100 sails

1:18:15 sunrise

I am so happy to be sitting here in this space writing to you. I have thought of this blog often in the last several weeks, and of the many women that I have met yet haven’t met, thanks to the blogosphere. The many women and men who pour their hearts and words out and bring light to others by doing so. How grateful I am for each of them. As I think about what I want to write and share with you, I must say that change has arrived on a ship with 100 sails, and with it the call to act, to light fires and no longer rest in the cracked bellows of stagnation.

For years I have turned motherhood over and over in my hands until it has tumbled smooth like stone. Gratefully, I know this role will never end, not really. But I have turned another corner in motherhood and I can say with all sincerity that there is now room for something more. I have given my all to my family. I am a better mother. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am a better human being. And most importantly, I am not finished, far from it.

sunrise_3_MJTerral

In the last several months, I have spent time thinking and dreaming about what comes next. I have been in this zone before, yet something feels different. Maybe it’s the remarkable women I’ve been spending time with online and off. Maybe it’s the intentions I’ve set just a few weeks ago, taking the time to write exactly what I want and how I am going to get there. Maybe it’s been certain events that have called me to action, to perhaps get my OT license back, or get certified as a dance instructor, and to write my heart out and share it with strangers everywhere. Maybe I’m just getting older and there is no better time than now to take more risks.

The bottom line is the earth beneath my feet is shifting, the soil is ripe for planting, and I have more courage than I have had in years. I have no other recourse than to utilize this energy and give it back, give it back with all I have.

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“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.”~ unknown

I am obsessed with sunrises. They bring beauty, hope, energy, inspiration and a new painted canvas every morning. For just those few minutes, the sunrise is my silent meditation, and facing east I make my intentions to begin fresh and new, with faith and gratitude for that moment and the next.

January is nearly over and it was my springboard, so let it begin.
Won’t you join me? What are your intentions this year?

Much love to you
xoxo

A dream in December

December 24,2014

I want to share with you a story, a journey, a waking dream, one that I had this past week.

It begins with bare feet, mine, and I am walking. Beside me is Wolf. We are in a dense, dark green wood. There is a mist in the wood, one that lays like a thin veil hiding visions of future and past, bringing the present deep into the nostrils and down into the chest. The only sound that penetrates is our bare feet, lightly patting along the forest floor.

The gray and white Wolf walks with me often and I understand him to be one of my great teachers. We don’t speak, instead we break into a run. I am fast, so fast I feel the wind pull my hair behind me. My legs are burning but I feel no pain. There are feathers on my arms, in my hair, on my gown and legs.

I am air, I am wind, and I run until the pictures at the edges of my eyes blur.

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We come to a great pine tree, the largest and greenest I have ever seen. Wolf has stopped several feet behind me, watching with his bright yellow eyes. I am to climb and I am to climb alone.

I reach up onto the long, laddered branches of this great pine, and pull myself up. Though the tree doesn’t move I know its spirit, strength and age wills me to be nimble and quick. I climb and climb, all the way to the top without looking down, until the air is so thin I should not be able to breathe, but I can. I stand at the top of this great tree, above the entire forest. I see the green tops of pines, canyons of brownish red and gray, and a blue horizon overseeing all.

My arms spread but they are no longer arms. They are wings, powerful wings of gray and white feathers that stretch far into the East and West.

I hesitate to jump as a flicker of fear begins to burn, the first I have felt so far. I shove it back down into its pit. I am to soar and so I will.

When I jump, I feel elation and a freedom that doesn’t exist when my feet are buried in the earth. The breeze that whisps across my face also carries my feet and body as if they were hollow. No weight, no burden, just a lightness that I feel could last forever.

But something changes.

In moments, I feel terribly wrong and I feel myself sinking towards the earth. A rise followed by a sudden decrescendo– I am falling and my wings are failing. The ground comes to me far too fast and now I am tumbling, tumbling, encircled by dust and dirt and pain, not a physical one, but one of shame and doubt.

Dusted and broken, I am no longer made of feathers and lightness. I feel heavy knowing that I fell without knowing fully why. I stand bare, covered only in skin, before the edge of a cold, blue lake surrounded by white mountains. The air is fresh, cool and crisp, a gift to the senses. I see movement beneath the icy water’s surface and I understand that I am to dive in. When I do, the water isn’t cold at all, rather, the water is warm and welcoming.

Dolphin comes to greet me and we begin to swim. I grab her dorsal fin and she pulls me through the deep, dark blue. Once again my hair is pulled behind me through waves of healing and cleansing. The dirt is no longer embedded into my skin. My wounds begin to close and fade. We swim for seconds, minutes, hours, it doesn’t matter as time disappers. If only I could stay here forever, safe, enveloped, and protected, but I am not meant to.

I am out of the warm water now and standing at the water’s edge once again. Wolf is waiting for me at the shore. As I turn to thank Dolphin, she is already gone.

Wolf speaks and tells me a great and wise teacher is coming.

So I wait, still standing at the water’s edge. I feel the soft, comforting pebbles and sand beneath as a ripple of water tickles the tops of my feet. A large shadow looms overhead darkening the sinking sun’s reflection in the water. I look up and see an enormous blackness coming down from the sky, my heart stirs and the hairs on my arms stand on end.

Overwhelmed and surprised, I see a majestic creature of enormity and grandness. He is the most beautiful dragon I have ever seen. His wings are long and wide, and shimmer like jewels waving across a dusty sky. His face is wise and terrifying at the same time. He is dark and iradescent, made of colors that cannot be described should they even exist in our world.

He looks at me long before he speaks to me.

“You will learn to create fire, to brew it, bundle it and breathe it out with every ounce of energy you have within you.”

And so he does.

We stand at the water’s edge and he shows me how to inhale, to gather, suck in and swirl all the fear, joy, happiness, pain, anger, helplessness–all the emotions that serve and do not serve–to roll them up into a fiery ball within my hearth space, my solar plexus, the pit above the stomach and below the ribcage. Everything begins here, he tells me. We are energy, but only the diligent and perseverent can create more. To live on given energy is not enough as most often it is squandered and wasted with useless pursuits. We create energy and ignite fire to forge new paths. We create because it is how we survive and ultimately, thrive.

I watch him as his chest balloons upward and outward, burning bright red and orange, a brilliant glow of heat that flushes my cheeks and forehead. He opens his mouth and exhales powerful orange, white, and yellow flames, roaring with pure light and energy, surging forth with committment and purpose. The fire reaches out across the lake reflecting the light of its flames toward the dim-lit sky.

“The fire we create is not one that we should be afraid of, for without it, we are dead inside, cold and alone. The darkness exists because like the night sky, it serves a purpose and a teaching, sometimes even a restful place. But if we stay in it too long, it will consume and devour whatever energy we have left. Fire is an intense and ambitious source, but to work for you, you must summon it. You must create it with a sincere and humble heart.”

And with this, he turns, lifts into the air, and then he is gone.

I whisper “Thank you”.

Wolf and I walk back to the edge of the wood and we begin to run again.

I am tired, but I run and run and run until I am at the great pine tree once more.

I raise my arms up and grasp it’s hearty branches.

I begin to climb.

***

I cannot tell you what happens next because that moment still lies within my bare hands and feet. I am humbled by the teachings that continue to guide me and lead me to a better path. In the end though, it is still up to me to create the fire. It’s up to all of us.

I wish this for all in this new year. To create our own purpose. To dream of those that teach us how to run, climb, fly, swim, breathe fire and conjure pure energy.

I wish everyone much love and
a Happy New Year.

Hello and welcome 2015.

fire

Endure

deersunrise

So much to say but the words won’t come easy.

November.

November was a deep clean cycle, the kind that digs into the darkest crevices and unearths dusty truths. I spent much of November sick with old shadows. Physical manifestations of lurking demons perhaps. I was barely able to celebrate Thanksgiving as I was hit with 2 separate illnesses, both involving my immunity and the intestines. Today I am better, but my internal machinery is still trying to find balance.

