Stylish for free. I'm thankful.

I check out the box whenever I go past. It's closed on Tuesdays. I find sweaters that may be unravelled and used again to make other sweaters or jackets, shawls or potholders. There are occasionally flannel sheets which I wash, rip into strips and then, with a giant crochet hook, turn into floor mats easy to use and easy to launder. Lately I found a long, primo cotton hoodie and for winter, a puffy warm down jacket coming past my thighs. Cozy!

The Freebox is also a little of a social center: a great place to meet our neighbors: beautiful young mothers with gurgling babies and toddlers trailing behind, working people whose budgets go only as far as the gas station and the local discount grocery store, college students in search of useful clothing or costumes for special events, even a theatre manager seeking wardrobe for a production he was planning.,

Everything is there: coats, jackets, slickers, tops, blouses, shirts both long and short sleeved, skirts, jeans, Dockers pants, tights, shoes and boots, sandals, hoodies, leather and polyester, cotton, wool and linen.

Is there somewhere in your town where a freebox could be made available to everyone? Is there a place, a small garage, an empty store front, a volunteer or several who could spend a little time keeping such a place tidy? Let me tell you, you might be surprised about several things: one, everyone has something to give from time to time and two, many people in your community will be very grateful for the boost such an option for clothing can give their budgets season by season.

When we look around, there are a hundred hundred things we may do to support and assist each other. It's an old new idea. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What? The aftermath of Mt. Shasta ceremonies

We arrived home last Friday afternoon with a huge load of laundry which finally slunk itself into the L-mat yesterday. Clean clothing and towels have a renewing effect on the psyche and now it is possible to remember and assess our week and a half ceremonial event on Mt. Shasta.

So many people! So many from distant places not only in the US but also from Israel and even Taiwan! Young and older. Knock down living-in-the-woods hippies and seeking corporate people taking vacation time to camp among the volcanic heights of Mt. Shasta among the stunted fir, giant rock piles strewn over the dust, alpine flowers and a glacial stream flowing down. Our camp swelled from 6 people on Wednesday before the event to about 30 by the time Saturday and the Full Moon arrived: about a gallon of coffee at each sitting was consumed along with donated meals and treats.

Jim Thundereater magnificently led us all through the flow of time and energy while we danced and were cleansed. For me, it was memorable in several of the people who came into my life: there is something about high energy that makes us bond with a depth not available during our usual day to day lives.

My favorite was young Black Fox, a 10 year old boy growing himself up in nature with the guidance of several people distantly related to his mother. I offered myself as an ally and requested him to become a wisdom ally to me: hugs sealed the relation. There was Maidel, a beautiful Cuban woman with her husband and child who, without hesitation, brought me a special pyramid crystal with which to develop communication skills. Precious gifting. And Curt, a Canadian man my kid's age struggling with the renewal energy the mountain and our camp offered him. His generous spirit opened and laughed heartily with us around the fire. An Israeli couple on tour happened in on our circle and stayed to dance most of the night.

The world shrinks to within the boundaries of the Medicine Circle, we dance and rededicate ourselves to renew universal love which goes with us to our distant lives when we demolish the stone circle and restore the plateau at Panther Meadows to its natural state. Our experiences shared later with our cohorts inoculated them with the peace and love we danced for them at the Full Moon.
This year, the 13th, brings us a new prayer and next year a new dance will move our limbs in another high energy sharing during the Aquarius full moon on August 5th, 2009. Will you be there?
We welcome you and pray now for your well being.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Full Moon Medicine Wheel Circle, August 16th

Later in the afternoon our sundry vehicles trundled up the last mile of roadway to the topmost parking lot at Panther Meadows on Mount Shasta where some of our guests and visitors had already found their way.

