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Posts Tagged ‘Full moon’

A search engine will return many blog posts related to how to do a ceremony at the full moon to let go of that which you no longer want to think about, carry, or have in your life. This is not an instructional post. This is a personal account of the impact and outcome of moon energy coupled with exquisite attention and commitment.

My last post was about the natural rhythm of the seasons vs the calendar. Natural rhythms ebb and flow and we observe cycles in their comings and goings: cycles of day and night, cycles of the seasons, cycles of the moon. We, as humans are such a curious mix of three brain types. We still have the responses of a reptile, albeit it tempered by a cortex with ever evolving consciousness. So, I maintain that there is something comforting for us in harmonizing our lives with natural rhythms rather than with time clocks and the dictates of the cubicle nation.

The moon will be full Tuesday, February 3rd. (You can find a calendar of moon phases here) If you like to align your commitment and energy with natural forces, then it is also a great day to do a release ceremony.

moon copyright(c)2012KJLoh
The premise is simple enough. When the moon is full, it is a good time to let go of things because its waning process will symbolically represent and encourage, the withering of, or gradual disengaging from, that which you release. When the moon is new, not visible in the night sky, it is a powerful time to invoke that which you want to see grow in yourself and your life. As the moon waxes, it mirrors the growth you intended.

The full moon illumines the dark, helps us see in the night. It empowers us to see with great clarity and humility that which we need to offer up, to surrender, in order to be and become more of our true selves.

Not long ago, I created a release ceremony for myself. I did so by writing names and things, I wanted to let go of, on pieces of paper and ceremonially burning them. Then I buried them in the ground next to my apacheta and stuck jay feathers in the mound of fresh dirt at the burial site. This is one example of what you can do for your own release ceremony.

I encourage you to create your own full moon ceremony, because it works.

Is it the moon? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, as Goethe tells us, commitment is key:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

If we don’t have commitment, then I would not expect the moon to do the heavy lifting for us. If we are willing and fully committed, then the moon may be an ally.

First, there is something powerful about inviting the power of nature, planets, moon, earth, whatever works for us, to join forces with is as we make our commitment.

Second, we will likely see the moon every night thereafter and when we do we will be reminded of our commitment.

Third, when we go to the effort of creating a ceremony and we go about it in a sacred manner, we lock it into the body, it takes on meaning.

Finally, as icing on the cake, there is power in others doing the same at the same time (when two or more are gathered) whether with us or in their own full moon ceremony.

One of the things I released in my last ceremony was the ghost of a man who had come and gone in my life in a powerful and disturbing way. Because he lived in another state, our entire relationship, as brief as it was, consisted of phone calls and visits that took place only at my house, on my property, in my town.

Ever since his abrupt departure, I have had trouble shaking the memory of him and his energy, from my space. There were so many reminders: the stain from his maca root tea in my coffee cup, the Tupperware top that no longer fit because he put it in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, the dreams we dreamed woven among the trees on my property and the path I walk with my dog every morning and evening. I could feel him watching me from the living room chair, as he had most mornings, while I did my stretches and Qi Gong. It did get better over time, but I still felt haunted.

I discarded some things that reminded me of him, but I was and am stubborn about the coffee mug. It was a gift a friend gave me that symbolized my emergence after divorce. I didn’t want to allow him to steal that away from me and somehow the mug became a symbol of that.

When we are ready to release something, the intention has more focus and the commitment more power. If we are not really ready yet, it will spring back like something attached to a bungee cord (more about the bungee cord in my post Bye-Bye Now). Call it the saboteur, call it our inner doubter, call it lack of readiness, call it neural wiring, it all has the same effect. But, when we feel our readiness and we have the self-respect, compassion and self-restraint to continue along the path of release, then attending to it with ceremony and adding the power of nature and her cycles may be just the extra kick (dare I say, in the rear) that is needed.

Between the last and this full moon, I began to notice that my first thought, when I saw the coffee mug, was less and less about him and more and more about my friend and her gift of acknowledgment. What really surprises me is that the stubborn stain is suddenly and almost magically disappearing. No elbow grease was involved. I assure you, but plenty of soul and moon grease came into play, for sure. Additionally, the dreams we dreamed sailed off with the winter winds and my living room chair is empty in the mornings.

photo of path copyright(c)20-14KathyJLoh

This morning, I stood on the pathway, in a slit of sunlight between the tree shadows and took in the warmth as I waited for my dog to catch up. The most incredible freedom came over me. I am no stranger to seeing energy in the forest and feeling the waves coming off the trees, but this was different. The ghost was gone. The memories had no substance.

I felt space, lots and lots of space all around me. My body relaxed and I was breathing a little more freely. I wasn’t pulling my skin in to protect myself and make myself small. Instead I was allowing myself to merge with and be touched by the space around me. I only knew my prior constriction and armor by contrast to this new-felt freedom.

