The Lights Are On & Someone’s Home ~ 8-25-17

photo by Franne Demetrician

Feeling the refreshing cool hint of fall in the air this morning and it feels good. Planning to hold summer as close as possible but ready to welcome the sensual pleasures of autumn.

I spent some time in the last few days talking about and reflecting on authenticity. I had written a post for this week that somehow didn’t work for me and even after asking for some valued input from trusted confidants, I didn’t feel good about posting it. So, it sat in my file for the last few days waiting for me to “post or get off the pot”. I decided to get off the pot and start over. Here is why.

The intention of this website is to be a place of safety and respite for anyone who chooses to stop by and read my blog. My hope is that what I share here is helpful to my readers; that together we come to feel and know that none of us are alone in our human experience. My previous post was more of a “cranky pants” rant than the fulfillment of my intention. I’m considering that post a private journal entry that just needed to be written, and leave it at that.

I had the good fortune of receiving a tremendously healing session from my friend and colleague, Michele Granberg. She is a gifted shaman and healer. I was holding the question about my cranky blog post in my heart when I arrived. My intention for the session was quite simply to find my center, to affirm integrity and authenticity, and to remember my connection to Oneness. As always, the session was amazing, but this one seemed to have an even deeper and higher quality to it and soon I was in an altered state hovering just outside of my body in total bliss. I’ve had some inspired moments during sessions with Michele, and this one was restorative and refreshing, which is exactly what was needed.

Toward the end of the session Michele began to whisper some affirmations to me, and as she did I started to see faces – faces of people in my life who love me. It started with my Dad’s face and I felt his energy as if he were standing right next to Michele at the side of the table. I felt the tears and said a silent “Hi” to Dad, but then I saw more faces – faces of people in my life who I love and who love me – and felt more energy and was immediately surrounded by what can only be identified as unconditional love from every one of them. It was sudden and filled me completely. I almost felt myself lifted off the table by the rush of energy I felt from the light of all their love. Then she said something like, “feel yourself so connected that the face of God is but a hair’s breadth away”. That was profound, and what I saw was me “cheek to cheek” with the face of God. It wasn’t so much a visual image, but it was what I experienced. Me and God – cheek to cheek. It was pure, it was innocence, it was transcendent.

Michele said a few more things, brought me back to Earth and my body, and the session ended. I felt revitalized to be sure. And I gained insights from some of what Michele intuited from the session that clarified some of my present questions and challenges. I hugged her and thanked her, then floated out to my car. My habit is to get the music going before I do anything, which is what I did. I pressed the button that would start my iTunes library and put the car in reverse. The next thing I heard was the most beautiful saxophone interpretation of “God Bless The Child”, by of all people Stanley Turrentine. Y’all, I didn’t even know I HAD that piece in my library. Hello! I stopped the car and just stared at the readout on the dashboard that said, “God Bless The Child”. The message was complete – cheek to cheek with God, “God Bless The Child”, and unconditional love from all the angels in my life. It was all there and the lightbulb blazed as bright as the sun. Ding, Ding, Ding! I knew what I needed to know.

Whatever the eclipse on Monday left behind – the “eclipse hangover”- that I was feeling this past week I have surrendered to it and welcome the opportunities it has afforded me. My session with Michele was integral in moving me forward and I am exceedingly grateful to her for her kindness, her compassion and her skill. I heard the message loud and clear, the lightbulb continues to burn bright, and I’m ready for what is next.

No stretch this week. Just hugs and love from me to you.

WEEKLY STRETCH 8-3-17 ~ On August

Ah, August. I have a conflicting relationship with this month.

As I mentioned, August is my birthday month. My awkward relationship with August began in childhood, specifically once I started school. You see, August comes before September, and September means SCHOOL! And there is my birthday, smack dab in the middle of August, two weeks before the beginning of SCHOOL!

