Full Flower Moon

These dream boards have a stripped-down feel and yet also a vibrant decadence about them. I find I need less and less images to answer the questions posed by each individual moon, and that the images I do choose have a boldness that I lacked when I first started this practice. (Evidence to be found here and here.)
The image of the swan has an interesting story. Upon returning from my last spiritual direction intensive, I chose an Animal Medicine card to help ground me as I attempted to integrate all that happened while I was away. The Swan revealed itself, bearing a message of awakening the true beauty and power of self. About a week later, I found the image pictured above in my collage stash and also remembered listening to David Whyte expound on a poem by Rilke called “The Swan”. (You can find the poem here and the commentary here – I swear I could listen to that man read the phone book.) I won’t butcher Whyte’s nor Rilke’s eloquence, but suffice to say the essence of their words feels like an grace-filled answer to this moon’s questions:

What dreams are ready to burst into flower? Who are you when you’re in full bloom? How do you wish to bloom?  xoS

Little Altars Everywhere


In the dream the string had broken
and I was trying to
pick out its beads among all others.

The large coral beads,
the beads of turquoise and ivory—
these were not mine.
Carved and ridged with color, burnished, weighty—
my hands passed over them without regret or pause.

The tiny ones,
of glass,
almost invisible against the white cotton bedspread—
these were mine.

The hole in the center
scarcely discernible as different from the bead itself,
the bead around it
scarcely discernible as different from the bed or floor or air—

with trembling fingers
I lifted them
into the jar my other hand cupped closely to one breast.

Not precious, merely glass, almost invisible.
How terrified I was at the thought of missing even one.

While I live, I thought, they are mine to care for.

Then wakened heavy with what I recognized at once
as an entirely warranted grief,

frantic for something plain and clear
and almost without substance,
that I myself had scattered, that I myself must find.

– Jane Hirshfield, “Silk Cord”

Word 2016

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It would not be an overstatement to say that last year’s word, artist, changed my life. I found it challenging and expansive in ways that honestly shocked me. I thought I merely wanted to be able to say the words “I am an artist” which in retrospect was letting myself off easy. Artist had me reckoning with the deepest voices of my soul that actually defy speech. I am still wrestling with and discovering aspects of this word and probably will for a long time to come.

My search for Word 2016 began in September, and having done this a couple of times now, I knew enough to start keeping a list. For awhile, I thought my word was ‘contemplative’. Then, I landed on ‘play’. I have explored my relationship with play in this space before – and while it’s gotten easier, playing still does not come effortlessly. ‘Play’, however, didn’t come by itself; it brought friends. Words like ‘curious’, ‘gentle’, ‘trust’, and ‘lightness’ were always hanging around. I remained open to play and her posse until about the third week in December. I was watching a video by Julie Gibbons in which she was talking about how to approach a year-long Mandala study of hers that I’m taking. She used the word ‘feminine’ in her description and immediately, I knew that was my word. I recorded it in my journal this way: “Think my word of the year has finally claimed me: Feminine. It doesn’t feel scary, but it does feel like a challenge. I feel like its calling me to a certain posture in facing the world: softer, circular, kinder, gentler, open to multiple forms, guises and possibilities.”

Chris Zydel helped me put words around how I want to hold this word going forward. “This word is something that I can go back to again and again to remind me where to focus my attention and intention, as I make my way through this year. This word is a teaching tool as well as a magical talisman. It has the power to guide me into a deeper relationship with a holy idea, act as a compass to orient me on a journey and serve as a method to explore all the different ways that this concept manifests – or not – in my life.” Chris also posed the following questions as well: “What is an energy that needs to be brought into your life in a bigger way? What is missing and what do you need more of? What is calling your name? And are you ready to engage wholeheartedly with whatever this brings to you in 2016?”

I’m hesitant to say much else about my word. Several opportunities have already presented themselves and next month finds me exploring the edges of feminine archetypes at a weekend retreat called The Luminous Woman. Exciting, yes, and absolutely not something I would have done even six months ago. So even though it feels a bit faddish, I do love this practice of choosing a word for the year. If nothing else, it sure shakes things up.

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Have you chosen a word? If yes, I’d love to know what it is. Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation.