Rss announcement

Hello folks, I'm moving my blog to Wordpress. I'll still check LJ for other people's posts, but don't want to have to paste from one system to another over and over.

You may now access my blog at Live Journal via an rss feed, if you wish.

There's a new post up right now!

Thanks for the ride.

Many blessings - T>

Be Still, Then Move with Life

The solution of the problem of life is life itself. Life is not attained by reason and analysis, but first of all by living. - Thomas Merton

How will we live today? What food will we eat, what conversations will we be drawn into, what words shall we choose, what actions will we make, or not make? What feelings arise, what stories start to turn? Do we feel our feet open to the earth and our skin open to the air and our hearts pumping blood? Do we sense the person or tree or silence in front of us? Do we sense the silence or anxiety within?

There are many ways to give off light and many ways to rest in comforting darkness. There are also as many ways to be emotionally blinded by either dark or light. What scares us? What intrigues us? What reminds us we are whole? Seek. Learn. Taste. Gaze. Choose.

If the Sacred moves through all things, all things are tinged with the essence of the sacred. Do we choose to foster that sense, or crush it? What in front of us right now is a miracle, a wonder?

The solution to the problem is that it is not really a problem. It is all this, simply: life. Pain, joy, grief, hardship, plenty. The sacred whispers here. Do we choose to listen?


One action toward life I choose to make today is to send a package of warm clothing to the Lakota and Oglala people at Pine Ridge, and some money for propane fuel. They've been freezing all winter. Ice storms have knocked out power. Some of the elders have frozen to death. This is one of the poorest places in the US. They still need our help. Links for various places to send aid can be found here.

I recommend donating directly to the emergency assistance fund set up by the tribe that will be used exclusively for heating costs -- electric, propane, fuel oil, and firewood. Donations in any amount can be sent to:

Dean Patton, Treasurer
Oglala Sioux Tribe
P.O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, South Dakota 57770

[edit: being a Californian, I realized I didn't have clothing that would really make a difference, so Solar Cross sent a check for $120 which is enough to pay for a propane fuel delivery to a household.]


Let us continue to live fully.

Hummingbird Heart

Prose Poem for This Day

Look to the sky this fine day and ask yourself, "What is important to me now?"

The heart beating in your chest is lugubrious compared to that of the hummingbird, yet they are both beating hearts. You both are breathing. What miracle of connection lies in wait for you? Reach out and touch the sky. Touch your chest. There is nothing here through which the sacred does not flow. Flourescent lights. The barking dog. The tapping of computer keys. Manzanita. Coming storm. Sounds of distant cars...

You are creation. What shall you create? You are the giving over and the gift. Take your life and eat it whole, with relishing delight. With honor. The sacred is ever potential.

Be. Coming. Be. Coming. Be.

The Calling

The Calling

When you stand before the fire
There shall be no more weeping.
The trees shall whisper and wind shall moan:
Your fate is in your hands.

What is the path of your choosing?
How shall you walk this road?
With spine that reaches, earth to sky
And feet that tread surely.

Drink now of the waters
That bring life to your soul.
There is nothing that will quench
Your thirst like this.

Set forth. Be well. Walk strong.

T. Thorn Coyle
Imbolc 2010

(written for 5th annual Brigid in the Blogosphere)

Pagan Politix

Here I am, trying to leave North Carolina (where it is starting to snow) and finally spoke with chaplain Patrick McCollum who tried to leave me a message yesterday. Big news folks: California is siding with religious extremists. We have a chance now to fight this if we choose. Make some noise!

Breathing Presence

Love is the valley in which you wander. Every day, we choose to set our feet upon the path. Again. Every day we seek that which feeds us and find inside that which we can offer. Every day we have to recommit to our lives, our relationships, our work, and our soul’s calling. Cut the ties that bind you to the past. Let the past be carried in cells and memory, not in this constant reliving. You are living now. Breath the sweet air that carries this message: life occurs in milliseconds. Things are born and destroyed in the blink of an eye. The future depends upon how you live today. Make your plans then let them be. Focus on the choices of the moment. Be here now. Live.

Gifts from a Stranger

Why do you reject that which you must know? Take up the work at hand and do not prevaricate within yourself. You are stronger than you know. Correction. You are stronger than you allow yourself to realize. – LVX

How well do we know ourselves? What are we avoiding?

Try as I might, I could not manage to get a direct flight to Charlotte, so had a layover in Chicago yesterday. This turned out to be an act of synchronicity:

Last night I held a stranger in my arms... She was on the airplane, in my row. We sat with a seat between us, empty but for her piles of papers and books, which she would occasionally reference as she tapped away on her computer, just as I am tapping on mine now.

An hour into the flight, the captain announced that we would encounter some turbulence upon descent, because of the storms over Charlotte. This woman turned to me and said, “If I reach out and touch you, it is just to reassure myself”. I said that would be OK, and returned to my music and my book. Moments later, the plane shook and her hand reached out. The turbulence passed. Another jolt, and the hand reached out. I pulled off my headphones to tell her it was fine for her to hold the armrest, or indeed my own arm. I saw that she seemed frightened, so began talking her through breathing slowly and down through her feet. Between rounds of turbulence, it came out that I sometimes counseled people with anxiety. “Really, you work with people who have panic attacks?” Yes, sometimes, though not always. “I do spiritual direction,” I said. “I’m a Pagan minister.”

