Patriotism Week

All week I was super excited to share with you about a rite of passage I went through last week. I even started writing the post. And then, I attended the Canada Day festivities…

flags Canada USIt was a lovely day! Vendors, food, live music, all the weather (seriously – it was cool and overcast in the morning, then hot, then rain, then wind, then sun and wind), and, of course, fireworks to end the night.

I had a booth, and we did pretty well. It was lovely to see my community gathered in celebration.

Then I started thinking, here we are celebrating our nation, and there are people who can’t celebrate. People who are locked in cages for trying to escape the atrocities at home. People who have been separated from their families. People who had their homes stolen from them. People who fear for their lives because of the color of their skin.

And it is hard to feel patriotic knowing that the leaders of your own country are doing these things. This isn’t some history book, or a nation half way around the globe that you can pretend it isn’t happening. This is here. At home. In countries that are supposed to hold freedom as their highest values.

Yes, you read that right. Countries. Canada is not immune to prejudice and atrocity. We are a country that stole land from the First Nations people, not unlike our cousins to the south. We ripped First Nations children away from their families and sent them to residential schools, abused them, and didn’t let them see their parents or speak their language. And before you say, “But Mary, that’s in the past. The government has apologized!” The majority of children in foster care in Canada are First Nations. We may not be locking them away in residential schools any longer, but we are still taking children away from their families.

I read stories every day about the suffering that we inflict on others because of our differences, and I feel so small and insignificant. What can I do that will make any significant difference?

Then I remember that I am not alone. I don’t have to change the world all by myself. However, I can’t do nothing. Doing nothing empowers the hatred. I can make a difference with small actions. I can be kind to everyone. I can reach out and support people in my own community. I can honor the land, and the people who were here before me (there are three First Nations bands in my city). I can speak out in support of diversity. I can talk to my local representatives and request that they take action. I can support those on the front lines who are doing the even tougher work.

Keep acting. Keep loving. Keep raising the vibration. Remember, we are all one, and THAT is something to celebrate!

Blessings,

Mary

It’s Not About the Money

Working with Lakshmi, however lightly, is teaching me about being in the flow of abundance.

Lakshmi ~ Flow of Prosperity, from the Ascended Masters Oracle Card deck, by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D

Lakshmi ~ Flow of Prosperity, from the Ascended Masters Oracle Card deck, by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D

When you’re working with a deity of prosperity, you don’t just go in making demands and asking for money. It’s not as simple as lighting some incense and saying a prayer and poof! You’ve won the lottery or got that raise! (If it were that easy, everyone would do it.)

Working with deity of any sort requires building a relationship. You have to get to know them. Read their myths. Make offerings of their favorite items. Spend time meditating and connecting with them.

It’s like making a new friend. You don’t just ask for a loan from someone you just met. You start by going out for coffee, and sharing small details about your lives. You go out for lunch, then maybe go to a movie or a concert together. You start spending more and more time with each other, on the phone or in person. And through all of that, the motivation can’t be to ask for a loan.

So my motivation in working with Lakshmi isn’t about getting rich or asking for money. Lakshmi reminds me of the abundance all around me. She helps attune me to the flow of prosperity, to be open to receiving and giving generously.

When I am able to be present, and share my gifts with an open heart, it is a very different energy than sharing because I feel I need the money. I read tarot and coach and teach because I love to see the growth in others, the awareness and the a-ha moments. I love to bring clarity and confirmation to people. (Let me be clear, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy receiving money. Getting paid is definitely a good thing! It also happens to be the easiest form of energy exchange.)

Abundance isn’t really about money, not at its core. It’s about having more than enough, whether that be food, or energy, or love, or any form of blessing. And yes, it can be money. Abundance breeds happiness, because it it is rooted in gratitude.

So thank you, Lakshmi, for helping me to see the abundance all around me, and helping me to be in the flow.

Blessings,

Mary

Crossing Over

Content Warning: Death and Dying

Last week, a friend of mine crossed over, and I helped her do it.

A little over a year ago, Shelby had a headache that she couldn’t shake. She went to the doctor, and it turned out that her headache was due to a brain tumor. She had surgery, and they successfully removed the tumor. However, the tumor was near the part of the brain that controls anxiety, and hers became very difficult to control.

