Fungal Bouquets

20160628_113414I just returned from several days of camping in the hills of Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburg.  Each year from the time my children were 2 and 4 years old until they got through high school I met up with 3 other women friends and our 10 children to go “Chick Camping”.  We travel to places within 2 hours of home for the first few years and then as one friend moved out East we traveled a further distance each year to meet up more centrally to all of us.  So, much fun.  So many memories.  But as my children are now 21 and 23 (and as are the others, moving on into adulthood), we had not camped together in a few years.  Until this past weekend.  This time just the four “moms” went.

On day one of our adventure we set out on a 7-mile hike through the woods in the heat and humidity. As my friend Kate stopped to take yet another picture of unusual fungi she remarked something to the effect of “how interesting that there are so many (beautiful) ways for things to decay.”20160626_122243

I am turning the page to a new chapter of my life. I am bringing some long standing parts of my life to a close over the next couple of months (if plans continue on the path I envision).  I know it is time.  Yet, it can be hard sometimes not to look back and yearn for what once was.  Camping with kids (like life in general) had both it’s joys and it’s challenges.

This is currently a time of great change for many on this planet (and for the planet herself).  I think it can be helpful to see the Fungal Bouquets as a symbol and a reminder that what “used to be”, can be “food” for something new and beautiful.  Decay?  I prefer to think of it as New Growth.

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Please Don’t Listen To Me

(This was written a few days after the Orlando nightclub shootings and not posted until now.  I was still feeling a bit like my words just weren’t adequate for the situation at the time.  Not sure if they are now, but do feel called to share this)

Don’t Listen. To me.  Especially this week when there are so many other voices making noise.  Making noise about guns, noise about hatred, noise about religious beliefs, noise about sexuality, noise about safety, noise about protection, noise about government leaders, noise about laws, noise about politicians, noise, noise, noise….

Why?  Because, my words, no matter how they are written or spoken are going to divide us.  You will either agree or disagree and I probably won’t change that.  Or you may not even understand me at all.  My words are written in my first and pretty much only language (American English) that only a segment of the people of the world can read and comprehend.  And even if English is your first language, you may still mis-understand the intent I hope to convey.  So, I won’t.  Try.  To Convey Thoughts or Ideas. Now.  When we need most to be reminded of our Oneness.  And words just won’t can’t do that.

A few years ago I was a visiting teaching artist for several weeks to one of Chicago area’s “alternative schools”.  When I took the “gig” I really didn’t know what that meant exactly: “alternative”.  Well this was a school for middle school aged children (young adults) who had been “kicked out” of regular public school for “mis-behaviour”.   I was told going into the position that I could not use “gang affiliated colors”.  What were those?  Well, black, red, grey, silver, blue, yellow, green, and on and on.  How do you do art projects without the three primaries and black, I ask?  Well, I had them dyeing yarns and weaving with pastel shades and got very creative in resolving this issue.  At the same time I was working with a 2nd grade class in a suburban elementary school and we were learning about “symbols” and creating art that “symbolized” who we were.  Soccer balls, baseball bats, flowers, rainbows all played into their imagery.  Words, symbols, colors, flags, songs, manifestos, all defining who we are individually and collectively in our small groups.  All very important at separating us.  What is important to utilize when working to unite us?

I want to believe that if there were no words, if there were no language you could feel my intent.  I want to be like our bright sun as it came out from hiding behind the cloud or the tree.  I will share my Light.  I will share my Vibration.  I will share my Love.  Please see the Brightness.  Please feel the Tingle.  Please embrace the Warmth.  But please don’t listen, there is nothing here to hear.  Please just FEEL IT.  2014-01-06 16.02.08

Mountain Top

Mountain Top
My view on a camping trip to Shenandoah National Park circa 2007.

This morning as I transitioned out of sleep I heard that Voice that whispers to me before my head gets cluttered with the thoughts of the day.  (I am not a person who likes to jump out of bed at the sound of an alarm. I linger and listen. I get my best guidance in this liminal space.)  The Voice said, “We are so pleased, Pam. You made it over the mountain top.”

What do  I see from the mountain top?  I expect to see a beautiful fertile valley below, but it’s still “early in the day” and the fog is hiding the view.  So, I will linger here for a while.  I will wait for the path ahead to clear. I will enjoy the beauty as it gradually appears through the mist.  I know the trek ahead will become so much easier. I have made it over the Mountain Top!  Thank you, Guides for helping me get here and for celebrating my arrival.  I couldn’t have done it without You.

 

 

Quieting the New Mo(o)nkey Mind

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Saturday, June 4, 2016. New Moon. Card of the Day (for me). The Hanged Man XII.  Well, I should have seen that coming! That is exactly the energy I am feeling this morning. This new moon energy has a feeling of sadness and a little grieving as I try to release “the old”. But that is the message of the hanged man: “Waiting, Surrender, Release”.  So easy to say. So hard to do.  The “monkey mind” just wants to know ” what’s next?”.  The hanged man just answers, “take this time of waiting as an opportunity to practice being present with yourself.”  The new moon says, “the answers will show up with the light of the full moon. Just wait.”  And so I let go of yesterday and sit with TODAY.

Dead Wood Metaphor

20160601_142841One of my first thoughts this morning as I was putting clean dishes away in my kitchen and frustrated that I didn’t have enough cabinet space for everything was, “You must sacrifice some things in order to have other things that you want or would like”.   Whoa, where did that limiting belief come from?  Yes, I know it’s been hiding in the dark corners of my thoughts for at least 3 decades, possibly all 5 decades of my life!  Why is it there?  Why can’t I believe that “I can have it all”?  It may feel like my truth.  But, it isn’t a TRUTH.  How do I shift that into a thought pattern that serves my highest good, changes my personal path to abundance and is aligned to the belief that as a Spark of the Divine I am worthy of “having it all”?  No sacrifices needed.

