Sunday, August 29, 2010

And the whole world will do so with you

by Dub Riley

There is no shortage of blog blab. Having always been a blabber I'll slide right back in to this open spot for a new post. Please forgive me for holding you hostage again to my rambling.

A great friend and remarkable SPIRIT, our sister Reya, who lives in DC and occasionally blogs here but does so daily on her own delightful rant (, commiserated recently in a private thread in Facebook about the rallies this week in Washington by the Tea Baggers. She was careful not to be critical and even generous enough to suggest that adding more fuel to the fire of division is something she just wants to avoid.

Many of us feel sick about the wide divide which seems to separate people who line up on this side or that side. I'm as guilty as the next person to feel that our side is right and continue to scratch my head how the other side can possibly not see how harmful are the policies of...see, there I go again.

And so it goes. Negativity on negativity. Judgement after judgement. Thus we're in stalemate. Gridlock. A war of people who may as well be in civil war. We actually are engaged in a kind of civil conflict of red and blue.

I listened today to another Facebook friend's audio of a session she is leading today in Minneapolis. How many of you are familiar with the concept of Michael as a collective angel consciousness who is dwelling in a state of guiding light for the masses of mortals who seek a higher happiness?

Whether this sounds like hooey or rings true for your own interpretation of the whacky world of cosmology, it really doesn't matter for the point I want to make. You know I listened to the "channeling" voice of my friend and was thrown into a trance like peace. Whether her voice was that of this collective Michael or hers or the reincarnation of James Cagney, as long as the experience was good and somehow I emerged a little more at peace, then what's not to like?

I then went to my personal library and grabbed a book which I've returned to a few times, Messages from Michael. The book is interesting but the point that finally had me want to let it go was about souls and reincarnation. 700 years ago you were this British soldier, or a slave in Ethiopia. You have this over leaf which is related to that pre life experience, etc.

For the longest time, I've known that reincarnation isn't exactly like from one whole intact life and personality to the next. Energy just doesn't move like that. I've seen the logical impossiblility of it. I can say, beyond a doubt, that it doesn't work that way. I don't have the whole thing figured out and wouldn't want to even go there, but to put the whole reincarnation thing in a simple package, neatly tied up with the theory of this bouncing ball of being going from alpaca to slave to Napolean or Andrew Carnegie or whatever is bunk.

This thought of Michael as a collective of consciousness which speaks to us through channels is fine to me. But even that is subject to the filter to which it is seen through.  In other words, we all are plugged in to the underlying intelligence of the universe. We can't help but be. We are spiritual beings, just as all things of the planet are. We are endowed with SPIRIT. We move and breathe by SPIRIT. We function physically by mechanism and conditioning but under all that, at a much much deeper source is SPIRIT which connects us and everything on the planet and in the universe.

The big bang is ok. It is a theory after all. I like it better than the seven day theory of all creation being poofed upon us, which seems to have a missing history of dinosaurs and such. But whether or not there was this big bang of light and coalescence of gathering energy which took billions of years or whether it has been some planned and ordained order from chaos, who really cares? I mean it is all interesting to think about, but shit, we've got crap to do.

From the political side, I would argue that because we spend over half of all the treasury on war stuff and the whole war machine is using by far most of the goop (oil) which we're currently tied to in some wild unimaginably awful way,is not the way to go. No more of our boys coming home in a box and no more of our boys putting some mother's son in a less expensive box, so that power and money and corporate manipulation of the masses can fuel this empty dream of continued growth... but then again, that is just my opinion.

From the heart side I am sick that kids are hurting and that animals are mistreated in our corporate food machine and even closer to home I'm discovering old, long lost acquaintances who could really use an old fashion hug.

All of this can't be fixed by some happy slogan that I write as I close this essay. But friends, please join me in cherishing the light that shines in each of us. Nurture this light and let it emanate. SPIRIT only moves in one direction. Nothing collapses. That is a hard concept but the point is light radiates and heals.