With only a small prompt from Thundereater a wide circle was cast on the plateau whereupon all of these people entered and began to clear away every stone and rock inside to pile them at the circumference. Very soon the medicine wheel circle was clearly delineated in the once strewn vista by the stones that came from within it. The gate of the east was set up with a tall stone and a cluster of smaller stones around it. A smaller circle of 13 stones was placed (this was the 13th year of the circle celebrations) and within it, a large, flatter single stone altar. At the south gate sat our grandmother, at the west gate a larger stone to balance the east, and at the north a medicine staff was set in rocks, it's feather aloft in the breeze.

While we were setting up, other groups were also doing much the same things for their own full moon ceremonies. As the evening fell closer to sunset and dusk, there were organic symphonies with the sounding of Tibetan bowls and bells, drums and flutes toning across the plateau which lasted through to nearly midnight.

Each of the circles' music blended and harmonized while we were opening our circle. Elders Starwalker and Amraah, each with handmade drums, opened the circle by drumming around the circles from east to south to west to north sounding a clearing around the outer and inner circles and over the altar making way for the dances of our shaman Thundereater dedicating the circle. By the time he was finished fully 75 people were collected on the boundaries of the circle awaiting an individual purifying smudging with sage and cedar before entering the circle for the all night dancing. Other drummers were setting up and after they were smudged, they began drumming in the circle a lively rhythmic dance that everyone could move with. Of the 75 people who began the evening, about a dozen were dancing as dawn brightened its way across the western regions of North America.

The purpose of the circle is related to the meditation of dancing all night. It is a personal act of prayer and dedication made during a particularly energetic time. Full moons are high energy times which we may all attest to noting instances in our lives when full moon periods brought catastrophe or surprises. The full moon in August, the sign of Leo opposite the moon in Aquarius, is a healing moon and at this time many people were focusing on their own or others well being.

It began 13 years ago when Jim Thundereater, a Shasta native shaman, in a great deal of pain both physical and emotional, petitioned the Great Mother for a vision. The vision showed him that he would create a 16 year long series of Medicine Wheel Ceremonies during the healing Full Moon of August. In groups of 4 years, each step included first a new prayer, next a new dance, then a new song and a completion. This year, the 13th, marks the series which thank the Mother and Mother Shasta for allowing him to serve the people. Each person comes for their own reasons and all join the circle created by the shaman for the purpose of serving all the people, even ones who do not attend or even know about such a thing.

When two or three are gathered, there I Am.

Mt. Shasta Full Moon ceremonies

Saturday morning about 8:45 there was coffee perking on the grill when I arrived up from the parking lot having slept in my van, my usual custom. Many already were gathered in the morning coffee camp. By magic cell phone we knew of many others who were on their way from some distance. They would be with us in time for the afternoon purification in the stream running down the mountain.

We chose a spot close to the camp and an easy walk that everyone could manage. We walked just a little way down the grade from our camps alongside the glacial Panther Meadows stream.l In August, the watercourse is lush in summer violet fire weed banked along the cascading water, next to golden rod daisies in colorful clumps, mountain heather further from the water and blooming their star-like blue violet flowers were michaelmas daisies. Finches and nuthatches flitted chirruping among the taller trees, ancient alpine specimen some of which might be 1000 years old yet stunted by harsh mountain weather conditions.

We stopped at Charlie Tom's now vacant fire pit: both men and women had walked down to this spot together. Now the men would group and walk further down to the place called "The Mother's Breast" where they would begin the purification ceremonies: putting up a tapestry barrier tied to the trees and bushes, then their own words of dedication before plunging into the stream to wash, slosh or even dunk body and head into the running waters. The women sitting above heard their shouts all the way up the hill. As they returned, we, in turn, spiraled down the trail to the mountain creek.

The water was i-c-y, my feet were numb in about a minute. I splashed about finally flinging about a dozen handfuls of water up over my head, shoulders and chest before I quickly returned to creekside beside the flowers. The children flopped and lolled in the waters defying the chill while the rest of the women, mothers and visitors, also flung water over themselves or sat down into the stream. After pulling down our tapestries, we returned all the way up the path to the camp.