In truth, the cleansing began before I became sick. It began with an invitation from Deer in the East in the early morning of Nov.2, and a painting class that appeared spontaneously in a feed I was reading that same evening. Inside, an intuitive seed sprouted and spread when I saw the class and I knew spiritually and creatively this was an offering. The class was to begin the very next morning so there was no thinking involved. More so, I was compelled. One week later as I crumpled into my first sickness, I understood this offering was more than a gift, but a life preserver and candle in the changing fathoms of darkness.

To call Visual Quest just a painting class is grossly insufficient, but words hold minimal power in that space. Visual Quest is straight soul speak, a travel into each direction as we unearthed, cleansed, healed and communed with the energies around and within, all with the mediums of meditation, music, animal medicine, paint to canvas, and pencil to paper. As I navigated the entire compass of this wonderful class, I accepted the path my body was being challenged with and worked to quiet the naysaying shivers of ego. I painted freely through the physical and emotional conversations between spirit and self. Holes mended as they appeared–healing, holding, and rebirthing.

Oh, how often do we not recognize that our creative energies not only feed on the light we breed from mindfulness, but also on the emptying of composted waste that has churned ceaselessly in those dark crevices? The purest of messages and vibrations walk the tightroped path between ecstacy and despair if and when we have the courage to walk with it. The courage of warriors is within each of us and the power to endure shows itself when we ask for it.

hike

I do not dare guess what December holds for me or any of my family. Expecting and accepting the unexpected is possible if we know that we are not alone and unguided, if we believe that we are warriors, healers, and creators all wrapped in skin and held together by bone.

It is a full moon tonight and the winter solstice is approaching. More than list making and gift giving, more than merry making, and schedule filling, more than the good and bad news we are having or hearing, more than the physical and or emotional sicknesses we are all carrying and fighting—we are all still souls having a human experience. Transcendence is available to each of us.

lake

May your December be the most inspiring ever
With much love and gratitude
xoxoxo
MJ

sunrisesnow

October

redleaf

It’s finally happening–the painstaking gaze from without to within. The simple pour that this thirsty soul has been begging for; the welcome tingle of blood flowing back to numbed skin.

It feels good to shed again.
Lifted by the spirits that surround me,
swept by the leaves that fell before me,
and re-awakened by the universe that carries me–
I am here.

octobersky

October, October, god how I love October. She shook my bones and hollowed out the core. She gave to me by taking from me the materials that I sometime confuse as necessary. A new car damaged, an expensive camera lost, a windshield cracked, a vision obscured by nonsense. I have finally let them go and now I can see my own hands again.

And then there is this–this dark, beautiful package that arrived early in October.

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She is Cici and she is bountiful energy and unharnessed joy. She has given me gifts called “reminders” that things are never as heavy as they seem.

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I’ve loved the autumn that Colorado has given us this year. October fades behind her colors, leaving only the scent of her natural shift. Renewed and re-spirited, a creative flow presses through with eagerness and might against the walls that have held her captive–a slow awakening on the edges of winter’s hibernating call.

Goodbye October, and thank you.

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Happy Halloween and much love to you all…
xoxo

September

Fuzzything

September is gone and I gratefully welcome the shift into Autumn. October is such a beautiful month, rippled with saturations of orange, red, yellow and brown. These are the colors I adore, the colors of earth, wood, and leaf, the colors that support the last days of brilliant cycles that serve to only begin new ones. Nature never goes quietly, does it? Not to those who pay attention…

Life in the day to day has been stressful. Adjusting to new schedules, splitting myself between to two schools, and giving myself wholly to the Volunteer mom credo, which is “offer time, give time, spend time, repeat”, has left few moments to write or create as I once did when the children were younger. And the longer I am out there offering support, the more I see how much it’s desperately needed. Our community, our families, and our schools most certainly need it. The longer I am out there, the more I yearn for that village which relies upon each of its members to see a bigger picture. We are not the lone drivers of our lives, we do need each other more than ever and I see that now. We are not one family, we are one family in a collective and I am grateful to those I’ve met who see it the same way. I would not survive this school year were it not for those who see this same way.