We may not agree about politics or cosmology, about whose art is better or which writer is more relevant, about how the divine operates and which technique works best for balancing the chakras but we should easily agree that stopping to reflect about our own inner goodness is a simple affirmation to accept. We can remarkably serve others, and in so doing return peace and happiness back to ourselves by simply unfolding the lightness of a smile. Try it now, please. In whatever state you're in, even as sad as you can imagine you've ever been. Force a smile on your lips if you have to. Now take it in and let it vibrate in you. It will be a soothing energy I promise, whether you were Joan of Arc or Madame Pompador in a past life, or whether you think Glenn Beck is an improvement over our brave president.

If you want, meet me in that space and our new power by joining will be a force for change and prosperity. Our combined light and lightness of heart will do the world some good. Isn't that a pleasant thought?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spirit of Iroquois

by Dub Riley
The date is August 25, 2010. The season has been oppresive and extreme with summer temperatures running ten degrees above normal. At the moment, there is a break and Autumn air has come early to make us light and happy. It won't last but we dance and sway and celebrate the breeze.

The time is upheaval. Pakistan is tragically crippled with floods which are beyond disastrous. The country experienced this "devil of nature" at Ramadhan. Those with television report that they're glued to their sets as they mourn for their brethren and regions which are decimated and devastated and desperate.

Criminal gangs are running roughshod in Afganistan, Mexico and all over the world to include even Chinese gangs in Florence, Italy, associated with the Mafia. In Russia, people of moderate wealth are being forced to flee because factions of government and police are collaborating with criminals to seize property and estates. The brink of catastrophe has long passed in Africa, where no term for the level of turmoil seems to be available.

In the US, something akin to a chilling complacency has replaced protest and open forums which could help resolve the crippling constraint of growth and economic recovery. Desperation is upon the masses who have come to disregard the relevance of government, while the images of negative campaign ads predominate.

Rare confluence of planetary allignment and radical effluence of solar energy rage in the skies overhead. Religious organizations are reporting rampant expansion of SPIRIT and compassion, as have less traditional circles related to internal energetics and spirituality.

One small gathering of gypsies, called Smiling Heart, meet regularly in the privacy of an internet spa, called Heave Ho. This Smiling Heart clan is doing amazing work. Each member seems to be dealing with complex issues of life. All acknowledge a surge of relief and openness, while continuing to deepen their connection to each other and the rest of the world. Intense feelings can also be a tremendous burden, so all and each face a struggle both within and without. We take refuge in our conversations. Merely with fingers poised on keyboards, we seem to benefit by this distant and remote touch.

I wonder if our circle of influence and willingness to serve is kindling for a brighter fire...perhaps. Though we may just be circling for the feast we'll enjoy at our own reunion. Either way, we extend our arms in welcome to any ailing spirits, whether suffering from a bruised heart or lost hope. We seem to thrive and experience a doubling of rejuvenation with every group hug. This energy continues to pulse and emanate from a higher source than our humble commune. We revere the great power with awe, though a laughter often overtakes us and seems to be the driving force of our cadence.

Rejoice, a new day is near.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today's Meditation

From Jo Floyd Lucas

I love visiting Portland. Most of you know that about me already. (Oh, no, here she goes about Portland again, you’re thinking.) Bear with me, okay?

I arrived yesterday evening, and was met with the loveliest temperate weather I’ve ever felt. Maybe it’s because those of us in the Midwest have been suffering through such heat and humidity this summer, but by comparison, Maine is heaven this time of year. I literally let out an “AHHH” when I took my first lungful of crisp, clean Atlantic air.

Of course, the main reason I love visiting Portland is the opportunity to see my lovely daughter, Andrea. She spoils me when I come, and I must admit, I love to be spoiled by her. When she was only five, Andrea would come into my bedroom early in the morning each Saturday, and in her hand would be a small piece of paper with several misspelled choices on it. Beside the choices (‘serial’, toast, ‘juse’, pop tart, etc.) she had drawn a small box. She would smile and say, “Would you like to order breakfast now?” I’d check off the boxes and moments later, she’d return with a very special breakfast for her grateful mommy.

