Thursday, July 31, 2008

Women in Film - a cool YouTube video

I'm slaving away at my mindless soul sucking day job, and I thought I'd put this up here as a sort of ... I don't know ... distraction?

Cool, huh?


Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Today I pulled up the "Terraced Houses of the Zuni" which was right next to the "Kiva of the North" and my first thought was "One thing builds on another." But I knew that was just me remembering the other image and not really getting "into" this one.

For a long time I just sat there with the book and the picture... not really finding a way into it, not seeing or hearing anything at all.

Finally, I heard this:

"You are building something. How high do you want it to go? How complicated do you want it to be? At what point does it become too much?"

And now, later, I'm wondering also about firm foundations and structural integrity, and the importance of community.

So to what was it referring? I'm not sure. Maybe I don't even know what I'm building!


What is the Morning Meditation?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Imported from Question of the Day, this is the question that was asked a year ago... (I've also imported and posted the answers.) So, are you up for answering a question or two?

Here goes:

Is there something you could do today that is maybe a little (or a lot) scary? What would your life look like if every day, you did the thing that scared you the most?

The Charlie Schulz Philosophy

The following is (supposedly) the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions - unless you want to.

  • Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  • Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  • Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  • Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  • Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  • Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is , none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies.. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials.. the most money...or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.

Seeing what I don't see

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Today when I settled in with my book and began the Morning Meditation. I turned to a picture of a stairway path up a mesa somewhere in the desert southwest. As I focused on the picture, I found myself there, in that place. I could hear the sound of crickets? cicadas?

It was hot and dry. There was a small breath of wind but not much. Off in the distance I could barely make out a small herd of what might possibly have been antelope.

I turned to go up the rocky stairway, and as I did, I wondered what it was that I wasn't seeing. Then I heard the rattle of a rattlesnake. I didn't see on on the rocks by my feet, or in the crevices of stone around me.

I thought it I must have made it up, imagined it... then I looked up and there in front of me at the top of the stairway was a huge rattlesnake. He was way bigger than me, so I knew he must be a "spirit" snake - a protecting energy.

I knew immediately that if I hadn't seen him or if now that I had, if I disregarded him that he would prick me with his two sharp teeth and a slow poisoning would begin.

I wondered how many hikers had come to this same spot and behaved disrespectfully and unknowingly been bitten.

So, I searched my mind for what I could do to appease him. It occurred to me that snakes like eggs, so I pulled several eggs out of my rucksack and gave them to him.

He swallowed them whole and then slipped down the stairs and into a hole in the stone. He watched me for a moment and then his eyes closed and he went to sleep.

I continued up the steps until I came out on top. It was very beautiful and stark - I looked down and saw arrowheads at my feet. I picked one up, looked at it, and then realized that it would be wrong to take it, gently I put it back where it was.

Once again, I wondered what it was that I wasn't seeing. And when I looked around I saw a small tree, and she was alive - and the stones too. I could see that they lived. Everything around me was full of life and intelligence.

I reached down and patted one of the rocks. It was warm to the touch. I thought. Wow! Everything that is IS alive. Which is something that I already knew in my head, but had never experienced in such a visual way.

What is the Morning Meditation?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The President Speaks Out on the Issues

It's Sunday, and the president has finished his milk.
"Let out more line!" he hollers. A screen door bangs.

It is another day, and the president has three shoes.
He thinks the closet is like his mother, hiding in plain sight.

The president feeds on charred animals, chewing their little ears.
It's Tuesday twice in a row in the unemployment line.

"I'm the president," says the president.
"I'll break every mirror in the garsh darn place."

It is a time of trials, and the president is selling soap.
Lie soap. Carefully he washes out his mouth.

"War is our only road to peace," says the president
to his necktie and gloves. The wind smells of oily birds.

"Murderers should be excruciated," he tells his dog,
Spot, "so we can sleep safely on our boats."

It is Thursday again, and the president completes his favorite
Norman Rockwell puzzle on national television.

"See what can be done if we work together," says the president,
who evaporates below the waist and discusses the beauty of stumps.

"This is a great day, eh Spot?" "yes," says Spot.
"We all love you for that."

~Christopher Howell

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why I Didn't Become A Nudist Yesterday

Have you ever noticed how stuff that you want to do sounds so easy when you think about it, and then when you go to actually do it, it's not at all how you expected? And how stuff that you don't want to do seems so hard and awful when you think about it, and that when you finally actually do it, it's not all that bad?

And yes, it's not always like that. Case in point: I got a new (to me) washer and dryer to replace my old broken ones. Great huh? Yeah, until I noticed that the aluminum hose thingy that vents the hot air out of the house isn't staying on the dryer. Not good when it's 102 outside and the A/C is running like crazy anyway.

So, I said to myself. I'll just fix it. But then I started thinking about what a hassle it is to move the washer and dryer out from their little cubicle, and how I'd have to go BUY a clamp for it, and how whenever I go to Home Depot I can't ever find what I want and the sales guys run when they see me coming, and how I have other things to do, and what a hassle it is to move the washer and dryer, and I'd have to BUY something... you get the picture.

Two weeks later, I'm still not able to use the dryer because I haven't mustered up the energy... because it seems hard and complicated. So, here we have a perfect example of blowing something out of proportion! How hard can it be?


Well, I went to Home Depot, and a guy in plumbing actually came up to me and asked me if I needed assistance. I almost fainted from the shock of it! So, he sold me a clamp for the dryer hose thingy and it was less than $3. So much for all those expectations, right?

Back home, I said to myself, "Self, we can do this, we'll just pull the washer out and then climb over it, slip the clamp on, tighten it up, and Voila! Once again you can dry your clothes in the dryer! And yes, it might be a little cramped back there behind the dryer, and yes, it might be a little bit hard to get the clamp on, but how long can it take? how hard can it be? probably even a moron could do it!


I went to pull the washer away from the wall and WTF?? the sides are loose and just dangling! Somehow the back has come unattached from the sides, and the front sides and back of the washing machine are just hanging there. I can't pull on it because when I do the whole thing threatens to come apart.

When I get done ranting and cursing, I called my son-in-law and asked him to come up and help me. It's always easier for me to deal with a problem when someone else is there standing around looking dumb. While I was waiting for him, I managed to get the washer pulled about a foot away from the wall... but now the sides are even looser.

So, James gets there, and between the two of us, we manage to make a space just barely big enough for me to kneel sideways in, and after about 15 minutes of turning myself into a pretzel, I manage to squeeze in behind the washer. We finally get it back together, but it won't stay. Some screw has come off somewhere... or something... and all scrunched in there, I can't figure out where it came off from, or how it all "snaps" into place...

We spend a good 20 minutes saying stuff like... I don't know... uh... so now what... goddammit... whatthefuck... etc

In the mean time, my legs and knees are about to give out, but whenever I stand up, the thing pops apart, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to be crippled or paralyzed for life!! And will it take a forklift to get me out from behind the washer...

And then it occurred to me... you can fix just about anything with duct tape. So, that's what we did. We duct taped it together... and then... holding our breath... we put the washer on "spin cycle" and it didn't pop apart. I managed to crawl over the washer (via the dryer) without messing anything up... and very very very carefully we pushed it back into place. So far so good. Thank God for duct tape!

So, the dryer is next. I'm thinking... OK.. this won't be too bad... I'm thinking I'll push the dryer out about 3 feet and at least I'll have plenty of room... but NO! the washer and dryer just barely fit into the closet space provided for them, and the dryer will not pull out past the washer because the doors are in the way. It's one of those built in closets for appliances with bifold doors on a track. Well... I'm not the least bit interested in taking the doors off the track, because I don't know how to do that, and it looks complicated, and maybe even impossible. And I'm not about to try to move the washer sideways.

