28 DAYS OF WHOLEHEARTEDNESS

grateful heart

FEBRUARY 1 ~ Those of you who know me might remember that a few years ago, I posted one heart for each day of the month of February. I have been compelled to do this once again, as I feel everyone needs a heart each day to wake up to. So, without further ado, here I go:

In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we often forget about how much we have to be grateful for. Even the tiniest of things can make a difference. I hope this month, you are reminded each day to open your hearts and be present in the moment…

bridge heart

FEB 2 ~ Bridges can be great structures; they carry us across rivers, streams and oceans; across trafficways, freeways and cosways; they are the metaphor for traversing new opportunities, new relationships, new ideas, new ways of communication. They’ve been targets of destruction during many a war; they are there at the beginning of an exodus and the end of a pilgrimage. Bridges are part of the fabric of our human story.

barb wire heart

FEB 3 ~ A fond memory I have is being out at the family ranch as a little kid and watching my great-uncle Johnnie wrapping barbed wire around a post, fixing a fence at one of the cattle guards. I asked him why there were points sticking out of the wire and he said, “well that’s how we keep the cows in.” For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how that would work. Sometimes, we form barbed wire inside our hearts after we’ve suffered loss, pain or even humiliation. We believe it will keep others out and protect us from any further hurt. But barbed wire in our hearts keeps the love and joy out as well and isolates us from a full, wholehearted life. Barbed wire is good for a cowboys’ fence but bad for the heart. What do you have in your heart today?

sedona heart rock

FEB 4 ~ I have walked many a trail and hiked many a hill and mountain in and around Sedona in my life. I have visited many of the vortexes and felt the energy of the major fault line that most people don’t know runs through Oak Creek Canyon. I have played and slid down the waters of slide rock as a kid and spent weekends sunbathing at Red Rock in my college days. But when I found this beautiful heart, carved eons ago by natures amazing and intricate force, I was ecstatic!

eagle heart

Feb 5 ~ (Day After Superbowl): There’s something intrinsically human about the tale of the underdog. It taps into our capacity to hope for the future and dream big. It also teaches us about disrupting common beliefs and overcoming and confronting society’s labels.  But it’s the challenges that life throws at us that make us stronger, more resilient and even hungrier to succeed. And Sometimes, it’s all about having a big heart…

swan hearts

FEB 6 ~ We could learn a lot from swans….. They mate for life and they provide unconditional love to their offspring. And they grow up to their most beautiful potential…..

dragonfly heart

 

FEB 7 ~ Dragonflies are an interesting bunch. Not only have they been around for 300 million years, they are expert flying machines, able to fly backward and sideways. They also can see eleven ranges of color as humans only see three. The females are called “damselflies.”

 

rock collection LV

FEB 8 ~ This photo represents almost 50 miles walked in my neighborhood last Spring…..I would look for these rocks on my way back to the house……..this type of rock is popular in Las Vegas landscaping…..Next Spring you’ll see mountain and river rocks. Can’t wait to see the comparison. It will be a great Metaphor for the changes I have been through….some erosion, but mostly polished…..

starfish heart

 

FEB 9 ~ Everyone knows “the starfish story” …….but what if maybe, the starfish chose to drift ashore because he wanted to experience life “out of his comfort zone”……..dry out, “get a little sun”…risky, but what the hey…..fully knowing the tide would eventually arrive to take him back out to sea…..and what did he learn?…..”TRUE GRACE UNDER PRESSURE”…..and his heart was “fully in it”…..have a beautiful day my friends………Love….m.e.

heart shaped tree branches

 

FEB 10 ~ Have you ever seen a “cow catcher” tree? Ranchers will know what I’m talking about. Had to get a pic as I had never seen anything like this. Looks a little ominous. Like God has a sense of humor. I gues. Something to think about….s sometimes you can find hearts in the most barren of places

catalpa tree heart

FEB 11 ~ Well, I thought since we were on trees, today’s heart is just the opposite. Nature is so creative!. I truly wish I had a “tree of hearts” in my yard. If I had one, I wouldn’t ever be able to keep a sad face for very long. This is a Catalpa Tree, BTW. It’s a beautiful Sunday (even without football)……m.e.

heart-snow

 

FEB 12 ~ It’s snowing today and I am thankful, for I don’t have to go outside today at all. Those lovely winter days when the snow falls straight down with no wind are the best. They coat you with a blanket of a zillion tiny crystals; each one different than the next. They are all unique like each of us. A beautiful white menagerie…..until the snow plow comes……..blue under the sea

 

FEB 13 ~ My Daily Heart.…..”I’d like to be…..under the sea…..in an octopus’ garden, in the shade…….scuba diving has definitely moved up the ladder on my bucket list!