Her husband, Jon, and her best friend, Lisa, were incredibly supportive, doing everything they could to help her heal. In spite of that, eight months ago, she was hospitalized.

Unfortunately, because of my schedule, and living in a different community, I was not able to visit her very often. Between my few visits, and through updates from Lisa, I witnessed her slow deterioration.

And then, just over a week ago, the update came that if we wanted to visit Shelby, we needed to do it soon, because her time was almost up. I stopped by to see her on my way home from my girls weekend. I don’t know how long I sat with her. Not long enough. I talked to her quietly while she slept, gave her Reiki, and prayed to Goddess that if it was her time to pass, that she do it with peace and ease. And if it was not her time, that Goddess would kindle within her the will to live.

I planned to go back on Friday, because I had classes all week, and my son’s band concert. Thursday the word came from Lisa that Shelby might not make it to Friday. So after my class, I headed out, not sure when, or if, I would be home.

There was quite a crew in Shelby’s room when I arrived; Jon, and Lisa, and another friend of Shelby’s, Debbie. Her sister, Nikki, also came by. We talked, and laughed, and shared stories and favorite (and sometimes irreverent) memories of Shelby. The Gayatri Mantra played on repeat in the background.

During this time, Shelby’s breathing was labored, gasping and with long pauses. She was not conscious, though I swear she reacted to some of the stories. I sat near her and gave her Reiki, and I could feel her discomfort from the pain, and fear, both of the pain and of dying. There was too much activity in the room for her to really be peaceful.

Eventually, almost everyone went home to get some rest. Lisa stayed, planning to spend the night in the hospital room with her, and I stayed to minister.

I talked to her, held her hand, and stroked her forehead. Lisa sat with her, also maintaining contact with her. She shared with me that the Goddess Shelby felt most connected with was Diana, so I called on Diana to be present, as well as Hekate in her role as psychopomp to help guide Shelby’s passing. I could feel that she was ready to go, and also afraid. And I could feel the presence of her mother and father, watching and waiting to welcome her.

Lisa told me that Shelby really enjoyed my healing waterfall guided meditation. I had given it to her when I first learned that she was unwell. So I played that for her. During the meditation, Shelby started to relax, and began to release her bonds with her body. It was gradual, and tentative. Her breathing became less labored, though there were still long pauses. The tension in the room, and in her body, began to ease.

Though I didn’t speak out loud, I felt connected with her, and we were definitely communicating. I encouraged her through the whole process. At the end of the healing waterfall meditation, I sensed her confusion, because it talked about rejoining spirit and body, and she had already begun leaving. I reminded her that it was okay.

Then I played A Walk with Artemis Guided Meditation, since Diana was her Goddess. Her spirit began releasing even more, once again in cautious stages. Shelby became very relaxed, all sense of fear and anxiety and tension disappeared. By the point in the meditation where you spend time in the pool with Artemis and the nymphs, her spirit was free. The sense of joy was euphoric!

We waited a bit before calling the nurse, to make sure she had actually passed. We didn’t want to jar her out of her peaceful state. And we kept thinking we saw or felt breath. Finally, I read a prayer from A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith:

Old Man, ferry this one across safely, bringing her swiftly and without detour to the other side of the great sea.

Pole your boat here to this place and perform your duty.

Her fare is paid, her place secured, so take her aboard and carry her away, over the sea, following the setting Sun, to the landing place before the great city where the Lord of Death rules.

Bring this one before he  who sits on his throne.

Make her name known to the ruler there.

Make smooth the way, open the doors, clear the path, unlock the gates.

Gerontos, this one is starting on a great journey.

Stand by her until she is safely home!

It was an incredibly powerful, beautiful, peaceful and loving moment. She was supported by her best friend, and… me. I am so grateful and honoured to have been there, to have been able to give her one last gift. My eyes are tearing up just thinking about it, not with sadness though, with overwhelming gratitude and the beauty of that moment.

I’ve been thinking about her, and that night, all weekend. There’s a part of me that cannot believe what I experienced. That’s the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, right? And another part of me feels I’ve uncovered a gift I didn’t know I had. I keep coming back to gratitude. I’m sad to have lost a friend. I have wonderful memories with her to smile about. I’m glad that we were friends. I’m thankful that Lisa was able to be with her, and keep me updated. I’m grateful she found the peace she wanted in her passing.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. There is a fundraiser for Shelby’s family. She is survived by her husband and three children, ages 9, 11, and 18, and all funds raised will go to support them.