What to do... what to do... we hemmed and hawed... my son-in-law scratched his butt... I looked away because that was just well gross... even though stuff like that was the main reason I asked him to help me... and it did work... because in order to avoid more butt scratching episodes, I decided we'd just start moving it this way and that and see just how far it would come. Finally, we got it pulled out at an angle so that there was just barely enough room for me to get in there, and guess what?

The stupid aluminum duct thingy is just bent up enough that it won't go on the dryer vent all the way, and if you pull on it, it starts to unravel, and I can't see what I'm doing, and whenever I think I've got it and start screwing down the clamp, it slips just at the last minute and I have to unscrew the stupid clamp thing and start all over. And duct tape won't work because I can't get it around the duct because it keeps sticking to itself instead because I can't get my fingers in there because I can't bend my elbows too far and my knees are about to disintegrate and I've run out of interesting and colorful cuss words and ... well ... it's not pretty.

That's when I decided that clearly The Master of the Universe didn't want me to have appliances and that maybe I should just burn all my clothes and become a nudist.. I'd get fired from my job pretty quickly (showing up naked isn't in the "dress code" I wonder why) and so then I wouldn't be able to pay my bills, my house would get repossessed which might not be so bad because I could live in a little house made of sticks and mud out by the pond and eat crawdads, goldfish, cockatiel eggs, and cottonwood bark... and all the appliances in the world could just go to hell!

Immediately, I'm telling you, it was immediate! The thingy slipped on, and I got the clamp screwed down! My idea of life without appliances must have made an impression on the Master of the Universe! So, there you have it! And that's why I didn't become a nudist yesterday!


Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Kachina Dolls - that's what came up today.
And almost immediately, this is what I heard:

Your "stuff" all dolled up and ready to GO!

What is the Morning Meditation?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Twenty Questions

I get these silly things via email all the time, and today I decided to push this one off you you guys. Write your answers on a piece of paper. And don't cheat. The answers are at the bottom of the post. Are you young at heart? Or old before your time?

1. What builds strong bodies 12 ways?
A. Flintstones vitamins
B. The buttmaster
C. Spaghetti
D. Wonder Bread
E. Orange Juice
F. Milk
G. Cod Liver Oil

2. Before he was Muhammed Ali, he was...
A. Sugar Ray Robinson
B. Roy Orbison
C. Gene Autry
D. Rudolph Valentino
E. Fabian
F. Mickey Mantle
G. Cassius Clay

3. Pogo, the comic strip character said, 'We have met the enemy and...
A. It's you
B. He is us
C. It's the Grinch
D. He wasn't home
E. He's really mean
F. We quit
G. He surrendered

4. Good night, David.
A. Good night, Chet
B. Sleep well
C. Good Night, Irene
D. Good Night, Gracie
E. See you later, alligator
F. Until tomorrow
G. Good night, Steve

5. You'll wonder where the yellow went,
A. When you use Tide
B. When you lose your crayons
C. When you clean your tub
D. If you paint the room blue
E. If you buy a soft water tank
F. When you use Lady Clairol
G. When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent

6. Before he was the Skipper's Little Buddy, Bob Denver was Dobie's friend,
A. Stuart Whitman
B. Randolph Scott
C. Steve Reeves
D. Maynard G. Krebbs
E. Corky B. Dork
F. Dave the Whale
G. Zippy Zoo

7. Liar, liar...
A. You're a liar
B. Your nose is growing
C. Pants on fire
D. Join the choir
E. Jump up higher
F. On the wire
G. I'm telling Mom

8. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and...
A. Wheaties
B. Lois Lane
C. TV ratin gs
D. World peace
E. Red tights
F. The American way
G. News headlines

9 . Hey, kids, what time is it?
A. It's time for Yogi Bear
B. It's time to do your homework
C. It's Howdy Doody Time
D. It's Time for Romper Room
E. It's bedtime
F. The Mighty Mouse Hour
G. Scoopy Doo Time

10. Lions and tigers and bears...
A. Yikes
B. Oh no
C. Gee whiz
D. I'm scared
E. Oh My
F. Help Help
H. Let's run

11. Bob Dylan advised us never to trust anyone
A. Over 40
B. Wearing a uniform
C. Carrying a briefcase
D. Over 30
E. You don't know
F. Who says, 'Trust me'
G. Who eats tofu

12. NFL quarterback who appeared in a television commercial wearing women's stockings.
A. Troy Aikman
B. Kenny Stabler
C. Joe Namath
D. Roger Stauback
E. Joe Montana
F. Steve Young
G. John Elway

13. Brylcream...
A. Smear it on
B. You'll smell great
C. Tame that cowlick
D. Greaseball heaven
E. It's a dream
F. We're your team
G. A little dab'll do ya

14. I found my thrill...
A. In Blueberry muffins
B. With my man, Bill
C. Down at the mill
D. Over the windowsill
E. With thyme and dill
F. Too late to enjoy
G. On Blueberry Hill

15. Before Robin Williams, Peter Pan was played by
A. Clark Gable
B. Mary Martin
C. Doris Day
D. Errol Flynn
E. Sally Fields
F. Jim Carey
G. Jay Leno

16. Name the Beatles
A. John, Steve, George , Ringo
B. John, Paul, George , Roscoe
C. John, Paul, Stacey, Ringo
D. Jay, Paul, George , Ringo
E. Lewis, Peter, George , Ringo
F. Jason, Betty, Skipper, Hazel
G. John, Paul, George , Ringo

17. I wonder, wonder, wonder, who
A. Who ate the leftovers?
B. Who did the laundry?
C. Was it you?
D. Who wrote the book of love?
E. Who I am?
F. Passed the test?
G. Knocked on the door?

18. I'm strong to the finish
A. Cause I eats my broccoli
B. Cause I eats me spinach
C. Cause I lift weights
D. Cause I'm the hero
E. And don't you forget it
f. Cause Olive Oyl loves me
g. To outlast Bruto

19. When it's least expected, you're elected, you're the star today...
a. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
b. Smile, you're on Star Search
c. Smile, you won the lottery
d. Smile, we're watching you
e. Smil e, the world sees you
f. Smile, you're a hit
g. Smile, you're on TV

20. What do M & M's do?
a. Make your tummy happy
b. Melt in your mouth, not in your pocket
c. Make you fat
d. Melt your heart
e. Make you popular
f. Melt in your mouth, not in your hand
g. Come in colors

Okay, now scroll down for the answers!


Here are the right answers.

1 - D -Wonder Bread
2 - G -Cassius Clay
3 - B -He Is Us
4 - A -Good night, Chet
5 - G -When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent
6 - D -Maynard G. Krebbs
7 - C -Pants On Fire
8 - F -The American Way
9 - C -It's Howdy Doody Time
10 - E -Oh My
11 - D -Over 30
12 - C -Joe Namath
13 - G -A little dab'll do ya
14 - G -On Blueberry Hill
15 - B -Mary Martin
16 - G -John, Paul, George , Ringo
17 - D -Who wrote the book of Love
18 - B -Cause I eats me spinach
19 - A -Smile, you're on Candid Camera
20 - F -Melt In Your Mouth Not In Your Hand

Well, how did you do?
If you are over 60, you probably did pretty well.
If you are under 30, you probably sucked big time.

If you're over 50 and you failed miserably - congratulations! You're young at heart!
If you're under 40 and you got most of them right - so sorry! You're old before your time.

Doing something big

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

So, today I got the very same guys as yesterday. And they were saying pretty much the same things as yesterday, and I wasn't sure what to make of it. Finally after spending a fair amount of time second guessing myself, I asked the war chief what he thought. He said:

"Looks like you're getting ready to do something..."

What is the Morning Meditation?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Life is to live in

Amber Canyon
Morning Meditation

Today found me visiting with a war party - just getting ready and heading out - a series of four pictures. I've talked to them before... This is what they said to me:

Yes, make your plans.
Yes, send out scouts.
Yes, dream on it.
Yes, smoke on it.
Yes, make your offerings.
Yes, make your peace.
And yes ride out, singing your death song, singing your power song, singing your war song.

Life is to live in, not to hide under.

What is the Morning Meditation?

The Story of Grandfather Peyote

This is how Grandfather Peyote came to the Indian people.

Long ago, before the white man, there was a tribe living far south of the Sioux in a land of deserts and mesas. These people were suffering from a sickness, and many died of it.

One old woman had a dream that she would find a herb, a root, which would save her people. The woman was old and frail but, taking her little granddaughter, she went on a vision quest to learn how to find this sacred herb. They walked away from the camp until they were lost.

Arriving at the top of a lonely hill, the grandmother made a brush shelter for herself and the young one. Without water or food they were weak, and as night fell they huddled together, not knowing what to do. Suddenly they felt the wing beats of a huge bird, an eagle flying from the east toward the west. The old woman raised her arms and prayed to the eagle for wisdom and power. Toward morning they saw the figure of a man floating in the air about four steps above their heads. The old woman heard a voice:

"You want water and food and do not know where to find it. I have a medicine for you. It will help you."

This man's arm was pointing to a spot on the ground about four steps from where the old woman was sitting. She looked and saw a peyote plant - a large Grandfather Peyote Plant with sixteen segments. She did not know what it was, but she took her bone knife and cut the green part off. And there was moisture, the peyote juice, the water of life. The old woman and her granddaughter drank it and were refreshed.

The sun went down again and the second night came. The old woman prayed to the spirit:

"I am sacrificing myself for the people. Have pity on me. Help me!"

And the figure of a man appeared again, hovering above her as before, and she heard a voice saying:

"You are lost now, but you will find your people again and you will save them. When the sun rises two more times, you will find them."

The grandmother ate some more of the sacred medicine and gave some to the girl. And a power entered them through the herb, bringing them knowledge and understanding and a sacred vision. Experiencing this new power, the old woman and her granddaughter stayed awake all night. Yet in the morning when the sun rose and shone upon the hide bag with the peyote, the old one felt strong.

She said: "Granddaughter, pray with this new herb. It has no mouth, but it is telling me many things."

During the third night the spirit came again and taught the old woman how to show her people the proper way to use the medicine. In the morning she got up, thinking:

"This one plant won't be enough to save my people. Could it have been the only herb in this world? How can I find more?" Then she heard many small voices calling:

"Over here, come over here. I'm the one to pick."

These were peyote plants guiding her to their hiding places among the thorn bushes and chaparral. So the old woman and the girl picked the herbs and filled the hide bag with them.

At nightfall once more they saw the spirit man, silhouetted against the setting sun. He pointed out the way to their camp so that they could return quickly.

Though they had taken no food or water for four days and nights, the sacred medicine had kept them strong- hearted and strong-minded. When they arrived home, their relatives were happy to have them back, but everybody was still sick and many were dying. The old woman told the people:

"I have brought you a new sacred medicine which will help you."

She showed the men how to use this *pejuta*, this holy herb. The spirit had taught her the ceremony, and the medicine had given her the knowledge through the mind power which dwells within it. Under her direction the men put up a tipi and made a fire. At that time there was no leader, no roadman to guide them, and the people had to learn how to perform the ceremony step by step, from the ground up.

Everybody, men and women, old and young, ate four buttons of the new medicine. A boy baby was breast nursing, and the peyote power got into him through his mother's milk. He was sucking his hand, and he began to shake it like a gourd rattle. A man sitting next to the tipi entrance got into the power and caught a song just by looking at the baby's arm. A medicine man took a rattle of rawhide and began to shake it. The small stones inside the rattle were the voice of Grandfather Peyote, and everybody understood what it was saying. Another man grabbed a drum and beat it, keeping time with the song and the voice inside the rattle. The drumming was good, but it did not yet have the right sound, because in that first ceremony there was no water in the drum.

One woman felt the spirit telling her to look for a cottonwood tree. After the sun rose, all the people followed her as Grandfather Peyote guided her toward the west. They saw a rabbit jumping out of a hole inside a dried-up tree and knew that this was the sacred cottonwood. They cut down the tree and hollowed out the trunk like a drum where the rabbit hole had been. At the woman's bidding they filled it with fresh spring water - the water of life.

On the way back to camp, a man felt the power telling him to pick up five smooth, round pebbles and to cover the drum with a piece of tanned moose hide. He used the pebbles to make knobs around the rim of the drum so that he could tie the hide to it with a rawhide thong. And when he beat the drum it sounded good, as if a spirit had gotten hold of it.

When night came, the people made a fire inside the tipi and took the medicine again. Guided by peyote power, the old woman looked into the flames and saw a heart, like the heart-shaped leaf of the cottonwood tree. Thus she knew that the Great Spirit, who is also in Grandfather Peyote, wanted to give his heart to the red men of this continent. She told the man tending the fire to form the glowing embers into the shape of a heart, and the people all saw it beat in rhythm with the drum.

A little later, one helper who was under the spirit power saw that the hide rope formed a star at the bottom of the drum. He shaped the glowing coals of the fire into a star and then into a moon, because the power of the star and the spirit of the moon had come into the tipi.

One man sitting opposite the door had a vision in which he was told to ask for water. The old woman brought fresh, cool water in a skin bag, and they all drank and in this way came under the power. Feeling the spirit of the water, the man who was in charge of the fire shaped the embers into the outline of a water bird, and from then on the water bird became the chief symbol of the holy medicine.

Around the fire this man made a half-moon out of earth, and all along the top of it he drew a groove with his finger. Thus he formed a road, the road of life. He said that anybody with the gift of *wacankiyapi*, which means having love and heart for the people, should sit right there. And from that day on, the man who is running a meeting was called the "roadman".

In this way the people made the first peyote altar, and after they had drunk the water, they thanked the peyote. Looking at the fire in the shape of the sacred water bird, they prayed to the four directions, and someone sprinkled green cedar on the fire.

The fragrant, sweet-smelling smoke was the breath of Grandfather Peyote, the spirit of all green and growing things. Now the people had everything they needed: the sacred herb, the drum, the gourd, the fire, the water, the cedar. From that moment on, they learned to know themselves. Their sick were cured, and they thanked the old woman and her grandchild for having brought this blessing to them. They were the Comanche nation, and from them the worship of the sacred herb spread to all the tribes throughout the land.

- Told by Leonard Crow Dog at Winner, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1970

Cottonwood Tree Lore

young cottonwood trees

I was interested in the meanings and myths of cottonwood trees because I am now addicted to the one that stands outside the window in my meditation room. The leaves sound like soft rain, and they shimmer and dance almost constantly. I LOVE that tree.

So, here's the scoop on the "lore" surrounding Cottonwood trees, gathered from various sources on the Internet:

The Hidatsa Indians of North America believed that the 'shade' (tree spirit) of the cottonwood (considered by the Hidatsa to be the greatest tree in the valley of the Upper Missouri) if approached with reverence would provide answers to questions and solutions to problems.

The Omaha tribes ascribed mystery to the cottonwood due to its self reliance, ability to reproduce rapidly and to the fact that its leaves resembled water ripples dancing as they rustled gently in the breeze. It was believed that the air was never so still that the leaves were not in motion, even on a hot, still summer afternoon you can hear the gentle rustle of the leaves, at night as well, they rattle and whisper when all else is still. The tribes believed that the winds were the paths of the Sacred Ones and the rustling leaves were a constant reminder of this mystery.

The sacred pole of the Omaha, an object of greatest veneration, was made of cottonwood. This pole seemed to have a similar function as the Ark of the Covenant had for the Hebrews.

Omaha also used personal names pertaining to the tree, names such as Maa ZhoN Hoda meaning Grey Cottonwood.

The cottonwood was called waga chaN by the Dakotas; maa zhoN by the Omaha-Ponca tribes; and natakaaru by the Pawnee.

