Inspiration and Coming Home to the Self

The cliffs of Moher which ever evoke and call my spirit.

Monday’s are begun, for me, in an empty stillness where the wind, however soft or fierce, is allowed the full breadth of the soul’s landscape. Today that lead me to reflect on the nature of resilience, and how exactly do I come by it. I listened to a Buddhist podcast on the subject, wherein at the last possible moment a poem by David Whyte was read.

The poem was splendid, and I searched out for the work to read again and found it was recited in an episode of another podcast OnBeing. So I listened to the podcast, having recognized it as one in my queue I had not listened to. Both are inserted below.

All of what I listened to this morning was like taking in a fresh breath of air, like coming back around to the beginning of a circle. It seems so often that the deep soulful writers whose voices resonate so deeply with my own, are often from Ireland. Sometimes our personalities both inherited and innate,  from the circumstance of our life experiences and intent filled individuation, just know what home is.

It is not simply the place where you find the clod and clover of the land, but the deep resonance you feel as the wind spreads out over the landscape and sings of the soul of a place. The Genius Loci, prescient and beyond space and time. It is in that way the spirit of Ireland, the dwelling of my ancestors will always be a home to my spirit.

Inspiration always starts like this for me. Inspiration does not call me to work, but rather presses me forward on the path. It is the gentle push at my back, the breath that fills me, and song that pulls me forward with the longing of home. Sometimes, it seems my feet no longer know the feel of these deeply trodden pathways; but every once in a while something unexpected passes by and helps you remember.

Of course, that home is not and could never be a brick and mortar dwelling, for we are talking about the dwelling of spirit. This home is elusive and we are ever wandering away from and into the heart of this sacred space and we move through the day. A life lived in spirit brings us home to ourselves. Thus, I have spent the morning breathing deeply the sweet comfort of that space. May all know this sacred space within their sacred self.

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”- David Whyte


Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice
You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you courage.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
The tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you.
– David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

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Into the Woods

Today I am feeling very empowered. Lupus is a true mystery and it started making itself known to me right before my 30th birthday. Not until about 10 years later did treatment begin, and even now I find loose threads of mystery and get to pluck them out into the light.

We have recently pinpointed a thread and pinned it down into the light. Sometimes the process to attend to these new discoveries seem and sometimes genuinely are, quite alarming. However, not knowing is far more alarming and has its inherent risks.

With a disease whose name is from Wolf, you are always hunting in the darkness for things to bring to the light. I am really grateful for my symptoms and my doctors, they are always like hounds leading me in the chase.

They know that most auto-immune diseases start with childhood traumas and stressors that with the biological predispositions become active inflammatory diseases later. For my entire childhood, and even now this means that I virtually never get sick no flues, or colds, or bad infections, with rare exception.

It is both poetic, and I feel profound to muse over that the antidote is to go and to be deep in the woods, to seek yourself, to know yourself, to sit with yourself. Not just in the biological sense, but also in the spiritual and heart sense.

Thus, I have been very enveloped in the business of appointments and the hunt, as it were. Art is it’s own deep soul therapy for healing and coping with my chronic illnesses, and it ironically often gets swept to the side when fatigue and time chock and narrow that pathway.

I suppose I will have to remember why I would venture into the woods alone so often as a child, simply to explore and play. Everyone should play a bit every day!

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Winter’s Guests, Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Here, in the heart of the winter, we woke in the snowy silence of pre-dawn to the serenading “Who-who” of a pair of Great Horned Owls. One was in the Willow off our bedroom balcony, the other was in the Poplar in the front of the house. For over half an hour we cuddled to keep warm under the blankets just enjoying them call back and forth to each other.

The brightness of the full moon had kept me up all night, as it often does, no matter how dark I make the room. So I laid there thinking about the owl, an ulchabhán, the striking figure in Celtic myth, a symbol of the great crone of winter known as the Cailleach.

The full moon,  a candle that seems to spring back to flame, the call of the owl… it was an evocative and prescient day. Naturally, I had to celebrate the owl by painting her image.

Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

First Washes

First Washes

Contrast Layers

Contrast Layers


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