E-Squared Principle #6: “The Superhero Principle”

After last week’s life-changing (literally) principle, the one that prompted me to leave my job, you’d think the energy would be rocking. And that this week’s experiment would be amazing.

But if you thought that, you’d be wrong.

This week’s experiment was to see if my thoughts could change matter, the physical world.

Could my thoughts make seeds sprout faster, and not only that, but could my thoughts make the seeds planted on the left side of an egg carton sprout faster than on the right side?

As Pam Grout, the author, instructs, I planted seeds in an egg carton and watered them every couple of days. And I sent good thoughts, intentions, for sprouting – and sprouting faster on the left side. Grout suggests green bean seeds, but I used cilantro, because I figured I could actually tend those sprouts in planters this spring and summer.

Today was the end of the week-long experiment.

Here is my result.

IMG_7609Yep, no sprouts left side or right side.

I did grow a little mold on the left side of the egg carton, though!

The last experiment, the one which prompted me to leave my job, also didn’t turn out as expected. Twice.

So I’ll keep watching these seeds, sending intentions, hoping for sprouts. Intending sprouts.

I’ll keep you posted.

And in lieu of cilantro sprouts, I’ll share photos of Gibbs Gardens from this week. This is daffodil time there. They have over 20 million daffodils.

20 million! Now that’s some positive intention.

And lots of bulbs planted. Lots and lots and lots and lots.

Surely these 24 cilantro seeds can produce some sprouts.

If I truly believe they can . . .

IMG_7568

Gibbs Gardens daffodils

IMG_7602

More Gibbs Garden daffodils

IMG_7601

Buddha in the Japanese gardens at Gibbs

E-Squared Principle #5: “The Dear Abby Principle”

WARNING:  DOING THESE ENERGY EXPERIMENTS MIGHT AWAKEN THE ENERGY IN YOUR LIFE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN DRAMATIC WAYS!

That statement in itself seems dramatic, doesn’t it?

Well, my life took a big turn a couple of weeks ago. A turn that I swear that was prompted by doing these exercises, paying attention to energy, connecting energy with intention . . .  even subconscious, unspoken intention.

It was this experiment that convinced me that tapping into energy and paying attention can have dramatic effects in my life.

But it won’t sound like it to begin with. Because I did this experiment twice, with little to no result.

In her book E-Squared, Pam Grout calls Experiment #5 “The Dear Abby Principle.” This is the experiment which answers the question, “It it really possible to get ongoing, immediate guidance” from the the field of possibilities?

I first tried it on February 7th, immediately after completing Exercise #4. I asked if I should pursue Reiki or some other kind of energy healing as a vocation of some sort.

Then I waited for the answer. And mostly forgot about it.

So what happened in the 48 hours?

Nothing.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

I wondered what that meant??

I didn’t jump into the next exercise. I’d lost some of my motivation.

A couple of weeks passed. We had several days of weird weather with snow and ice, which here in the Southern states brings things to a halt. So I had lots of time for thinking, ruminating. I was feeling lots of negativity, as if I were slogging through mud. But I also felt something astir. Something positive seemed to be wanting to take root, to use this mud as fertile soil.

I decided for a re-do of Exercise #5. But I’d ask a different question.

This time I asked if I should plan a trip to the upper Midwest in the next few months. I’d been thinking of a trip, and the upper Midwest is an area I’ve hardly visited.

I paid more attention this time.

And in 48 hours, I got only one thing that might be an answer.  Certainly nothing clear, nothing in neon.

I was behind a big, yellow 18-wheeler in Fort Oglethorpe, one that was with the Estes company. I love Estes Park, so maybe that was an answer? Not the upper Midwest but back to Colorado?

But that didn’t seem a clear answer . . .

So it seemed to me that this experiment had failed twice.

Or so I thought. Until the next Monday.

That day, I had two meetings about projects that speak to my soul, projects that touch my heart. And each meeting went wonderfully. I felt real connection, a part of the flow, as if I’d plugged into the energy.

But sandwiched between the meetings was an email about my job. An email saying I wasn’t producing enough, that the home office was choosing to diminish my already-small territory,

That event felt terrible. That energy was awful.

Just the opposite of the two meetings that were sandwiched on either side of it.

A friend at the first meeting had asked questions about my job, questions that I couldn’t answer enthusiastically. And her responses made me pay attention. I could tell she didn’t think the job was a good fit for me.

She was right.

That email was waiting as I left her. I first responded to the email asking for more time. That seemed the mature, professional thing to do. But then I slept on it, and when I woke, I was angry. I had been blindsided. No mention of not enough production before now.

I thought, “Do I really want to work for this company? After all, the energy has never felt good with them, ever.”

And I thought of how that email was sandwiched between two meetings that had the opposite energy. Positive energy, soulful, heart-centered energy.

That felt significant.

So, on a whim, I fired off an email to an acquaintance who works with an education-related company asking if she knew of any jobs, part- or full-time.

She answered within five minutes. Her company was always looking for someone in professional development.

I read the requirements. They fit my skill set. More importantly, they fit my passions.

I knew what I was supposed to do.

Leave my job.

And I did.

I didn’t hear back about my request for more time until the next afternoon. They did offer more time (with some restrictions), but I’d already made up my mind the previous day. The lifting of the bad energy had been immediate when I decided to leave them.

It was all so clear now!

So why am I telling you this story as a part of the Dear Abby Principle??

It’s because I think that this situation was the clear answer to that experiment.

But I’d been asking the wrong questions!

I’d read that chapter three times before trying the experiment, and each time, this part jumped out at me:

“But watch out. I tried this once and got fired. In retrospect, however, it was the perfect answer, maybe the only one I could hear to the question I’d asked . . .”

All three times, that part kind of scared me. So I was careful not to ask a question that had anything to do with my job.

But guess what?

The field of possibilities decided to answer a question about my job!

That was the question that wanted to be asked, needed to be asked. Even though I was afraid to ask it.

I didn’t get fired, but I saw the handwriting on the wall. This already-yucky job was about to get yuckier.

It was time for me to leave. And the Universe showed me another path. Within five minutes of my asking.

Now it may be that this new path isn’t exactly the right one for me, but I feel sure it’s leading me in the right direction. The yucky feeling of the past year and a half has lifted. I’m exited again. I’m wanting to learn new skills, to use the ones I already have, to pursue my passions, to follow the energy that feels right – as opposed to the energy that felt wrong.

And I truly feel that doing these experiments has put me into the flow so that guidance can come my way, will come my way.

Has come my way. Miraculously.

Even when I was afraid to ask!

I started Experiment #6 today. I’ll report on it next Sunday. It’s not so risky. This one involves sprouting seeds, literal seeds.

I’ll also be watering some figurative seeds, ones that got planted with the last experiment when I got the answer to my unasked question.

And until next Sunday, I’ll be trying to pay attention to what wants to happen in my life.

And watering seeds. And sending intentions. And paying more attention to the guidance I receive.

Because I’ve discovered that if I get into the flow, what wants to happen is probably going to happen anyway!

IMG_7531

Chickamauga Battlefield last Sunday afternoon.

Check out the my previous experiments here.

E-Squared Principle #4: “The Abracadabra Principle”

Another Sunday has rolled around, and it’s time for my E-Squared report.

This one is the “Abracadabra Principle.” (Which, by the way, is my favorite chapter title).

The premise here is that we can manifest things, specific things. Material things. Just by thinking about them.

Sounds cool, huh?

But I had to quiet the skeptic in me. It started to say, “No way! You can’t manifest material things, things made of matter, just by thinking of them!”

I told the skeptic, “Come on. Give it a try.  What do you have to lose?”

So I determined that I would manifest a pair of walking shoes.

But not just any walking shoes. I wrote this in my journal:

My intention:  To receive a pair of walking/running shoes, narrow, Brooks or another well-fitting narrow pair, bright colors that make my heart happy and ground me.  And make me want to get outside!

I wrote out the intention you see in the photo and put it on my dream tree.  And I set my 48-hours.

And I thought about shoes.

I went through my 48 hours thinking about shoes a lot. Looking up shoes on the internet. Checking brands to see who had narrow shoes. Checking prices. Thinking of how comfortable the shoes would be. How much I’d enjoy walking in them.

Two days almost passed, and no one sent me or gave me a pair of shoes.

I wondered if this would be the first failed experiment.

But just before the 48-hour time period was up, I made a sale. One for which the commission would be a big hunk of the price of a pair of running shoes.

And I cashed in $16 worth of lottery tickets. I thought they’d be worth about five bucks.

All total, that came within about $15 of the shoes I wanted.

IMG_7509

Shoes and written intention

So I went to a local shoe store and tried on a lot of shoes. And finally chose a pair and ordered them in my size and width.  Shoes that are bright and happy and fit well and make me want to get outside and walk.

No one brought me shoes, gave me shoes. And the amount wasn’t quite enough.

So was the experiment a failure or a success?

Maybe it was a partial success because I only partially believed?

I’m not sure.

But I really like my new shoes.

And I want to end with a WARNING.

If you’re thinking of starting these energy experiments but haven’t actually begun them, you might want to think twice.  Because next week I’m going to tell you about an experiment that totally shifted the direction of my life.

I really believe that doing these experiments got the energy flow going.  That these experiments are a catalyst for the changes that are coming about in my life as I type right now.

So you are forewarned.

Until next week, let’s be brave. . .  and let’s go with the energy flow!

IMG_7519

You see, I got outside. This was this afternoon. See the energy in the sky?

E-Squared Principle #3: “The Alby Einstein Principle”

It’s time for a Sunday report on my E-Squared experiments. I’ll tell you right up front  . . .  this one got a WHOA! from me.

Pam Grout’s Experiment #3 is to prove that we’re fields of energy in a bigger field of energy.  And this one requires objects existing in the physical dimension, not just thoughts and intentions.

The instructions are to get two coat hangers and straighten them out and make them into kind of magic wands with bent ends.  At least that’s how I looked at it – because magic wands are pretty cool.  You put plastic straws on the bent ends that you’re holding so that you’re not directly touching the metal.

You hold the wands and think negative thoughts and then positive thoughts.  Your wands should react to your energy.

My version of the experiment was even more interesting than what Grout described because I had two different types of coat hangers.  The first one I got was an old one – probably 20 or 30 years old.  So the metal was fairly heavy.

The second coat hanger was newer, and the metal was lighter.

When I held the coat hanger wands in front of me, I could definitely tell the difference.  The light one flopped back and forth pretty wildly, while the heavier one moved a lot less.

Grout warns you that they’ll be whanging around until you settle them, so that didn’t surprise me.  They settled pretty quickly.

Once they were steady, I started with negative thoughts.  I pulled up a situation that has given me recent pain, one that makes my heart contract.  And sure enough, the coat hanger wands pointed toward each other.  My energy actually had contracted.

Then I shifted gears and thought of something that makes me happy, something that makes my heart feel good.  And sure enough, the wands expanded, moved away from each other.  And the lighter one opened up so wide that it kept expanding until it rested on my upper arm.

I was like WHOA!!  can control energy!!  Woohoo!!  This is cool!

But being a bit of a skeptic, I calmed myself down and switched hands to see what happened if I had the lighter one and heavier one in different hands.

You can probably guess.

I got the same results.

As Grout suggests, I tried controlling the energy.  I could make the wands move more slowly, expand or contract gradually.  I could make them most fast and kind of wildly.  I learned to control them pretty much however I wanted.

That was a month ago.  I left the wands out because every now and then I’ll pick them up and see if I can still expand and contract energy.

I can.  Every time.

It’s very cool!

I can’t wait for someone else to try it and let me know what happens!

Please comment below after YOU give it a try!

And thank you SO much to the couple of folks who commented last week.  It’s much more meaningful to me to be doing these experiments in a community of experimenters.

And if you’d like to start now, it’s certainly not too late.  Here are the links for my first posts about these experiments:

Join Me in an E-Squared Community

Experiment #1:  The Dude Abides  (I know people did this one but didn’t post on the blog.  I’m hoping they’ll go back and do that so that results are shared with each experiment).