Most kids dream of their birthdays. Am I right? And like most kids, I dreamt about mine, in living color. Cake, ribbons, wrapped surprises, games, all kinds of fun. And yet, the specter of SCHOOL was always breathing down my neck in the form of some hideous monster who would show up to ruin it and scare the bejeezes out of me and everyone else. I’d wake up in tears and disappointment. In my waking life I’d think, “Oh boy, my birthday is coming!”, feel a quick sense of excitement and delight at the prospect only to have those feelings diminished the second I would compute the timing and what would inevitably come right after. It didn’t help that some of my birthday gifts might include school-oriented things like fall clothing, a bookbag, or a new pencil case. Such a mixed bag for a kid to manage.

As an adult, I developed what one might call “unrealistic expectations” around my birthday. I think on some level I had hoped that adulthood would negate the conflicting emotions since school was no longer an issue. The end of August was only the end of Summer (bad enough actually, but not as bad as SCHOOL), and I love the fall season so it was not so bad. Subconsciously (maybe not so “sub”) I expected the day to be extra special somehow. And sometimes it was. But most times it was average or less. I often felt let down and sad. It just never measured up to what I had hoped it would be. My birthday continued to be a mixed bag emotionally.

I love being a student and eventually – you guessed it – went back to SCHOOL!! And guess what – that old anxiety returned and I would measure the month of August (and my birthday) against the impending beginning of my school year and eventually my child’s. No matter what I did, I couldn’t separate my birthday from what would arrive shortly thereafter.

As I’ve grown older and more mature I’ve worked at my relationship with August. I am a proud Leo woman, and I’ve educated myself about what that means. I have made peace with the placement of my birthday on the calendar and celebrate the radiance, color, and light that August brings. I pay close attention to the beauty of it and get myself to the beach as often as I can to enjoy the warmer ocean waters and the golden sunlight that is unique to the month. School is a constant in my life. I am always taking classes, teaching something, supporting my family who are teachers and/or students, and I’ve come to embrace the onset of the school year. I see it as a beginning rather than an ending – or at least that is my intention.

I’ve also taken the time to look up the definition of the word august. Here is what I found: respected and impressive. Synonyms: distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, illustrious, prestigious, renowned, celebrated, honored, acclaimed, esteemed, exalted; great, important, lofty, noble; imposing, impressive, awe-inspiring, stately, grand, dignified.

OK, maybe not dignified, but I’ll take the rest and add in some of my favorite Leo traits: kind, sunny, passionate, creative, generous and loyal. We’ll just leave it there.

My birthday became an even more poignant day on August 16, 2012. My father died on that day. He fell into a coma and was in grave condition on August 13. I think I knew then that he would die on my birthday. There is something about that fact that was comforting then, and continues to be. It seems to have some sort of cosmic significance, though for the life of me I haven’t been able to figure it out. I only know that on that day I feel great reverence and peace, along with genuine sadness at the loss of my beloved father and hero.

The day my father died my daughter made me promise that I wouldn’t spend my birthdays grieving. I don’t, but I find that the day has taken on a different energy. I no longer have lofty expectations and anxiety around it. It’s now a day for me to reflect. I think of my Dad and that day five years ago. I also think about how grateful I am to be here on the planet and celebrate life. I enjoy time with my family, but it’s not a requirement. I’m also fine with passing the day alone, doing something I love. This year I plan to take myself to the beach.

My Grandpa Louie used to tell me, “Never be too happy or too sad”. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that when I heard it as a young child. But, his words stayed with me and as an adult I finally get it. My birthday is a great metaphor for that advice. It’s a wonderful day of celebration and gratitude – for the magic of birth and the gift of my life. Happy. Juxtaposed with all that happiness and joy is the opposite – my childhood dread of school, the sadness at the end of summer, and the inevitability of loss and death. Sad.

So, with Grandpa Louie’s advice in mind, my birthday is “never too happy or too sad”. I’m OK with the mixed bag. It means I get to have it all. I like that.