Comanche held the cottonwood tree sacred - a Tree of Life with it's heart shaped leaves - a gift from Grandfather Peyote.

The young sprouts of the tree were peeled and the inner bark was eaten for its pleasant taste and nutritional value by the Dakotas .

Young and upper branches were used as fodder for horses; the European settlers found this an excellent forage also claiming it was “as good for horses as oats.”

Cottonwood bark was used to roast the clays used in making the paints for heraldic and symbolic painting of the body.

A yellow dye was made from the waxy leaf buds in early spring. The seeds were also boiled to decoct a dye for dipping arrow feathers into.

Native children made toy tipis and toy moccasins from the leaves. The children gathered the fluffy seeds to use as chewing gum like treats. Girls and young women used the leaves as a type of whistle to make a very sweet bird like music; “the effect was most pleasing to the ear.”

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dumb poem -- Cool site!

I found a cool toy ... fun for kids and fun for the kid in me! It's an Online Magnetic Poetry page. Pretty nifty. Here's what I made:

magnetic poetry online

It's a dumb poem, I had a better one the other day... tomorrow I'll probably have the coolest one ever! Today, though, it's dumb.

Can't read it?
Really want to?
Ok, you talked me in to it, here ya go:

water monkey
you will sing
dream the moon
live on

Ok... I just thought of a better way to word it...

You will sing
Water monkey
Dream the moon
Live on

If you come up with something cool, I'd sure like to read it! So, share it here, OK?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Great Quote!

"I've gone out to find myself.
Should I get back before I return, please keep me here."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making A Commitment

I found today, an Apsaroke war group. Here's what the caption reads:

"The warrior on the right holds the curved staff of one of the tribal military organizations, which, at the crisis of a fight, was placed in the ground as a standard behind which the bearer was pledged not to retreat."

So, I thought about that for a while - about putting yourself on the line like that for honor and for a sense of self. "Kill me if you must, I will not retreat."

Finally, having allowed my intellect to explore the picture and the content of the caption, I was able to let all that go and merge into the picture so that I could talk to them.

The one holding the staff looked down at me and said, "When your staff is firmly planted, we'll back you all the way. Until then..." and the three of them wheeled their horses around and rode off.

So it looks like they aren't talking to me until I make a commitment of some kind, and once I do, I will have back-up. I will have their support.

I wonder what commitment?

Amber Canyon

Monday, July 21, 2008

Community Support

Turned this morning to three people doing ceremony, body painted and dancing. And if felt like a validation of what I did last night.

I thought about how they had a support system of people to prepare the area and provide drumming, and support in other ways. I did have my friend Michelle, and that was really nice. But she wasn't really in sync with what I was trying to accomplish, and I could see how much easier my little ceremony would have been had I been able to do it in the context of a community of support, other dancers, elders, and etc.

I watched them for a while, and then one of them looked over at me and I heard. "You did good. Now it's time to rest."

Amber Canyon

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Off and Running

Today I came upon an Assiniboin hunter posing for a picture with two dogs. Amazingly, one looked like a border collie - the other like a pit bull mix. The dogs had packs on their backs, and he had makeshift leashes on them that looked like they were made of fabric.

All in all, it was a very surprising image!

The leashes in particular, surprised me. He smiled and said, "If I don't do this, they'll go where they want." And I knew he meant in that moment and for the photograph, and that later, when they hunted, the dogs would be unleashed and willing.

I thought about my "inner dogs" and wondered if that's what this was about, but I was unclear and it may have been my intellect speaking.

He then looked at me and winked. "Are you ready to go?" I said, "Yes!" He reached down, unleashed the dogs and we were off and running. That was it! Seems like a propitious start for "ceremony day," don't you think?

Amber Canyon

So what is this "Morning Meditation" stuff anyway?

It occurred to me that with so many posts tagged "Feathers and Bones," it might be a good idea to put forth a better explanation of what that is. If you have read more than a couple of them, you'll see that it appears that I talk to a lot of people and go a lot of places - either that - or I hallucinate every morning, although there is the distinct possibility that I'm just nuttier than a fruitcake...

So.... here's the thing.

I probably AM nuttier than a fruitcake, but I do have a slightly better than tenuous grasp on reality. The "Feathers and Bones" series is a meditation that I do every morning. Quite by accident, I discovered that I could put myself into a trance state and "communicate" or have "visions" or make a "psychic connection" with the people and the images in a really cool book of photographs taken back in the 1800's by Edward S Curtis. The name of the book is the North American Indian.

Am I really talking to those actual people? Or am I talking to myself? I don't know the answer to that question and what's more, I don't care. I am having so much fun with it, I am getting so much out of it, my life is expanding in so many different ways, that I don't think it matters in the least WHO it is that I'm actually meeting with every morning.

Why do I call it "Feathers and Bones?" When I made the initial decision to post my experiences, I didn't know what kind of label to put on it, and initially I was calling it "living by the book" because that was only thing that came to mind. As time passed, it occured to me that it might be a good idea to post the morning meditations on it's own separate site, which I called "Feathers and Bones."

That idea, while fine in and of itself, came at right about the time I was strongly guided to give up all the other blogs, and so "Feathers and Bones" the website is not currently available. I like the name though, and have decided to keep it as a tag for the morning meditations.

Another thing you might (or might not) notice is that I backdate the posts, and so they are really easy to miss. It's not like you can visit every day and read what I "got" that morning. And that's because, for me, getting on the internet isn't something I do every day. If I'm posting every day, it's because I have pre-written and pre-scheduled those posts.

I also don't worry too much about being "late" with these posts because I have this idea that the only person really interested is... well... me. And I already know what my meditation was, I know what I'm thinking about, and while I may not have a clue as to what I'm doing, I am the one doing it... so I figure there's no need to be in a big hurry to tell myself about it. It's possible that I could be wrong... that someone... maybe even YOU the person reading this right now... is actually interested in this little series. That would be awesome, and cool, and if that's the case, you can click on the "Feathers and Bones," label in the sidebar, or the "What is the morning meditation?" link at the bottom of the post. Either link will pull up everything I've posted and tagged with that label. The most recent ones will come up first, so that's an easy way to know if you've read them all. Not only that, but if you leave me a comment telling me that you are indeed interested, I'll be much more conscientious about getting it posted in a timely way.

And no, I'm not planning to post the images along with the meditations. At least not at this point. It just doesn't feel right to me. What I am contemplating is a slide show... and I haven't had time to pull that together yet. When I do, I'll post a link to it here.

So, there you have it. You now know something - which is more than nothing - about the "Feathers and Bones Meditation" series. Thanks for stopping by. You are appreciated more than you know.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Those Snakes Are Racing Again!

I got maybe 5 hours of sleep last night, then woke up tired - really tired. My son-in-law came up to help me with last minute chores for tomorrow, so I was distracted with that. My schedule is totally blown, I'm feeling frazzled, and who do I get?

That boy again!! Waiting for the Return of the Snake Racers!!

I went on this long convoluted intellectual journey trying to figure out the message because he will not talk to me, and finally I gave up. And when I did, it hit me.

I am making this Sunday Ceremony thing way more complicated than it needs to be. It's totally out of control, my mind is out to lunch... well not my mind, so much as my "presence" and my "attention."

When I'm ready, I'll "come back" - in the mean time...those snakes are racing.

Amber Canyon

It is not the critic who counts

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out
how the strong man stumbled,
or where the doer of deeds
could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man
who is actually in the arena;

whose face is marred
by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short
again and again;

who knows the great enthusiasms,
the great devotions,
and spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at best knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement;
and who at the worst

if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly;
so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls
who know neither victory nor defeat.

