Sunday, June 27, 2010

Notes of My Song

"When a pianist learns a new piece of music, he or she does not sit down and instantly play it perfectly... It may all seem disconnected. It may not sound like a harmonious, beautiful piece of music - just isolated notes... Then one day, something happens. What we have been working toward, note by note, becomes a song. That song is a whole life, a complete life, a life in harmony." Melody Beattie

It seems as though I'm always practicing something - yoga - mindfulness - counseling skills - artistic endeavors - being a better wife, mother, friend. So, I loved when I read Beattie's quote this morning. It rang so true to me as I realize I'm practicing the parts of my life to come fully into the whole song that is me.

Now, don't get me wrong, I fully believe I'm already whole (as are you) AND I like to consider myself an unfinished woman which gives me opportunity to keep discovering new things along the way. This was a pivotal awareness in my journey with God. Once I realized I didn't have or never could figure everything out, it led me to a new place of curiosity and adventure. It really keeps things exciting and full of surprise as I discover the notes God has written in my song of discovery - about each of us, God - you - me. There's always more to discover and practice.

I began this post thinking I would fill you in on my latest practice, but I think I'll save that for another day. This feels like plenty to ponder on this sacred Sunday. So...

Have you ever considered the parts of your life as notes in a song? Some flow melodically and others seem like flats and sharps or clashing symbols. Do you have a current practice that's helping you create your best composition possible? Or do you let your fingers lay flat on the keys hoping the music will come without your input? Ponder alongside me, will you?

Blessings to you today. Thanks for stopping by!!

"The music will come together in our life if we keep practicing the parts." Melody Beattie

photo - lucy 'practicing' surfing - maui, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stalking Crows

“Wherever crows are, there is magic. They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength. They remind us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life. They are messengers calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us.” Ted Andrews

While outwardly there has been silence at Diamonds, inwardly and physically the coffers have been full – abundant even. It’s hard to even know where to begin. For those who are first time readers, you may find this a little outside the boundaries of your own personal comfort. Longtime and loyal followers, I hope will remember the groundedness and magic that is Me, Lucy ☺.

Crows have been stalking me. No kidding. You may recall a few weeks ago, the crow who swooped down and whacked me on the shoulder – twice! – while I was strolling home from yoga enjoying my morning latte. The significance of the event was easily dismissed as a protective mother crow whose hatchlings I was evidently threatening. Fair enough and most likely true. But why me? Why then? It’s never happened before and believe me I live around LOTS of crows.

Over the past week or so, crow feathers have been dropping in my path. Again, not so unusual perhaps, but they literally have been found directly between my back door and my car – three times. Like the whacking on the shoulder, to my recollection this has never happened before.

Before continuing, I probably should add here that only days before the first crow encounter, while preparing for a presentation on the Archetypes, I took a quiz designed to rate how the major archetypes show up in my personality. My number 1 score (by a landslide)... The Magician. So… you know the vestiges of my traditional, fundamental Christian upbringing start to squirm here. Nevertheless as I read about this archetype, I felt as though I were reading my own diaries. Still… I tried to dismiss the “coincidences,” until this morning when I began to journal.

A crow followed me yesterday. I swear it did. Heading out for my morning walk/jog, she started squawking at me and I thought there might be a repeat of the shoulder whacking. I tried to ignore her, but she followed me along the telephone wire above my head.

“Magic,” she cawed.
“You can’t run from it. I know. I know,” she cried.
“I see you.”
Every 20 feet or so she moved to keep up my pace for almost a block.
“Magic. You are magic.”

So, have I totally lost it this time? No. I don’t think so. This morning during my quiet time, I felt the magic as Pavarotti washed over me. I lit candles for the earth and wept tears for the gulf tragedy. Raising my arms, I spread them toward the southeast. Energy flowed from my body and as I offered the earth my condolences, I envisioned clarity and peace. Faces flowed through my mind and moments of presence to all of creation surfaced.

“Magic. Magic,” the crow cawed. “Presence is magic.”

My life is turning into one ongoing practice of presence to self – food – earth – others. While there is much more to this story, today I shall end with the following quote and ask: Where is the magic in your life? Does it come through presence? Can you allow yourself to be open to that which makes no objective sense? Will you allow yourself to experience the magic of the sacred?

“To the Magician, the sacred is not seen as above us, judging us, but as immanent in ourselves, nature, society, the earth, the cosmos.” Carol S. Pearson

photo - two crows by katherine treffinger
This piece of art hangs in my living room and was purchased for my husband on Father's Day 2009.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Savor - to give oneself to the enjoyment of

When's the last time you truly savored something? For me it was only moments ago, and in order to savor just a bit longer, I choose to share my experience here.

