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Archive for the ‘Earth Medicine’ Category

As I trouble over following my mother’s health directive to administer more pain medications to relieve her of the ongoing suffering bone cancer inflicts, I worry about whether or not she has said goodbye. Not so much to each of us, as we have all been saying goodbye for some time now. I wonder if she will have another chance to really take in the trees outside her window, and the blue sky. Will she ever hear bird-song again and does she need a spin in the wheelchair to enjoy that. I don’t need to ask myself if it matters to her. She is the one who first tutored me in its treasures. Perhaps she has been saying good bye for some time and we are just unaware of that. After all, she is already traveling in both worlds, here and beyond.

I realize some of this is a projection of my own needs and what I want. There is a post going around on Facebook of a forest ranger who was in hospice care and wanted to be in her beloved Nature again.  It never fails to move me. I know that deep call of nature and its healing resonance. If I were ill and could not go outside, I would want the sounds in my room, birdsong, ocean waves, breeze in the trees, whale calls.

Today, Earth Day, I am also thinking of another mother and, in both cases, what it means to say goodbye and how goodbye lives in relationship with hello.

Our earth, Pachamama, Gaia, is our mother and we are her children.

photo of dogwood copyright (c) KJLoh

Thinking how important it is to me to say goodbye, to her, I ask myself, “Have I said hello to Pachamama today? Have I honored her and thanked her, offered my respect?”

As I walked the woods pondering this, offering my gratitude to the trees in particular, I was greeted by more birdsong than I have heard since the approach of winter. I soaked it up, let it re-organize my cells. I regularly say “hello” out loud to the flowers, mushrooms, trees and many creatures I see on my walks and hikes. I wonder, having said hello so often, will it be easier or harder to, someday, say goodbye?

When I consider my own passing, I imagine having said hello more often, having received, really received the beauty and gift of this Earth, will make my goodbye more rich, and sad, yes, but very sweet. I wonder too, how often do I protect myself from a painful goodbye by withholding my hello? Do I imagine keeping my love and appreciation contained will somehow save me from deeper heartache?

If I have not said hello enough will I care enough to preserve the Earth and her creatures. Will I really know what it means to recycle, to conserve, to celebrate the biodiversity, to appreciate the bounty?

One of my teachers, Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, encourages us to honor Pachamama with song, ritual, dance, drumming. Yes, this is a profound and sacred way of saying hello.

And, please know, that if you are not inclined to perform ceremony or join a beach cleanup, your simple hello by way of true observation, connection and reception is more powerful and more healing than you might imagine.

You matter and you may be the only person to ever see that particular blossom, that dandelion seed in flight.

I invite you to join me, to celebrate our beautiful Earth mother, by taking a moment to say “hello” to her. Commune with a tree, take in the beauty of a wildflower, sit by a body of water in reflection. Listen to the birds singing. Stop, pause, if only for a minute, and say “Hello.”

Like beginnings and endings, hello and goodbye exist in the same moment, in a unity. We need to be aware of what we are unconsciously throwing away (and the many more painful goodbyes it may create) when we forget to say hello.

Pachamama, our beloved mother Earth, gives and gives. Your hello says “I see you and I appreciate you.” Say hello, not just today, but every day.

Copyright © April 22, 2015 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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The Gift of Trees

Trees Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

All week, the pristine quiet of my new foothill home has been disrupted by the roar of chainsaws, the hacking of axes, the deep bass drone of earth movers and trucks and the all too distinct crack and thud of a tree going down.

IMG_5989 copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved IMG_5987 IMG_6029copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

I would estimate more than 50 trees have come down so far. That first day, I could feel the shock of the trees, the earth, the birds. I reassured the trees on my property that the chainsaws would not be coming for them. I spent the day feeling completely rattled. A hawk flew overhead screeching as one tree was being cut. Was its nest high up there in the branches? I saw the same hawk fly down to the ground from a low limb the next day. Were there young ones to feed that now found their home on the ground? I don’t know. I only wonder.