My husband and I learned something in late August, something that has me thinking differently about the assumed futures we (sub)consciously impose upon ourselves and our children. My little Bee has been tested to have a learning disability. And while I can be grateful that she has just as many, if not more, powerful strengths than weaknesses, I can only blame human nature for wanting to mete out those blackened seeds with my imaginary Mom powers. Life is difficult enough without the bruises we carry and the heartbreaks that wait, and I wish with all my earthly might I could save her from all the pain that has yet to unfold. My heart breaks, dammit, it breaks.

There is little room for pity, no time for sadness, and the future for this child remains clear, bright and undiscovered as it always has been. Meanwhile I will work hard for her as I always have to help her find her path, her hope, and her destiny as it simply waits for us to catch up. And she will tell me stories of the dragon and the fox, the fairies and the woods, and I will know that somehow these creatures and her brilliant imagination will help her find her way, I just know it will.

adirondackfairyhouse

I am happy to see you go September. Take with you the restless heart and the fearful mind. Take with you the bitter bites of sadness and perimenopause! Leave the joy received from giving, from sharing, from friendships and family, and let it feed the warming embers that begin October. I am ready. We are all ready…

much love to you
xoxo

adirondackwoods1

Walk don’t run.

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denver

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berthoud horizon

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Alfie'sface

July was a solid month of summer joy. With alternating rows of high heat, rain, cool evenings and persisting humidity, July defined our days and served us spontaneity and unpredictability on a platter. Instagram has been my main mode of connection, and if we are friends on Instagram I apologize for the repeats, but I can’t help lingering on the square boxes of delicious color, space and moment, mine and yours.

As August steps in, I see a boy soon turning 12 and starting middle school. I nearly lost my breath in dreaded despair last night as I realized (again) that he is slipping from my fingers with each passing day. He is texting me regularly now (though 3 feet from me) with his newly acquired iPod and the mixture of feeling has me thinking I’m bipolar. I suffer quietly among the frays of his passing childhood and shriek for the future he heads towards. I pray please walk, don’t run towards that future my son….I manage only by the dance that rips me from these moments and casts me among the weightless planes of utter joy. Only when I stop do I remember the earthly committments I am still bound to. Only when I stop do I remember where I am or what time it is.

As school begins in a matter of weeks, so does a fresh year of volunteer responsibilities. It is how I stay close to my children you see….And somewhere before that madness begins is a short trip to NYC with the kids, a week alone with the Mister to wander and drive remote Adirondack roads, and a visit with one of my most cherished friends and her family in the hills of New Hampshire. I will squeeze in reading, hiking, writing and exploring. I will steal moments by way of image capturing and posting (provided we have signal). I will seek the memory makers by thriving in the senses and reflecting in the silence. I will do all I can to savor this time by walking, not running, to the very next thing.

I hope you join me in that walk…

Much love…

xoxo

Mtramp

Shine through

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I am aware. I am aware that I’m bandaged by the adornments that occupy and tweak the human mind. I dress in colors that drip from my ears to the straps around my heels. I register daily the size of my body and the lines and spots that emerge from beneath the skin.

Beneath the skin.

Beneath the skin there is light. Light that I see when I am dancing, laughing or walking with trees. Light that thrives on the silence of self, and muted by the flashy, distracted ways of our kind. There is a hunger there, beneath the skin. We can all feel the Empty and the Isn’t, yet too often stuff the wrong things into their mouths. We are starved, yet over-satiated and inundated with the excess that we endlessly need, feeding our greedy little egos with things that we falsely believe.

Yet, in between the convoluted and confused folds within, we are not abandoned, we are not alone. There has always been two of us here, one who knows and one who thinks. All choices meld and mesh together regardless from which, unearthing the endless truth of refractions, the endless truth of drifting, the endless truth that there are no mistakes and no waves that do not eventually lead to the same place we were all meant to go.

