Permit

View from Ebey’s Landing

Contortionist

Walking in this magical place after torrential rain in motionless air, I overheard a group of women ask, “Why don’t we come out here more often?” Answer, “It’s the getting out the door that’s the hardest thing.”

Why don’t we permit ourselves to go out the door?

I know my time here is precious with proximity to such gifts of nature, and I never take it for granted. Walking outside is so essential to my mental health that even during weeks of overwork when only time to walk is in dark, I walk. Maybe illustrates my tendency to avoid gyms like the plague, but I’ll take an air/rain/wind/sleet bath any day over moving inside a gym. Another blessing of living in a rural space. I’m not so sure I would walk in darkness during my big city days.

So many questions have arisen for my spirit guides lately.  Am I living my purpose? Am I doing enough to serve others? What concrete steps can I take to reach my dreams, my basic needs?

One answer I received around self-expression with an image of an arm placing round items into a basket:  “You are gathering voices now. When it is time, you will speak.”

Transcribing voices for a living can be fascinating and also moving. I have been inspired immensely by clarity about humanity expressed by people who have endured the worst humanity has to offer (refugees of all kinds). Something about that contrast is super powerful and gives me more hope about humanity than anything else. Once I am past supporting my child through her final year of public school and earning her own way in the world which seems to take my entire focus, this population is who I want to serve in some way. Tutoring English to immigrants and refugees was the most rewarding person-to-person thing I’ve ever done in my past, and I’m percolating on contributing my energies there when possible.

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Tuning

Today’s word prompt is static, which is fitting as the challenge to my guiding word of 2018: Tuning. My intention is to practice being more conscious of what I tune in and out, and what frequency I resonate with in my own being. Tuning also is linked to music and really all universal energy, which we know originates in resonance, in frequencies, in sound waves. I can become more conscious of when static is overwhelming and I need to take myself for a tune-up.

I am aware of increasing hearing loss and static from tinnitus due to all my years of listening through headphones daily, so I will not be surprised if tuning becomes more internal. I already miss hearing birds when others around me hear them but am fearful of getting tested because of cost and rather not finding out how soon my livelihood of 25 years is no longer feasible. I worry for that Millennial generation and younger who start out so early on headphones and continuous noise exposure.

Music was my first gift in life because it taught me the power of a wordless language, and a split from it was my biggest significant life path shift where I thought I was destined for one thing but instead took another direction. I am content to allow that past be past.

Thanks to a Find Your Word workshop I attended this weekend, part of the process was to create a vision board collage. I have done this several times with my sister who is a creativity coach and seems to always have an abundance of art supplies on hand, but it has been a several year gap. Until the vision board this year, I forgot how much I miss going through the process and how impactful it is to allow a word or a few to find you as a “theme” and deeply resonate with you for a period of time. A year is arbitrary. Choose any chunk of time for a good practice. If you work with inspiration from nature or from art, anything that shifts your perspective from the mundane, it is as if your unconscious can reveal what your conscious mind needs to work on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAG2343_1

Nature’s weavers at sunrise this morning

I have an overarching plan for this year which is to focus on unearthing my artist self and practice techniques and technologies for knit design. I have entered a six-month artist mastermind (even though I am the only knitter) to help in this process with a goal of making one solid design per month. How well this can be done while simultaneously working full-time or more and helping navigate a teen through senior year of high school remains to be seen. But anything is possible with grit. And I have grit.

Each design incorporates some element of walking, paths, footsteps to resonate with my longer-term goal of a long-distance walk in 2020 (or whenever financially feasible). Any design sold will go toward being able to afford time off work for a big walk. Considering options, The Camino Way is always appealing, and I can ponder the significance of having Jewish ancestors who were forced by the King to walk out of Spain during the Inquisition, walking centuries later a path of Catholic pilgrims. Most often I have thought about walking somewhere local, like across my own state. But there are countless treks in the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland any one of which is a joyful lifetime journey for me.

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Guidance For 2018

Finally letting go of beliefs that hold us back or make our load heavier, we can write down those things we’ve carried during 2017 and burn them in a glass container outdoors before entering the New Year. I’m doing that today.

On Solstice, I asked for what message I most need to hear in the new year, and I pulled this card with quote from a favorite teacher.

