The Dark Soul of Potential


Just before winter every year, I fill a pot with potting soil and plant some seeds in it. These are seeds that I have collected during autumn, usually along the road where I live.

It is fun to see what emerges when these seeds are given some light, water, and warmth. It is also fun to have some new growth in the darkness of the winter season.

But mostly I plant them to remind me of the power of being in the darkness, as these seeds are when they are planted, and before the plants start to emerge.

There is a lot going on, beneath the surface of the soil, in the darkness.

These seeds are preparing themselves for growth. They are putting down roots, and then developing their root systems, which will, of course, eventually be the mechanism by which they take in nutrients to grow.

These root systems are what keep them stable when their foliage starts to push up above ground.

These seeds teach me about the blessing of the darkness.

I am comforted to know that the darkness of winter is not just a dead time for me to get through.

It is instead an essential time of being in the darkness, and putting down roots for the creative energy that will grow and emerge from me in Spring.

What is the darkness about for you?

The Inbetween Time


Today it is cool, rainy, and I am shivering in the damp as I watch the leaves being blown off the trees. Yesterday was a cool sunny day, with a crisp, blue sky. The day before that, a hot, muggy wall of heat enveloped me as I walked out of the house.

We are in a transition from Summer to Fall.

We are in The Inbetween Time.

Every year, when we move into this transition time from Summer to Fall, I feel ambivalent, and, at first, a little disoriented. It always seems to me like it arrives suddenly, when I wasn’t looking.

I find myself wanting to hold onto the long days of summer, and the bright colors of growth.

I can feel the resistance in me as I am dragged into shorter days and brisk winds.

In The Inbetween Time, we are living some of the old, even though we know it is being dismantled. We can see and feel some of the promise of the new, but the details aren’t clear or sustained. The new is a wisp, rather than something we can hold onto yet.

In this time, if I let it,  Nature is teaching me how to be with uncertainty and change, how to be an explorer and an adventurer, and how to come to life with openness and curiosity.

The Inbetween Time is a powerful space of creative potential, if I can let go what I expect and where I think I am going, and instead be open to surprises and the gifts of the new season.

Most of all, I want to feel grateful for the gifts of absolute uncertainty and surprise that The Inbetween Time brings.

I want make space for what is coming, even though I don’t know what it is yet. In the last few weeks, I’ve had an instinct to clear my office, and my mind, for new possibilities.

For me, it takes faith to welcome the abyss, and to let the unknowing and the space just be, until clarity begins to form. I have to hold myself back from filling the space with what I know, in order to leave room for the unexpected. Nature gives me this faith, because Nature is a model of rhythms and cycles.

The Inbetween Time is a threshold, a suspension. It is a luminous time of transition, between what we know and what we don’t.

How do you want to be, in The Inbetween Time?

Dance of the Falling Yellow Leaves

falling yellow leaves

I’m sitting on my screened porch, enjoying the first day this year when the air feels like fall.

The dry, cool air is noticeably different than the humid days of summer. I can literally feel the change in the air.

The thick humidity has been sucked out of the air, for the first time all summer, and the leaves and flowers are crisp and clear. Every leaf stands out now, instead of blending into a homogenous backdrop.

A brisk wind comes up and the dance of the falling yellow leaves begins.

There is a huge walnut tree in the back yard. We call it The Goddess Tree, because its presence is so dominating and feels so sacred. The strong presence of The Goddess Tree can be felt in every season, and in any kind of weather.

One day, every year, sometime in August, a wind arises and the air is filled with yellow leaves, dancing and drifting down from The Goddess Tree. The tree still looks green, but there are yellow leaves tucked in amongst the green ones, and they are ready to let go.

These kinds of days inspire me to jump into life, to re-engage at a fuller level. I can feel the passage of time in the wind. Life feels more precious on days like this, and I feel more alive.

It’s like life isn’t just sauntering lazily along, and it certainly isn’t pausing to give me time to catch up.

The dance of the falling yellow leaves heralds a different, more changeable rhythm of life. It is so very different from the slow, relaxed days of summertime.

I need to quicken my step, to keep in time, to sense the rhythm of the change, and embrace it.

These days dare me to come more alive. It is not just an invitation; it is a dare.

In this dance, all of life is a demand to wake up.