Who knew a tiny, minuscule bit of French truffle could provide such delight? Tres magnifique! This savor thing is pretty awesome if you haven't tried it. The word came to me this year through Sunrise Sis, and another wise woman is teaching me how to indulge with grace and intention. To savor - if you will.

While I am not your typical chocolate-craving woman, I find myself occasionally yearning for a taste of the delectable delight. Tonight following a lovely, light dinner of baked chicken with ginger-pepper sauce, assorted brown rice and fresh mixed greens with baby heirloom tomatoes, blackberries and blue cheese, my taste buds said, "Thank you & one more thing... Chocolate, please." Since this isn't a normal request at our house, I considered my alternatives - diving into a past expiration bag of Tollhouse semi-sweet chips or the never-satisfying unsweetened Baker's chocolate. Neither would suffice. Fortunately at the opportune moment, my husband rose to go pick up our daughter and I realized I could pass the request onto him, "Chocolate truffles, please - Trader Joe's." He looked at me like, Really? Are you serious? But then he saw my face and decided no response was necessary. He's a good man.

To give oneself to the enjoyment of something
, one must be fully present. So it was to be. I turned my training in presence over to this tiny sensual piece of dusted decadence placed on a hand-picked cocktail napkin, & pared with a perfect cup of steaming decaf. Norah Jones gently wafted from the stereo. Candles glowed in the frosted crystal cup. Day waned. Taste buds readied. Ready. Set. Savor. One quarter-sized treat delivered more than half a dozen bites of heaven. Need I say more?

And so we return from whence we began: When's the last time you truly savored something? I highly recommend it!!

'African daisies' savored at the Walla Walla Farmer's Market

Monday, June 14, 2010

mantra: read, write, rest

“When you live in God, your day begins when you lose yourself long enough for God to find you, and when God finds you, to lose yourself again in praise.” Barbara Taylor Brown

When I was in graduate school, I had a mantra that often helped me through days of intensive study. “Read. Write. Rest. Repeat.” Recently, I’ve found those words re-entering my life. They’ve changed slightly, but they still seem to do the trick. They offer me a pattern that engages, fulfills and restores. Work can be substituted for write and often exercise makes its way into the rest category. Bottom line - my rhythm feels pretty simple and I love it.

It was little surprise, therefore, when I reached for my Kindle yesterday and noticed I was still on the chapter, "Sabbath", in An Altar in the World. My highlighter has worked overtime in this book, (yes, I still underline and make notes in my books – how else will those who read after me know what I found important?) but the passage that stood out today spoke of the lighting of two candles on Shabbat - how one is for rest and the other freedom. The intertwining of those two concepts - freedom and rest - reminds me not only of my mantra, but also the larger notion that without rest, freedom is very likely absent.

It is a fine balance we walk in this world that says productivity is god. Barbara Brown Taylor says this is worshiping the wrong god, and I wholeheartedly agree. So, it was with great pleasure yesterday that I curled up with my cat and my book and found a piece of Sabbath in the midst of a potentially full day. I slowed down just enough for God to find me and for that I am grateful and offer up my praise. It's amazing what happens when I get out of my own way!!

So, do you have a mantra? What does it offer you? Productivity? Sabbath? Both? Neither? Do tell!

www roses by lucy

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

the first day of NOW

Oh, I just love serendipity and synchronicity. They seem to be my constant companions! Yesterday while sending off a note to a friend, I penned words of congratulations on her "first day of NOW." Isn't that a wonderful little phrase? Perhaps I should copyright it quickly!! Anyway... this morning's words from Richard Rohr offered:

"How is salvation giving me life now? Salvation is only secondarily assuring you of an eternal life; it is first of all offering you that life now, and saying, “If now, then also later!” That becomes your deep abiding trust and joy."

So... Here's to the first day of NOW with lots of serendipity along the way!!!

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Currently I’m working on a project** to create SoulCollage® cards for each of the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water. A couple of weeks ago I began to gather images for my water card. Using my intuitive skills to make my selections, I was quite surprised by what came together. I chose several images of brilliant blue seas and other traditional water scenes. They, however, were not the ones that wanted to be placed on the card you see here. It was a few days before I was able to spend time with the card and journal through the series of questions used in the SoulCollage® process.

I never cease to be amazed at what transpires from my own external creations and internal wisdom. It’s truly a magical process and one more easily experienced than explained. What follows is the conversation between the card and me ☺. I ask the question of the card and the response comes in free flowing form:

Who are you? I am the one who drips in tears like diamonds. I am ever-changing – everywhere – fluid and translucent. I flow in shades of green and blue. I hide where you least expect. My gifts hide and arise from unexpected places. I am made of water – even when I look dry and barren. I am a jewel in the midst of the flow. I am the one who anchors you. I am the one who floats, nearly invisible. I am the one who sparkles like diamonds on the sea. Look into my eyes and you will see unimaginable depths.