Our camp, now nearly 30 people, would make and eat a meal before we left for the topmost part of the parking lot and vista at Panther Meadows a little later in the afternoon to begin the medicine wheel circle. We rested during our afternoon repast anticipating the night long full moon dancing to begin about dusk.

Who? The who's come to camp.

Jim Thundereater (dad) had us ready to move out of the driveway in Ashland just after noon on Wednesday 8/13. Aurora (6) had her back pack stuffed with things to do; Teresa (mom) had brought and stashed everything that could be wanted on any camping trip and the Wagonmaster, myself, had checked oil and the radiator, given the tires one last eye as I walked around the van before getting in and turning the ignition key. We were off for Panther Meadows at about the 7,000 ft level on Mt. Shasta about 3 hours away including stops.

We pulled into the campground parking lot about 5:30 to be greeted within minutes by our camp mates who had already set up their nearby camp. Hugs all around as they said they knew were were there by the chuckle of the van's engines and the unmistakable growling slam of the side door closing. It took very little time to move our entire load up the hill and to complete setting up our camp; one small colorful tent for Aurora and a larger one for Mom and Dad. Soon there was coffee on the boil on the grill well placed in the fire pit. Oh, sure, it didn't quite happen in the time it took for the words to be written or read. No, rather in an astoundingly efficient time, an assured and skilled small group of people did what was obvious to create a functional and quite charming space between the spiraling alpine fir, the large volcanic rocks strewn about and volcanic dust under our feet. Three quarts of coffee disappeared amongst the workers now lounging in camp chairs and on the ground. Thundereater brought out the flute and played a greeting song. We shared together our various getting-to-the-mountain stories joking and laughing a chorus to the flute.

People come together and do something. The camp nestled in Mother Shasta's upstairs parlour, a place we call Panther Meadows. We celebrated each other and the whole of us in the jokes and laughter called up with the stores being told. I relaxed very ancient parts of my child-body that had very seldom been released, a serene peace rose up from the ground to animate me with its smile that I grinned about over my coffee cup to everyone present. It was great fun. It could be called soul fun because this kind of warmth grows and develops parts of our emotional bodies not usually impacted in uplifting ways.

Wednesday evening and Thursday all day our tribal family assembled on and two and five together with all their tents and sleeping bags, coolers full of food, drums of all sizes, shapes and tones, tamborines and rattles. Everyone was happy and excited to be together.

I wish that the who's in your tribe are good campers: take yourself to the wilderness. Leave no trace, take only memories.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Who? What? When? Mount Shasta Full Moon meditation.

Mount Shasta, Siskiyou County, CA. It's Friday, August 15th. Our camp has been growing since we arrived on Wednesday with Jim, Teresa and Aurora in the van loaded with everything ever wanted to make a camp and hold a full moon ceremony above the top parking lot at Panther Meadow. There are four tents in our camp, another one up this morning anticipating our brother, Happy, and just below us live Black Horse with Black Fox and their three doggies making plenty of sometimes unwelcome greetings around and about the other camps. Everyone is curious because we set up an open shelter with a lovely colorful tapestry of Ganesh gracing one side. The ceremonial drum has been placed in the center awaiting a circle of the assembled group. There is a lot of excitement as we gather around the campfire for morning coffee brewing in a large enamel pot above the crackling blaze. Smiles and greetings pass as quickly as the steaming cups. This August Full Moon also has a lunar eclipse to go sometime Saturday afternoon just before the medicine wheel circle, drumming and dancing that will be happening Saturday evening. Many of our friends are already in camp with us and more are expected tomorrow to participate in the healing ceremonies. This is the 13th year of the ceremony held by Jim Olson, Shasta native, up on the mountain. There is purification this afternoon. The women will walk about 2 1/2 miles up the mountain to the upper spring and the men will walk downward about the same distance to the lower spring. Everyone will bathe in the very cold ice melt water preparing for the ceremonies tomorrow. And after the walk, there will be a camp wide meal which we will all share the food and cooking. There will be more people assembling all evening and into tomorrow. It might not have been anything of your experience to join your friends in a personal sacred festival. Full Moons are especially good for energy and there are other good times like the day/evenings of summer (June 21) or winter(December 21) solstice or at the times of equinoxes either in March or September. Come together to join with your friends and send prayers of well being and healing to everyone present, all your family people and to people all across the world. Every time there is a small group, the energy of your prayers makes a difference to the peacefulness so needed in our world now. If you listen closely, you may hear our drums singing for you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

why? why seek family?