Experiment #2:  The Volkswagen Jetta Principle

If you’re just joining in, there’s no timeline.  These posts will be here when you have time for the experiments and then dropping by to comment.

And until next week, May the Energy Be with You!

IMG_7118

E-Squared Principle #2: “The Volkswagen Jetta Principle”

“The Volkswagen Jetta Principal” in Pam Grout’s book E-Squared is an experiment concerning whether our “beliefs and expectations” have an impact on the Field of Infinite Possibilities.

Grout chose the “Volkswagen Jetta Principle” as the title of this chapter because probably all of us have experienced having a new type of car come into our awareness – and then we see it seemingly everywhere.

So the first part of this experiment was to look for a certain color of car in a 24-hour period.  She suggested a “sunset-beige” car.  But since I’m not sure what color that actually is, I chose to look for blue cars.  Because I thought there weren’t many of them.

Salzburger Landing Day, St. Patrick's in Savannah, Biltmore 111

I even found a blue car in my photos, too. This one was in Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2009.

Okay, I was really wrong about there not being many blue cars!  There are lots.  I saw lots of blue cars.

When I remembered to look for them . . . .

This time I had a much harder time being aware, paying attention.

I didn’t notice any blue cars when I first left the house.  But when I finally remembered to look, there were many.  I even met several in a row on my drive into Chattanooga.

This experiment also has a second part.  Grout said to look for butterflies or purple feathers during the next 24-hour time period of this 48-hour experiment.

I chose purple feathers.  Because I thought there’d be fewer of them.  (Notice a pattern here?  I try to make things harder.  You think that might be a reflection of how I make my life?  Harder than necessary?  Yeah, I think so, too.  Point taken.)

Now if I’d chosen butterflies, I’d have found lots and lots.  Immediately.  Because my daily journal is covered in butterflies.

But no, I didn’t choose butterflies.

I chose purple feathers.

And I saw nary a one during the 24-hour period.

But during that 24 hours, I told a friend about the experiment.  And she looked at me kind of surprised and said, “I swept up a purple feather at the lake house yesterday.”

What are the odds???

I think that was my purple feather.  Via a friend’s attention and experience.  Do you agree?  Do you think that counts?

So, those of you who are playing along, please share your experiences in the comments below.

And if you just started and want to share your experiences of Experiment #1, “The Dude Abides.” just click here, and share your comment on that blog post.

And finally, I want to share an interesting coincidence.

Several years ago, while I was still teaching high school, I woke in the middle of the night with this statement in my head:  “We forge our own chains.”  I wrote it in my journal.  But I didn’t need to do that, because it rang so clearly of Truth that is has stayed with me ever since.

In the chapter on Principle #2, Grout includes this quote:

“You will not break loose until you realize that you yourself forge the chains that bind you.”

- Arten in The Disappearance of the Universe, by Gary Renard

I haven’t read that book.

But maybe I should, eh?!

Until next week and my sharing of Experiment #3, Happy Experimenting to you!

Labor Day 09 Savannah, Salzburgers, Biltmore 134

A butterfly in my photos. This one is 2009 as well.

E-Squared Principle #1: “The Dude Abides”

Okay, so today I report the result of my first E-Squared experiment (from Pam Grout’s book E-Squared ).

Last Sunday, I asked that you join me in these experiments to form a community of people who are trying the series of 48-hour experiments and sharing their results.

Grout calls the first experiment “The Dude Abides.”  The Dude to which she alludes is from The Big Lebowski.  You don’t need to have seen the movie to perform this experiment.  (But since I hadn’t, I watched it last week).

Grout posits that there is a Field of Infinite Possibilities and that we each have access to it. Not only do we have access to it, but we can tap into it “at any time by paying attention.”

I started my 48-hour experiment three weeks ago by doing as Grout instructed in the directions.  To ask for a blessing in 48 hours.  And then pay attention.

I wrote the principle, theory, and hypothesis in my journal.  And I expected a gift in 48 hours.

I was truly excited as I started the 48 hours.

I tried not to have expectations but to be open to what is – and what wanted to be.

But I found that I have a hard time with letting go of expectations – and fears.  Yes, fears!  I was surprised to feel a worry emerge, a concern.  What if something bad happened?

I was intrigued at that emergence.  What is the source?  Do I truly believe that with each positive potential there is a negative one?  I’ve been kind of pondering that since the first experiment.  I don’t have an answer . . .  but since this post isn’t about my neuroticism, I’ll continue to the results, to what happened during the 48 hours.

During the first 24 hours, I was very aware of potential gifts.

In a store, I had a nice conversation with a couple of moms and a cute toddler named Willow.  Was this my gift?  It could be. . . but it wasn’t in “neon,” as Grout emphasized in the “asking” directions.

I lost some focus in the second 24 hours, quit paying attention so carefully.

So, of course, that’s when the gift came.

I didn’t recognize it at first.

A knock on my front door around four in the afternoon (not very common – that should have been a clue).

There stood my neighbor from up the hill, a teenaged boy who had helped me with some yard work early in January.

Did I want him to finish filling up the holes in my front yard?

I told him I didn’t have any more soil to put in them, that I’d not remembered to get any yet.

No problem.  He’d been working in his yard and had a pile of dirt.  He’d bring some down in his wheelbarrow.

I still didn’t realize this was my dude-abiding gift.

So, to help me out, the Field of Potential made it more clear.

My neighbor brought a puppy down in the wheelbarrow with him.  I played with the puppy while he filled in the holes.  I commented on how cute the puppy was.  It played all around us and even tumbled into one of the holes.

And then . . . . my neighbor offered me the puppy!

Do you know how unusual that is?  That someone would be working in my yard, doing some work for me out of the blue, and then offer me a puppy??!

And you know what else?

I still didn’t realize that that, the help and the offer, was the gift!!

Maybe it was because I didn’t take the puppy.  I felt that if this boy could work it out to keep the puppy, she was supposed to be his.  He’s not sure he can keep her, so I told him not to give her away without checking with me first.  I’m not sure how she’d do with my four yard cats, but we’ll figure that out if we need to.  But I really didn’t and don’t want to separate a boy and his dog.

After the holes were filled and my neighbor headed back up the hill with the puppy in his wheelbarrow, I finally realized that I had indeed received a gift.

That this had not been a usual occurrence.

That the Field had come through for me.

That I had received a gift.

And that it was pretty much in neon!

That all I had to do was ask . . . . and then abide.

images

That was my first 48-hour experiment.

I hope you’ll share yours in the comments below.  Because I’m interested in seeing the various ways in which our intentions and expectations can influence The Field.

Next Sunday, I’ll share my experiences with Experiment #2, “The Volkswagen Jetta Principle.”

Until then, let’s pay attention.

And ask.

And be open to receiving.

Join me in an E-Squared Community

Calling all experimenters – energy experimenters, thought experimenters – even skeptics, perhaps even especially skeptics.

Join me in an online community of sharing.  One that shares the results of some energy experiments to see if our thoughts really do create our reality.

Does that speak to you?  Are you up for nine energy experiments that deal with your thoughts?

If so, get this book, E-Squared by Pam Grout, and join me in doing the experiments. You can get the book in paper form or in energy form (that spoke to me for a book about energy!) from your favorite bookseller.  Right now, it’s $4.99 on Kindle and iTunes.

Unknown

What I’d like you to do is to perform the experiments and share your results.

I’m going to post about each of the nine experiments and share my results.  And I’d like you to join in and form a community, an online energy community, and share your results, too.  It will be so much more fun for us to see what others find in their experimentation.

Will we have similar results?  Or very different ones?

Who knows?

But I’d love to find out!

You can do the experiments at your pace.  No hurry, no timeline.  Just do them as they speak to you.

Because one of the cool things about a blog is that it will be here when you want to add your comments.  It won’t go away.  It doesn’t hold you to finishing at a certain time on a certain day.

