Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Magic Is Afoot

An unexpected bit of fun yesterday: I was walking home around dusk. Having emerged from the steamy subway the cool breeze felt great. As I turned the corner onto my street, walking past the old stone church on the corner, the wind picked up and sparked dust devils- small whirlwinds- along the sidewalk. I could see them clearly because they twirled the fallen yellow and red leaves into rising circles. As I stepping into the whirlwinds, they seemed to move with me, the wind tossing my long, unbound, grey hair in all directions around my head.

As the circling leaves continued to move around me, I walked past the parking lot adjacent to the church, where three young men- late teens early twenties- were watching. One of them spoke."Whoa, what are you, some kind of witch?"

I looked at him and smiled "Something like that," I replied without stopping.

They laughed nervously as I kept walking, surrounded by flying leaves. I could hear snippets of their conversation. "That is weird, man. . ." "yeah, she looks like a real witch. . . . " "Ya gotta watch out for those old ladies- ya never know. . . ."

It probably helped that I was dressed in black- more fashion laziness than statement.

And yes, better watch out for the old ladies- you never know what magic we might be up to :-) ~Oriah

Thanks to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for this magnificent photo

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Notes For the World Weary

Lately, more frequently than I'd like, I find myself feeling what I have decided to call, "world weary.” It's a kind of tiredness that washes over me like a slow, cold wave. It makes my thinking fuzzy, breeds a restlessness in my limbs, and makes me susceptible to distractions that do not nourish.

I find myself impatient and overwhelmed by the endless analysis of current political, social and environmental realities (even those I think are well done and important) and distrustful of (no doubt mostly sincere and well-meaning) books, workshops and courses promising a Bigger, Better, Thinner, Richer or even Deeper life.

It is possible that I am just becoming a grumpy old woman.

Most of the time, I don’t need more information. I don’t have room for more information. I come away from social media and news sites feeling as if I simultaneously know too much and too little. Half-buried in the dust of disillusionment, I occasionally pick up the faint scent of cynicism- the clever mind’s disguise for hopelessness- and am shocked to find it is coming from me!

I do find glimmerings of what slows the spiral into world weariness: walking outside regardless of the weather; sitting by the lake and staring into the ceaseless blue-green rise and fall of the waves; making food that nourishes body and soul- soup made with root vegetables flavoured with fresh tarragon and rosemary; turning off the computer, putting on my headphones and sinking into the sound of a cello’s long, low lament.

I read this list and realize that any of the things that renew me could be called prayer.There are a thousand ways to pray, to open to that which is larger and revitalize our willingness to meet the world. However we do it, we must each find our own sustainable way of being present with what is within and around us.

Because the world needs us present. Because what we are and what we can offer flowers when we are able to be here fully,

For me that means more walks and less social media, more music and movement, less worry and work.Whatever feeds our soul enables us to be with the world with fresh hearts and minds.

And whatever we are facing, individually or collectively, needs to be soulfully met and tenderly held.

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer © 2016

Deep thanks to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for her spectacular photo.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Dark Forest

Sometimes, writing a book is a lot like life. You are entering a forest. At the beginning there seems to be a path, and you strike off with curiosity, optimism and a hoped-for schedule. At some point, it becomes apparent that there is no path, and that you are not going to get out of the seemingly infinite trees before the sun sinks beneath the horizon. You are here for the night, and the forest is filled with strange sounds and mysterious movements. There is no going back. You are lost, and you realize you have not told anyone where you are going so those who love you will not even know where to look. It strikes me that this could be a metaphor for many of the adventures we choose or have foisted upon us: having a child, studying for and entering a new career, any creative project, entering intimate relationship, getting married, getting divorced, living with a chronic illness. . . And there is no single "right" answer for what to do. Sometimes it is wisest to sit down and wait for the dim light of dawn to filter through the trees. Other times it's wiser to edge forward carefully, making progress however slowly. Sometimes we call out for help, and sometimes we wrap ourselves in silence unti courage and clarity find us. Often help comes from completely unexpected places- a friend carrying a light appears, angels come to our aid. And sometimes we are called to stand up and fight if we want to survive the night. I am deep in the forest now, although I do, at times, stumble upon unexpected clearings. In those places I can navigate by the stars if I remember to look up. ~Oriah A spectacular photo by Karen Davis from Open Door Dreaming of a comet traversing the Milky Way.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Being Lied About