Times haven’t changed much since then. Last evening after arriving at her apartment, Andrea brought me a mug of cinnamon cappuccino as we caught up on current events. This morning, she made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fresh blackberries and strawberries, and coffee. Okay, her cooking skills have improved greatly, but the love I feel from her is the very same as it was when she was that sweet little girl.

The other reason I enjoy coming here is the awe inspiring beauty of this region. Every time I come I witness yet another reason to love it. The beauty is natural and uncontrived in any way, almost like an accident of nature. The beauty of the lavender fields in France, or the tulips in Holland, or the sunflowers in Kansas are impressive and gorgeous, for sure, but there’s something about the random, though sweet and harmonious, natural beauty of Maine that takes my breath away.

For the first day or so of any visit, I’m always on sensory overload, looking up, down, north, south, east, and west, trying to take it all in. I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly weather while my daughter has spent the last year here, and I still love it. Whether it’s the incomparable beauty of spring in Portland, the heavy snowfall in the White Mountains of North Conway at Nutcracker time, or the cascading torrents of rainfall from the nor’easter we experienced in March, the feral beauty of Maine draws me like a moth to a flame.

I set out on my first walk (of this visit) around the Back Cove of Casco Bay with great excitement this morning. I brought my cell phone with me (I always carry it for ‘security’ reasons…who am I kidding, it’s really in case I get lost so I can call someone!) and am often glad that it contains a small, though adequate, camera. Today I was especially glad to have it on hand.

I usually wait for high tide of the day before making the four mile walk, but this morning, I didn’t care if the water was at its highest, bluest form…I just wanted to be outside. I walked during low tide today, with driftwood, grass, and the dark shallow water that goes along with it. The feeling was more subdued, but the shades of gray and blue in the earth and wood and water gave the view more depth than I imagined. No sparkles, no crystal clear blues, but all the same, it was full of serene appeal .

As I walked along the warm, sundrenched side of the cove, wildflowers were in profusion, an unrestrained mass of yellow, blue and white. Queen Anne’s lace was everywhere. The vivid blossoms contradicted the quiet cool shade of the western side of the cove, where the trees along the pathway had already begun to litter the ground below with their falling leaves. I suppose on my next visit in September, the balance will have shifted to Autumn's advantage. I should remember to bring a jacket.

I stopped several times to absorb it all. The resplendence of the flowers, set with charm and grace into the shoreline by the loving hand of Nature, the murky, mysterious allure of the cove at low tide, the arching trees prophesying the coming autumn…all of it filled me with awe.

When I finally arrived back at the apartment, Andrea said, “Where have you been? Did you decide to stop and meditate along the way?”

Well, yes, sort of.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mission Impeccable

Seeing the Magic by Juli Ryan, courtesy Smart Group and Gallery, Springfield, Missouri
From Jo Floyd Lucas

I was involved last week in a special covert operation with the mission to reunite with a friend from high school days (Vicki), and along with her, surprise another mutual friend (Dubby) with a little assist for his gallery's grand opening. What can one say when describing what it’s like to come together with two childhood friends after 40 years? Special just doesn’t cut it. It was all I wanted it to be and more. More funny. More loving. More inviting. More supportive. Just plain MORE than I could have hoped for! The fact that both these dear friends are fellow Smiling Heart bloggers was icing on the cake!

It would take an entire long weekend on a beach in Florida to tell all the stories of those short few hours we were together, but I’ll share with you a few bullet points of the highlights, and what I’ve learned from them.

• ALWAYS pad the time you will need in advance of a covert operation. It was the smartest thing Vicki and I did. WOW. We needed every minute of that extra time to do reconnaissance work, cruising past the gallery, looking in, taking photos from the street, and planning the surprise assault. Oh, and the hysterical laughter took up a good chunk of time, too.

• It becomes necessary at some point during any visit to try and break the world record for accumulating hotel room keycards. I think we ended our stay with 18. Someone call Guiness.

• When both women bring their vials of precious lavender oil (a gift from fellow blogger, Reya) to the hotel without knowing the other one has it, a pedestal/altar to The Lavender WILL be built. It may only be an upturned, decorated trash can, but it's a pedestal, just the same.