Just follow your energy as you’re called to do each experiment.  And pay attention. And share your results.

It will be fun to see how energy flows with each of us.  How it connects with each of our lives in its own way.

And maybe it will even flow among us!

I’ve already done the first handful of experiments.  But I’ll wait to share my results.

I’ll post each Sunday – one experiment and my results – for nine Sundays.

I hope you’ll add your results in the comments.  Whenever it suits you.  No hurry, no pressure.

We’ll have an online community of energy experimenters.

One that I hope will include you!

IMG_7314

We’re All Connected: A Magical Day

Sometimes everything comes together to show us something significant.  At least that’s what I believe.

Friday was a day that showed me how much I’m connected with others – past and present, near and far.  It’s as if the Universe conspired to give me several examples in one short day.

IMG_7253

The loader puts pine trees into the delimber

I drove that morning from Savannah to my sister’s and my Effingham County land, where we were having pine trees cut.

The timber cutting wasn’t the process I’d expected. I’d thought there’d be a big crew, lots of people involved.

But there were only a handful.  Three machines cut the pines and completed the whole process – from felling the trees to loading them onto pulpwood trucks.

The feller buncher cut the trees and laid them down for the skidder to drag them to the loader which put them into the delimber and then stacked them and loaded them onto the truck.  The operators worked in climate-controlled cabs.  They can work rain or shine, in heat or in cold.

The magical connection part of my morning was that the trees that our parents had had planted 20 years ago now will be sold to Weyerhaeuser to become “fluff” that will be sold to China.  Our Effingham County, Georgia, USA pine trees will be a part of diapers in China.

I was struck with the connections in time and space.

My parents’ planning in 1995 will be touching (literally!) people on the other side of this globe in 2015.  Did they think of that when they decided to have pines for pulpwood planted those 20 years ago?

How often do my decisions today affect the world 20 years from now?  How will those decisions connect up with other humans, perhaps humans on the other side of our earth?

How often do I consider that??

IMG_7270

My paternal great-greatparents’ grave

From the timber cutting, I drove the three miles down to the cemetery where my parents are buried.  My sister and I have been looking at our genealogy lately, and the names on the graves in the older part of the cemetery have more meaning now because I realize that there are family connections there, too.

I visited the graves of immediate family members – my parents, several aunts and uncles and cousins, as well as my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents.

I was trying to connect them with me, to feel how they are all a part of me – in ways of which I’m aware and in ways of which I am unaware.

While I was walking around, I noticed a woman come in the front gate.

Of course, on this magical day of connections, she turned out to be someone with whom I’d grown up!

We had gone to church together during our childhood.  I think I even remember when she was born.  And we share a common ancestor, a great-greatgrandfather.

We also share a pretty similar view of the world.

There’s something special about the connection with people from our childhood, those who shared a home church or a school or a sports team.  Those people know us in ways that people in our adult lives never can.

That’s a connection that is unique.

My friend and I had reconnected through Facebook, which gives us a window into each other’s worlds.

But this in-person, coincidental, this synchronous meeting was so perfect, so meaningful, in this magical day of connections.

After walking around the cemetery, sharing family stories, we hugged our goodbyes, and I went across the road to my home church.  The light of this winter afternoon was perfect for some photos.

Georgia Salzburger Society Museum

Georgia Salzburger Society Museum

I had walked back behind the Georgia Salzburger Society Museum to get some photos of the Fail House when I saw a couple looking around.  I knew that neither the church nor the museum was open.

But I’m full of information about the Salzburgers and could share some of the history, so I engaged the couple in conversation, asked where they were from and how they’d found the church.

Since this was a Magical Connection Day, of course we had a commonality!  The woman had relatives in my mother’s hometown of Sardis.  I remembered the name from my mother’s stories.

As I shared some of my Ebenezer Salzburger history, she shared some of her Burke County history.  Burke County is the home of the other half of my lineage, the maternal half.

So here I was in Ebenezer in Effingham County, where I grew up and the home of my father’s family (all the way back to the mid-1700s), talking about Burke County, the county where my mother grew up – with someone who had family history there.