Sooner or later we will understand, sooner or later we will have our story, our revelation. As our skin melts and becomes translucent, as our minds fatigue and loses say, when we no longer care for the pretty or prestigious things that once defined us, or remember the colors that we once wore, the tingle and shiver of light will splay unhindered, until it’s all too clear, we are shining through our skin once more.

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Collecting

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I am watching my life in stories. Some words have been written on paper, but lately collected pictures have become the narrator. I string the details together like a popcorn garland, then line them end to end along the walls I call my world. Details like…

Like the day we hiked like madmen only to be stalled and softened by a nest of baby nuthatches in the hollow of a pine tree.
Like the day we saw a small murder of crows perched on naked, gray branches to keep watch over the city.
Like the afternoon she made me a dandelion taco as the rays broke through the shroud of a clouded sunset.
Like the day we walked Goss Grove, found Christopher Walken’s green head on a snail’s body and the yellow and purple house of wildflowers I want to live in when I’m 60.
Like the day we saw the man in the mountain exhale into the sky.

I complain of time moving quickly but each precious moment leaves a palm print, just like the ones we leave on glass. We spend our days thinking of what we need, what we want, and what we hope to have, burning time away like melted wax when the truth is, we receive all the time. We miss them—the palm prints—we look right through them, because what we want always seems to be on the other side of the glass.

Meanwhile, I rock my collected stories in cradles like newborn babes, wondering what they will be when they grow up, waiting for that perfect time to cut the strings. Maybe all along, just like my children, they are ready far quicker than I am ready to let go. One day, despite myself, they will become something all on their own.

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much love to you

xoxox

Re-acquainted

hydrangeainstax

Well hello :-).

Yes it’s been awhile, shall we sit and have tea and catch up?

How are you? How is your summer so far? And your family?

Me? I’m doing pretty well and yes I had a good birthday. 43 has been a breeze so far. We returned recently from visiting my grandmother in Ohio last week. She turned 94! She is still so sharp and her memory astounds me. We worked the crossword in the newspaper together everyday I was there, I loved that.

Seeing her moved something in me, and I wish I could say it was all sweet and nostalgic, but it wasn’t. With the visit came an uncomfortable glimpse into the future none want to ponder too long– the reality of life in old age, of loss in body and independence, of wisdom gained, yes, but not without a few footprints of sadness and regret. Seeing her made me think about the life I wanted to have, or even more important, the outlook on life I wanted to have, if I were to ever make it to 94.

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We talked a lot together Grandma and me. She mostly talked of the past, what happened to who and when. When she talked about my dad or my grandfather, my ears prickled with interest to the things I never knew about them. Like when my dad went to sleepaway camp when he was 12, and though he wanted to come home after two days, Grandma said “try one more day” and in the end he was so glad he stayed. She talked about taking the train to Chicago in 1944 to visit my grandfather after he finished boot camp, how the train was so crowded that people had to sit on their suitcases in the aisles.

We visited the lake house she lived in nearly her entire life, the lake house her father built, the lake house that my parents, brother and I would visit on the weekends for family bbqs, fishing, and firefly catching. Though she no longer owns the house, she checked on all the flowers she and her sister had planted, the clematis, the peonies, and the irises, as if they were still hers. She found them to be somewhat neglected, but still alive and carrying on. We later found an empty bird’s nest on the ground underneath an oak tree she had planted years ago, and in that moment, I couldn’t help but feel the congruity of it all.

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I know it’s cliché but I do feel like a child again when I am around her. She is always teaching me, recounting what it was like growing up in the Depression, the war, battling 3 cancers (and winning), losing loved ones like a husband and son, and what it’s like growing old. She is patient with my questions fielding them the same way she did when I was 10 years old, assuaging my curiosity and forever being my teacher.

I do believe the one precious gift we can give our older generation, the thing that helps make the life they’ve lived and ultimately their life in old age worth it all, is the opportunity and time to share their stories, their truths. And in return what we receive is a gentle, quiet hope that aging is something we can do, can manage, can accept, because it’s our own stories that will carry us through to the end.

much love to you

xoxo

Promise yourself

bunny

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

I can’t think of a better promise to make on my birthday.
much love to you all
xoxo