Then I meditated on where to bring greater focus in the upcoming year and received the answer: “Pay closer attention to your relationship with the moon.” So that I will. (Divine Feminine again)

On New Year’s Eve, today, I asked from my Medicine Cards for a symbol of guidance for 2018 and pulled this juicy card.

If you pulled Swan, it ushers in a time of altered states of awareness and of development of your intuitive abilities. Swan medicine people have the ability to see the future, to surrender to the power of Great Spirit, and to accept the healing and transformation of their lives.

If you are resisting your self transformation, (uh…yeah) relax; it will be easier if you go with the flow. Pay attention to your hunches and your gut knowledge, and honor your female intuitive side.

Source: Medicine Cards Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1988) 

Accept gracefully. Enter Dreamtime. I have heard the message.

The swan also echoes so beautifully the returning power of the Divine Feminine so many are seeing as a core long-term shift happening in the present, reflected in the tug-of-war between MeToo Movement and our current sociopolitical landscape.

One of the most famous tales of the swan is the Danish from The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, who amazingly I discovered only this month was befriended by some of my ancestors, and I was even able to locate a photograph taken of them together online.

So my ancestors I feel are standing graciously behind this guidance for me. I searched through my boxes of books and found a hardbound copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s complete stories gifted to me when I was 4 years old (!) by my grandfather. I actually learned to read at age 4, but holy mackerel that’s like pouring a fire hose of water on a seedling. Now, all these years later, I am returning to these stories and appreciating them.

The number 39 according to several numerology sites is full of 3s (even its root sum, 3+9=12 and 1+2=3) which is a number associated with creative expression and direct wisdom from ascended masters or highly evolved spiritual beings. Number 9 apparently means benefiting humanity. So 39 is a number for a “lightworker” or someone who uses creative expression through spirit to benefit and/or bring comfort and healing to others.

I have trouble remembering my dreams, but the last intensely clear dream I remember having was during 2012 when I dreamed I was an apprentice to a master shaman. So I’ve always thought of this as a sign maybe not everyone can be a master lightworker, but maybe I could be an apprentice to one. I have a strong desire to apprentice on many levels in both the physical and spiritual realms, but not sure how to go about this without sacrificing my ability to support self and child.

I feel like this has always been my core ideal – to use my abilities to be more of direct service to others, but during 2017 I turned inward a great deal and honed my creativity in solitude, letting go of many of my past ideals to benefit others or even be in relationship to others.

From all of the above, I bring a vision for 2018 that I will work to open up my awareness, to allow relationship, to tune in further to my strong intuitive abilities, and bring my creative work of knitting, writing, and nature connection work into some broader platform to benefit others. That’s the scoop, and I’m sticking with it.

Happy New Year to everyone in blog land.

 

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Proclivity

As if not obvious, I have a proclivity to the therapeutic benefits of knitting. And frankly 2017 has needed a lot of therapy.

My holiday dreams came true!

And more. I was gifted a year of a girl in a war-touched country being able to go to school.

And our only snow of the season fell on Christmas Day! Wishing everyone a gentle entry into 2018.

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2017 Favorite

Entering this as my Most Meaningful Photo of 2017 in WordPress.

And Solstice Blessings to all.

“On Light”
(for Barry Martin)
 
The voyager that
Travels the furthest:
Light, ambassador
Of all that we find
Most remote from us
(Slowly pulsing, the
Brightness of a star).
 
It is the nearest
We get to knowing
How the world moves, what
Grips it, what forces
Impel it towards
The last boundary
At the end of light.
 
–Edward Lucie-Smith
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Legend of 2017

This was a year that began with a queasy feeling of dread.

Day of Mo(u)rning, 01-20-2017

Night terrors shudder you awake before sun.
Make your way to the deep half-moonlit woods.
Wait for the curtain to be lifted, the switch flipped,
Blue-black lightens. All of a sudden, the birds.
Follow the trunks of your fellow beings, tall trees
Silhouette hands raised.
Know you will be okay as long as the birds rise
And the trees stand tall.
Stand like these trees, rise like these birds.
Tomorrow, float in a sea of pink compassion.

*****

Followed by a surge of hope.

Followed by months of weight loss and a few of gain, to total acceptance of body.

Homage to Sheep

Of separating from person inhabiting a huge chunk of my heart.

Definitely the year of the knit.

 

And lots of moments of gratitude for being alive and physically able to connect with the natural world.