Sometimes days come together in a way that makes me deeply feel that there is something much, much bigger than I am – and with much, much more wisdom than I have.

Something that conspires to make itself known to us in seemingly insignificant ways.

And sometimes in big, can’t-miss-it ways.

Friday was one of those days!

I felt connections from times in the past, generations and generations ago, connections that came all the way through time to Friday, January 9th, 2015.

I felt connections with people, people who knew my parents, people who knew my childhood self, people who had common ancestors and whose family had common friends of my family.

And there was a to-be connection of our pine trees planted 20 years ago with people on the other side of our blue planet in a product that will be a part of families’ lives as they care for infants who arrive on this earth sometime in the future of this year of 2015.

When I got up Friday morning, I had no idea that a magical day was in store.

But it surely was!

I returned to Savannah for the evening, grateful and amazed.

Awestruck, actually.

I’m a part of something vast but something very connected.

We all are.

Because we all are connected, past and present, near and far.

And some days conspire to show us just that!

IMG_7290

The Fail House, built in the 1700s

IMG_7291

Front porch of the Fail House

IMG_7301

Window of the Fail House

IMG_7278

Jerusalem Lutheran Church, Ebenezer, GA, completed in 1769

My Word for 2015 & a Dream Tree

As I step across the threshold into 2015, this liminal time of endings and beginnings, I meditate on the new year and what I might look toward during the next 12 months.

Three years ago, I started using this Abbey of the Arts “Give Me a Word” exercise for a focus:

In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them. The desert became a place to enter into the refiner’s fire and be stripped down to one’s holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.

Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word –  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime. This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – “give me a word” we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.  The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.

  • What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold in your life?

My word for this year didn’t come right away.  I started thinking of this exercise a few days ago, and several words flitted about.  Integrity. Heart. Love. Responsibility.  

But I decided to wait until today, New Year’s Day, and do a meditation in search of “my” word for 2015.  Those other words once again flitted about, but none felt “right.” I waited until I got a scroll, a rolled up word, and I went to the desert in my meditation to unroll it.

On top of a desert plateau, I carefully unrolled the scroll and looked at what was written on it.

My word was “GROWTH.”

DSCN1590I was surrounded by, covered in, a profusion of green vines and leaves, and I saw the Green Man, the one who looks down in many European cathedrals.

I also saw some strategic pruning, because uncontrolled growth isn’t what my word is leading me toward.

So a current in this New Year, this year of 2015, will be growth.  Green growth.  Abundant growth.

But not uncontrolled growth.

It’s not a verb.  It’s not grow.  Growth is usually a noun.  And every now and then can be an adjective.

It’s a word of flow, of challenge, of hope.

This is a word I can be with for a whole year.

And while I’m pondering the New Year, I’ll share the idea I had today when I looked at my tabletop purple Christmas tree.  Something in me doesn’t want to take it down.  I put it up late, just a few days before Christmas, and I got lights for it after Christmas at a sale.

So somehow, it doesn’t feel quite like a Christmas tree.

But what is it??

A thought popped in to my mind as I was thinking that I’d like to keep it up for a while after Christmas.

The idea was to make it a Dream Tree.  A tree to honor my dreams, night dreams and day dreams.

So I left a few of my favorite Christmas ornaments on it, and I’ll keep lighting it as long as it feels right.

And on it I’ll add some dreams.  Waking dreams and sleeping dreams.  I’ll make “ornaments” that honor those dreams.  I made my first two ornaments today.

The first of these ornaments is my word for 2015.

It is the word “GROWTH” written in green, surrounded by vines and leaves.

The second ornament has an image from an early morning dream I had last week, one with a giant, invisible snow monster who had kind of, sort of . . . accidentally burned an alien.  Oops!

That’s quite an image, eh??

The next ornaments will likely be ones to illustrate some of my waking dreams, my hopes and fears, what I seek and what I run from.

This Dream Tree will help me to remember to honor my dreams, the ones that come while I’m sleeping – as well as the ones that come when I’m awake.

How long will I have a Dream Tree?

As long as it feels right.

