Saturday, April 30, 2011


Often when we think of sanctuary, we think of refuge, a safe place.  A sanctuary is also a holy or sacred place.  It doesn't have to be a building, it can be within us.

I had to build a sanctuary within myself when I was a kid.  It started out as a safe place, a place that could insulate me against a very loud, chaotic, overwhelming world.  I built it stone by stone, a place of quiet, a place to recharge.  As I got older and my coping mechanisms became more ingrained, my sanctuary slowly shifted to a place to contemplate, it became the silence I needed to contemplate and worship the divine.  It also became the place where my memories were stored, where all my life experiences were kept as works of art, as an old library.

It took several mental exercises, imagination and necessity to create this place.  Before I would go to bed I would build my sanctuary a little bit more, add a little more detail, add another memory to my collection.

I later found out that this process had been done before.  If you are curious about memory and internal sanctuaries (or palaces).  The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by Spence is a good place to start.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Reality is a tricky word.  Reality is based on perception and perception is different for everyone.  Reality is a very individual and unique experience.  Reality can be influenced by majority; get enough people to believe and experience reality in a similar way and you have a new reality.  Reality is always changing, sometimes it is a slow shift and others you won't know what hit you.

We each have our own filters and blinders on.  We, as a people, used to believe that we were the center of the universe, that was our reality, now we don't believe that, we have a new reality.

Since reality is defined by perception, you are in control of your reality.  You are creating and redefining it constantly.  You are in control and with work and focus you can effect conscious change.


I am a firm believer in quests.  I have always had a vivid imagination and lived in my own head (almost too often).  I loved stories of brave quests, quests for treasure, quests for monsters, quests for knowledge.  I used to see everything I did as a quest, I was a brave knight-scholar, ready to adventure and find the answers to everything.  As I got older and reality (the reality that others have tried to push on to me) started to seep in, it depressed me to find that my quests for (insert goal) were slowly becoming unobtainable or even irrelevant.  It felt that there was little to discover any more.  The monsters had all been hunted, the forests explored, the deep dark had been lit up.  There were no more hero's quests.

I was limited in my thinking, I know.  During high school I realized that there were quests and hero(ine)s, there were people who faced life bravely.  There were people who questioned their world, questioned everything.  There were people who had to be brave everyday to battle illness, to battle poverty, to battle corruption.  Our battles are with different kinds of monsters that is all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paths and Path Finding (An Exercise in Awareness)

When I was little, my mother taught me to be aware of my surroundings, she taught me to be aware of what was going on in my world because there were people and animals and random events that could hurt me.  She said that while I may not be able to prevent everything but by being aware I could prevent somethings from happening.  This lesson left an impression on me.  I strained to be aware of everything.  I practiced keeping my mind open and to use all my senses.  Over the years this has turned out to become a part of my general awareness, it is a habit.

I can walk through crowds of people, trees, animals, etc. without causing much of a disturbance.  I don't know how to describe it other than I am a pathfinder.  I can find the path of least resistance.  It is an odd feeling, an extra awareness, as if I can see 360° at all times and the paths between are marked clearly.  It's not special, it is something that everyone can do with practice.

Start small.  Start with a room that you are mostly familiar with.  Walk around the room and use all of your senses to experience it.  Imagine that your awareness extends around you in a sphere.  Take a deep breath and push that awareness out further.  Feel the ground beneath your feet, what is the material that makes it up?  Are there any subtle shifts or marks?  See, smell, touch and listen to the room.  Do this everyday.  Keep your awareness around you like a bubble.  It is tiring at first but with practice your mental muscles will become stronger.

Start experimenting in different spaces.  Each space you are in will feel different, notice those differences with not just your sight, but with your other senses.  Notice the differences with your bubble of awareness.  Once you get practiced at that you can start trying to path find.

This part of the process is going to be different for everyone.  I have tried to analyze how I do it but all I can say is that I see the possible openings in a crowd or in a natural setting and change and adapt my path forward with each change in opening.  I use my awareness to adapt and change with whatever environment I am in.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Open-minded, Open-hearted

Children look at the world and observe.  They are without prejudice, they have to learn to single out people for being different.  Children are without fear of otherness, they will play with anyone and everyone.  When do we learn to fear?  We learn it from our family, we learn it from our peers.

When I was a kid, my family moved around a lot.  I ended up not going to the same school for more than two years at a time.  I was very shy and quiet as a kid, I preferred the company of grown ups to that of my peers.  Despite these parts of my nature, I made friends.  I wasn't popular in that stereotypical way but no one ostracized me for being shy.  I usually made one best friend, these friends have been friends no matter where I have moved and no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other or talked to each other.  There were times though, where I was pressured to change my friends because they were "weird" or "uncool".  I'll admit that it was a bit much for my young self (I was 12ish).  I didn't have the confidence to stand up to others and say "Hey, these people are wonderful, they have been nice to me and helpful and great."  I am ashamed that I didn't stand up.