What do you have to give me? What I have to give you is fluid movement – unexpected treasures – immeasurable gifts – sassy play – serious wisdom – grounding and fluidity – like leaves floating and grass bending. We all hold water. I am the water bearer.

What do you want from me? What I want from you is trust. Trust that things don’t always look like they seem. Expansion. I want you to expand your views and go with the flow of what things look like – what life looks like – where water comes from – including tears. I want you to go with the flow. Look into my eyes and believe. See the magic of the jewel that you are. Do you see you? The mirror in the center is you – the perfect jewel. I want you to remember that.

How will I remember? You will remember when you travel to the desert. Water will take on new forms. You will remember when you shower or drink water. You will remember when you see the jewels.

What is your shadow/light side? I don’t look like you expect – like others expect. It is a blessing and a curse. A battle at times to be seen, yet always there in the jewel – always there. Water has many reflections and colors. What is the color of water?

**My new project will include online opportunities to participate in SoulCollage® and the elements with me. Stay tuned for more information!!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Paying Attention

"...paying attention requires no equipment, no special clothes, no greens fees or personal trainers. You do not even have to be in particularly good shape. All you need is a body on this earth, willing to notice where it is, trusting that even something as small as a hazelnut can become an altar in this world." -- Barbara Brown Taylor

"When you have put into practice the thing you are talking about, then speak from knowledge of the thing itself." -- The Wisdom of the Desert

Sunrise Sister recently wrote a powerful post about how her reading choices had taken on a theme of which she was unaware during the selection process. A similar thing is happening to me, and for now the theme seems to be paying attention.

A couple of weeks ago I began reading The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton, in preparation for my upcoming trip to the Sinai Desert. A while back a dear friend suggested I might enjoy Taylor's, An Altar in the World. Recently it became the book that most wanted to hop onto my Kindle pages. Having just finished a chapter in Altar titled, "Reverence," I found it a perfect prompt to review the glorious day I am currently experiencing.

I feel the evening breeze blow across my face as the late afternoon sun begins to set. My golden cat sits nearby, tasting his paws and grooming his coat of gold in beams of precious light. An ice cream truck plays "Merrily, merrily, life is but a dream" and mercifully fades into the distance. Crows caw and sparrows chirp outside my window.

Earlier as I drove home from yoga with the convertible top down, the sun shone on my warm, moist skin as the wind blew my hair wildly across my face. "Unwritten" poured from the stereo and as I looked overhead, a pure white seagull pierced the light denim sky. Heaven on earth. Reverence for these small, great things. Majestic. Awesome.

Fuschia-colored peonies. Miniscule ants of ebony. Golden fur and fluff. Gentle breeze. Strong-brewed coffee crinkling over ice. The feel of glorious, perfect sunshine after days of gray to numerous to count. Strength of my body bending backwards and sinking my spine into the floor. Sweat on my brow. Air moving down my throat and into my lungs, then pressing out again. Dirt beneath my fingernails. Smell of freshly mowed grass. Blisters on my feet. Lavender bubbles in my tub. Crushed ice and freshly squeezed lemon. My daughter's endless legs teetering on silver heels as she heads to prom. Lilting country music drifts from the stereo. An evening fading. A night beginning. A body well loved. A heart received. A spirit full.

These are a few of the things I've noticed today - paid attention to - revered. Oh, that I could speak from their knowledge. Perhaps tomorrow.

"yoga" SoulCollage card by lucy

Friday, June 04, 2010

Following the Thread

"There's a thread that you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread."

--William Stafford

Stafford's notion of the thread we follow is one I've been pondering recently. When I think of my work as a therapist, spiritual director and SoulCollage® facilitator I look at the varied ways I engage others. While it could appear on the surface as spreading thin, in reality the thread that connects each process allows those I engage to move deeper toward self-awareness and personal goals.

We each learn in different ways, but always by experience. For some people, awareness comes through spoken words. For others, it is more visceral. There's audio and visual. Art. Music. Nature. Movement. The list is as unique as each individual, and inside everyone is the beginning of his or her thread. By being open to process rather than product (journey versus destination), awareness and transformation deepens.

My thread - both personal and professional - leads toward deepened self-awareness and more authentic living. My offered modalities are personalized to each individual. Sometimes the work is done in two chairs, face-to-face, listening to story and waiting for the thread to appear. Other times, awareness comes through image and symbol, silence and contemplation, journaling or physical movement. The beauty is that healing and insight can happen anywhere and in a variety of ways.

Have you let go of your personal thread? Perhaps the edges have become frayed and you're ready for a little re-weaving. How do you envision the thread(s) of your life? Do they weave together to create a cohesive rendering? Are there so many loose ends and knots that you're coming unraveled?

If you'd like to receive my monthly "diamonds in the soul" newsletter (and don't already), please click on the box in the right column just below Lucy. New online offerings being added this summer and fall!!