The release was complete.

My inner doubter proclaimed “This s()(*& works!”

There is no continuum to be had going forward, no story about how damaged I am or was, rather the opportunity to start here, today, now, with no ghosts hanging around; no baggage to carry into new relationships. I have a blank canvas before me and I can splash the colors of the ghost all over it if I want to. Retracing my steps and bringing them forward again is an option, but I prefer and choose the colors of spaciousness, breath, and freedom.

With the help of ceremony and the moon, it is easier for me to hold this new resonance.

With great gratitude to the teachers before me who have passed down the ways of ceremony and to the moon and forces of nature and all the unseen helpers who assist us in our Earth walk, I now turn to you, dear readers.

What are you ready to release?
What will you create as your own unique ceremony?
How willing are you to be free?

Be it this full moon or the next, I send you my heart-felt wishes for powerful ceremony and blessed release!

Thank you for walking the full moon path with me.

Copyright(c) Feb 2014, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

I notice as I begin to write this post, that it is high noon. I’m reminded of Westerns in which the moment of confrontation is scheduled for high noon.

I have felt myself to be traveling toward high noon. The confrontation is not with any outer circumstance or individual. It is within me. It is that moment when my personality squares up with my soul and says “draw pahrdner!” It is the moment when my mind steps aside in deference to my heart.  It is the portal to a new way of being that can’t be known, but only glimpsed, from this side of the door jamb.

But wait…let’s rewrite the script here.  I think I’ll write it as me riding off into the sunset at the beck and call of soul.

I’m not interested in fighting. Fighting, especially with the negative ego, is the ultimate detour. I’m interested in being an enchanted wanderer in the Great Mystery.

I’ve not posted much here recently, and I’ve had plenty of passion and ideas about what to write. Passion and inspiration are moving through me so quickly that I find myself living those unwritten posts and moving on before I ever get near the computer.  Some of it gets disseminated in my journals, my emails to friends and comments on other people’s blogs. The rest is simply digested.

It used to be that I kept track of every inspiration, every whisper or sign from the Universe that it is friendly and helpful. I wanted to remember the magic, hold on to it forever. Now I’m inundated with messages and it’s all too much to hold; spilling over. Trying to accumulate to remember is another distraction. True remembrance is re-membering; embodying

I have a suspicion many of you have been feeling something similar; an apparent acceleration (or shrinking) of time. I say apparent because the reality of linear time is questionable and so it follows that acceleration would also be an illusion. What if it is about the speed of soul and we are beginning to feel that vibration? I suspect that we will find ourselves soothing our physical bodies by slowing down to speed up; meaning becoming more deeply present to the infinite here and now in order to attune to (or even survive) the new frequencies.

Still, here we are…moments past the actual time of the Super Moon (2:10 pm EDT), hours away from the Spring Equinox tomorrow (March 20 7:21 pm EDT) praying for Japan, praying for the ocean, praying for ourselves.

copyright(c) March 2011, Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

Do you see the dancer in the shadow to the right?

This equinox finds us at a different kind of high noon. We are precariously unbalanced and in great need of realignment. Fear begins to shut down our physical systems. We begin to show symptoms in pain, illness, depression, confusion. We can meet our fear at high-noon and stare it down, hope to God/dess to have the fastest draw, or we can let our fear live out its own story in some other reality while we ride off into the sunset of Love, guided by our hearts.

This riding off into the sunset is not an ending. It is a beginning. It is accomplished in the simplest of steps and awarenesses:

Where is your attention?

To what are you giving your energy?

What do you tell yourself about you?

When you are thinking, who is thinking and who is listening?

Where is the Love? (hint: all around you)

What does it take to open to receive Love even in the face of fear?

How can you extend any amount of Love if you are not opening to receive it?

What will soothe your physical body so that you feel safe?  (hint: it’s the small things)

What in your space and activities is more noise and distraction than beauty and clarity?

What will you do about that? (in the name of Love)

Here’s an example of soothing by way of something I created for myself in an improvisatory moment last night.

I’d been feeling very out of sorts. I had a stiff neck (from exercising my frozen shoulder) and I was feeling some kind of heaviness in my head. My blood pressure felt low. I was also sick and tired of all the rain and dankness in my place. I was miserably cold. I decided to take a bath to get warm.

I set up the bath with the usual candle and bath amenities and I set Pandora to my Hawaiian slack key channel. I immersed myself and let the water work its magic. I let my arms float and make hula movements in the water. I found myself in the warm waters of Manele Bay where the dolphins swim.