When I moved to South America I learned an even more valuable lesson.  I went to Chilean school in Copiapo. It was daunting for many different reasons.  I didn't speak the language, I was shy, it was a culture shock.  I was stuck in a class with about 10 other American/New Zealander students where we completed courses through correspondence and was also put into electives with my Chilean peers to learn the language and get out of the "fishbowl" as we liked to call it.  Before I go on, let me say this, I love my friends that I made in Chile, expat and Chilean.  That being said, if I had been in a normal high school situation, I don't think I would have been friends with any of them, not because there was anything wrong with them, but we would have had different friends, we were all different ages and from different backgrounds  (it was kind of like The Breakfast Club).  We were all incredibly different, with different experiences, different likes, different beliefs.  I think back on it and I feel so privileged to have been given the experience.  The experience taught me to live with an open-heart and open-mind.  It also taught me to be confident in myself and my decisions.  It is how I live my life now.

Having an open-heart/open-mind approach to life has led me to some of the greatest friendships and discussions.  Having an open-heart/open-mind doesn't mean letting people walk all over you or changing your beliefs every time someone comes along with a different opinion, it just means seeing people as people, seeing everyone as worth knowing and talking too.  It doesn't mean that you have to be everyone's friend, it is just seeing the value in a person, in a moment.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nap Time

So I run full tilt pretty much all the time, even when I am sleeping I am busy, active and running around constantly.  I have incredible amounts of energy, get lots accomplished until it all catches up with me.  My body tells me that if I don't make the decision to lay down and rest then it is going to make that decision for me, usually at inconvenient times.

Today was one of those days.  I have been going, going, going this week and my body finally sad take a break, so today was interspersed with short naps.  I love naps, I usually wake up refreshed after about 45 minutes.

Wish I had something more profound but that is the N word that occupied my day, that and NO but that post will have to wait for another day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Mother (Warning Sentimental Feelings Ahead)

I've mentioned my mama in the last few posts as a lead up to this one.  My mother is an excellent, intelligent, strong, woman.  I have been blessed with someone who stands behind me, holds me and lifts me up.  She has taught me how to stand on my own and be strong.  She let me find my own path even when she may not agree with it.

My mother put up with me when I was a little sheisskopfe when I was just starting my teens (which I am eternally grateful for) and helped me through the dark times that were the years of early adulthood.  She has let my fly unfettered and figure out life on my own even though she misses me in the nest.  She has loved me no matter what I have done or said.

Even though she is going to be farther away now (South America), I know that we will still have time to sit on the patio, talk and enjoy a glass or two of wine together (even if it just over the phone).  I will miss having you here but I know that we are never really far apart.

I love you mama.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Love, Like and Lust

My mother and I talked about love and life over a glass of wine last night as we were enjoying a beautiful Tucson sunset.  It is a common topic for us, we are constantly defining and redefining our beliefs on those topics.  I realized last night that when I thought of love I had been not giving myself enough credit.  To give this a little context my conversations about love with my mother also tend to deal with my single state (I like being single and she likes to tease me), I told my mother that I didn't think I was capable of love.  My mother called me on it (because that is what she does), she said "What about _____, you love her and what about ______ you love him right?"  I nodded slowly and realized that I have people that I Love and Love without reservation.  I was shocked that I thought so little of myself to believe that I wasn't loving people or that I wasn't capable of it.  My mother and I then went on to other topics and spent the evening laughing and loving each other.

Our language is so limited in what it means to love and we get so wrapped up in what we think love is supposed to be that we forget that we are living it.  We have mistreated the word love and made it less than it is.  Love is not like, love is not lust.  Love (not like or lust) is without reservations, it holds no grudges, it accepts and holds dear those faults and foibles that we are all capable of.  Love is strong, like and lust not so much.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kelly (That's Me!)

What is in a name?  Are we defined by their meanings?

My name is Kelly, it is of Irish origin and can mean strife, war or bright headed.  I was actually supposed to be named Lindsay Marie, don't ask, I don't know what my mom was thinking (no offense to all the Lindsay Maries out there, I like the name Lindsay but it doesn't suit me at all).  Right after I was born, when they asked what I was to be named my mother said "Kelly Suzanne".  I believe it was fate (or kismet if you would like another K word thrown in) that my mother changed her mind.  Kelly definitely suits me better than Lindsay ever would have.