My heart hurt and I cried. I also heard an internal voice chastise me saying “Where do you think the lumber for this house and this deck came from?” I also found myself curious about the process of cutting trees and furious about the destruction of the landscape to pull the logs out.

As I felt into all of my reactions,  I came to understand (among many other insights) that what bothers me most is (and this is an assumption) that they have not been honored. They were not taken down in a sacred manner. No one offered their prayer or blessing or gratitude.

As I said, that is an assumption. So, it all comes back to me. Have I offered my prayer, blessing or gratitude?  I spent that first evening in my sacred space doing just that. It created peace in my spirit and gave my heart a bit of rest. I am reminded to continue the practice of walking in the Beauty Way, honoring all of life. It’s so easy to forget.

The felling continues. As I write, I hear the drone of the tree mover with the big pincers creating roadways through the forest and dragging felled trees to waiting trucks.

This leads me to my invitation to join me in a healing ceremony, of sorts.

IMG_5975 apple blossom copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh

I invite you to join me in expressing gratitude to trees.

Leave a comment with your words or write a blog post on the subject and post the link in the comments section below.  In this way, we can practice some earth medicine and send energetic healing to trees being felled everywhere. In addition, if you feel so moved, speak your gratitude directly to a tree today.

I will start:

Thank you to the trees.

Thank you for your beauty, shade, blossoms, shelter.

Thank you for offering yourselves to become my home, furnishings, books, bags, paper.

Thank you for giving me your limbs for warm fires on chilly evenings.

Thank you for your medicine and the wisdom you always convey to me when I seek your counsel.

Thank you for harboring birds and squirrels.

Thank you for my guitar, violin, piano and the sweet songs that come from them.

Thank you for your sweet aromas, your waving branches in the breeze, your reminder to remain grounded.

Thank you for your teachings, sometimes painful, through the taking out of power for a day or two, or falling through a roof of a house or car.

Thank you to the giants for living so long as to remind us of timelessness.

Thank you for reaching high and pointing the way to the stars and that beautiful silhouette you create encircling me as I stand in a clearing stargazing.

Thank you for peace laurels, Christmas trees, wreathes and garlands.

Thank you for opening my heart and reminding me of the sacredness of all life.

 

Will you join me? Thank you for posting your gratitude for trees in the comments below (click on “comments” the last word of this post, below the likes and tags)

Many blessings!

Copyright © March 2013 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“We become compassionate not from altruism which denies the self for the sake of the other, but from the insight that sees and feels one is the other.” ~Huston Smith

I want to write something and my heart just wants to put it out there while the fearful aspect of my mind suggests we may need some facts;  some hard core science. Well, I honored that second voice for a while, surfing the net and hearing all the criticism that might be tossed at me for quoting Greenpeace or for neglecting to do so. There is no way to be right here. So I’m dropping the right and returning to my heart.

Here’s what I experience. Compassion is born of an open heart. An open heart knows sorrow and joy in equal proportions. The more open the heart, the more sorrow and joy. That can be a wild open ocean sometimes, so we batten down the hatches of the heart and return to the safe harbor of the judging ego-mind. I know. I have a well-used slip in that harbor.

Sailboat copyright (c) Nov 2010 Kathy J Loh

Walking, yesterday, I was enchanted by the beauty of the day: birds singing their hearts out, trees dancing in the breeze, raptors soaring on thermals, blossoms raising their faces to the sun. Then, a wave of sadness came over me without explanation. My mind went through the files: lost love, who died, list of regrets, etc. But nothing, could explain the depth of this sorrow.

“It’s the sadness of the world.” I heard these words whispered in my ear. I heard them only in my heart. I don’t know how I heard them. I just did.

My thoughts ran defense: “What am I to do with the sadness of the world? Has it come to take up residence in me? What am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to fix it!”

My wiser self responded: “Know it for what it is and let it wash through. It’s the only way to keep the heart open. Don’t head for the dock.”

A moment later, I noticed sorrow had moved on. Or had it? Maybe it was just that my attention had been captured by an iris in bloom.