 

hot air balloon heart2

 

FEB 14 ~ LOVE GOD, LOVE YOURSELF, LOVE EVERYONE ELSE……THAT’S WHAT WE’RE HERE FOR….

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MY FRIENDS!

 

 

people heart

This is the MOST HUMAN heart I saw on the Web today. Just had to share.

pelvis three

FEB 15 ~ It is not by accident that God made woman’s pelvis in the shape of a heart. He knew that from the time of birth, all children would need as much love starting out as they could get……Have a blessed day!

 

porch hearts

FEB 16 ~ I never thought I’d see someone who loved heart rocks more than me. The woman who lives here is 97 yrs old, has a cat named knucklehead, takes no medicine whatsoever, drinks a shot of Irish Whiskey every night before bed, and volunteers at the humane society once a week. “Don’t walk in her door with a bad attitude, she’ll kick you out.” Have a great weekend my friends….

driftgreen and red heart-COLLAGE

FEB 17 ~ These two photographs from my heart collection, I can’t help but see the metaphor in this juxtaposition….we start out fresh and new, young and spry, vibrant, curious and enthusiastic to experience the world. Then time takes its’ toll and we become bleached by an ocean of conformity, burnt by the eternal sunshine of hopeful relationships, burrowed into by the insects of guilt and shame, bent and broken by the endless strife towards honor and accomplishment; a life of trials and tribulations, lessons learned and sometimes, even miracles manifested. I don’t know, I think the picture on the right is the one I would rather be. For in all its’ brutal truth, in all its’ majesty and metamorphosis, it represents A LIFE TRULY LIVED.

heart nautilues

 

FEB 18 ~ Geometry is the study of measuring the earth. Sacred Geometry is a term used to describe the basic building blocks of the universe. This ancient science explores and explains the physical and energy patterns that create and unify all things and reveals the way that the Universe organizes itself. The nautilus or “spiral” shape is an excellent example of this. So, having heart rocks make up my sacred spiral, I feel dually blessed and protected. This one is small but I plan to build a big one in my garden.

leaf shadow heart

FEB 19 ~ Does our shadow self-match the self we portray to the world? Do we all hold a place in our hearts for secrets? The heart is the keeper of every human emotion. Herein lies sadness, joy, anger, gratitude, pride, humility, envy, compassion. Maybe the path of our higher self is through a heart that is open to the light and holds no shadows.

cactus heart8  cactus heart9

FEB 21 ~ I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of the heart cacti that I have come across in my travels over my great home state of ARIZONA (although one I took in Texas). For those of you under snow today, think WARM…..

cactus heart6 cactus bud

 

peacock feather heart

FEB 21 ~ Today’s Heart belongs to this fabulous peacock. Did you know that the male Peacock finds a mate by sending out infrasonic waves through its’ feathers? The reason their feathers are so bright is that they’re made of intricate two-dimensional crystal-like structures. Slight alterations and spacing of these microscopic structures cause different wavelengths of light to be filtered and reflected, creating the feathers’ many different iridescent hues. Some hummingbirds and butterflies create this same phenomenon. Cool!

rusty heart

FEB 22 ~ Sometimes we think that things put in our path may seem “rusty and worthless” and not worth a second thought….but we must remember that “things are not always as they appear”…it is all about perception and our ability to “see without judgment”….This pic I took in 2012, six blocks from Fremont St (Downtown Las Vegas). An “old and weathered” homeless man sat nearby, wanting people to see his creation and “taking donations.” When I asked what inspired him and if I could take a picture, he said, “in the lowest times of my life, when I felt like a piece of junk, God still wrapped his loving arms around me.” Needless to say, I was speechless. Have a blessed day!…..m.e.