• Vicki is more than a ‘master stylist.’ As we prepared for the party, she looked at my wilted, road-weary hair and simply said, “Come here.” I kid you not, she took 15 SECONDS to spray, fluff, and finger comb my sad straight locks into big and sexy hair. The flyer for her new business should read “Miracle Worker.”

• Don’t ever ask me to carry your camera. It can end up on the floor “unexpectedly,” shall we say.

• If you DO ask me to carry your camera, and it DOES end up on the floor unexpectedly, you can always repay me by later sweeping an entire pitcher of ice water off the table and onto the floor in front of me, leaving scores of people with the impression that I was the one who spilled it.

• I’m living proof that your abs really can get such an intense workout from laughing that you are sore the next day. I’ll take that workout any day.

• Always remember to admire your friend’s brand new stylish and classy designer shoes (Bruno Magli) loudly and often, so that when she comes to hate her stylish and classy (though very impractical) designer shoes by the end of the evening (and after the sangria), she thinks giving them to you is a good idea…which, it is. Wearing the exact same shoe size is a bonus.

• During the course of the evening, whenever you say to someone, “I have some ‘Little Black Dress’ back at the hotel for later,” the immediate response is ALWAYS, “What?” It’s often even more humorous when this statement and response is repeated four times in a row. No, Vicki, most people don’t know that ‘Little Black Dress’ means great wine. At least, Dubby and I don’t.

• Ordering Domino’s pizza online (classic Hawaiian is awesome) at 1:08 am is a definite must. Both of you going out in your jammies to greet the delivery guy, neither of you having your keycard, is optional.

• Watching the online status of your pizza order after a little sangria, beer, champagne, liqueur, and ‘Little Black Dress’ is especially entertaining.

• Even more entertaining is reading Nancy’s already hysterically funny post about collie people. Yes, Nancy, I fell off the bed laughing. Vicki nearly passed out from her inability to breathe. I hope you’re happy, Nancy. You should perform penance by posting your piece on Smiling Heart.

• Typing a sentence, indeed, THINKING of a sentence, can be challenging under these circumstances. We calculated that it took an average of six times longer than it should have to post one coherent thought, let alone five or six. This can result in an inordinate number of usages of the word ‘incredible.’ I couldn’t come up with any other words, and Vicki had fallen asleep on me, muttering something about, “I need my eight hours of sleep.”

You get the idea. It was a dear, sweet, marvelous, precious time.

I haven’t even mentioned Dubby and his beautiful, exciting, interesting gallery. It's located in an historic building in Springfield, Missouri, which happens to be a surprisingly cosmopolitan city for its size, and very supportive of the arts. Dubby planned his grand opening to coincide with the city's First Friday Art Walk, and that idea was genius. Over 500 patrons came through the door on an evening blessed by cooler temperatures and kissed by a gentle breeze.

Dubby was an amazing and gracious host. He offered delightful food catered from Big Mike's Crab Shack and Pizza, refreshing homemade sangria (which Vicki and I dutifully served and replenished through the evening), and fresh baked cookies to all the of charge. A great young jazz combo named "Bella Donna" provided the perfect musical backdrop. We got to meet Dubby's partners (Kevin, Brannon, and Chris), his luminous wife, Anne, his beautiful daughter, Darby, his in-laws, and my personal favorite, his cousin, Steve. On display in the gallery were paintings, drawings, photographs, and textiles by many different artists. Many in attendance bought works of art. The air was filled with conversation, music, and laughter, as folks of all ages explored the rooms. People laughed and stayed and stayed and stayed some more, not wanting to move to other venues. It was crowded, yes, warm , yes, but a ton and a half of fun.
The entire evening was a great success. I was thrilled to be there, and pleased to be part of the covert operation which surprised a friend and brought him a little bit of unsolicited help. To our delight, we even succeeded (we think) in surprising Dubby! I guess you'd have to call it a Mission Impeccable.

Wordle: Mission Impeccable