How to be with the reality of someone lying about you? To others. Frequently. For years. Even after you have approached them and explained that what they think you did is simply not true.
I admit it- this is a tough one for me. Sort of graduate work in "getting" that what others do most often has nothing to do with me. And yet, we live in a shared world, so what others do can impact us.
This can happen in families, in groups, in communities and- if you have a public profile at all- it can happen publicly. What a challenge- to let it go, not to step into a fight that would shape our short lives in undesirable ways, to send a prayer for the other. . . . Okay, that last bit might be post-graduate work. 
For me, it is less about reputation (although I am not immune to cringing at the idea that others believe something untrue about me) but the way it makes me feel inside- constricted, shaken, a little frantic. . . helpless.
Ah, there it is- the helplessness- the inability to do anything to stop something that affects me.The illusion of and desire for control arises- the inner child-like wail of, "Not faIr!"
lol- yep, not fair. That at least makes me smile. I sit with the feelings, I imagine creating space around the other's action and my reaction. . . . letting it all be held in something larger. And the constriction loosens, and I become still.
And then I write a little here as a way of sorting what just happened and sharing it in the hopes that it might help us all with our shared human struggles. (And if you think you've heard a lie about me please do not post it in the comments or send it to me. Lies do not need repeating and if it's one I have not heard yet well, I don't need to hear it! ) ~Oriah
This spectacular pic mirrors the spaciousness I imagine as the night sky. Deep gratitude to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for her magnificent photography.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Our resilience takes my breath away. It stands intimately entwined with our terrible translucent fragility. We are soft and small, brief and biodegradable. And yet, we sometimes flare like a match ignited in darkness Illuminating the moment, revealing the truth we know but cannot explain: How we are sustained By the scent of another’s sun-salted skin, the soft brush of lips on the nape of the neck. . By the blazing dawn- a promise searing the sky, the loon’s lonely wail at the end of the day. . How we are sustained By what we love By that which Loves us. ~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House (c) 2016 I am often sustained by the beauty of photos like this one from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Courting Kindness*

I've been thinking a lot about kindness, watching to see when it is easy and when it is hard for me to respond to another with an open heart and kind words or actions. One of the things I notice is that when I feel connected to my own, deep centre (and so, clear about my own available energy) it is much easier to be kind, because I don't feel at risk of agreeing to something that I really cannot do without serious consequences to my own health.
To be kind, we need to take responsibility for knowing our own limitations of the moment. This doesn't mean that we cannot, at times, stretch- we can- but if we never really consider our own inner and outer resources, we may become unkind in a desperate effort at self-preservation.
And, of course, sometimes we make a mistake- we think we can be available or helpful to another in a way that it becomes clear, we cannot. It can be tempting to blame the other, to communicate that they or their situation are "too much," instead of letting them know that although we want very much to there for them, our inner resources need replenishing right now.
Healthy self-care enables us to be kind. ~Oriah (c) 2016

Arianna Gray came up with the title for this little piece when I posted it on FB. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dancing Anyway

Wounds can be healed
Some leave a scar
Some leave us walking
with a bit of a limp
We can spend years
trying to walk as if
we'd never been hit
Learning to pass as someone
who has never felt the blade
never been burned by the fire
Trying to fade every scar

Or we can accept what is
and move to the music as we are-
a little lopsided
tilting into the wind
coming to a sudden stillness
when a voice or a movement
ignites an old neural pathway
with the remembered scent
of blood and burning

We pause for just a moment
not breathing
Then exhale
and inhale
and move to the the melody once more

Some wounds
even after they're healed
leave us walking with a bit of a limp

But they cannot stop us from dancing

~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House (c) 2016

Photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming