redefined Lent

My life truly is being redefined during this tropical adventure. Sometimes I wish others could experience the changes here. Sometimes, I would not wish it on anyone. Today I love it, three days ago, I told my son in the States I was ready to be back. I am, but I have many more months here. And more changes to go through.

Lent is not traditional for me, but does have significance in my thoughts. As with many rituals or rites, I look within to find meaning and from there create my representation in physical form. While Lent is typically letting go of something like chocolate or meat, I look to the thoughts or patterns I wish to release to open greater pathways to my knowing God and changing my life for the better.

This Lenten season, I am letting go of time wasters. To be more specific, things like time wasted shopping online. Just this morning I found myself looking through a book of crochet patterns for afghans. I do plan to crochet an afghan, but not for a year and I have a wonderful book of patterns in storage in the States (where I plan to be in a year). I certainly do not need an afghan while living on a tropical island. But it’s an old pattern, a distraction. I do not want to look back while I am crocheting that afghan in a year and think of what I could have been doing! I want experiences. I want to check things off my goals/bucket list.

What would you  let go of for Lent? For you, letting go of chocolate may be life changing, and if it were reasonably priced and accessible here, it could be for me too. Maybe there is one habit you would benefit by letting go of, a habit of judgement, a habit of poor thoughts. But, have a replacement! Let go of judgement for understanding or empathy. Let go of poor thoughts for prosperous ones. Forty days of exacting one change.

Forty days of Lent. Forty days til a time of resurrection. A time of transformation. The number forty representing the time it takes for a balanced state of mind, for a completeness. Four is a foundation. We build a strong foundation when we examine and fine tune our thoughts or habits. One season at a time.

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Living the Dream

I was listening to a podcast today from someone who realized they were living the fairy tale, but it wasn’t the one, or the way, she had imagined it. I laughed. I too am “living the dream” but whose?

I live in the Caribbean and I know that is supposed to be a dream for a lot of people. It is warm island breezes and gentle ocean waves. I have a beautiful view of the sea, and the beach is a short walk away. There are coconuts and rum.

I live on what is called “the Nature Island.” It is not a touristy, umbrella-drink, flat, beachy island. It is rugged. It is said to have 9 active volcanoes. Not erupting, but creating hot springs and champagne bubbles in the water and a boiling lake in the middle of the island which is the second largest in the world. There are lovely places to be on the island. cropped-dsc0216-e1450786700835.jpg

I was going to try to talk about living here without bringing up tropical storm Erika, but it’s almost impossible. Before Erika, the grocery store wasn’t too bad and there was the market, like a farmer’s market. Now the shelves are very bare at the store and the price of tomatoes sky rocketed and lettuce is rare. It’s been almost six months and those wonderful fresh foods that were so abundant are often scarce. I am grateful we are seeing eggs more often.  I haven’t acquired the skill or taste for the island version of yams, taro and such, but I tried.

So, here is living in the “dream.” The mosquitoes are not the obnoxious little guys that ruin your evenings out, those are the nicer ones. It’s the ones that breed in the closets and come out during the day that are more dangerous. All are year round, but worse in rainy season, which is about 8 months of the year, though for tourist promotion, it is listed at less. So the ‘evening out annoyance’ becomes the daily duel.

Well, that’s enough. I could go on with the parts that are not part of my dream. But then I don’t remember wanting to live here. I will admit for a few months, it was okay, I even liked it most of the time and I was fascinated with the new experience. Now, I am tired of being hot. Tired of slapping myself constantly to fend off the bugs. Tired of the water problems – for the past 3 weeks it has gone off almost nightly and a couple of times during the day. Fed up with trying to figure out what’s for dinner based on what’s available in the store today and putting food on the table that I normally wouldn’t. You may think “so the water went off, no big deal.” We had only a trickle of water for a month, not enough to trigger the hot water system. It was another month, after the water came on, before we quit running outside with all the buckets and pans when it rained. An occasional outage is annoying, but the ongoing gets depressing.

As with many things during this adventure, I am diving deep within. This is not my dream. I came to assist my daughter in fulfilling her dream. I was naive about living in a third world country. I try to focus on the great but not live in denial of the situation. I find when we try too hard to shut out a part of life, we loose the vision, the symphony of living. On the very practical side, I was in a tight box of trying to maintain a positive attitude and missed some solutions.