More turbulence. The plane rocked, she gripped my arm. At that point, things began to get much worse for the plane and for her. I leaned over, holding her arm, talking her through breathing. “Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Imagine breathing down to your feet.” She began to whimper and beg for help. It soon became apparent that though we were both trying, she was barely keeping herself together and was heading into full, hyperventilating panic. I told her to hang on, cleared the seat with one hand, got her computer out of her lap and to the floor and said, “I’m coming over.” And I did, buckling myself one handed into the new seatbelt, and pulling her toward me with one arm. The physical enfoldment was not going to be enough, so I threw my aura around her, and asked my contact, LVX, to help. As I murmured that she was surrounded by light and safety, she settled down, resting in my arms. We sat together and breathed as the plane bucked and shook, fighting the wind and rain. We kept breathing and centering, breathing and centering, for about half an hour, until the plane finally touched ground.

There is more to the story, of course. More effort on both our parts, more snippets of words spoken and energy exchanged. But mostly, the story is, she was afraid and asked for help and I responded.

Once on the ground, she thanked me, calling me “a general among soldiers”. I gave her a few more techniques to try and told her she could contact me, and gave her a bit of LVX to call upon for the journey back to Chicago, and recommendations for Rescue Remedy. Mostly, I told her she needed to deal with this, because putting herself through such strain and terror was not good.

Riding in the buffeting storm toward Light Haven for this retreat, I hoped she was OK in her rental car, somewhere on the road.

How are we like her? She had sought out hypnotherapy, but talked herself out of believing in it. She is busy. She works. She has children and a partner. She always manages to come last, leaving herself in panicked situations when she most needs the structure of some day-to-day support. What in us, right now, needs to learn something new, or practice something old, so we are prepared for what may come?

In her crisis, she knew to ask for help. How often do we ask for help? How often are we willing to be vulnerable? How often do we know we have a need, but are avoiding it? What in us prefers the strength of our resistance, bolstering some part of self? What in us needs to control so badly we cannot trust that the pilot will safely land our plane?

I feel grateful to this woman for all of these reminders, for these lessons, and for giving me both the opportunity to help her and the chance to reflect on the parts of my ego that still engage in the dance of avoidance. So today, I asked for help to face the tasks that are in front of me.

How about you?

The Supreme Debacle

Usually I don't write blogs two days in a row, but sometimes the situation calls for it. I interrupt your current meditation practice for a wee bit of politix:

Other than providing fabulous fodder for Stephen Colbert, there's nothing much funny about today's Supreme Court decision. Rather than wade my way through the petitions already circling the net, trying to ascertain if they make sense - or figuring out the best way to storm the gates of the Supreme Court before going out of town again on Sunday - I took a moment and wrote to my local representative, Barbara Lee. It seemed like something I could do at 10:30pm on a rainy Thursday:

Rep. Lee,

Thank you for all of your work.

Is there anything that you as a Representative - or I as a citizen - can do to help overturn the Supreme Court decision giving corporations the same free speech rights as an individual, thus paving the way for abuses of campaign finance among many other possible cascading problems?

My friends and I are very concerned, petitions are already flying around the internet, and I would like to know if you have any advice for us, and if there is anything you plan on doing to rectify this situation.

thank you - T. Thorn Coyle

Money (and What) Matters

Last weekend saw me in Canada teaching a group of deeply dedicated people. We were working on patterns of earth, of silence, and stability. We also explored, of course, the ways in which we destabilize ourselves, in which we speed up inside, in which we fall prey to worry, to living in the future or the past, to clinging to stories that may not serve us, and in fact, may not even really be ours.

In the course of this, we looked at money and our relationship to it. As part of our exploration, we ended up passing around a brass bowl while singing, "Life is flowing, I am receiving, life is flowing, I can give! May the gifts of the earth pass from hand to hand, may the gifts of the earth be a blessing for all!" Every person put money in. We could also take money out. Money passed from hand to hand, was tossed in the air, was given back to the bowl or waved about or put into pockets. It was joyous, though the exercise had begun with a bit of tension. We sang and sang and danced with each other. We opened to possibility. At the end, though some of us had taken money out of the bowl if we felt the need or wish, the bowl was filled to the brim with money to be sent to Haiti. The money we raised together - literally and figuratively, for the bowl was raised over and over to the sky - will be matched by the Canadian government before being sent on its way.

This was a collective act, a collective healing, a collective gift, yet it took each of us to bring our own relationship with money to the table. We all had examined our guilt, our frustration, our sense of scarcity or wealth and brought that to the task of singing and dancing with these symbols of cultural exchange. This process changed something in all of us as individuals, and therefore, as a collective, we were able to have enough sense of possibility in our relationship with money to have an overflowing bowl filled for people who's need in this moment was greater than our own.

That was magic. We had begun a change in our consciousness and manifested the blessing of that shift within the material plane. The moral of the story for me is this:

Our personal work does not have to get in the way of our collective work around social justice, caring for the environment, or caring for each other. Our collective work does not have to preclude sitting with ourselves, centering, examining thought and emotion, and changing our own lives. The more we realize that the two are linked, the stronger and more supple we become as individuals and as the collective. We can create the change we want to see in the world (to paraphrase Gandhi).

It starts right here, right now. It opens every time we breathe and we remember. We are whole. Our sense of separateness is just a difficult convenience. Come back.