I know that strife and war are not particularly positive words and they definitely are not ones that one would want to describe their child with, but I like to look at the meanings in a different light.  Strife usually means discord or angry/violent struggle, but its archaic definition is striving and I am striving constantly.  I am striving to be the best me I can be.  War can mean so many things, but it basically boils down to conflict.  Conflict is what drives us, for good or for ill.

I have made my name my own, it is a part of me and I guess it was meant to be.

How do you feel about your own name?


The jester was a professional fool, trickster and prankster in medieval times.  It was a position of privilege in English and Polish courts.  In modern terms, we think of the jester as this joking, foolish, character.  In medieval times he had an important function.  The jester had licence and was expected to criticize and advise, to speak without giving offense, to mock and to give news.

This was important in a time when saying the wrong thing could either end in a political/social death or even literal death.  The jester, the licensed fool, could.  The jester's role was very complicated.  Often he was seen as a mere buffoon but as he had no official place or rank in the court he had to walk a fine line.  While the lack of court standing allowed the jester to be more free with their opinions but if they crossed the line they could be punished.  Often they could use jokes to chide the behavior of nobles and the monarch.

It is the nature of jesters to speak their minds, regardless of the consequences.  Maybe we need to invoke the jester in ourselves sometimes, sometimes we need to be the fool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is Just Going to Have to Wait

You'll get a double dose of alphabet rambly goodness tomorrow.  Sorry, I am just too distracted today.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Intuition, I once read, is our subconscious ability to gather, sort, cut through the surface of reality and understand the world around us.  This has stuck with me over the years and each time I think of a decision I have made based on intuition, I think back to this definition.

Intuition is all of your accumulated knowledge and experience accessed by your subconscious, this information is always on hand and if you learn to listen to what your subconscious is saying it can be a valuable tool.  For me, intuition is something that subtly runs in the background, if I hear that little whisper in the back of my head I take a moment to listen.  It wasn't always so, I would ignore it or shove it back into my deepest subconscious.  I learned early on that that was not a good idea.  Every bad thing that has happened to me has been a product of me not listening, also that little whisper that I buried or shoved back would come screaming through in my dreams (not always a pleasant experience). Now, I listen to my intuition constantly, it is a part and parcel of my life experience (I'm not saying this is how everyone does it, it just works for me and you will have to find what works for you).

I have never been much of a traditional meditation-type, my hands have to be busy, but I have always been caught up in my head, even as a kid, so I usually use knitting or cooking or anything that keeps my hands busy, as time to listen.  I analyze my initial feelings about something, those initial feelings are my gut reaction to the situation at hand.  I ask myself questions like:

"Why was I so uncomfortable in that situation?  What bothered me about (Insert Name)?  Why did that house feel bad?"

And I wait for my deeper self to reply.  As I started doing this more often the easier the answers came, now it is automatic and kind of runs in the background of my conscious mind.  I learned to trust myself and my now-not-so-quiet whisper in my head.

So, the trick is to find that way that works for you to access your subconscious, start with traditional meditation and if you are like me and truly cannot stay still there is an excellent book out there called Meditation Secrets for Women by Camille Maurin and Lorin Roche, don't be mislead by the title, the exercises in there are useful for men too but it is not your traditional mediation book.

Learn to listen and trust yourself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hands-Helping, Harming and Everything Inbetween

I will admit it, I have a fascination with hands.  I believe a persons hands, sometimes even more than their eyes, tell a lot about who they are.  Hands are the tools that we use to shape our world.  They carry out the potential that is in our minds.

Because hands are our tools they are a way of accomplishing our needs and desires.  They have the potential to harm or help, to heal or hurt.  Our hands can help us achieve our dreams and help others achieve theirs.   Our hands can offer comfort and affection.  Or they can destroy, they can hit and lash out at others, they can take and not give.  What are you going to do with your hands today?

Take a day to watch people's hands.  What can you figure out about them that they may not seem.  Hands can tell a lot of secrets, they can tell of hobbies, of emotion, of physical state.  Hands come in a variety of shapes, is there an observable trend in how people with a certain hand shape behave?  What do you notice about a persons hands?

The first thing I tend to notice is movement.  I have often been surprised by what someone's hands are telling me as opposed to their voice.  I was talking with a friend, his voice was sounded happy and his eyes were bright, but the tension in his hands told otherwise.  He was angry.  After noticing his hands clench and whiten several times, I gathered up the courage to ask him what was wrong.  After a moment he told me that I had said something to hurt his feelings, I apologized and we moved on.  It was an enlightening experience.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I have been grasping for an idea all morning long.  I even pulled out the dictionary.  There were many words that I was thinking of: generosity, growth, gratitude, generations, gods.  All great words, but for some reason I am not feeling the letter G.  So hopefully, H will provide the inspiration I need.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Friends and Family

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and a small selection of great friends.  I know that I am lucky.  Which brings me to today's post.