Yesterday a fast-moving thunderstorm moved through our community.  Many branches and even whole trees came down around town.  They called it a microburst.  A tree came down across the street from our home landing on the neighbor’s house, severed at the base of the trunk.  Today the village tree service is making fast progress to clear the debris.  As I was meditating this morning and listening to the wood shredding going on nearby I realized that my limiting beliefs are like “dead wood”.  They need to be blown away periodically.  Sometimes it takes a pretty strong microburst to do that.  We may inspect our thoughts and “prune” little bits of beliefs that are no longer needed, no longer feel TRUE.  Ideas that may have served us well in the past, but are now holding us back.  Thoughts that may have kept us safe, or were commonly held by our family, friends, community.  But now they no longer work for our current situation, our continued growth.  Pruning can lead to better health, greater vitality.  But still, like the tree across the street from me, we miss the fact that the trunk has a huge portion that is rotting.  And until a strong microburst comes through, it stays hidden.  Buried deep.

Yes, we can prune and blow away the dead wood, but there is one more hidden lesson here and it came from the humming of the wood chipper.  You must transform that dead wood.  Mulch it.  Make it something new.  Something that aids and nurtures the “further growth”.  Make it block the weeds.  Make it feed the roots of new growth.  Rotting wood is necessary.  Don’t just blow it away and pretend you don’t need it.

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Work In Progress:  “Can You See The Forest for the Trees?”  (c)2016-Pamela Penney

So, today as I work to finish a piece I’ve been creating for quite a while I contemplate what needs “pruning” from my thoughts and where, if anyplace, am I hiding “rotting wood”.  (My maiden name was Wood, so this feels “real” to me)  How can I examine and transform the thoughts that no longer serve my continued growth?  How do I use them to feed the change and transformation of my life?   What needs a bigger storm to push it out? The “working title” of this piece has been “can you see the forest for the trees?”  How do my little thoughts keep me from seeing the big picture?   How do I mulch my little thoughts and beliefs to create fertilizer for my growth?

I believe that I will weather the storms and time will tell.  

New Belief of Transformation:  I am Worthy and Can Have It ALL!

Flight

Well, I knew this day was coming.  My baby robins left the nest this week.  Today it is suddenly very quiet in my studio.  I did not realize how frequently I heard the babies chirp, chirp as Mom and Dad Robin flew in with a meal.  I found great joy in seeing the reaction of people as they walked down the street and noticed them so close to the sidewalk.  One evening a family watched for several minutes asking each other if they were “real”, and yes, “I think I saw one blink!”.  And  I found it facinating just how many people walked by oblivious to the miracle of nature just inches from their face, because they were too busy on their phone to notice.  On Monday the four little robins had gotten so big they barely fit in the nest and I knew the time was near.  I also could tell that Mom and Dad Robin knew it too.  They became pretty aggressive at “dive bombing” anyone who came too near or lingered for too long.  I was not in my studio when they took their first flights.  But I don’t believe the Mother Robin pushes them out of the nest.  No, they spent many days stretching and testing their wings.  They just finally got too big for the nest and had no other option but to fly.

I too am feeling a little like that.  Like my current nest doesn’t quite fit anymore.  So, what to do?  I just keep testing and spreading my wings.  When the time is right, I have faith,  I will be ready to FLY!  Enjoy this little video on my Facebook Page of my babies the day before they left me.  See it HERE.

And, I urge you to slow down, stop and enjoy the miracles of nature just inches from your face everyday.  It puts things in perspective and teaches lessons about life you just can’t learn on your computer and phone screens.  For a great way to learn how to do that I recommend my friend Sallie Wolf‘s book, “The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, a birder’s journal”.  It has great lessons for watching, documenting and enjoying birds and the natural world around you.  Perfect for children (and adults!).

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The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, by Sallie Wolf

 

 

 

What Basket Are Your Eggs In?

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Felted Shaker Eggs

Today I worked on wet-felting a dozen + a few (egg-tras in case of breakage) of my “shaker eggs”.  They are an item on my etsy.com shop (See them HERE) that a woman custom ordered this week for her daughter’s 1st birthday party to give as favors for the other children.  I filled plastic eggs with a variety of beads (so that each egg has a different sound), wrapped them in wool and then with a lot of wetting, soaping and rubbing I created these joyous sounding, rattles that I am thrilled will be adding to the fun of a child’s first party.  This was very therapeutic work today, as the last few days have been busy getting larger artwork finished for shows and deadlines.  This is a little more “mindless” and that can be good every once in a while.

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Basketree by Karen Gubitz

As I rubbed and felted these eggs I stared out the window at Momma Robin sitting in the nest she and Daddy Robin made a little over a week ago.  Everyday I watch them come and go, following the calls of nature.  They picked a particularly interesting spot to set up “housekeeping”.  They chose to build their nest within a woven sculpture by artist Karen Gubitz.  She calls these works her “Basketrees”.  It is a perfect shelter for a bird’s nest.

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Momma Robin warming the nest.

I want to be like the birds. They trust in their shelter. They trust there will be an adequate food supply nearby for their offspring. They trust in each other, the daddy showing up when needed to give the female her breaks from nest sitting. They trust in their environment, in this world.

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Daddy Robin guards the nest while Momma takes a break.

If humans are the higher intelligent life forms, why don’t they create an environment they can trust,  a world they can trust to provide safety, sustenance, blessings, peace, and joy for themselves and their future generations?  I bless the shaker eggs as I send them off to a group of one year old children somewhere in Kansas…Maybe these eggs can be a spark to create this future world we can TRUST.  At least they will spark a little JOY.  That is the basket I put my eggs into because I don’t think that kind of world is just for the birds.