Right now, I have a Dream Tree lit up for New Year’s Day, a purple tree that is dressed in colorful lights and a handful of Christmas ornaments, as well as GROWTH and a giant snow monster carrying a burned alien.

What ornament will be next?

I don’t know. But I trust it will be one that is a part of my growth in 2015.

As for you,  I wish you green, growing blessings as well as hope and love for this new year.  And a word for 2015.  And lots and lots of dreams!

IMG_7225

Memories: Ebenezer Crossroads Christmases with the cousins

Every year at this time, I think of Christmases when I was little.  A part of me can feel what it was like there at Ebenezer Crossroads so many years ago.

I can feel the excitement of the first glimpse of the presents Santa left us by our Christmas tree in the living room.  I remember the almost overwhelming excitement of looking at each of the Santa gifts with my sister – and then opening the gifts our parents gave us.

Santa didn’t wrap presents.  I guess he didn’t have time to wrap presents for all of the children in the whole world.  But our parents did wrap presents.  That’s how you could tell which were from Santa and which were from Mama and Daddy.

Then we had the exiting, most-fun-of-all day when we crossed the road to Grandma Effie’s.  There gathered our abundance of aunts and uncles and cousins for our typical Christmas Day.  We had dinner at 12:30, the Seckinger-extended-family dinner time for decades.  We opened presents mid afternoon.

Before dinner, after dinner, and after opening presents, we children played.

Christmas was the best day of the year for playing. We all wore outfits we got for Christmas – cowboy and cowgirl outfits, football uniforms, turtlenecks, plaid bell bottom pants.  We wore our new clothes, and we played with our new toys.  Even in the new clothes, we ran wherever we went . . .  until one of the adults yelled at us to stop running!

We played inside if it was cold or rainy, outside if it wasn’t.  We played nicely sometimes.  We fought some, too.

It was a glorious day of toys and games and exuberance that had been building for a whole year.

But the main thing I remember is that we were together.  I remember very few presents I received, though I know I received many.  I remember little about the food we had (well, except for ambrosia, made of oranges with some banana and coconut and pecan, a concoction that Daddy loved so much).

Mostly I remember the people.  I remember us all gathering in the living room, Grandma in a chair surrounded by stacks of presents and her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Aunt Madge would be next to her, with a stack of presents just as big.  The rest of us filled the living room – on the sofa and in the living room chairs plus chairs brought in from the dining room, with most of us younger ones sitting on the floor.

We drew names (all but Grandma and Aunt Madge did), so each of us got a gift.  Two or three of the aunts or uncles or older cousins distributed the gifts.  We had to wait until each one of us had his or her gift in hand – then we tore into them.  What a cacophony of shredding paper and shrieks of excitement!

And after seeing what we’d gotten and saying “thank you” to the giver, the younger ones of us would throw the torn wrapping paper into the fire in the fireplace to watch the paper burn in lovely colors – red and blue and green flames.

I don’t remember the end of Christmas Day at Grandma’s, the leaving, the saying goodbye.  I know we must have done just that, but I don’t remember it.

So in some wonderful way, those Christmases still go on for me.

It’s as if I never actually left.

Even now, all of these decades later, as I sit in front of my laptop in a house on a hill outside Chickamauga, a part of me will always be at Grandma’s house at Ebenezer Crossroads on Christmas Day in a house full of relatives and good food and big stacks of presents.

A full house that was even more full of unspoken love.

That’s where a part of my heart is each Christmas Day.

And so it will continue to be until I join Grandma Effie, Aunt Madge, Mama and Daddy, all but one of my aunts and uncles, and a few cousins on the other side.

Here in my memories, we all are.

And we all are together.

IMG_7203

With my daddy and my little sister on Christmas morning 1964

Cousins visit our house on Christmas Day 1964

Cousins visit our house on Christmas Day 1964

IMG_7204

The children’s tables at Grandma’s, Christmas 1964

IMG_7205

About to open presents at Grandma’s, Christmas 1970.  

IMG_7206

Aunt Madge opens her presents with Grandma’s assistance, Christmas 1970