Gather those you love around you.  Create family, create community.  Family doesn't have to be blood, it can be solely of the heart and soul.  Gather them around and remember to tell them that you love them.

Have a good day everyone and give your friends and family lots of love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eschatology or the End of the World

Why do we want to believe in end times?  Is it to try to make the vagaries and whims of nature make sense?  With the amount of natural and man made disasters going on, it seems the logical conclusion that the world is going to end.  This belief is called eschatology.

Eschatology is the theological belief that concerns the end of the world.  Many different religious systems believe in the end times or the end of days.  The end of the world has fascinated and horrified civilization for thousands of years.  We see the end of the world around every corner, it has been prophesied and anticipated, even Jesus believed that he or his followers would live to see the end of the world.  Jesus, through John the Baptist, was part of Apocalyptic Judaism and believed that the end of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God was imminent.

Many religions or philosophies have views on eschatology; for some it is a transition from an old cycle to a new one, for some it is truly the end or just the end of life as we know it.  Our current fixation is on the Mayan calendar and the end of the world predicted by some to be this coming year in 2012.  An interesting fact about the Mayan calendar is that it has ended 12 times, this will just be the thirteenth.  Does it mean the world is going to end, or that there is going to be a cosmic shift?  Probably not.  Is the world or civilization as we know it going to end?  Most likely, unless we take responsibility and transition to become resilient communities (there is that word again).  I'm not saying to go back to homesteading times, because that is not for everyone, but to be conscious of the effect that you have on the world and what you can do to minimize the harmful effects and maximize the positive ones.

I'm participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge Tomorrow is F for....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Discipline, Distraction and Determination

Discipline is probably one of the hardest things for me to grasp, I am capable of great discipline but I am also tend towards distractions.  Even as I am writing this I have to work hard to not let my self..."Oh, what was that noise?"...get distracted.  For me, discipline is not lack of distraction, it is the acknowledgment of it and the determination to get back on track.

I have had to work on acknowledging and moving past distraction my whole life.  Unless I am working on something I really enjoy (it's not work then actually), I am easily distracted.  I was living in my own little world, daydreaming when I should be listening to the teacher, doodling during lectures, reading ahead in the text book.  It is something that I will never be rid of, and I wouldn't want to be rid of it.   I have just learned to work with it, through determination and a convoluted sort of discipline.

Instead of becoming discouraged at my inability to escape being distracted, I let everything that distracts me to run in the background, the simple acknowledgement of my distraction allows me to get past it.  I work on it everyday and I find that even if I am not 100% focused according to others, I am as efficient and focused as I can be.  I don't see being easily distracted as a limitation, some of my best ideas are from the path that distraction takes me, but I do understand the need for discipline and have worked to make it a major part of my life.

I'm participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge.  Tomorrow is E for....

Monday, April 4, 2011


In this day and age, with our amazing advancements in technology, it is easy to become detached from our neighbors.  Technology isn't bad, it is an incredible, wonderful tool, but we as humans are naturally community oriented people.  We have been massing together against the unknown for thousands of years, it is ingrained deeply in our DNA.  For most of us to be alone is to be vulnerable, to have community is to be strong.

We yearn for connection but have you said hi to your neighbor, have you made the effort to build a relationship with the people in your community? Connect with someone, gather your community around you.  Togther you are strong and resilient.

I'm participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bravery...Being Bold

Everyone has the potential to be brave at least once in their life.  Bravery is not the absence of fear but how we face it.  What is difficult is being brave all the time.  We are constantly faced with choices and many times it boils down to two questions:  Do I choose the easy option, even if it means compromising my morals? or Do I go with the hard choice and stick to my convictions?  It is tempting to take the easy path, but I have found the easy path can lead to a slow soul death and stagnation.

So when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable because it goes against what you believe but you feel fear, really look at those questions.  What can you live with?

Be Brave.

I'm participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge.  Sunday is a day off...Monday will continue with C.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Adaptable Animal

Animals are quite amazing, they adapt to their environment, mutate to become a part of their world.  While most animals are adaptive to their environment (adapt or do not survive) homo sapiens have adapted their environment to them.  We as humans conquer, we force land into submission.  What would happen if we reversed this? What would happen if we adapted to our environments?  Would we evolve?  Would we mutate?

Can we become adaptable animals?  I would like to think so and I know that there are movements out there that are aiming to do just that, but are we too late?

I'm participating in the  A to Z Blogging Challenge.  Tomorrow will be B for.....