I sang along with the instrumental music in Hawaiian style, making up words that sound Hawaiian but are actually nonsense. The amount of challenge presented by singing with harmonies that were unknown to me was just right. As I sang, I pictured Lanikai Beach. My mind drifted to the memory of a game I’d played with Jeff Jacobson and other Lucid Living friends. We made up words and phrases in fake Hawaiian sound-alike language.  In my imagination, while soaking in the tub, I created a reality in which I was having a great time with these friends. Jeff’s wonderful playful energy was with me in that moment. I laughed and sang and laughed some more. I got downright silly.

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

Lanikai, Oahu, HI

By the time I got out of the tub, my entire system had been re-set. I had created community and fun and my heart was filled with joy, love and playfulness. Love was present and I was present to Love.

Question: was it real?

Answer: Did I experience it?

Now I ask you, as you consider riding off into the sunset at high noon: if we create our reality, what reality do we want to create? One of fear and constriction?  One of Love and expansion? (And yes, there are many more choices and we include it all, but I have a notion that Love and expansion are more inclusive than fear and constriction.)

Even if you don’t believe you create it all, you can at least think about your capacity to be at choice with how you will be with the reality you perceive.

My bath time wonderland last night was my oxygen mask. The one I put on before I can help others; the one that enables me to spill over with joy and Love – the same joy and love that powers my prayers and visions for Japan, for Christchurch, for Chile, for Haiti, for Libya, for New Orleans, for polar bears and arctic ice floes.

Tragedy, chaos and destruction in the world do not preclude laughter and play, they demand it.

So, I invite you to leave your fear standing alone in the dusty, empty center of some ghost town and ride off into the sunset of your new reality on a laughing and singing on a horse called Love. It must be high noon somewhere and the world needs laughter and prayers from hearts spilling over with Love and joy.

Here’s a soundtrack for your ride (Led (Ledward) Kaapana):

PS: How about some hope? Lucid Living is offering a workshop: Anchoring New Hope: Sacred Ceremonies for a New World. Click HERE for more info.

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

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I’ve started this sentence many times over. It’s not that I don’t know what to say. Rather, I am distracted by (or what I prefer to call otherwise attracted to) the wildlife outside my window. It’s the daily luncheon at the oak diner for chickadees, juncos and woodpeckers. Today they are joined by two robins who are perched still as statues while a jay warns in the distance of a hawk soaring overhead. That same hawk is sharing the air space and the wind currents with two turkey vultures. A crow is showing off its wide vocal range. Several birds follow their feast with a bath in the copper sculpture across the way, while two red squirrels chase each other through the branches with clownish grace.

Such are the magical moments presence in the Great Mystery offers. I’ll sprinkle the images throughout this post.

And I’m feeling a bit like a cat at the window;  my eyes tracking every little movement; “what was that? What was that?”

Crow - copyright (c) December 2010 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

It’s precisely this sense of surprise and wonder that I want to expand as I move, with the passing of the Solstice, into days of more light. And, yes, I mean that metaphorically as well as literally.

The only appointment on my calendar today was a meditation and energy healing with Ping Li of Awaken Within Path. Today’s meditation and energy healing was on abundance and receiving. As I sat in the silence, open to receiving purification of old energies that no longer serve who I am becoming, I brought forth three things for transmutation: money, love, healing.

I distilled it down to three unproven notions still swimming in my energy field:

  • Money is evil (or at least the root of it) [clarification to come]
  • Love hurts (betrayal being my sore spot)
  • Healers suffer for their gift(s), not only have they been wounded, they remain crippled (don’t have a clue where I got this one…past life?)

You can imagine how helpful these beliefs are for one who wants more income, a loving partner and is engaged in healing practices. Uh-huh! Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I’m not much of a scientist. I have the curiosity of one, but I’m not very detailed oriented and don’t like restrictions on my movement.  I’m more an explorer than a scientist. So, I set about to explore these notions to find the one thing that would help me release them, which is to say, to discover them once and for all untrue.  Here’s what bubbled up:

It’s all just history.

Money is evil

The whole money is evil thing is from the Bible, only the words are actually: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV ) and, according to a Wikipedia article: “A more accurate rendering from the original Greek may be: ‘For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil,’ (New American Standard Bible).”

Money doesn’t create anything. We do. What we do with money and how we are about it, is not about money, it’s about us.

Love hurts

Love doesn’t hurt, we do. We get hurt and we hurt others. We betray, get betrayed and worst of all, betray ourselves. We numb out, freeze our hearts, cheat, create eternal busy-ness in our attempts to avoid pain, thereby creating the greatest pain of all – separation.