blue apalite

EB0814QRB1

FEB 23 & FEB 24 ~ Yesterday was a whirlwind for me and I missed my DAILY HEART GIFT, so today I offer you TWO….. Apatite Crystal is a balancing stone, regulating wisdom of the mind with emotion of the heart. It promotes a humanitarian outlook and service to others. The Rose Quartz purities and opens and pirifies the heart at all levels, promoting self-love, friendship, inner healing and feelings of peace. NO WONDER I AM SO DRAWN TO THESE TWO CRYSTALS!

walnut heart

FEB 25 ~ TODAY‘S HEART: I remember the first time I ever ate a walnut. You know, “back in the day,” when nuts and fruit were the essential part of your Christmas stocking. I loved bashing them with a hammer until my dad showed us how to use that little tool called The Nutcracker. We lived in Lodi, California for a year when I was a child in the 60’s and we had two large walnut trees. I still remember the black sludge that got on your hands from harvesting them. Did you know that walnuts were the first known tree food, dating back to 7000 B.C.? It seems that besides T-Rex steaks, walnuts and honey gave the early humans most of their nutrients, keeping them alive and brain sharp.

baby

 

FEB 26 ~ The day I became a mother changed my life forever. For in that moment, when they put my son in my arms, I knew true humility. It was no longer about me and I was made whole. Let today be a day that you pause to see the magic and beauty in every moment. TODAYS’ HEART reminds us that the symbol of the heart is integral to our existence…from the time we enter this world, ’til the time we leave…….

cheerios

 

FEB 27~ I was in the cereal aisle at the grocery store yesterday to pick up my regular faves (Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats), when I realized that General Mills has finally gone the way of CONSUMER OVERKILL like most food companies (it started with Taco Bell, I think). I counted 10, yes TEN, new flavors of Cheerios on the shelf.

cheerios3

 

What are they trying to do to us, scramble and confuse our brains into “dummihood” under the auspices of giving us way more choices than we actually need?  Is BIG BROTHER trying to oppress us with indecisiveness? There’s a reason I don’t go through the Drive Thru anymore. Me, I’ll just stick with the “tried and true” original Cheerios. They’re GOOD FOR THE HEART…

zebra 2

 FEB 28 ~ Have your ever wondered how a ZEBRA gets its’ stripes? On this last day of February, I OFFER MY HEART TO DIVERSITY. Whatever COLOR we are, whatever “CULTURE shapes us, whatever “TRADITIONS we celebrate and create anew, whatever GENDER, ORIENTATION, or IDIOSYNCRACY we own, whatever DREAMS we care to aspire to…..the CENTER is always LOVE….                                                                                  ~  Mick E.  ~  

                                                     

                                                                                       

 

 

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NAVIGATING A NEW YEAR


dreamng in the surf

Well, I didn’t have much of a game plan for 2013, with the end of the world coming and all. So, after a heartwarming visit with family over the holidays, I submerged myself into a state of introspection. Fueled by some healthy food (and some not), I explored my dark side with the help of box sets of the Sons and Anarchy and Dexter, balanced with some focus into the world of enlightenment, spontaneous healing and yoga. I examined short-term goals with the vigor and gusto of a coffee connoisseur, dabbled in the parlay excitement of a few football playoff games (came out ahead); studied the greats from quarterbacks to philosophers to warrior poets and even read a couple awe-inspiring books (no, I skipped the 50 shades series). I have listened to music from “alley-ways to stratospheres” (with the help of my daughter’s vast knowledge of the all cool and eclectic); I have listened to my G-babes express their holiday excitement in ways only the young and innocent can do; I have sat in utter stillness and listened to my heartbeat as it connects with the universe; I have reminisced about roads taken and roads long over-do and daydreamed once again about far away travels to add to my bucket list. With all that, I now believe I have a somewhat solid grip on my path through 2013 and I look forward to it like an “adventuresome burglar with a magic ring.” And even though I may stray off course now and again, I have my trusty compass handy and always pointed towards my  own “true north.” LIFE IS GOOD!!        ~  Mick E.  ~

JUST OLD BUTTONS

BUTTONS

I have a collection of buttons.  The old fruitcake can that holds them is probably from the 50’s by its look.  It belonged to my mother and I guess I “inherited” it 13 years ago along with the few things she left behind after her death…

My mother, like many women from her generation, collected buttons from worn out pieces of clothing.  With a family of seven children, she was creative about keeping us “clothed and clean.” That meant mending socks, patching jeans, sewing rips and harvesting buttons from clothes no longer useful.