It’s all going on at once, this joy and this sorrow; Beauty in its splendor, all the currents of the heart’s seas.

An open heart is more receptive to the heart of cosmos, is an open channel for it, becomes it (and yes, that’s a double entendre.)

Sometimes I wonder if it’s true. Is there the original Divine Mind or Universal Intelligence of which I am a creative expression and as such I am both one with and separate from that Source?

If so, if it’s true, then I am the whale and the whale is me. I am the dolphin and the dolphin is me. For when I look upon nature, when I look upon others, I see myself and my heart sings with joy for what has been created. At the same time, my heart cries for what is being destroyed.

That’s what happened when I saw a certain video this morning. (I could not find a way to embed it here, but I can give you the link.) Without any interpretation, it’s a beautiful celebration of life, nature, planet and the music is as emotionally evocative as the film, if not more so.

Yet, in my state of mind (and heart) and in light of what’s happening, the dumping of toxic waste into the ocean, and radioactive rain falling into the Pacific because of the disaster at Fukushima, I could not help but think – (said with sarcasm, “Gee, I’m sure glad there’s a lot of ocean to take the radioactive waste before it gets to me in California. Thank God for that big blue hole out there where things can be buried, so that I don’t have to know they exist anymore.”

And what am I burying?

What happens when I dig it up?

What kind of courage does it take to keep the heart open in light of all the tragedy?

(Some would have me mention the human loss as well. Yes, I see it. Maybe I’m just not strong enough to go there yet. Maybe that’s your work and mine is with the wild wonder of Nature. I don’t pretend to know. I follow my heart.)

I watched this video and felt my heart open to the heart of the Source of all creation and the deep deep sadness for the potential loss of what “I” had created and what has pleased me for so long.

What have I created?

So here is a simple picture I took of spinner dolphins in Lanai. Below the photo is a link to the video. Please watch it and let it fill your screen, your heart and your consciousness.

This video shows sheer beauty.

YOU are sheer beauty.

It’s a big beautiful, mostly blue, planet and we are all in this together.

Dolphin copyright (c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh

Click the link below to watch the video. (Right click if you want to see it in a new window or tab. Otherwise it will pop you out of this blog post. )

http://www.facedl.com/fb/player/waPlayer.swf?VideoID=awuokwiawkioino

“And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void in any heart, so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up. -Charles Dickens

Copyright © April 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Big wind today

Crazy excited about something

Clearing the air

Releasing the leaves, pollens and dead weight

From trees and bushes

and

Me.

Madrone Blossoms copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

Walking the trails

I encounter my past

Strewn about the pathways

In dizzying array.

Pea hail of Madrone blossoms

Gentle blue-snow dusting of California Lilac

Needles, cones and leftover leaves from the fall

Prints of canines and critters that have passed this way before

deeply embedded in dried mud.

Only crazy people walk in the woods on a windy day.

Squirrels scold and Jays sound the alarm

Trees creak, clank and moan

Consider releasing what no longer serves

Be it leaf, twig, bough or branch.

A few will give up altogether

Surrender their roots to time

Come crashing down to meet the earth

Face to face

Unless another stronger tree

Happens to catch them in their descent.

Crow copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

Crow or shadow – crow won’t tell

Hawks and crows surf the currents

(Oh, I know you won’t believe me

But just after I wrote that line,

Two crows dove dramatically

Within twenty feet of my window.

Where’s my camera

Where’s my camera

I’m not surprised

Crow medicine has been showing up lately.)

Songbirds dive like bullets

For the next safe haven

Strategize to avoid being blown sideways.

Falling leaves twirl like little girls in

New skirts with petticoats.

I swear I can hear their laughter.

On the trail, beneath the creaking trees

A splash of white feathers

Sign of angels

Sign of a kill.

feather amid pine needles copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

After a time of solitude

The path is enlivened with neighbors

A trail runner

A couple and their show dogs

A couple with no dogs

A woman walking her horse.

Who dares walk on a windy day?

We do!

the walkers, the runners, the riders.