Why would I be searching for my family? Mostly because it has taken a great long time to find my real family. It became clear to me early that I was not born to my real people and not in my right place. Now, in this time, decades later, I find myself actually sitting with people who feel like my family. If you have a family that really feels like the real thing, you might not understand why I wish for the one that feels deeply that it is family, where I am included, respected and listened to, where there is plenty of room for me to be just exactly what I am, what I have made of myself out of the experiences I have had pursuing the ideal of a real family. I feel I can relax now with nothing to prove. It makes a huge difference to how I can become now: what a blessing to pass on something of the accumulated wisdom of nearly 7 decades.

This realization of true family happened more deeply in me than simply in my brain mind, it is felt in my body mind, the feeling part of myself that lets me know things I need to know that are not worded, not thought or said, are simply energy in motion. The better I am at observing myself, the better I have become at discerning where and with whom I should be to evolve naturally, that is, the way I see my true self. The adopted family I have found (and who have found me) gives me a place to work on these things.

The idea to blog and to eventually build a web site called LotusWFive, of course, has come out of a felt experience that once I have found that family I can truly make a contribution of myself. Our simply sitting together being in conversation, enjoying the morning coffee or the evening desert together has shown me that everything that we are here, what we do here, and what we talk about here is knowledge needed and wanted by every human on the planet either as a direction to go or a validation of where we have become our best. I believe that these understandings are food for thought and very worth blogging about. Bon Appetite!

We are going to be at Mt. Shasta for about a week over the full moon lunar eclipse on Saturday, August 16th and later camping across on the Eddys. I will not be blogging until I return so have a good holiday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where? Where on earth?

Where? Well, where is here on earth somewhere! I came to realize there was really a little more to it than simply that we are some "where" here on the planet. Each of us born on this planet from the moment of conception when the egg in your mother was fertilized by a speedy little sperm from your father, from that very moment until the fetus is born it recapitulates the entire 3 1/2 billion year history of the planet. It's all recorded in the DNA in every cell. That's a duplication several trillions repeated. From this it could easily be noted that each of us is an Earth Person. The planet in all her glory is in us bones and blood, no matter who we are, what we might look like, our age, our profession, our race or family history. All of us are of this earth.

It also means that each of us is needed and wanted to be here and without us our earth would not be what it is now. You and I are each critical to the whole, the whole earth,and to the entire 6.something billion people here on earth. You are important. Great. Now just get on with it, make something of yourself here and make something of the great where that earth is. You simply cannot make a mistake. And the very things that you might choose to do could, indeed, make the entire difference!

Friday, August 1, 2008

When? When are the best "whens"

Moving right along with our unfolding W5, the next place to visit is "when." When? Friday, August 1st is a solar eclipse, that's a big planetary when. And the day of your birthday, that's also a "when" for you, maybe with friends and presents thrown in on the deal. Every minute is a when and when I really began to understand and remain more easily in the flow of "whens" in the present tense with my largest possible self, I became a true gift to myself. Do you recall this slogan: "Now is a gift, that's why it's called the present!"? So, my best when would be this one.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