I could have easily thrown out those buttons when I found them at the bottom of a box I  cleaned from her closet some six months after her death…(yes, it took me that long).  But something inside told me to hold on to them.  I admit it was hard for me to let go of things my mother collected.  As if holding onto these “things” would keep her spirit close to me somehow.

I am so very sure I’m not the first woman to hold on to her mother’s artifacts.  I guess it is natural that we want to hold on to something our mother loved and admired… like her energy is still with us…and sometimes, even the spirit of her mother, before.

Today, I went looking in my storage and took out that can of buttons, thinking I could use some of them in my attempt to create some cool pumpkin faces for my grand-kids at Halloween.  I did use some of the buttons and felt good about “my creations.”

Later, in the quiet of my office, I sat down and spread out all of those buttons.   I went through and sorted them by color, size, shape, etc.  Little did I know that I would soon have an epiphany of sorts.  The déjà vu that hit me was so unexpected….I remember thinking “okay, its one thing collecting buttons, but did my mother actually keep and collect buttons from 40+ years before?

Examining the buttons, I began to see bits and pieces from my childhood…here were buttons from my favorite shirt from 3rd grade, then buttons from a coat from 5th grade I had long forgotten…. I began to study these buttons more intensely and with my mind’s eye, remembered clothing my siblings had worn…not the basic buttons, but those that stood out, like buttons from a jacket my brother wore until it was tattered beyond belief, those “psychedelic” buttons on a “hippie vest” my sister, Wava had and even the cool buttons from my youngest brothers’ bomber jacket.  I began to believe that maybe these buttons were a way for my mother to hold on to a piece of history…..her childrens’ history…..just as in the old days when they kept pieces of fabric and made “family tree” quilts.

My mother never made quilts, but she did keep the buttons.  And that day, I got a little “flash back” to my childhood and a little more respect for my mom.  It made me wonder:  what will my children save and collect from our lives together?

A TRIBUTE TO FOREMOTHERS

four gen greats

 

In her book “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”, Sue Monk Kidd writes about the importance of knowing ones “FOREMOTHERS” and how exploring our foremothers through writing could be instrumental in helping us know our true authentic selves.  For are they not a part of us and we a part of them?

So, in the spirit of my FOREMOTHERS, I offer this:

Here’s to my Maternal Great-Grandmother, Belle Zora Joy-Davis who lived most of her life on a Dairy Ranch in Yava, Arizona  and was the mother of 13 children.  I cannot imagine how hard her life must have been or what she taught her daughters about the big wide world at the turn of the Century.

To my Paternal Great-Grandmother, Emma Mae Craw-Matli, (Grandma Short) who bore 5 sons and a daughter and even though 4 ft 10 in, was renowned for her vigor around the Infamous Matli Ranch in Williamson Valley, just outside Prescott, Arizona.  She ruled with an iron fist for 5 decades and though she lost a daughter, Mary, at age 28, her sons did become “TRUE COWBOYS”  working a cattle ranch, riding bulls and broncs in the oldest Rodeo in the U.S. from the 1920’s to 80’s, when her last son died and the ranch and land was sold to developers.

To my Maternal Grandmother, Beulah Belle Davis-Matli, whom I never got to know, as she died on Christmas Day when I was 2, yet whose life story is nothing short of an inspiration as I have learned some 50 years later.  She was a victim of domestic violence, (from a man she was married to for a brief time, not my Grandpa)….she almost lost her life,  yet she overcame great adversity.

To my Paternal Grandmother, Ferne Dorothy Kapp-Jones, of whom I have fond memories.  She took me on adventures to pick wild raspberries in the Arizona  mountains, made the greatest apple plum cake and told me of her theory of “the Methuselah gene.”