~Theodore Roosevelt

About the "Kiva" of the North

Yesterday, when I did my morning meditation, it seemed important to find out the meaning metaphysical meaning of North. And so... from the Sun Bear teaching about the Medicine Wheel comes this in depth explanation of the direction of North and what it means:

Spirit Keeper: Waboose
Element: Earth
Mineral: Alabaster
Plant: Sweet Grass
Animal: White Buffalo
Color: White
Season: Winter
Time of Day: Midnight
The time of life: When we are elders with the snow upon our heads and the time of life when we are newborns coming back into the world.


The North is the most paradoxical time of the Medicine Wheel. It is the time when things seem to be sleeping. Yet within this apparent dormancy some of the deepest growth is occurring. It is in the winter when seeds lie frozen within the earth that they take into themselves all of the earth's energy that allows them to grow in the seasons that follow. It is in the North that our bodies cannot move as easily as they have in the past or will in the future, that we seem forced to take into ourselves the wisdom of the Spirit we will use as we continue our journey around the wheel.

The time of Waboose is a time of slowing down, of apparent restriction, when outward activity definitely diminishes. It is a time of darkness, quiet, and dreams. It is a time when humans are fragile, when their skin is wrinkled and resembles the soil and the face of the Earth Mother herself. It is a time when people tend to reminisce and from their reminiscences share the wisdom they have gained. It is a time of assessing accomplishments and aims and of preparing for the major giveaway of death and of birth. It is a time when many people come to an understanding of their own life, an acceptance of what they have or have not achieved. It can be a time of peace, a time of power, a time of forgiveness and compassion for all around you. It is a time to give up old patterns, to surrender to the small changes of body and mind in preparation for the major changes that will come.

Waboose is a time of both ending and beginning, of life and death, of new life cloaked in apparent death. In the winter the earth appears dead, but there is much happening within. The same is true in human life. Even when we shed our human envelopes, our spirit, our energy goes to a place that prepares us for the new beginning that will come.

The major lesson of Waboose is that of the giveaway. When we are elders it is our responsibility to give away to the people all of the knowledge that we have gained. It is our responsibility to impart to our relations what we have learned as we have journeyed around the Medicine Wheel of life. It is our responsibility, ultimately, to give away our body to the Earth Mother who has fed us during all the time we have walked on her. When we are infants we readily give away all of the love we have gained in the world between, knowing then that the more we give the more we have available.

One of the gifts of Waboose is an intuitive understanding of this giveaway. Coming with this understanding are increased psychic abilities and a great acumen in attuning to dreams or visions, both your own and those of other people.

The white buffalo, the animal associated with Waboose, is an animal who gave up everything for the people: meat, hide, bones, and spirit. It is the White Buffalo Woman who gave the pipe to the people.

When you are experiencing a moon influenced by Waboose, it is a good time to contemplate your life, to contemplate the paradoxes of life. It is a good time to think about questions of life and death and to examine your attitudes toward both. It is a time to learn patience. It is a time when your psychic and mystical abilities will be far above average. It is a time to see how you feel about giving away all the many gifts that life has given to you. It is a time to practice the small giveaways that will prepare you for the larger ones.

During times of Waboose, you will need to make a point of grounding yourself, of remembering that you are a being of the earth as well as the sky. One of the paradoxes of Waboose is that while this is a time of intuition and mystical abilities, Waboose is also the direction that governs the physical level of life, both how we relate to our bodies and how we relate to the world around us. While your mind wanders through the skies, you must also learn that you need to take care of your body here on earth.

Waboose is the place of physical healing, the place we come to give thanks for healing that has occurred and to ask for healing that is needed both for ourselves and for others. This can be healing of the body or healing of the way in which we relate to the world around us. The power of Waboose is the power of spirituality grounded on earth; the power of patience that allows all things to grow in their proper way. The power of Waboose is acceptance of life, acceptance of death, and acceptance of the necessity of sharing all that has been given you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turkey Trivia and other Useful Facts

Turkeys on path

So, I'm on this rant about Turkeys and came up with this cool list of Turkey Trivia and other useful (or not) information. Did you know?
  • The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States.

  • Turkeys lived in North America almost ten million years ago .

  • The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.

  • The American Indians hunted wild turkey for its meat as early as 1000 A.D. They made turkey "callers" out of turkey wing bones. The feathers were used to decorate ceremonial clothing. The spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used on arrowheads and the feathers were used to stablize the arrows.

  • Adult turkeys can have 3,500 feathers. Most turkey feathers are composted. Feathers are spread out on fields, then plowed under in the spring. The feathers decompose and fertilize the soil.

  • After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time. It takes about a month for the chicks to hatch. The average turkey hen will lay 110 to 115 eggs during a 28-30 week period.

  • When the babies (known as poults) hatch they flock with their mother all year (even through the winter). For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. The mother roosts on the ground with them during this time.

  • Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days. A baby turkey is called a "poult".

  • Turkey eggs are light tan with brown specks and are larger than chicken eggs. A turkey egg weighs from 80 grams to 100 grams (3 to 4 ounces).

  • Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They roost (perch) on the branches.

  • Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.

  • Turkeys don’t really have ears like ours, but they have very good hearing.

  • A large group of turkeys is called a flock.

  • Turkeys are related to pheasants.

  • As male turkeys gets older they fight a lot. They may even attack people.

  • Turkeys can see movement almost a hundred yards away.

  • Turkeys do not see well at night.

  • The turkey has an unusual looking bare head with a beak, caruncle, snood and wattle. Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.

  • The male turkey is called a tom or gobbler. The female turkey is called a hen. Baby turkeys are called poults.

  • A turkey has 157 bones!

  • According to the Guinness Book of Records the largest turkey raised was 39.09 kilograms (86 pounds) -- about the size of a large dog.

Damn it!!

Ok, so I was looking for an image for a Prosperity Project post, and ended up on this website... I'm never eating meat again! I say this... and I think it might even be true. I don't want one dime of my money to go to support the companies that do this shit!!

This really pisses me off! If I actually follow through on this, my life just got way more complicated!! Me not eating meat is one thing, but what about my dogs? I have been making my own dog food with turkey and rice. It's easy, it seems (now I'm not so sure) to be healthy for my dogs, and up until today, I felt pretty good about it. Now, I'm not so sure... How can the food we eat be even remotely good for us when this is what happens to it?


For example:

  • Over 300 million turkeys are killed every year in the United States, 40 million of them specifically for Thanksgiving.
  • The majority of these are raised in factory farms where they are stacked in cages in windowless sheds where they can't live naturally (or happily) in any sense of the word.
  • Often they cannot move, and many die in the conditions before they are fully grown.
  • They are debeaked and declawed without anesthesia, making it difficult or even impossible for them to eat.
  • Those who survive are fed until they are grotesquely obese and cannot stand because their skeletons are too weak from confinement.
  • Over-burdened in this way, and trapped in close quarters with too little oxygen, many turkeys die when their hearts explode from the physical stress.
  • Turkeys do not receive even the scant protection given to pigs and cows by the Humane Slaughter Act and many are tied upside down still alive and conveyed to the part of the factory where they are knifed.
  • Not all die right away and suffer unspeakably by bleeding slowly to death.

There's more, and it's way worse, and I'll spare you the details. If you're curious, follow this link. I do not understand why there is so much disrespect for living things. What I do understand is that it is pervasive and undeniable. But where did it come from? How can a person sleep at night knowing they are managing, operating, owning, or simply working in places like that? Are they totally anaesthetised? Do they think only humans are alive?

So... now, having posted all this... I'm going to go to the kitchen, wash out my big stainless steel cook pot, fill it with water, dump in a fair amount of rice, and beans, and ... yes ... ground turkey. And I'm going to feed it to my dogs - whom I love - and I'm going to send Reiki and blessings and all kinds of good energy into that food ... and to the living beings that agreed to be made part of it ... and I'm going to be prayerful and grateful ... and I hope that's good enough!

Inscription Rock

Turned today to "Inscription Rock" a huge monolithic sandstone rising out of the desert where Spanish explorers had carved their names and dates way back in the 1600's along with the petroglyphs of ancient native peoples. There was even a ruined pueblo village at the top, how they got up there, I don't know.