what? walking to blog

Continuing with the plan, why? who? and now what? I'm walking again. I'm actually taking the time to let myself walk. My extra-brother, Jim, has a little rhyming ditty about taking life at 'walkin' speed' which describes his relation to his life based on the pace of his walking. I'm so related to my vehicle and driving around that the idea of walking speed definitely took a little getting used to, that is, until gas prices rose far enough above my means to make it a real budget issue to drive much much less, and only for several chores all at once, leaving out a great deal of the exploratory and traveling driving that I have done in the past. The gas is not the only issue now: I really need to get on to my load bearing apparatus and walk walk walk. To that end, I packed the computer into my rolling back pack and walked about a half mile to come to the cafe to free wireless internet. On the way there were a couple houses with free boxes parked at the driveway waiting my perusal and acquisition of small useful things. I also noticed the fruit trees abounding with ripening fruits: plums, pears and apples. The fruit in unwatered fields are smaller and more abundant waiting the gleaners of which I will be one - soon! It's also fun to see the gardeners in their yards and the young woman in her electric cart-car going off to the town. It's also plenty of walking for me right now, up to the second block, down past the apartments and the park and up the final two blocks to the cafe. Going home is better, down,up and then down again to our driveway. Today, my friend Unity has come to blog with me and we will take her car down and up and down to my place. Health and communication, two great what's for the day. What are your "what's" today?

Here's an affirmation/declaration which could be helpful to you:
Removing External Negative Energy from self or your space:
"You are not from me. I remove you root, leaf and stem and command you to return to your creator, in the name of the Everliving One, for I AM One with the Power that
Created me and I AM the Power of One!

In order for this declaration to work, Remember:
1. Focus your mind to address the pain, unease, or energy drain directly.
2.Command like a drill sergent acknowledging your own power: let it fill you and flow through you! Use your voice vigorously and mean it!
3. Repeat as often as necessary. It really works.

I also like to declare: Everywhere I go, I go freely, safely and respectfully. And that about covers it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who? Everyone is a "Who"

Horton wasn't the only one who heard a Who. Imagine that I look in the mirror at the closest "who" I know: myself. Today I do not have a specific "who" to share with you but in the future, I will bring to you the profiles, words of wisdom, zany characteristics and funniness, skills and talents of some of the whos in my life. It is also possible that these people will have ideas to share and this blog will lead you to where they may be found.
Look around you and you will see Whos everywhere! Check it out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why? am I blogging?

Hello, I am lotusWFive. I'm creating this blog to open the energy for something new for me and, I hope, for you, too. Please bear with me because I have no experience and only lots of enthusiasm to go with.
What does LotusWFive mean and where did it come from. I think of "lotus' as a spiritual icon. It is a flower that grows in water, beginning in the oozy mud at pond bottom and rising upward to the surface where it spreads leaves and eventually flowers as an often magnificent, fragrant blossom. I think of this image as an inspiration for a life which seeks a higher way. Don't you think, as I do, that our world is ready for a higher way and right now? Certainly, the higher way begins in me and then, like the lotus itself, rises to the surface of a murky pond and blooms.
WFive comes from the name of a broadcast by CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, weekly on Saturday evening beamed from the national capital, Ottawa, which offered a synopsis of news from 5 w's namely, why, who, what, when, and where. This "WFive" will similarly bring to you information, comment, news, interviews, and what have you from these five points of view.
I propose to make them come more of less in order, why, who, what, when and where so that I may, and you as well, find in the archive an ongoing thread in each of these categories hopefully making it fairly easy to keep track of ideas you may be following.
This is the first "why" entry: I think this is about the philosophy of it all. Why blog at all? To bring out of myself something that I have yet to explore. It is my view that life is a journey rooted in the muddiness of a physical life beginning with family and society that sends a shoot through each of our experiences from childhood to maturity to an enlightenment, an unfolding beauty, a fragrance expressed in our service to each other and to all of life. My elderhood blooms now that I am ending seven decades next year with my 70th birthday!
I've chosen today because my study of numerology has tuned me into cycles of 9 years through applying the month and day of my birthday with the year number to point me to the exact place in those 9 years where this date lives, for me, the 5 universal day in a 5 cycle year. (As I go along I will give more about this and point you to other places where you may get other information.) For now, just trust me: this is the perfect day to begin!