And of course, to my Mother, Gay Yvonne Matli-Jones, who left me with her gift of grace on a snowy day almost 40 yrs to the day of her own Mother’s death…she said a GRAND GOODBYE to me in “Harry Houdini style” and still speaks to me in my dreams….

And I have to add three cousins to this tribute.  Strong women who are connected to me through blood and bone, love and spirit, and whom, if I never got to know, I would never have learned so much about my family story:

To MARY MATLI, daughter of my great uncle Charley and aunt Vonnie Matli.  Mary was instrumental in helping maintain a family legacy and keeping honor and dignity in the MATLI name, as best she could.  From birth, all she knew was the Matli family.  She lived and worked the ranch with her parents as she was an only child with no siblings, and most important as some would say, NO BROTHERS…..yet, she worked hard, endured much adversity and family turmoil and to this day, she is a pillar of strength, goodness, and pure heart.

To SHAMAYA RENMARK-FURMAN, my second cousin and grand-daughter of my maternal grandmothers’ sister VIOLA….we connected on ANCESTRY.com and she provided me with family history from my maternal side (mom’s mom and all those 13 siblings)…..so rich was the history and it changed and transformed me in a positive way, making me feel I had learned more about myself than I could ever have known elsewhere.

And most recently, to MARCIE JONES-HOLTHUS…..my first cousin, daughter of my dad’s brother.  Boy did I learn a lot from her about my dad’s side and she even got me in touch with other family members.  She and I have written to each other, comparing notes about our lives, as I had not seen her since I was four years old….it was a bittersweet reunion that made me feel more intertwined into the tapestry of human beings that I am related to.  I feel grateful that I’ve found “my people” and know so much more about “who I am”……The cool thing is THESE COUSINS ARE STILL ALIVE and I can tune in, show up and connect with them if I so desire.

ON THIS DAY, I HONOR ALL OF MY FOREMOTHERS FROM GENERATIONS PAST AND PRESENT…..for as women, we DO NOT have just ONE MOTHER, we have MANY MOTHERS….young and old, weak and strong, vibrant lights and soft glowing embers……some in the shadows; some in the forefront.  And if we sit still, open our hearts and truly listen, we can hear them speak to us……We hear and feel them in the storytelling, in the ephemera of faded black and white photographs, in the remnants of relics long saved that remind us of long ago and make us feel connected….in haylofts and dusty trails, in the songs of nature at the break of dawn, in the smell of a newborn calf, in the summer monsoons and all the chores that still need to be done…..we feel them.

TO ALL MOTHER’S…..here now and forever gone……I feel your strength, I feel your comfort, and most importantly, I feel your hearts…….m.e.

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid…

elaina reflection 

Today my daughter showed me a postcard she’d received in which a guy had written her poetry….I soon realized it was the lyrics of an old Van Morrison song…she told me “my friend thinks this song reminds me of him”…

As I read the card, my heart fell deep… my soul revealing….

Reminiscing of a time I knew so long ago…

In my youth at 19 years old, this was THEE SONG that brought her father and I together those many years before….and not before insurmountable odds worked against us…..only to create this beautiful little girl a year later….

I suddenly had one of those “fluttery moments” in my heart…..  I wanted to try and explain to her how I was feeling…… but hey…

Some things are better left unsaid…..  ~  Mick E  ~

A Lifetime of Heart-Shaped Rocks

 

day17

I love heart-shaped rocks.  I have collected them my whole life.  From river beds and woodland streams; to hiking trails and mountain summits; to ocean and lake shores and sometimes even digging in my own backyard.  I distinctly remember the very first one I ever found when I was ten years old.  It was in Granite Creek in my childhood home of Prescott, Arizona.  My brothers and I used to love to trench through the creek after the rains when we were a foot deep in run-off.  Days later when the creek ran dry, we’d quite often find a multitude of treasures washed down by the current and deposited in between rocks along the creek bed.  Trinkets, toys, coins and colored glass….I even found an old vintage doll once.  But one bright day, while trekking through the muck, I happened to glance down and to my surprise, there in between two large and muddy rocks was the most perfectly symmetrical heart-shaped rock….