All that mental energy needs a bit of earth

A bit of dirt and trail under our feet

Some blazing sun to make us squint

And a good wind to face into.

I feel it pull my thinking right out

The tips of my wildly flying hair

And send it God only knows where.

Butterfly copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

I release an invocation

And let it fly on the wind as well.

I sing for all the butterflies

That emerge today,

Or on any windy day,

Who had no idea

It would be this blustery

Once they left the ground.

It’s a different kind of freedom

And freedom, none-the-less.

copyright (c) May 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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The long days of summer are over. Fall has arrived, if not in your backyard, then at least, on your calendar. The Autumnal and Vernal (spring) equinoxes are the two times a year when the length of the day and the length of the night are more or less equal.

The weather, fickle as it always is, is less reliable than the angle of the sun when it comes to knowing Fall has arrived. It snowed in Denver the other day and then returned to a sunny 70 degrees. There are deluges in Georgia and heat waves in California.

Some will know it’s Fall by the return of football season, children returning to school and the final race to the world series in baseball.

What tells me it’s Autumn is the gray and black squirrels (newborn last Spring) scampering about the oaks gathering acorns. The Jays and the Acorn Woodpeckers are competing for the same booty and then burying it the ground or  hammering into the telephone pole. The persimmons are turning orange. I am going to bed earlier and awakening a bit later as the nights grow longer.

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Ancient cultures made monuments to honor the solstices. That we make meaning from this time is built upon the wisdom of the ages. How we make meaning is personal and cultural.

In general it is known as a time of harvest. The harvest invites gratitude and the observation that we reap what we sow.  With the shortening and cooling of the days comes the natural desire to hibernate by slowing down, reflecting, preparing.

Just as those squirrels gather their bounty for the winter, we can take time to reflect upon how well we’ve lived our year to this point, what needs cleaning up and completion and how we want to prepare for a new cycle that begins at Winter Solstice.

As we are in the sun sign of Libra, the perspective of balance between the dark and light, balance of polarities, is especially poignant. I had a wonderful call with a client today that illustrates how we can work with polarities with one simple question that accommodates “and.”  As we explored her vision of her most robust future, she mentioned both adventure and living at a relaxed pace. She then laughingly wondered how she could have both. At first glance we assume adventure and relaxation to be contradictory. Curiosity offers another perspective. I asked her what it would be to be in relaxed adventure? A new doorway opened.

I invite you to take something you are playing with as either-or, that creates a black and white debate in your mind, and write your own inquiry similar to the one above. The Autumnal Equinox may well infuse your contemplation with balanced energy.

Another Autumnal sign and energy is that of Scorpio. Scorpio is all about the sting, the transmutation of energy, initiation. It’s a great time to reconnect with the soul and inquire as to your soul’s purpose. It’s a good time to heal old wounds, create alignment in your chakras.  You might like to meditate upon the chakras, do some chakra chanting, work with a healer, shaman or spiritual coach/guide to facilitate these processes.

Finally, many of us have been busy discarding old items, clearing out closets and garages, clearing our very hearts of clutter and things we no longer need. It turns out this is natural energy to feel this time of year. The Autumnal Equinox encourages it. As we head toward the nadir of the Winter Solstice, as we head toward the end of the year, it is natural for us to assess the path we’ve walked the past 9 months and release that which no longer serves. It is also natural to begin to prepare for the upcoming year, the beginning of a new cycle at the Winter Solstice when the days begin to grow longer again and the energy is just turning toward expansion.

You might like to assess your year so far and ask:

What will you claim and celebrate?

What will you release?

What feedback or learning are you taking with you to prepare for your next adventure?

What seeds will you gather for next year’s crop?

How does your heart wish to express gratitude?

Then pick one and follow through in some way that resonates with you.

Happy Equinox dear ones!

A nod and apology for my northern perspective to the Southern Hemisphere where they are experiencing their Vernal Equinox – may your Spring be abundantly joyful!

Copyright(c) September 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Resource (book) for ritual: Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews

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