Girls Weekend!

I don’t often take a trip just for pleasure. I travel often for festivals, and rehearsals, and sometimes for work. Seldom for pleasure though.

Girls Weekend!This past weekend, the friend that I stayed with in Schenectady came to Victoria (Sophia). She was visiting another friend of hers in Seattle (Tara), and they planned a quick trip up to the Island. So I went down with another friend of mine (Dawne), and we met yet another friend (Bonnie) down there to spend the weekend together.

I got up early Saturday morning, and met Dawne at her home. We then drove the almost 4 hours to Victoria. We found a place to park near the hostel we were staying at, and then made our way to the inner harbor to meet up with everyone else for lunch and to plan what we wanted to do.

The one thing on my agenda for the weekend was to go to the Royal BC Museum’s Egypt exhibit. Other than that, I was open, and I wasn’t fussy about when we went there. Since several of us are theatre folk, we wanted to see what was on. Big city like Victoria, there had to be SOMETHING playing, right? After unanimously passing on the dance recital, we found something called Atomic Vaudeville Cabaret. We had no real idea what it was, but it sounded interesting!

We were going to head out to Butchart Gardens, however, we ended up shopping most of the afternoon on Saturday (um, I didn’t know Fluevog’s came in size 12 – that is really dangerous!). There are a lot of cool stores in downtown Victoria! By dinnertime, though, I was hurting from all the walking. I even wore my runners with my orthotics and the socks that help stability and balance and reduce pain. We went to dinner, and then to the show.

The show was amazing! Funny and weird, and we laughed a lot! Then back to the hostel, and some tarot card readings before bed.

Sunday morning I was still hurting a bit. Sophia and Tara wanted to go on the tour of the Parliament buildings, so Dawne and I hung out for a while. Bonnie met us after brunch, and we went to the museum. If you have an opportunity, go check out the Egypt exhibit. Lots of wonderful information, and beautiful pieces.

Even though I didn’t get a ton of sleep, it was so wonderful to spend a relaxing (emotionally, anyway, if not physically) relaxing weekend being a tourist with some wonderful women. It was so rejuvenating (yes, the retail therapy probably helped a bit!). Thank you, ladies!

Blessings,

Mary

Lakshmi: Goddess of Abundance

As I’ve been contemplating which Goddess I would like to work with next, one has been right in front of me, and making herself known more and more. She’s been with me for quite a while. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t think of working with her more closely.

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of abundance and prosperity. I’ve had an image of her on my wall ever since a good friend of mine gave it to me many years ago (thank you, Harmony!). She has quietly looked over my home, her gentle presence smiling at me and my family.

I have said her mantra often over the years, opening myself up to her abundance. The mantra is Om Gum Shreem Lakshmi Yei Namaha. I even made a mala for myself to connect with that energy. Recently, I picked up a small statue of Lakshmi that I set up when I am at markets. I even wrote a meditation about her that I will be posting soon!

With all of that, I actually know very little about Lakshmi. For research, it is important to me to look at Hindu sources (or websites that draw from Hindu sources). If I’m going to build a relationship with this Goddess, I don’t want to white wash Her.

I know she is a consort of Vishnu, and another name for her is Shri (or Sri). She is considered by some to be an aspect of the great mother goddess, along with Saraswati and Kali or Durga. She is honored especially at Diwali.

This only scratches the surface. I am honestly going to have to do more research, and spend time connecting with her. So that is the task I set for myself – to get to know her, her likes and dislikes, and what offerings she prefers. I’ll let you know what I learn.

Blessings,

Mary

Jet Lag!

I’m tired. So very tired!

I have to admit, I’m a little bit crazy. I had a wonderful time in New York. It was a dream meeting my favorite comic book artist, and I got to spend the week learning and sharing about the software I use for work. I also was able to see a production of The King and I at Proctors Theatre!

I stayed with a wonderful friend that I met last year. She was a wonderful hostess, and we stayed up late in to the nights talking and socializing. The down side was that I didn’t get much sleep!