We are afraid to love because we are afraid to feel the loss of love. In a funny way, we pre-empt the pain by creating it from the start with our separation and isolation. That’s about as rational as saying: I’m afraid that, someday, I won’t have any food.  So I’m not going to eat anything ever and that I won’t know the feeling of hunger after having experienced a full belly.

woodpecker copyright(c) Dec 2010, Kathy J LohHealer’s suffer or are crippled (as in saints and martyrs and psychic healers struck by lightning and the archetype of the wounded healer.)

People don’t suffer because they have chosen to be healers, they likely became healers,  because they have suffered and it is easy enough to gather evidence that there are amazing healers in the world who are not crippled or ill.

This is a story my negative ego dangles in front of me when, faced with the question, “who am I becoming if it is not who I am now?”  It responds with a lot of very scary images to keep me confined to the shadow of who I think I know myself to be. Because that’s what the negative ego does. It pulls together little bits and pieces of sayings and events, tosses them in a blender and pours a toxic cocktail of half truths and assumptions and serves them to us with a mischievous smile. “Here, have a drink. It’ll make you feel better.”  It’s much safer to cling to my “personality” than to go off on some adventure to find a “me” I’ve never known before.

Sure, I’ve been wounded. Who reading this has not? Opening to my capacity to heal myself and others has no direct correlation to suffering other than it is meant to alleviate it.

Byron Katie’s (The Work) questions help here:

Me: (Supposition): If I open to my full capacity as a healer, I will suffer.

Katie: Is that true?

Me: Yes (tenuously, but I can’t say no)

Katie: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Me: No (I must admit)

Katie: How do you react when you think that thought?

Me: I feel scared and weak and timid. I feel like I’m not living up to my fullest potential as a compassionate being. I’m sitting on my hands, so to speak. I hide out.

Katie: Who would you be without the thought?

Me: (here we are back to that question…who would I be, but this time instead of the great wild unknown of who I am becoming, it is an exploration of life without just this one thought…just this one)

I’d be someone willing to engage with the world with an open and compassionate heart. I’d be someone exploring their fullest potential.

OK – this is a no-brainer now! Without that thought, I can be one who brings healing to others, in whatever form I do, while also being mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically vital. That is to say, in integrity.

The precise time of solstice is 14 minutes away.  At this time of our shortest day and longest night (in northern hemisphere); at this time when there is much promise of hope, forgiveness and new beginnings; at this time when the old structures are giving way and new ones await our creation; at this time:

I release history and dance into the Mystery

Robin in birdbath copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

wash it all away

What happens when I no longer believe that evil and money are married at the hip?

What happens when I no longer believe that falling in love is setting myself up for betrayal?

What happens when I bring forth my healing gifts with integral health and well-being of body, mind, spirit and heart?

At this point in my meditation I heard, “We’ve been waiting to play with you.”

I smiled and the word surrender bubbled to the surface of my awareness for another go round.

Surrender your history

Surrender to the unknown

Surrender to potential and possibility.

I recall a quote I used in a recent Mystery Message about surrender:

“You can remain in your present idea about yourself, or you can choose again. I like the idea of choosing again.” Neale Donald Walsch

As I type these final words, the solstice moment has arrived, right on time.

Into the light everyone, into the light.

Surrender to the truer, more real you.

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

 

Eclipse lunar copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

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This year, Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere) is on Tuesday December 21st. As always, I have left the day open so that I can create an intentional ritual that honors my growth this year and the vision that is unfolding for the next. If you would like some ideas about creating your own ritual, check out my 2009 Winter Solstice post.

For those of us who like to play with astrological, astronomic and symbolic events, there are some exciting things coming.

  • On the day of the Solstice we will also have a full moon with total lunar eclipse.
  • Mercury Turns Direct Dec 30th
  • For a period of about three weeks in early January, nothing in the sky will appear retrograde.
  • The Tarot guardian card for 2011 (which is a 4 year) is IV or The Emperor

Solstice, full moon, lunar eclipse

Here’s what my friend and personal astrologer, Nicki Michaels has to say about the solstice and lunar eclipse:

“The Winter Solstice, at the moment the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, is the time of deepest darkness in the northern hemisphere.  It is when many traditions honor the rebirth of the Sun and renewal of the life force.  In our culture, many gravitate towards family and friends around an illuminated evergreen tree or a menorah celebrating the miracle of light.

One meaning of the sign of Capricorn is community cohesiveness, and so in this dimly lit season, we find illumination through connection to others rather than by the Sun’s light. We naturally renew our social connections and hopefully feel strengthened by them.

This year the Winter Solstice combines with the powerful energy of a Full Moon eclipse, intensifying and deepening the experience.  Both occur on Tuesday December  21st, the Full Moon at 12:13 AM PT, and the Solstice at 3:39 PM PT.