And it was most interesting, because my mind was cluttered with thoughts about blogging, and a comment I made on a blog, and should I go back and coment again, and how to fix the comments box on a blog I'm working on, and etc etc.

It occured to me how wonderfully natural it is to want to leave "your mark" wherever you go. Wolves do it, dogs do it, bears and cats too.

I decided to see if I could communicate with the rock. And when I tuned in he was smiling contentedly in the sun. Not even noticing really the fleeting movement on and around him. I got a feeling, a deep sense of centeredness, contentment, warmth, and solid permanence - even though "this too shall pass."

And I thought that passing would be imperceptably slow, a sort of melting into the earth as wind and water wear him down.

Amber Canyon

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

But wait... there's more!

listerine hair treatment

Can't read the fine print? Here's what the ad says:

Infectious Dandruff? Go after the germs with Listerine Antiseptic and Massage… Quick!

Those flakes and scales on coat shoulder — especially if they persist — may be symptoms of infectious dandruff and the millions of germs that go with it.

Don’t delay or experiment with untested methods. Get staffed at once with Listerine Antiseptic and massage twice-a-day and keep it up. This is the tested way that has helped so many… may help you.

Listerine treats the infection as an infection should be treated… with quick germ killing action.

Kills “Bottle Bacillus.” Listerine Antiseptic kills millions of germs associated with infectious dandruff, including the “Bottle Bacillus” (P. ovale). This is the stubborn invader that so many dermatologists call a causative agent of infectious dandruff.

Don’t expect results overnight. You must be persistent: use the treatment twice a day as long as necessary. You will be delighted to see how quickly flakes and scales begin to disappear . . . how itching is alleviated . . . how healthy your scalp feels.

Remember, in clinical tests twice-a-day use of Listerine brought marked improvement within a month to 76% of dandruff sufferers.

When You Wash Hair: To guard against infection, get in the habit of using Listerine Antiseptic every time you wash your hair. It’s a wise precaution against infectious dandruff as well as a grand treatment.

~Modern Mechanix, September 1953

And guess what!

They were right.

Most dandruff isn’t caused by dry scalp or poor hygiene but by Pityrosporum ovale, a yeast-like fungus that normally lives in harmony with the rest of the flora and fauna that inhabits our skin. Sometimes, though, the other microbes will die off, and P. ovale will take over in the same way that C. albicans will take over in cases of thrush mouth.

Listerine was at the time not just a mouthwash but an entire range of products, including a household antiseptic. Before antifungal medicines like miconazole and ketonazole were discovered, Listerine and other antiseptics such as Lysol and Dettol were the treatments of choice for any fungal or yeast infestation.

Nowadays if you have dandruff you can either use an antifungal cream or take an antifungal pill; dandruff shampoos, although popular, aren’t the treatment of choice. Often one pill is enough.

Interesting!! I've even heard that it will cure athlete's foot and also toenail fungus if you soak your feet in it. You have to do it every day for several weeks, but it's supposed to actually work. Now I know why.

Listerine Saves The Day

So, here's the thing. Jesse, my border collie - who is 12 years old and way old enough to know better - decided to take me to the limits of my patience. Maybe he has a death wish, maybe he's getting senile, I don't know. He did, however, get on my last nerve.

I left him in the bedroom for oh, I don't know... 40 minutes or so... while my other dog ate her prescription dog food. I shut him in there with his own food, and thought nothing of it. This is something we do EVERY DAY. First they go outside to potty, then they come in and eat (in separate rooms because Jesse prefers Cinnamins prescription diet, and Cinnamin prefers Jesse's not a prescription diet).

Usually, when he's done with his, he barks, and usually I let him out fairly soon. This time, however, even though he was barking, I waited a whole 15 minutes (OMG) before opening the door.

So what did he do during that 15 minutes of sheer agony? He pissed on my OTHER dog, Cinnamin's bed. But I don't discover that until like... 2am... I was getting Cinnamin settled, and really looking forward to crawling into bed myself when.. WTF?? her bed is soaked with... you guessed it! Dog piss.

So... I banned Jesse from the bedroom, consigning him to (horror of horrors) the living room. And what did I find the next morning? He had peed on the couch. Yes... the couch! The couch cushion was SOAKED!

Now, before you get all "know it all" on me and suggest to yourself that the poor dog just needed to go out ... I'd like to interject this: If he had to pee THAT BAD why not just go ON THE FLOOR! Why the other dog's bed? Why the couch?

My answer? Because he was frustrated and upset, making a statement. Pissed at Cinnamin for getting the "good" dog food, pissed at me for banning him from the bedroom. Feeling pissy - resulted in the urge to piss. That's what I think. If I'm wrong, so be it. It's happened before, and it will happen again.

Anyway, I was so mad! Of course now my couch will FOREVER smell like dog piss.... So, I threw both the dog and the couch cushion out the front door and stewed for a while. And that's when I came up with a BRILLIANT IDEA! I was looking around for something to clean the cushion with when I saw a big bottle of Listerine. I said to myself, Listerine kills the germs that can cause bad breath. Maybe it can kill the germs that can cause bad odors in couch cushions as well.

So, I poured a fair amount of Listerine over the cushion where the pee was. I figured if I poured as much Listerine as there was pee... and then some... that maybe it would at least mask the smell a little bit.

Not feeling too hopeful, I left it outside to dry and went about my day. Well... guess what! It worked. It worked really really well. The cushion actually smells nice now! Unbelievably - it even freshened up the living room.

So... now you know. If you have an incident where a person or an animal wets the bed, the couch, the rug, the carpet... the WHATEVER... mop it up, and saturate the wet spot with listerine. Allow it to dry and VOILA!

Reeds and Waterbirds

Found myself today with a fisherman. It was a clear day, the lake like a mirror. His boat was made of reeds, not real sturdy, but functional for the moment.

We were silent for a time, very peaceful place. He pointed into the distance, and whispered, see that? I didn't see it, but I heard it, a bird. I don't know what it was, but the call it made was familiar and I'd know it if I heard it again.

He dipped his fingers in the water, "We are one with this," he said. And I thought about his boat and how fragile and makeshift it was, and it occurred to me that if he was in a well built, a built-to-last boat, a boat of wood and sail, something big and beautiful, he wouldn't be so connected, so as much a part of the water, the reeds, and the water birds. That there was something about living that close and not insulated.. something about how safety and sturdiness insulates us in a way... we set ourselves apart from the living world that surrounds us.

I also felt that the Ceremony I'm doing Sunday can indeed be makeshift and make do, and in the imperfection of it, there will be no barrier to a strong and deep connection to the earth.

Amber Canyon

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Originally uploaded by Shirley Two Feathers
Here's something really cool! See this mandala? I made that!

And now someone is contemplating actually buying it. I just need to find the CD and look at the resolution and see if it can be printed larger than 16 x 16, upload it to Finer Works, and then... voila!

Wouldn't it be cool if I actually sold it?

And here's something interesting and dumb... I've always been kind of "ho hum" about it until now suddenly when someone else wants it, I'm seeing how beautiful it is...


Turned to an odd litttle square drum and sat there, in my chair, eyes closed, and listened to it drumming.


Amber Canyon

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ceremony to Activate and Release

Today I turned again to the Shaman dude wearing the bear skin. The one that told me to feed the ducks. He blew into my third eye and I fully expected something to happen... no that's not true... I wondered if he was opening my third eye and started doubting that it was "real" because I wasn't suddenly having some mega visual experience. (Apparently talking to a long dead Native American shaman and getting "treated" doesn't count as a mega visual experience???)

Anyway, then I felt that he was zipping me open, top to bottom, and sparkles of light flew up from my body. He started dancing wildly on my right side and I knew my intellect was way too fully engaged - I was analysing and second guessing big time.