Ending 2017 with evolving deeper connection to ancestors whose stories I am uncovering bit by bit and imagining the many untold women’s stories in centuries’ trail of documentation mostly in language of men, sermons, money, and wars.

My maternal grandmother was one strong woman, making the trip across the Atlantic by ship once alone to meet her soon to be husband in America, and a second time alone after marrying my grandfather, five months pregnant, for purposes of visa.

Freedom: Meaningless to those who never lost it; to us it meant a feeling like that of a bird suddenly released from its cage…We were on our own, without fear of the sudden touch on the shoulder in the streets. Nobody around us cared what we were doing. The freedom was enough to make one drunk.”  ~ My grandmother upon arrival to America

My paternal grandmother was not only a librarian and a super resilient and frugal woman, but 50 years ago established an organization called Opportunities still thriving today in the Midwestern US that serves developmentally disabled (differently abled) people like the one she adopted as an infant.  So that folks can be self-supporting and have lifetime work who otherwise may not have opportunity.

Leaving the year with an image of three roses a neighbor gave me this summer from her garden, since three roses are depicted in one family line’s crest and a single rose is in another line’s crest.

‘By the arts of a nation is a nation finally to be judged, by the arts of peace, not by the arts of war – the art of the painter, the sculptor, the architect, the musician, touch between them the whole chord of the feelings of mankind … and lead the blood of true life to course through our veins.’  – Marion Spielmann (my great-grandmother’s cousin’s brother) 

May 2018 be the year of the rerobed Earth alongside rise of the divine feminine. Bountiful gratitude to TreeSisters.

 

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Inheritance

I have been immersed in tracing family roots the past few months and have felt the power of appreciating our inheritance, both collective and personal. By inheritance, I mean not money, but all the struggles and survival and joys our ancestors lived to allow us to be born.

Often we find disparate or contrasting pieces of our family tree. Social, religious or economic oppositions that come to live inside us.

One year ago, I gave myself the half century birthday present of a general ethnicity DNA test that left me with questions: 37% Scandinavian, 30% Jewish, 13% German “Europe West” including Midwestern US, 11% Iberian Peninsula – Spain, 7% Great Britain, 1% Irish.

I have learned I have centuries of Jewish merchant/banking family, prominent Hamburg Mennonite relations, countless preachers and rabbis, courageous soldiers, physicians, managers of hospitals, Danish ancestors, a celebrated Confederate soldier and leader in small town Ozarks, and most remarkable of all for me this year, I have been able to trace one line back to Leszno, Poland in 1750s and another British line back to Poznan, Poland. Before that from The Netherlands and before that as verified by my DNA and one of the surnames in my tree “Raphael,” but so far not by physical records I have obtained yet, Sephardic Jewish culture in Spain. I am only beginning to learn about that rich culture and vast exodus. They apparently were prominent contributors to Spain in both medicine and math.

I have learned a lot more about Polish history over the past year than I previously knew (almost nothing), because the one dearest to me is there.

One thing many may not know, as I did not, is the reason why nearly any Jewish ancestry in Europe can be traced back to Poland is because 3/4 of the world population of Jews lived inside Poland by 1700. By its third partition in 1795, Poland had become a safe haven of sorts to persecution in the rest of Europe. 140 years later (at least) 3 million Polish Jewish lives and nearly 2 million non-Jewish Poles were extinguished. Absolutely staggering. The surviving Polish people have persevered and rebuilt for decades in an incredible way.

A misperception some seem to have is that Germany is the site of the largest memorial to the holocaust at the largest camp out of hundreds of forced labor camps. Nope, Poland. I intend to uncover the names of any relations I can confirm whose lives ended in Auschwitz in order to honor them in a special way.

Greenbank Farm – 12/10/2017

One thing I’ve learned about in the process of attempting to trace names of people is an issue of surname confusion. Just like Scandinavian tradition of naming someone “Ander’s son,” Jewish peoples were diverse and not in the tradition of using family surnames as we think of them. One way to attempt to control this was by formal decree in the 1770s. It reads like a 1700s Big Brother if you ask me.

Below is the first knitting pattern I designed myself, and I was thinking of trees, stars, roots, and midwinter cinnamon oats I love to prepare each morning. It felt like all those who have gone before me were slipping through my fingers with the natural, undyed wool from a local mill. Certainly, the rich knitting cultures of Europe feel like “home” to me even though I have only once briefly set foot there in this lifetime and never to Scandinavia.