So at this powerful and sacred Solstice moment, rejoice at the rebirth of the Sun out of the darkness and experience the open-heartedness that this season ignites. Notice where you find light in your life and move towards it. Ask what you wish to illuminate in the coming year, and allow your light to shine.”  [see note (1) below]


Allowing our light to shine may also entail facing our shadows. Facing our shadows reveals our light and releases us from the darkness.

 

“If you bring forth that which you have within you, it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.”

– The Gospel of Thomas


Planetary movement

When Mercury goes direct on the 30th, there will be no planets in retrograde until Saturn turns retrograde on January 27th.  Yes, Mercury’s retrograde energy lingers, but this all-planets-direct in the sky period is a window of opportunity.  According to some astrologers I’ve read, it will be a powerful time for getting things done. There will be less energetic resistance to our forward movement. If you’ve felt like you’ve been making slow progress or steady progress with lots of relapses, you will likely find the energy shifting in your favor the first few weeks of January.

Sun in clouds copyright (c) Dec 2009, Kathy J Loh

This informs my ritual in this way

I’m looking to complete anything that still feels incomplete and release the energy so that I can rest in a beautiful space of silence and integration. I am also germinating seeds that I sowed this year, trusting that they are growing under the best of conditions.  I am setting an intention to make myself more available to community and to make community more available to me.

I was at a book-signing last night for Transforming in 2012 by Debra Giusti, et al.  Two authors, Marilyn Schlitz and Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) spoke. Both spoke to the necessity of creating community as we make the shift from our old-consciousness story to the new story. We are in the process of creating that story now (or it is creating us, which is to say it is a co-creative process).

This delighted me since I have considered posting my very first ever predictions blog post and one of the predictions is the new level of meaning community will have for us. Here you get a preview:

Stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s not going to work anymore. Create community. ‘nuff said.


And what about the Emperor?

He is a symbol of the divine masculine. He is about creating structures that will sustain and nurture that which is birthed. I’m thinking of it as stakes, trellises and netting that will support the seedlings as they grow taller. As Pamela Eakins says in her book The Tarot of Spirit :

“Build a firm base of clear knowledge; do not become too rigid; remain open and lucid to retain control, know and serve a higher force; build your world in beauty and light; do not forget that the Emperor remains Emperor because he has a global sense of things that others do not necessarily possess, yet he will be overthrown if he does not serve his constituents; to remain in power, use your insight and serve those around you.”

Whereas last year’s guardian, The Empress, is the creator of all form, the Emperor illuminates the structure of all form.

Forms will be birthed and there needs to be an ongoing nurturing and sustaining of those forms for them to thrive. In 2011, the energy of the Emperor assists us with that. Whether we are creating a home, a product, a business, an organization, or a new world, the Emperor is with us and offers us wisdom.  Perhaps the most profound message is to serve, from the perspective of what the soul knows and sees.

When we look at our own structures in life, we may think of the word discipline. I remind myself that discipline means to be a “disciple to.” To what will I be a disciple in 2011? We are all disciples to many things simply by way of auto-pilot. What wants, invites and requires our conscious, intentional devotion now? Let’s be discerning about that.

The window and the calling:

Taking this back to the solstice (the time when we shift from ever shorter days to ever longer ones), the full moon – lunar eclipse, the direction of the planets, and the turning of the year, we can use this time as a powerful energetic surge, a kind of wave, to carry us powerfully toward all that we generate.  We are always generating something. Let’s be conscious in our co-creating.

 

It is my belief that all that calls to be created is calling from the new story.

Are we listening? How will we respond?

It is this new story that we are serving.

What is our degree of willingness?


As the days of increasing light return, let’s generate and inspire hope for ourselves, for our world.

We are called forth by our hearts to form community to nurture and sustain this new story. Each member of the community, you being one of them, contributes a vital and unique role. You are needed.

As Nicki advises:  “Ask what you wish to illuminate in the coming year, and allow your light to shine.”


Wishing you all an enchanted holiday season!


(1) For a deeper understanding of the Winter Solstice, read what Dane Rudhyar says about the the sign of Capricorn and Winter Solstice. Learn more about Nicki Michaels and her astrology services. Please note that the paragraphs contributed by Nicki are also copyrighted material and used here by permission.

Copyright© December 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Summer is officially over at 3:09 UT on 9/23, which (heads up) is 8:09 pm today 9/22 in California.

Let’s see. That means I have approximately 7.5 more hours to enjoy summer. I have about 7.5 hours to wait until that moment in time when “there is a location on the Earth’s equator where the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead,” (Wikipedia). I have today and tomorrow to experience as having equal day and night hours.

I have one foot in summer and one foot in fall.

I’m raking leaves wearing my bathing suit.

OK, I’m not wearing my bathing suit. I’m wearing sunscreen and I am raking leaves…

Or I was…

Yesterday…

I just can’t bring myself to write any more than that, sitting here in a cold house staring out at a beautiful sunny day. This is the last day of summer after all and I have fewer and fewer moments to be present to that.

So I leave you with this information and these links and invite you to enjoy your last moments of summer and first moments of autumn. Rake the leaves in your bathing suit and serve margaritas if you like. Whatever you do, be present.

Today is the day of the Moon Festival in Asia when they celebrate the lady living in the moon, rather than the man, and eat mooncakes. I could go for a mooncake.

The full moon tonight, well tomorrow morning at 2:17am PDT is called the Harvest Moon; also, the Gypsy Moon and Chrysanthemum Moon. The Oto tribe calls it Spider Web on the Ground at Dawn Moon. I kind of like that one.

With both eyes on the sky tonight, you can get a good look at Jupiter and Uranus rising in the eastern sky. This article will tell you more.

Finally, I leave you with a song that gets a lot of hits this time of year. So take a moment, get comfy, and let the sounds and music wash over you. On the one hand, this is one person singing to another. In my world, it is the Divine singing to me. It is Gaia singing to me, to all of us: “Because I’m still in love with you, I want to see you dance again.”

We are  music. We are Love. We are dancers, all.

Enjoy, beautiful ones, and I’ll see you on the other side of the equinox.

Oh and if you have a guitar and want to play this later, check this out: Heartwood Guitar

Harvest Moon by Neil Young

(performed in YouTube below by Cassandra Wilson)

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin’
We could dream this night away.

But there’s a full moon risin’
Let’s go dancin’ in the light
We know where the music’s playin’
Let’s go out and feel the night.

Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now it’s gettin’ late
And the moon is climbin’ high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin’ in your eye.

Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

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

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I finally did it. I’ve been threatening to do it for nearly a year, ok longer, but I kept telling myself that my little point and shoot Canon Powershot S500 was good enough. I kept telling myself, “It’s compact, takes a decent macro shot and someday…someday…” Besides, every time I’d begin to research DSLR cameras, I’d get a little spun out in a whirlwind of confusion and decide to check into it “later.”

So yes, you’ve guessed it.  I bought a DSLR camera. I landed upon a great deal with 18 months to pay, no interest, at Best Buy and I had my new Canon EOS Rebel T1i with two lenses delivered directly to my doorstep. I was like a kid on Christmas morning opening the box. I kept saying out loud “Look Dad! Look what I bought for myself!” My father liked to take photographs too. We mostly bonded around photography, windsurfing and computers.  He passed away a couple of years ago. I knew he’d share my joy.

Full Moon Copyright (c) Feb 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Now I can "shoot the moon" (c) K J Loh

But this post is not about cameras or my beloved father. It’s about giving ourselves what we want.

It’s about honoring ourselves with instruments and spaces that allow us to explore and expand our creative outlets, talents and passions, for no reason other than we want it.

Over the years, I’ve wrestled  with  good enough and it works mantras. I’m frugal. I didn’t build a decent retirement fund chasing after every new shiny toy. Sometimes good enough would win and I’d go into toleration mode letting my ego make up stories about how it was a better than ethic to be able to suffer having less. Like my neighbor’s bumper sticker says, “Less is Moral.”

I am not one of the Americans who over consumed and is now attending the church of new found simplicity. I don’t have over-consumption guilt or a heavy yoke of debt around my neck.  I bet many of you can relate despite the headlines in the local rag.

There is another kind of yoke that can make the spirit weary and that is the yoke of tolerating and being stingy with oneself.

I’ve pursued a number of activities in my life. The new tennis racket, the new windsurf board, harness and proper sails, the proper fitting mountain bike with great suspension,  all made an extreme difference in my skill and joy for these sports.

When I was in high school, I took voice lessons and I taught myself guitar. My mother let me have her little nylon string guitar from Mexico. One night, while lying in bed, I was shocked out of my sleep by a loud snap, whap and echoing tone. I turned on the light to find that the bridge had snapped free and tossed itself, with all six strings, at the wall behind the guitar and was left dangling pitifully from the neck. The front of the guitar body was also loosening from the back. My solution?  Duct tape.

One night, at a party, I was playing that taped-up guitar and singing. A guy I’d never met before said to me, “You need a better guitar. I can get you one.” A few days later he called. He had a brand new nylon string guitar that he would sell me (with case) for $50. It was a huge sum for me in those days and well worth the investment. With that new guitar in my arms, I began classical lessons with a neighborhood friend and relished every beautiful sound we made together, that guitar and I.

When I was in college studying music, my parents helped me buy my own piano so that I would have it at my apartment instead of having to go to the dimly lit, dreary, smoke-filled practice rooms. I bought it used from a woman who’d received it on her 16th birthday.  She never played it and was happy that it was finding a good home with me. She gave me an amazing deal. It was still in great shape and when I had it worked on years later, we found a snippet of ribbon inside the piano which I just know was part of the original Sweet Sixteen Birthday wrapping.