The dream is to be able to live as a Light, as a channel for good. This has been an incredible opportunity to learn more about conditioning, about rules and boundaries, about the human spirit. I am looking forward to being back in the States. In the meantime, I am growing in Spirit. I am appreciating the beauty. I am peeling away conditioning and thoughts/dreams to find me and mine. I ask Guidance every step. I look for how I can serve from who I am. And I am grateful.

 

In awe, or fear

My big word for the year is “Rise” and I love how it is showing up. It has been a recurring theme over many years. It began when I was in the ministerial program at (then called) Unity School for Religious Studies. We were given the assignment of writing 4 talks on one scripture. I knew quickly which one was mine, Matthew 17.7 (RSV) “But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and have no fear.'” Imagine for a moment, someone with a superb sense of their own divinity, reaching out to you, touching you. Imagine, whatever you are going through right now, that you are touched with the energy, support and compassion that says, “Rise and have no fear.” And while you may think this is for a dark page in life, it is for great times also.

After “fear of failure” became a catch phrase, it came to be realized there is also fear of success.  In the Bible story from which the line, “rise and have no fear” comes from, the disciples had just witnesses an amazing event. Jesus had been glowing brightly and two past, MAJOR, prophets appeared. And a voice from the heavens spoke! It was too much for them and it says they “fell on their faces and were filled with awe.” (Matthew 17.6) Please note, I am using Revised Standard Version, and other versions will use fear in place of awe. Consider that these two are interchangeable in the old language. While to me, the feeling of awe is much lighter than what fear feels like, both can be intense and possibly overwhelming.

20160102_125339-1.jpgMaybe you are at a place that feels you are held down or back. Maybe the possibility of stepping out and above that place holds as much fear as staying in it. It could be you have a brilliant idea, inspired even, but what about the steps to make it real? What if it becomes real? For some, this is overwhelming, frightening. For some, remaining the bud is easier than blooming. Jesus, the divinity within, more powerful than any scary voice inside, is touching you, saying “rise and have no fear.”

(Art I placed on my journal the end of 2015.)

 

favorite time of year

It’s that time of year again. My birthday comes before Christmas and brings the past with it. It’s my opportunity to look at life, and take a look at me. What to do different? Where to go now? As the years go by, the self care plans change too. It’s usually a pleasant gentle review.

Then Christmas. I take my Bible stories very personally. I like to look at the story, how it resonates in me. Sometimes it leads to a journey in languages and history. But mainly, it leads within. For me, much of the Spirit of Christmas is the quiet rebirth of Christ within me. I allow myself to find the purest spark of Spirit and let it grow. I feel reborn. I feel Guidance of letting go and going on. It is the finale to the birth day review and the emerging of new precious energy. The Babe comes alive in me, through me. I glow. I am using too many words in an attempt to bring an inner process to understanding. I’m not sure our language has words.

And in this rebirth of spirit, I move to the New Year. This is a great place from which to make new plans. Not just about weight or money, but about joy and love and hope. Do I want to fix the gutters on the house? Yes, and it goes on a list. Do I want to plan a trip? Yes, and it goes on the list. Do I want to write a series of articles? Yes, and each of these things may have sub-pages.  I may need to apply for a passport for that trip. I need to know look at the gutters or research if it is something for me to do or to hire out. My list can get a bit long, and many times in this initial stage, I don’t break down the parts.  I am looking more at the feeling, the spirit, behind the goal.

And here’s a side-note in goals and personal growth – To upgrade a life, or a gutter, you’ve got to make change. I think the change starts within whether we recognize it or not. I have often seen someone dismayed when things in life start breaking, but it can come from unrecognized growth – if we are changing our vibration within in growth, things around us seem to require similar upgrading.

Listen for a word too. A word that stretches you or reminds you of who you want to be in this New Year.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for my favorite rituals to go with this wondrous time of renewal, growth and transformation.

 

 

Good MOOrning!

My dad loved landscaping. Nothing super fancy or extreme, but he did like to mow the yard diagonally both ways. Where ever he lived you could see his touch in the clean lines of the yard and trimmed bushes. He brought in tons of sand to level the yard. And I appreciated his teaching and sharing, even though I didn’t embrace  his standard in my own yards. I did try.