 

Here are a few ancestors I have discovered or rediscovered.

Other than both sets of grandparents which I was fortunate to know well, this ancestor is the only in my tree I met in person, in Munich 20 years ago. He took one look at me, turned pale, and had to take a few moments to compose himself because I reminded him of his sister (my grandmother) when they were young. At the time, I did not know many of the details outlined in the article below, but it was hands down the single most powerful experience of my life to visit the Dachau museum after being dropped off there by the person whose unit not only liberated the camp, but who helped that museum come to fruition (to my understanding).  Of note, I never got to meet this man’s brother, because he passed very young fighting with the US Army in 1944 on Normandy, shortly before WWII ended.

US Soldier who liberated Munich

Here is a story about the Confederate soldier and Ozark preacher, judge and educator, my great-grandfather.

Within an Inch of His Life

I read into an 1880s history collection of his family line from the Northern US (Massachusetts) which contains many fascinating stories about this family’s contributions to life in the first colonies and an apparent “missing link” about how my branch of that family came to be in the Carolinas and South when the rest of them were North. One story about Earles introducing the first mechanized wool carding machines to farmers in MA caught my eye.

Another about a supposed “family trait” of people being able to create things with precision included a man who purportedly built a gun from scratch that was so admired by General George Washington that he walked 40 miles to hand deliver it to him. He was reported to have been told by General Washington when his name engraved in it read “Earl,” that Earl is only for royalty, so to avoid any confusion an “E” should be added to the name. This is the kind of story I imagine gets passed down through families that may or may not have a kernel of truth.  It was the first I’d come across it, so I don’t know what to think. Nonetheless, the first Earls/Earles arrived in the very beginnings of what we know as America.

Back in Europe, I was able to confirm a connection by marriage with the Warburgs who were interwoven with my lineage. If you are not familiar with them, check out this book by Pulitzer prize winning author. That same ancestor (by marriage) had children who married into the Goldschmidt and Oppenheimer families as well, so that one little family represented three of the most successful banking families of Europe.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/26801/the-warburgs-by-ron-chernow/9780525431831/

Several of my ancestors were knighted by the monarchy for their leadership, one for setting up a child welfare system in the UK. A third cousin in the family of my great-grandmother x5 I found listed in a booklet of British Millionaires 1809-1945. He made his money at the beginning of mining gold and diamonds in South Africa and was linked “behind the scenes” to Rhodes of Rhodes Scholar fame. That was a learning curve ball. I had no idea the scholarship I had always looked up to as a pinnacle of academia was linked to blood diamonds. My ancestor’s nephew inherited his wealth and owned a home on Kensington Gardens followed by a palatial mansion in Ireland where he became one of the few Brits to be given honorary Irish citizenship. The mansion is a museum today.

I am speechless to learn what sort of wealth has been woven through parts of my family history I never knew about, much of it taken by the Nazis, and also fascinated by the interweaving of the more simplistic Mennonite lifestyle which produced one minister who lived to be 99-1/2 in the 1600s(!!!) and others with longevity in a time when few lived past their 40s. I am not a Mennonite expert, but my understanding is one basic difference between the Amish and the Mennonite is that Mennonites allow for more integration into technological advances in society, but in many ways adhere to strict guidelines of simplicity.

I also learned about the Waldenses of the Middle Ages who followed Peter Waldo, the reported precursor family faith of my first traceable Mennonite ancestor. This was a group who took vows of poverty, organized the poor, and believed spirituality was not linked to money.

Perhaps it is the latter with whom I feel most aligned in heart because ever since I can remember arriving on the planet, I have had the sense attaining lots more money than one needs for sustenance is linked to the suffering of others. In modern day law-of-attraction spiritual circles, that would be called “a limiting belief.” When I consider the scope of my ancestral spiritual inheritance (not speaking of money, as I inherited not a dime), as someone with Buddhist and Interfaith leanings who loves to live simply in small spaces close to the Earth, it is probably those ancestors who resonate loudest in my heart.

As a woman, I would love to search for written stories of the many strong women of my lineage, but other than the words left by my dear grandmother in her story of leaving Germany in 1937, there are few I can find. Women of the world, keep writing!

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