As much as I loved that piano, I always dreamed of a beautiful light-filled studio with an Asian carpet and a grand piano. A grand piano is not something you want to move around with a lot. In the earlier years, I told myself I was waiting to know I’d not be moving again in the foreseeable future.  Every move with my “sweet sixteen” piano required  four strong guys, a borrowed truck and cost me a case of beer.

Yet even when I bought my first home, I did not buy the grand piano. I told myself the home was enough and besides, I had not earned it yet. Someday….someday…

When I opened my private music studio, I used the “sweet sixteen” piano for 6 years before I treated myself to the grand. The truth is, I did not count my desire for the piano, my musicianship (because I was a singer and composer more than a pianist) or my worthiness as good enough to give myself such a treasure.

It took one new adult student ‘s words to send me out looking for the grand piano I’d always wanted. She said something like, “I wasn’t sure I should take lessons from someone who didn’t have a better instrument. I wasn’t sure you were a serious musician.” Those words gave me an understanding of the way in which how I value myself creates how others value me.

Within a month of that insight, I had my new Kawai grand piano and I was in heaven. I took jazz and classical lessons from local musician Gini Wilson (The Duchess). My playing improved dramatically. Having the instrument motivated me to play every day and encouraged me to see myself as a real musician, something I’d always had trouble calling myself, M.A. in music notwithstanding.

So now, we hit upon the “good enough – good enough” irony. I did not consider myself good enough, so I sang the good enough song. In other words, I decided that whatever I had was good enough for the not-so- good-enough me. I was the gatekeeper to my own happiness and I was using the ever-elusive goal of being flawlessly good and masterfully skilled as the key to the “promised land.” I had it all backwards.

My Self knows when I’m being stingy with me and it creates an awful rift, a painful disconnection between me and my soul.

The self that feels honored will rise to the occasion.

Who’s responsible for that honoring?

I am.

So, while there may be a hollow kind of consumerism, a need to fill some unspoken void when we chase after bigger, better, newer, there is also an incredible sacred honoring that comes with giving oneself the instruments, the space, the beauty that enable us to open to new landscapes of joy, creativity and serenity.

Yes, there is stretch that is called challenge and there is a stretch that is called receiving.

What is the stretch for which you are longing now?

I take my new camera everywhere. I wear it like an appendage. Not only has it enabled me to take better pictures, it has already stirred my creative juices with some very fun ideas. I have a lot to learn, but I am eager and  I am totally in love. I see the world through a new lens (no pun intended). I notice the smallest of creatures and delight in playing with perspective. I see color and light like never before. As a musician I’ve always heard the world and now, for the first time since I got my first SLR, I am also seeing the world up close and personal.

My inner creative self no longer stands before me all raggedy with an empty bowl pleading “Please sir, may I have some more?” My spirit soars and there is much joy and anticipation over what will happen next.

The earth is the soul’s playground. Give yourself something worth playing with.

And you, my wonderful reader:

What are you tolerating?

What is the one gift you could give yourself today that will inspire and challenge you, taking your skills, your talents to the next level?

What is that you really want?

What will feed your passion?

When will you let yourself to have it; to receive it?

Where there is the will there is a way.

The question is …  are you willing?

Copyright(c) April 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Today’s prompt (for the Best of 2009 blog challenge by Gwen Bell) is challenge: something that made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

I set a challenge for myself each year. The challenge is meant to expand my being beyond its current edge. I say “being” because it’s more about the unfolding of my soul’s journey for me, than about a specific tangible goal. (And yes, every year  I say I’m going to be fitter and healthier, along with everyone else who pledges that on January 1st)

When I set it, the challenge feels edgy or exciting (depending on the eyes of my perception) but as the year progresses, it reveals itself to be a synthesis of the monumental and the mundane; the sacred and the profane.

Here’s the thing about resolutions, intentions, and challenges: be willing to be surprised. That’s the nice way of saying “be careful what you pray for.”

shadow on beach Nov 09

Mystery (K J Loh)

The challenge I set for myself in 2009 and beyond (I’m now hearing Buzz Lightyear’s voice) is to make an ally of the unknown. I made a conscious decision to play in the Great Mystery. I tend to forget the play part all too often. So, life throws me a full range of opportunities to remember and this year was no different than any other in that respect.

In addition to naming a challenge,  I  pull Spirit Cards (by Joette Tizzone) on New Year’s Day. This year, I accidentally pulled two I AM cards along with the one I WILL card. The result was:

I AM abundance worthy

I WILL open

What I know about invocations is that powerful energies are brought into the space through word, sound, symbols and intention.