This has been interesting in Dominica. They don’t mow generally. They use weed eaters. Everywhere. Side of the road, my yard. I have seen a riding mower across the street in the big open space that is very well kept, but rarely.

My landlord has sheep come in to try to create open spaces in the high grass out back, maybe once a month, or every six weeks. Once I saw it work well. The growth is high enough that the sheep can hide in it (I once saw a cow disappear under the star fruit tree), and dense enough that they can be tied in place with a rope around a grass bunch. Then, a few days after the sheep, the weed eater guys come.

I do not appreciate how high the grass gets around the house. One, it does not fit with how I grew up, lol. But more important, it harbors ticks, fleas, rats and so on and he is letting it infringe are the small border of shorter grass around the house. It is rainy season, so there are little pockets of mosquito nurseries that do not dry out in the weeds. When we return from the beach, the idea is to walk to the back and rinse off the sand in the outside spigot, but I don’t want to walk through nor will I allow my granddaughter to either right now.

So the sheep were here last week and I asked the landlord when the yard would be tended. He told me tomorrow,but he didn’t look me in the eye. These were my morning visitors. Four of them. In the front yard. I’m sure that is not what he meant…..

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Change and change again

Been a while!  But I’ve been busy, including a couple of days in the island’s hospital. Doctor admitted she didn’t so much want to send me there as a patient, but so I’d be closer to the airport in case life flight was needed to get me to a functional, efficient medical facility. So I spent a two nights in a 19 bed ward, with a couple of extra patients in the pathway. I was there for oxygen therapy and IV antibiotics and to be monitored. After two nights of wpid-20151107_120946-1.jpgmonitoring myself, as the O2 ran out in a few hours and was not checked,  and not getting my morning IV med due to an IV that had infiltrated for the second time that no one, including me, wanted to re-site, I checked myself out at noon. I kept telling my daughter I was doing okay being there but it was more for her ease because it was getting worse by the hour, and she didn’t know how much of my own care I was doing. Believe me, it would take a very long post to cover that little bit of time, like about dinner that was an uncut hamburger bun and 3 vienna sausage. My having been a nurse in a US hospital probably made my insights more dramatic.

I asked the student animal group if someone could keep the dogs for me. My daughter was trying to drive back and forth- and 3 or 4 bridges are still one lane bypass “Bailey” wpid-received_10207957648520616-1.jpgbridges which makes the hour drive tougher and weather dependent. The University used to have weekly trips by bus/van for shopping in Rosseau, but they were cancelled after Erika and they have not resumed, supposedly because it is still not safe enough in their opinion. That may say more about the road than I want to in this post. I will put in here though that Rosseau is not having the problems with food stock or fuel for the vehicles that we are. (Oh! And the last of my friends to remain waterless since Erika rejoiced this week to have running water again.)

Anyway, back to the dogs. One dog is young (people keep telling me she is 2 months old by the teeth but she came to us 2 months ago already eating solid food) and the other is the mom that came here as a rescue in June when she was barely a year old, a week before she had pups. She was to be picked up to be spayed on Monday. I knew she had a problem, but wasn’t sure what so I wanted her checked even if she couldn’t be spayed at that time. Being with someone else, for all their telling me she was doing great, apparently was too stressful and her problem was exacerbated to the extent she couldn’t pee. The medical student she was staying with panicked a bit and called me saying she thought it was a prolapsed vagina and she wasn’t comfortable making any decisions, so the dogs, “because the little one wasn’t house trained and was too much” would be home early in the morning. Getting up and down to take care of the dogs and/or mop the floor, was not any more conducive to my healing than the hospital was, but they are my dogs.

Monday, she went to the vet. Tuesday, they brought her home and told me the problem was cancer and that was what the pink area showing (the supposed prolapsed uterus) was but it was an island problem and usually easily treated.  But costly. Bless the animal group, they are taking care of it. But then, I took care of 13 dogs for them last semester.

And my computer crashed. Had to be taken back to basics. Lost whatever I had not saved to the greater bank of vibe knowledge. I felt a bit smashed.