The right side of my body was fully enlivened and energized. The left side - NOT. I don't know if he said, or I just new that the left side of my body is energetically blocked.

He worked again on my third eye, and I felt it clouding over and kind of running, like it would if a person had a cold or a mild irritation in the eye.

I knew then that my third eye would not be fully open and clear until my left side was properly energized and cleared.

He worked on it some, but my intellect continued to interfere. I asked him what I could do in the "real" in the physical. He said, "The work starts here." (in the energy field), and I said, "I know that, but I'm feeling like I need to take some action in the physical." So he told me to wear something on my left wrist and showed me a "ceremony" for activating my energy and releasing that block on my left side.

It consists of painting my body - left side with white wavy lines and lightning strikes - right side with smoother, colorful rounded forms like waves and swirls, and a third eye painted in white on my forehead. Then, dance - outside - with drums, and fire, and moonlight, by the pond, dancing until something "gives."

I think it's a full moon thing.

I wanted to thank him in a real and concrete way, so I sent Reiki into the past and suddenly when it was done, I clapped my hands, and there was a spark of light, and that was that.

Amber Canyon

I want this!!


Isn't this cool? I want a room like this! I wonder how they did it.... I think it would make an awesome play room for kids... a cool rec room... maybe even one really exceedingly over the top way cool tent!! Looks like all you need is an unlimited supply of foam, a really good sewing machine, a fair amount of fabric, and an empty room...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Living Within The Earth

Found an Apache standing at the edge of a pool of water, dense forest behind him. And I thought about how he lived within the earth rather than against or apart from it.

He squatted down and ran his fingers through the water, and they became the water. I could see that he was well grounded, that his feet were strongly rooted. He was as connected and in tune with his environment as were the rocks he was standing on, the trees behind him, and the wild life that lived in them.

"All my relations" to him means all the life abounding around him, nothing between - raw and real.

"All my relations" to me is a nebulous idea, a virtual reality, a concept and a thought. Intellectual in nature - not truly experienced at a gut level.

I thought about how DISconnected I am - my feet don't touch the ground, they touch the floor, which doesn't touch the ground.

The temperature is modified with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. My food comes in boxes and cans, so distant from the earth it grew in that it is almost unrecognizable, and no aspect of soil remains.

How then can I be "one" with the Earth Mother when I hold my comfort higher than our relationship?

I wouldn't last two weeks in his world, I don't think - not really. The mind is willing, the heart is there, but the body is weak with dis-use and indolence, separated by a culture and an era that speaks to our laziness and our fear.

He could live in my world - I think - and even be "corrupted" by it. Water always takes the path of least resistance, as does the wind, even earth itself, when put into motion, takes the easiest route.

So this pulls me around full circle - Is it our nature to do what is easy... what is most comfortable? Is that true?

Is it true that when I dip my hand in bath water that my hand becomes the water? Are my feet as firmly rooted in carpet and concrete as they could be in soil? Can I find an attunement and a oneness even if I am surrounded by walls, plugged into a virtual world, and eating unrecognizable food? Or do I need to step down and out - do I need to go against the flow and eliminate the "middle man."

I don't know.

I asked him what he thought, and he said, "I am sorry for you."

Amber Canyon

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Snake Racing Again?

Today, I again turned to that picture of the boy all dressed up - waiting for the return of the Snake Racers. I think this is the third time I've gotten him. And I couldn't decide if he looked pouty or sad or bored or all of the above. I couldn't get him to talk to me, and wasn't getting any intuitive guidance... not really...

He looked so unhappy that I said to him. "Look here, it's not as bad as you think? Because of this dull moment someone is looking at you and talking to you and wanting to know you more than 100 years later! This is a moment of honor!

But he was not hearing any of it, being the child that he was, and he was so NOT listening or talking to me. So I decided to just send him Reiki. So that's what I did. I sent Reiki into the past, with the intention of bringing joy into his life. When I was done, I thought how cool it would be if his picture now showed a smiling happy boy waiting in his finery for the Snake Racers to return - but that didn't happen.

Oh well...

Amber Canyon

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Glimpse of Silver

I went to the book, hoping, wanting to find some clarity about yesterday's message. I turned to Nez Perce scouts "waiting for the signal". I've met them before.

They do not like to be bothered with small talk because they are intent and focused, waiting for "the signal."

So, I thought I'd wait and watch with them and see what happens. It was a dark night, we were up on a ridge, and off in the distance there was an awesome lightning display. I was watching the lightning when I noticed something so quick and so fleeting that I discounted it immediately.

The two scouts, however, suddenly wheeled their horses around and took off in a hurry. I said to myself, "Oh, was there a sign? I sure didn't see it. Was it that small flicker of something that I didn't actually see? So what was it? What does this mean? Anything? Everything?"

I decided to sit there on the ridge and study the horizon until I got some clarity. Pretty soon it started to rain and I got cold and wet, but I stuck it out. Determined to "get" it.

Then a huge invisible hand came down out of the sky and picked me up and put me into a cave, it wrapped me in a warm dry blanket, lit a fire, and created a nice safe place.

I sat there and stared into the fire, still looking for a "sign" a "signal" and not seeing anything at all except fire.

Then the "hand" blew the fire out and all that was left was ashes. I looked into the ashes and saw that in those ashes was a map, but I had no idea how to use it and the image was wavering and unclear.

The "hand" which had become the "wind" returned as a small funnel cloud, it swirled through the cave and swept the whole are clean. Then the hand picked me up and deposited me back on the ridge. The rain stopped, the scouts returned, and I realized that everything was moving backwards.

The lightning continued in the distance, and suddenly I saw a thin silver shaft flying up from the darkness. It was like quicksilver - that's the word that came into my mind, a "flash in the pan" and then it was gone and so were the scouts. And I was back in my room, back in the present.

I had no clue what it meant until I started writing it down and then I "got" it. I'm not sure I can verbalize it properly.... it's something like this:

The teachings are for the moment. They are like "quicksilver," a glimpse of silver shafted clarity, a momentary map. They are not written in stone, they are a signal for action and forward movement. Wait too long, look away, and they loose their immediacy and their meaning.

Amber Canyon

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Am Awesome!

Remember my "grandiose scheme?" That impossible daily routine? I have actually figured out a way to pretty much do it. How cool is that? Not only that... but I've actually been DOING it! I am so awesome!!


Here's what the routine looks like:

9am to 9:30 am - Getting Started:

  • get up,
  • stagger around and get the coffee going,
  • let the dogs out,
  • uncover the birds,
  • figure out what day it is,
  • drink the aforementioned coffee
  • NOTE: I have a little timer that I set so that I don't end up sitting there like a zombie for an hour or so.

9:30am to 10:30am - My Meditation Practice:

  • do a Hawaiian Kahuna meditation technique which consits of connecting visually and auditorily with the awesome cottonwood tree that lives just outside my window,
  • open my Native American book and have a conversation with whoever happens to show up on the page,
  • spend 15 minutes doing a sufi Meditation for Restoration and Repair
  • grab a handful of cornmeal and go outside and make an offering to the sun and say hello to the four directions
  • NOTE: I give myself an hour for this, which gives me plenty of time. I didn't want to feel like I was "on the clock." The only thing I set the timer for is the sufi meditation. Usually I get done with enough time to drink another cup of coffee before moving on to the next thing on the schedule.

10:30am to 11:30am - Taking Care of Shirley

  • Yes... it's right there in writing, and I'm actually doing it! How cool is that?
  • first up is 20 minutes of excercise.
  • Anything that involves me moving in a more vigorous manner than what I'm used to is fair game for the 20 minutes. Dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, mowing the grass, walking the dog, it's open ended. I can do whatever I want as long as I don't stop moving for 20 minutes.
  • I figure I can do just about anything for 20 minutes.
  • I like the freedom of doing whatever feels good. Mowing was especially fun because I knew I could stop after just 20 minutes whether I was done or not.
  • next up is 40 minutes for taking a shower, brushing my hair, a quick breakfast, stuff like that.