What do you want to wake up to?


Fog and Fungi

Red Mushroom

I’m out on my morning walk with Harper, and we are immersed in a dense fog. The fog is obscuring my vision and I’m enjoying the feeling of being closed in. It feels somehow comforting.

Things seem to blur, as if in a relaxed focus, and unfamiliar shapes take the place of things that I see and know every day.

Fog invites me to slow down and savor what is right in front of me, within my limited range of view.

As a metaphor for my life, fog is a relief. I don’t have to seek clarity. It will come naturally, when the sun gets bright and the fog lifts.

Today I am also noticing lots of different kinds of wild mushrooms. There are red ones. There are tall slender ones, with narrow caps. There are short creamy ones with big wide caps.

These fungi remind me that summer is beginning to draw to a close, and that soon, Autumn will grace us with its presence. Autumn is when mushrooms are most prolific around here.

The sounds of crickets and cicadas have replaced the fullness of morning birdsong.

The days are noticeably shorter than they were a month ago, both in the morning and in the evening.

I welcome the transition from summer to autumn. I love the cooler days, and the dark green colors, turning eventually to vivid reds, yellows, and oranges.

What I don’t always welcome is the passage of time, which feels to me like it is continuing to accelerate.

The only wise response to the passage of time, for me, is to savor more.

When I bring all of my attention into the present moment, and savor something, and really behold it, time seems to stop its relentless forward march.

So I stop to savor the fog, and to behold the mushrooms, and to just appreciate life, right here in this moment. And, for just this moment, time seems to stop and widen.

What are you savoring today?

Prayer for the New Moon

new moon too

I wrote a prayer for the New Moon, and I offer it to you, in case it resonates for you.

New Moon….

Let me immerse myself in your darkness.

Let me rest in the dark and the cool.

Let me gather my wisdom and my strength for the journey ahead.

And, finally, New Moon, let me be open and receptive to what is emerging from your fertile void.

Water Under the Bridge

bridge zubiri

I haven’t written on the blog for ages. I made a commitment to myself a year or so ago that I would only share my words when I am inspired to share, rather than writing just because I haven’t written in a while.

My commitment is to be open and receptive, and what comes will come in its own timing. I wish for all of us that we live our lives in the flow, rather than pushing against it.

Speaking of flow, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last wrote.

Cinn and Hamilton

Our dog Cinny passed away, after 12 years of fun, frolic, and feistiness with us. We feel so blessed that she was such a big part of our lives for so long. This picture is of Cinn with one of her favorite toys, Hamilton. Be free, sweet Cinnamon; we miss you every single day.

mandala rose

I created and led an experiential workshop called Bringing the Sacred into Everyday Life. Eight of us gathered to spend five mornings together, creating altars, walking the labyrinth, drawing mandalas, communing with nature, and painting blessing flags. It was a rich week of fun, deep sharing, and profound learning.

2016 pilgimage

I have begun another virtual pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. I feel called to be a pilgrim when I find myself in Not Knowing Land, in various aspects of my life. I have done two other virtual pilgrimages in the last five years, one on the Camino (the same route), and one to Ireland.

Being on a pilgrimage helps me remember that it is OK to Not Know, that sometimes Not Knowing is the most powerful place to be, and that all we really need to know is our next step.

At its essence, a pilgrimage is an inner journey, so it is not necessary that we actually set foot out our doors (although a real pilgrimage walk is a very powerful and luminous experience; ask anyone who’s done it).

I believe that our lives are pilgrimages, when lived consciously and with intention.

When I look back at the last few months, what I see is my commitment to pay attention to that which is precious in my life.

What is the water that has passed under your bridge, in the last 3 months?

What is precious to you?

What do you want to pay attention to?

Life is Showing Me

reflections pond

The wind interrupts me. It jolts me. It shakes me awake. It cleanses me. It demands my attention. It can’t be ignored. It is literally in my face today.

In any moment, I know that Life is speaking to me. It is telling me, reflecting to me, the wisdom that I need to know right then.

Life is showing me where to look, and what to know.

Of all that could be getting my attention, right now, of all the things that I could be aware of, cloudless sky, fullness of sun, reflections in the ice, this wind is what has spoken to me.

So, this is where the wisdom lies.