I’ve lost weight, like 25 lbs, which I’m happy about. May have lost too much in the last few weeks since food is not as abundant, easily attained, or tasty as pre-Erika. I was dehydrated too, but hadn’t been trusting the water  but not wanting to buy plastic bottles. I’m on the mend now though. Went to the farmer’s market yesterday and found good food, maybe not as much as before and more costly, but thrilled to have it.

I am starting to have days where the island looks beautiful to me again. I know it doesn’t change, it’s all in the attitude. I’ve been working on mine a lot and even wondered if that was what brought some things to my attention to be upgraded, like the computer getting cleaned out, the cabinet pull that fell off in my hand. When we are lifting ourselves and raising our vibration, the stuff around us struggles to clarify also. Here’s to the great shiny, healthy new life!

 

The Storm Continues

Erika is long past. That was August 27th. There are some things that amaze me about people. The School wanted to show everyone all was perfectly well. So they posted (and they posted MANY places) pictures of our fully stocked store, and people out drinking and eating in the Caribbean light. And as soon as they could figure out how to get the 450 new students and the families to the island, they did. – Our airport was closed, the ferries would only go to Rosseau, the normally used port, but the road and bridges (with water pipes and fiber optics attached) from Rosseau to Portsmouth were washed away.

So after IGA took everything out of the back to display the beautiful pictures of fully stocked shelves, how were they to restock? What about fresh water? But sure! Let’s bring in 450 + more people.  After a couple of weeks, the school resumed providing a weekly bus for shopping in Rosseau, which was a normal thing. That was cancelled, I think after one trip. There are people going to Rosseau, just not with the schools help. And VERY few students have cars, amazingly few.

I go to IGA regularly. It’s been interesting. This week I found the vinegar pepper wpid-20151008_152325.jpgsauce we’ve always liked for chili. We’ve never seen it on island before. I got 2 bottles. A couple of days later, I got the last box of flavored instant oatmeal and the only box, yes, one box, of graham crackers. We had been looking for graham crackers as part of a gift of a s’more kit. One box, slightly crunched. I don’t think the frozen foods have been restocked for almost 3 weeks. Finding eggs is like an Easter Egg hunt. Forget milk of any kind, coconut, almond included. Those are treasure treats too. It’s kind of surreal knowing you got the last of something at a store and to do it twice in the same trip.

As my daughter reminds me, there are 3 other little stores in the area. Generally, the population says to not food shop there, but these are desperate times. She found cornmeal for me at one which was great since I had found fresh okra at another.

Unless somewhere in your cells you understand not having your store as dependable as the sun, you probably won’t feel this. I’m not concerned about not having food particularly, it’s the kind and condition of it. While the island has been relatively rich with fruits and chickens, the bananas were already suffering and the storm washed away the largest chicken/eggs supplier and many gardens.

This is our fourth day with more than a trickle of brown water. We have actually been able to have warm showers!  Some are still completely without. Some never really lost water because the apartments had tanks. A couple of weeks ago, the school said we could drink the triple filtered water again. We opted out at that time due to the unappealing look of it. But now it’s usually clear, which is probably false anyway, but we are drinking it.

So water!! YAY! Do not be mislead. Yesterday at noon the electricity went out. It has done that before, at that time. Not too worried and it was a nice day so I took a book out to read. When I came back in, about 45 minutes later, the electricity was back on, but the water was off. It stayed off most of the afternoon. Finally it came back. A bit darker, but it cleared some. So the internet went off, for a couple of hours.

As for me. Sometimes I maintain an attitude of amused neutrality. I’m revisiting my deep spiritual teachings, writing, doing art. I feel brief twinges of panic that I’ve refused to acknowledge for a long time. Now it is more money related. If we had the money, I could go home for a bit. – but then I wonder if it would refresh me for the next 11 months we will be here? At least, I’d be able to renew my wardrobe which is being wore thin with the pumice laundry water. But the money is more practical too in that I would be more comfortable with having the air conditioner on and food/water costs have gone up. Not too mention, I some times loose my spiritual sense and worry about what do we live in and how, when we are done here?

Some days are okay. Some days, I am maintaining a semblance of balance but it feels tight. and some days I simply have to admit I am depressed. Oh well. Now to go look for the good again!