 As I picked it up, I imagined that it had some secret power and I was meant to find it that day.  It was a smooth, dark igneous rock with tiny white speckles that I thought of as freckles…..just like mine.  I carried that rock in my pocket for the whole summer and I swear to this day that it brought me a sense of peace when things were not going right.  Some days I would hold it when I was sad or afraid and some days I would just keep rubbing it, like Aladdin and his lamp….hoping it would bring me luck…(or at least three wishes.)  Such is the life of an imaginary ten- year-old.

My search for heart shaped rocks has continued for over 40 years now.  Whenever I am out in nature, I find myself searching for them.  Sometimes, when I seem to be looking too hard, I usually come up empty.  Yet, sometimes I’ll glance one way just for a moment and then back….and suddenly a rock will just seem to show a little gleam so that I notice it among the many rocks, just waiting for me to pick it up.  By and large, these rocks have more often seemed to find me.

Gradually over four decades, I’ve realized that my search for heart shaped rocks has taken on a sense of the metaphoric.  Like life lessons learned, there were times when I was looking so hard I’d find nothing, only to look away and then slightly glance beyond my periphery and what I’d been looking for would just show up in my world….usually when I was not paying attention.  Sometimes, I’d find answers in the most peculiar and unexpected places.

Over the years,  I have seen both family and friends struggle, those of us searching so hard to find strength, courage and purpose, yet it all seems to elude us.  It made me think:  Is this the path we must follow to find and understand the simple things in life—when we’re looking so hard that we can’t seem to see the forest through the trees?  Is this the secret to life’s wonderment and surprise?  That constant pull on our hearts for “the true meaning of everything.”

It is that wonderment and surprise that shows up “out the of blue” when I witness my 4 yr old grandson playfully having a “zen-like” conversation with his toy alligator or when my 26 yr old daughter tells me she wants to marry someone who “has the ability to express love in the way she has seen her parents do with each other her whole life.”

I don’t know for sure, but I think this is the closest I have ever come to experiencing TRUE LOVE …and maybe if I “do it right and pay it forward”  this true love becomes a generational legacy…

In any case, I will forever be on the lookout for my heart-shaped rocks…and sometimes waiting for them to find me…until my dying day….maybe before then though, I can take my grandkids on the search with me…who knows what we’ll find together…

~  Mick E.  ~

 

Wherein Should The TRUTH Lie?

truth lion

All journalists, especially those in a position to reach millions should “first and foremost” be emissaries of the public.   As a journalism student who was kicked off of  her college newspaper for telling the TRUTH, my thoughts about TRUTH in journalism are of course, jaded.  In 34 years since then, I’ve learned many lessons about “the dissemination of information to the masses.”  The bottom line is “if we don’t stick up for and protect the TRUTH at all cost, how can we ever evolve as a society?”  In today’s world of high-speed technology with unlimited information at our fingertips, it is now more important than ever.  Information is power.  Let us not forget that information can sway popular opinion, propagandize a nation and initiate wars (as history has taught us).  Today there seems to be “50 shades of gray” when addressing the TRUTH as we have 50 million perspectives. Sometimes the TRUTH hurts us or others… sometimes the TRUTH is not what we want to hear… sometimes withholding a small TRUTH may help a larger TRUTH be seen with more clarity, thus we can be caught in a moral dilemma.  But if we do not uphold the TRUTH against all odds, then all else becomes meaningless.  There is much TRUTH to the proverbial saying “what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  And just as important, how will we then be able to write history?  (the irony here being our history books are filled with half-truths and falsehoods).  In the end, the TRUTH is the most precious gift that we can leave for our children.

 A true journalist is only a vessel.  When journalists rise to a position of celebrity, it’s hard not to let their egos interrupt their moral responsibility.  Yet so many get swallowed up in that competitive trek in the name of TV ratings.  I feel sad for what happened to Brian Williams as I really did like him.  That being said, to think no one else in journalism or any other profession has ever embellished their life or work experience is absurd.  Whoever

is without the “sin of embellishment” should cast the first stone.  It seems more than ever these days that the idea of “things are not always as they appear” rings true.  It has become harder and harder to decipher fact from fiction and thus harder to not be drowning in cynicism.  I am forever optimistic though, as I believe in the goodness of the human heart.           ~  Mick E.  ~