Of all, this wind is what is most alive for me.

I pay attention to what is getting my attention. To me, it is Sacred Essence, reflecting back to me just what I need to know in this very moment.

This presence is available to me in every moment, in every experience. I need only to be aware of it. And therein lies the hitch. I must pay attention, to what is alive for me in each moment.

Today, again, I renew my pledge to pay attention. To tune myself to the subtle awakenings,  the slight movements, and the gentle stirrings.

I want to attend to the subtle invitations. Life is always inviting me to something. It is engaging me in a constant conversation.

Today, the wind is inviting me into a greater aliveness, an increased vitality. I only need to stop and listen, and it tells me this.

It is inviting me to wake up and be fully present.

What is Life inviting you to?




The Turning of the Season

crane migration too

The Sandhill Cranes are flying North. This is a sure sign of the turning of the season.

We don’t know how they know, but they do know when to return to their Northern breeding grounds, which are far North of here.

I always love seeing them. They are one of the signs of hope and promise of the new season, for me. They are heralds of hope and new growth. They represent the new and the renewed.

The cranes are a tonic for my soul that has been buried in the underground of dormancy and incubation for months now.

They are a call to return to the possibility of the new, even though I may not know what it is, yet.

They are a call to pay attention to what might be awakening from the dormancy, deep within.

Now is the time to pay attention.

What are you paying attention to?

The Back and Forth Time

snowdrops ice

The snowdrops have poked up through the frozen ground, the snow and ice, and are the first sign of new green growth this year. I am always thrilled to see them.

But they are also a mystery to me. How do they push through frozen ground? How do they survive in sub zero F temperatures? They make me nervous, because I always wonder if they will live through the ravages that Winter still has in store for us.

They are a paradox, and they come up in Back and Forth Time.

Back and Forth Time is that time when the seasons start to turn.

One day it feels like Spring. Then, the next day, the wind and snow blow back in, and there is another blizzard, and it feels like Spring will never come.

I realize that Back and Forth Time is a powerful metaphor for me, about my life.

It’s when the Old isn’t quite done with me, and the New isn’t quite fully ready for me yet, or even visible.

So I get days when I am living out the Old, and days when I get glimpses of the New, but the New is only a glimpse and a vague feeling. The bread crumb trail is sparse, scattered, and sporadic.

I don’t know why, after all of the changes that I have experienced in my life, that I still expect change to move at a smooth, steady pace forward. I wonder why I think that the bread crumb trail will be clear and robust, rather than off-again, on-again.

I need to remember that when the New is just barely starting to awaken, I am in a Back and Forth Time.

The call is to be patient, to be an explorer, and to remain curious and awake, to trust the awakening and the aliveness in it.

I need to trust that it will eventually gain momentum and carry me forward.

Nature can help me with this. Nature, in its seemingly capricious Winter to Spring mood, reminds me that I am in a Back and Forth Time, and that I will have Back and Forth Days.

How do you want to be, in Back and Forth Time?




That First Day

sunrise pink blue

Today is that very first day of the year that has “Spring-ness” in it.

It’s a magical day, and there’s only one of them each year. Everyone who lives in the Cold Country knows that, and has lived it.

It isn’t a day on the calendar, and there is no predicting when it will come. It arrives spontaneously, and sometimes when you least expect it. That’s one of the things that I love about it.

It’s that day when you suddenly feel, in your bones, that Spring is inevitable. Spring may still be far away, but the quality of the day grabs and pulls on a memory from deep within.

There have been lots of days this winter in the 40’s F, but none of them has had the feeling of Spring in them. This one does.

On this First Day, the sun is just high enough in the sky that it makes you know the turning of the season. It feels on the warm side of Winter.

When you take a deep breath, you breathe in warmth, and promise, and excitement.

Everyone has come out of their caves, and they are enjoying the freshness and hope of the day. They are walking their dogs. They’re cleaning up in the yard. They’re organizing their garages. They are preparing for the time when Spring projects will be absolutely compelling again.

Tomorrow, it will probably turn back to Winter-ness. The weather is notoriously capricious this time of year. It is a tease.

But we will never lose today, because now we know, again, the reality of Spring. Our faith has been renewed. There is no going back from here.

I just love that First Day.

What helps you know the promise of Spring?


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