I was planning to meet up with some friends at the end of my trip, and hoping to catch a show on Broadway. Unfortunately, neither of those actually happened, for one reason or another. I did walk around Times Square late at night, amazed at how many people were out, and how busy the retail shops all were.

I didn’t get to go on a tour of the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. I tried to sleep in, except housekeeping woke me up. I tried to go back to sleep, and failed. I DID go to Liberty Park and see Lady Liberty from as close as I could get on land. She was amazingly inspiring! I honestly did not expect the emotional response I had to seeing her.

I got home very late on Friday night, after a very long day of travel. And I was silly enough to get up early for a Spirit Fair on the weekend! In hindsight, I’m really not sure what I was thinking. I’m still feeling tired today, and I’ve got a very full week ahead of me.

Maybe I’ll get to sleep in on Saturday? ZZZZzzzz

Blessings,

Mary

Fan Girl Moment

This week am at a conference on the East Coast, in upstate New York. It’s a conference for work, and I went to it last year as well. I met some lovely people, and I’m excited to be back.

I booked my flights months ago. The plan was to arrive on Sunday, because the conference started on Monday, and the transit from west coast to east coast is not a short trip. Back in February, the airline cancelled the flight I had booked, and I had to re-book a different flight. My only option for a Sunday arrival was an overnight flight, which got me in at 6 am.

As the trip got closer, I started thinking about what I could do with the extra day (knowing that I was going to be arriving somewhat sleep deprived). I figured I could do a little sight-seeing in New York City before driving upstate.

Me with Wendy and Richard PiniOn Friday, I saw a post from the author of the one comic book that I have followed (admittedly on and off) since I was quite young – Richard Pini of ElfQuest. He posted that they were all set up at the Comic Con they were at for the weekend.

It got me thinking about how much I would like to see them some day. They’ve been out to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle in the past, and I was even IN Seattle the weekend of Emerald City when they were there, but I had another commitment, and I was not the one driving.

I started poking around on their website, looking at upcoming appearances. My brain didn’t register at first where this Comic Con was. It was in New Jersey. Actually, just outside NYC. Then I thought it ended Saturday. Finally, I looked at the calendar and realized it was on until Sunday, and I was going to be arriving in NYC on Sunday!

I went to the website of the convention, and found they had Sunday-only tickets. Was it a good use of my resources, though? After much internal debate, I decided to go for it. I’ve wanted to meet them for so long, I would surely regret it if I didn’t take this opportunity.

After a long night of travel, and navigating through NYC (thank the Goddess for the GPS navigator on my phone!), I had a bit of a rest before the Comic Con opened.

Skywise by Wendy PiniI met Wendy and Richard Pini, creators of ElfQuest. I grabbed a few signed prints for my family. I got a book signed. And I totally splurged and bought a drawing that Wendy did, for me, right there at the Con. It was wonderful. I really wasn’t much interested in the rest of the Con, which was mostly a room of exhibitors. I stuck around for their panel, (in spite of the spoilers – I haven’t finished reading the Final Quest yet) and then headed north for the real purpose of my trip.

Wendy and Richard are lovely, down to earth people. I’m sure they must get tired of all the people at all the events they go to, and yet they take the time to connect with their fans. It was wonderful to interact with them, even just a little, and watch them interact with other fans. I’m so glad I went!

#FortyYearsofPointedEars

Blessings,

Mary

I’m Happy For You!

I’ve noticed an interesting shift in myself recently. I’m genuinely happy for other people’s successes. Not that I wasn’t happy for people in the past. It’s different now, though.

I'm so excited for you! Tell me all about itAlways in the past, whenever someone would share good news with me, I would express happiness. Inside, though, I would often feel jealousy. Not much, just a twinge. OK, sometimes a lot, depending on how big the news was. My happiness for others was tainted. Why wasn’t that, or similar, good fortune coming my way?

Lately, however, that twinge is gone. I honestly feel excited for others’ happiness. I want to see my friends joyful and successful!

Sure, there are still some things that I would like improved in my own life. There is always room for improvement. And I enjoy celebrating my own achievements.

Right now, though, I want to celebrate YOUR achievements! What is going well in your life? What’s new and exciting? Drop me a comment and let me celebrate you!

Blessings,

Mary