11:30am to 1:00pm - Household Chores and Art

  • the first 30 minutes is dedicated to housework. It's not a very long time - but it's more time than I usually spend - and I figure that I can clean house for 30 minutes without having a nervous breakdown or dying of boredom.
  • What gets cleaned is totally optional. If I want to spend the 30 minutes cleaning up an area for an art project - that's fine.
  • Paying bills and anything else that I hate to do can be tucked into this half hour.
  • The instant the timer dings, I'm done.
  • Now, I've got a whole hour dedicated to doing art. Today, I'm working on a mosaic. And yes, an hour isn't very long, but it's there for me every single day, and that feels really good!

1pm to 1am - The Rest Of The Day

  • Check it out! That's 12 hours!!
  • Now is the time for appointments and errands.
  • I can visit friends and family if I want to.
  • On days that I work, I'll still have plenty of time to get ready and get there.
  • Marathon blogging can still be done.
  • Art - yard work - goofing off - reading - watching TV - I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT FOR TWELVE WHOLE HOURS!!
  • If I want to have an organic garden - this is when I'll work on it.
  • If I want to remodel my house - this is when I'll do it.
  • If I want to spend hours and hours cooking everything I eat from scratch - this is when I'll do it.
  • If I want to teach Reiki, do shamanic healing, build a sweat lodge, or just sit outside and enjoy the weather...
  • And if I want to go to bed early - I can do that too!!

1am to 9am - Getting 8 hours of sleep

  • Yes ... 8 hours of sleep, and that's I stretch the schedule to the max.
  • On days that I work, I get home by midnight, so I can piddle around taking care of the dogs and still be in bed by 1am.

Is this cool or what? It's flexible enough and loose enough that I don't feel constricted by it. It gives me enough time to do pretty much whatever I want. For the first time in a long time, I'm starting to think that I'm going to actually get my shit together!

We Is Friends!

We Is Friends!
Me and You is Friends
You smile, I smile...
You hurt, I hurt...
You cry, I cry...
You jump off a bridge,
I gonna miss your emails

My snakes are thoughts?

Today I got the Snake Dancer and Hugger. I really struggled with this one.

He said, "We do this ceremony because we have to live in harmony with snakes. They are dangerous and deadly. They have power. We harness this paower, we want their good will. So we dance with them, we mesmerise them, we hold them sacred, and thus we maintain relationship with their power."

And I wondered what this had to do with me.

He said, "You are a snake dancer and hugger. Your 'snakes' are your thoughts. Thoughts are things. They have power."

The whole meditation was very wavery and indistinct. I had to ask him to repeat, and I found it hard to keep a focus and kept forgetting what he had just said.

NOTE: After it was complete, I couldn't remember hardly any of it, and totally forgot to write it down. The next day I asked for clarity about it, and that was interesting. Now, suddenly, I remember it and it makes sense!

Amber Canyon

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Washing Machine Issues!


As some of you know, I've been without a working washer and dryer for several months. Well, a miracle has occured, and last week someone brought to my house ... you guessed it! ... a washer and a dryer.

While I was waiting for them to show up, I asked the people across the road if they wanted the old broken washer and fire hazard dryer to sell for scrap. A very delighted person showed up 5 minutes later and bingo... the old washer and dryer got moved out of the house.

You'd think I'd be happy... and I was.. all the way up until they started loading the washer into their truck. All of a sudden I was having a major panic attack! I started thinking... OMG what if I need them someday... what if the new ones don't show up... or if they break or something... then what will I do? How will I do my laundry?

LOL. It was hilarious. I couldn't believe it! Here I was thinking that I should keep two broken appliances just in case the not broken ones break some day! And how would I survive without a washer and a dryer.. It was too stupid.

Then, there was this lull between the time when the broken appliances left and the new ones showed up. I opened the refrigerator and the milk wasn't very cold. I immediately started worrying that my refrigerator was going to be the next thing to break down. I was about to comfort myself with the thought that if worse came to worse I could use the washer as a "cooler" ... but OH NO! I DON'T HAVE IT ANYMORE!!

More anxiety... I can't use my broken washing machine as a temporary cooler for my refrigerator (which wasn't broken)!

Then, the new appliances showed up. And that was nice. I got to do laundry and that was even nicer.

But wait... was I happy and at peace? Not me. Now I was feeling bad that my old washer and dryer were on their way to the scrap yard. Like I had somehow betrayed their trust or something!!

Is that stupid or what? No wonder it took me so long to get a new washer and dryer! And now, having researched at the Church of Google, surfing for the right image to illustrate this post, I discovered to my DISMAY that I didn't even really NEED a new washer! If only I had known about this or this!

If Only I'd Known About This!

If only I would have known about this before it was too late! Before I got a free and NOT broken washer and dryer. Before I JUMPED THE GUN and gave the broken appliances away, I could have been getting fit and getting my laundry done and doing my part for energy conservation!!


The basic idea is to use a stationary bicycle stand as the power source, and use an assembly of belts and pulleys to connect it to an old, salvaged washing machine tub. Rather than reiterate all of the details here, I will instead direct you to HD's website, which contains extensive details about how he worked out the connection. He has also hooked up an assembly that runs a permanent-magnet electric motor backwards, serving as a electrical generator, as well.

Dang, I should have gotten one of these!!

sound wave washer

Sound Waves get your wash clean, claims Robert Bosch of Stuttgart, Germany. This seven-pound machine works on principle of auto horn. Hooter must sound for five minutes. Cost is $32.

Mahakali On The Half Shell?

Kali depicted in shells

So I was researching pictures for my post on Chinnamasta, and I found this wonderful little piece of shell art. It depicts the goddess Kali standing on her husband Shiva. I am continually astonished and amazed by the creativity of my fellow artists. I saw this, and I almost (key word being almost) wanted to make one of my own!

I wonder, do people really buy stuff like this? Would you? Because I don't think I would even be tempted. I might want to make one, but I'd never buy one.


I met Long Knife today, a cool dude with a big eagle feather thingy. He immediately started smudging me, (which felt really good by the way), and he said, "Whenever you begin something it's best to smudge first."

And I thought about my new plan for a daily routine - it felt good to think that this was a kind of "blessing" for it.

Then I had a fleeting thought, wondering if this meant I should smudge at the beginning of each day. And he said, "No, when you begin something sacred, when you begin a journey, or something big, then you smudge."

So, I did. I smudged myself, and then I smudged my house. And it was good.

Amber Canyon

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Clear Day

Found myself at the edge of a small lake on a clear calm day. The sky, the trees, the rocks, all reflecting perfectly. The water was mirror smooth.

I thought, "The below reflects the above" and I turned to the young woman standing there, she had a balanced on her head.

She said nothing.

I thought about, "as above so below" and how the "inner reflects the outer" and how my home reflects my chaos and lack of self care.

But I already knew all of this. So I said to her, "This is nothing new. Why am I here? Is there more that I don't "see?"

And she said something about how the water is only clear when nothing is happening. That mirror smooth surface would disintegrate immediately if we were to wade into the water - or if geese would land.

And I had a momentary vision of the ripples on the water reflecting hundreds of different views of the sky. I thought of pounding surf, roaring floods, elephants, crocodiles, and turbulent water full of life...

I couldn't make sense of it.. not a clue as to what that meant. I struggled for a moment to frame it into some sort of enlightening though, a "wisdom moment"...

The girl smiled, then she splashed water at me. "Silly," she said. "Don't think so hard, it's not that complicated. Today is a clear calm day. A beautiful day. That's all. Enjoy it."

Amber Canyon

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Vardo Van!

mobile home

It's do-able!

A person can make, and live in a Vardo Van! Cool, huh? I'm almost convinced that I could do something like this all by myself. Now, all I have to find is an old van... and Voila!

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