This year, I invoked opening to abundance, to knowing there is always enough. This brought on inquiries of what is enough; lessons of gratitude; challenges around receiving and patience.

I invoked knowing that I am worthy of this abundance for no other reason than because I was born. This brought on numerous dialogues between my ego and my soul. My internal board of directors went toe to toe around proving, earning, receiving, allowing.

I invoked the possibility that play will serve me in ways that struggle never has. (I can hear my mom’s voice commenting on how I always have to make things hard – you were right mom) This brought on further lessons in martyr archetype and helped me release any interest I have in looking like I am suffering more than others. I’m kind of over suffering. It’s so 2008.

I invoked the possibility that I will actually enjoy not knowing. What I mean is, not knowing in a way my logical mind can wrap itself around. Yet, knowing in a way my heart understands. I am choosing to read the signals of the world around me as feedback; be present and aware in the moment and work with rather than against the flow;  to co-create with cosmos and the great river of life.

So it all sounds really good huh?

Well on the monumental level, the littlest things are pure magic to me; animal messengers, falling trees, chance encounters, heart connections.

On the mundane level I find myself challenged by what others would find perfectly common place.

I promised yesterday to tell the story of going to a concert alone. This was mundane on the surface and monumental in its impact on me. Here’s the story:

There is a song I love, that I first heard on a Trisha Yearwood CD “On a Bus to St Cloud.” I was searching for a performance of it on YouTube to share on Facebook and Twitter when I came across the performance by the actual songwriter herself, Gretchen Peters. So I tweeted about it and within an hour, I got a tweet from Gretchen saying she hoped to see me at her concert at a local venue two nights later. I had no idea she was playing here, but I could not resist this opportunity, which I took to be a flirt from the Universe to get out in the world even if I have to go alone. So I said yes I was coming.

It would have been so easy for me to back out. I was not accountable to anyone except Gretchen and that was only in my imagination. My soul egged me on. I had to go, to a new part of town and a new venue I’d never visited. I called ahead to get a sense of the seating arrangement and where to park. When the time came, I got dressed hoping to be dressed up enough and not overly so. Then I hopped in my van and took off singing loudly to steady my nerves.

I walked into the bar and everyone turned around and looked at me. Oh boy, feeling conspicuous already. I let my solar plexus lead the way as I went right up to someone who might point me in the right direction. The place was already pretty packed with groups of people enjoying drinks and dinner at cozy tables. I asked the ticket taker to show me a good seat. He showed me two tables in the darker corners of the back and side walls and one right up front. I took the one directly in front of the piano; one little table and three chairs. I sat in the middle chair. Maybe someone, someone handsome and single,  would decide to join me. Uh huh…

Gretchen’s songs are stories. They are lovely, poignant, fun. They make me laugh and they make me cry. Sitting front and center, in the skirt-edges of the stage lights, alone, I was not comfortable crying, but so many of the songs reminded me of loss; loss of love and loss of my dad, that I had to reach into my purse for some Kleenex, despite rapid blinking. Sitting there, I was reminded of the many concerts I went to with my ex-husband. One thing I miss about him is his voice and the gentle strains from his guitar. So Gretchen’s beautiful voice and genuine presence scratched across a few of the scars on my heart and it hurt while it healed.

Click on the play button for this video and enjoy a bit of the “concert” for yourself. (For further info, please click through to YouTube)

When the concert was over, I saw an opportunity to go over and catch her as she stepped off the tiny stage. I wanted to thank her and to let her know that the “Twitter gal” had shown up. We spoke briefly. I was conscious of the fact that she had an agenda with others. I spontaneously hugged her and I could feel her grow rigid, but accepting. Then I left and headed toward my car as two bar patrons hopped on their Harleys and disappeared down a very quiet, very lonely Highway 9.

I was feeling embarrassed for my spontaneous hug. How could I behave as if we were so familiar? Performers just hate that don’t they? Gretchen has no idea the catalyst she was for me; the beginning of re-entering a world I’ve missed. She can’t know the way her tweet reached out to me as a personal invitation.  I hugged her like she saved my life.

I drove home by a new unknown route, following my instincts, newly freed by my willingness to venture out alone, using the gift of a great internal compass. As  I rounded a bend, I was greeted by a full moon rising in an ink washed sky, mysterious wisps of clouds suspended across its face. It was right out of a William Blake collection. That’s when I knew this seemingly innocuous challenge was truly a turning point for me. The opportunity presented itself and I accepted it. The moon smiled back. I’d walked right to my edge and over it.

I am abundance worthy

I will open

I am making an ally of the unknown

Lookout unknown!

In 2010 you can forget about me making you my ally

I’m ratcheting this up a notch to full on lover!

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

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