STRETCH: Take time to think about where you may have “unrealistic expectations”. Can you imagine removing them? Can you imagine how much more at peace you will be when you do?

I Can Feel My Heart

Photo by Bob Demetrician – Pipe Ceremony Alter – Boynton Canyon

Emotions flying high this week, some for sharing and some, for a variety of reasons, for rumination and reflection. The first two paragraphs of this post were written when we drove into Sedona on our first morning.

Today, the first sight of our beloved Sedona brought a flood of tears and from a deep place of humility and gratitude I felt an urge to drop to my knees in the red dirt and give myself over to the land. The sheer wonder and majesty of it made me feel tiny in its midst. And yet the invitation from the land was to acknowledge the Oneness of Creation that includes all of who I am in body, mind and spirit. And, as Neale deGrasse Tyson says, “I felt BIG”. This return to The Mother brings me comfort and peace. It energizes every element of my Being and reminds me that I am a conduit for that essential life force energy and am ultimately vibrating with it.

Tears flowing freely we are in the presence of the huge mountain that embraced and protected us a few years ago when our life was in free fall and we were in a place of fear and loss. The mountain is known in the world as Sugarloaf. In Sedona it’s called “Thunder Mountain”, but it spoke to me on that trip and identified itself as Grandfather and has been our protector ever since. One day we hope to live alongside or at the foot of this Grandfather mountain, but for now it is sufficient that we come for a visit to offer our love and gratitude for all it has given to us.

I have been flooded with creative energy these last days and this trip is giving me an opportunity to integrate the onslaught of ideas and images that are pressing for expression. I’ve made sacred connections with some extraordinary people who will likely become integral in my life. And I’ve had to look at some existing connections with new eyes. I’m taking this time in Sedona to continue my healing. My body is welcoming the healing waters of Oak Creek, my heart is asking for the gentle embrace of Cathedral Rock and the silence of Buddha Beach, my mind and spirit are hungry for the intrinsic and ancient wisdom in Boynton Canyon. We will go to these places, and more, to meditate and create ceremony and to simply be. Of course we will visit our favorite shops in Jerome and maybe consider another tattoo (“maybe”, a word up for interpretation). More than anything, Bob and I are grateful for the opportunity to be together to strengthen our own connection and celebrate the return to our wonderful life, in health and joy. We will place you all in our pipe as we pray for the health of our country and our planet.

Friday: Driving up to a high point (6,200 feet) through magnificent canyons and crazy switchbacks, Bob said, “When I get this close to the rock formations I feel a heart connection like when you plug your charger into your phone and your phone vibrates…mmmm….mmmm…and you know the power is flowing freely.” He told me he can feel his heart. Yes, that’s it. The heart of the planet is palpable and I feel it too. My wish for you is that you can feel your heart, in whatever way that happens for you.

STRETCH: No stretch from me this week. Instead I invite you to create a stretch of your own. If you are so moved, feel free to send me a message in the comments section with the stretch you have created. I will be honored to hold space for you.

More to come. ~FD

The “Art” of Light And Dark

I started taking art classes last year. I’ve been an artist all my life, and have dabbled in the creative arts on and off all these years, but put any serious artwork on the back burner for various reasons until the last ten or so when I started to explore photography as an art form. In the last two years I’ve also added writing, drawing, and painting back into the mix. I’ve been lucky to find a program hosted by Rutgers University that offers all sorts of classes for “seniors”, which lo and behold I now am. I’ve learned an awful lot taking these classes, not the least of which is that seniors are bright, educated, motivated and vital people with tremendous wisdom and experience, and a great sense of humor. I also feel fortunate that these courses are available and taught by impressive, accomplished and talented people.

I was working on a painting at home…on my own…without the critical and directive eye of my instructor. I’d been working on this piece for a few weeks, albeit tentatively and with limited confidence. Our final classes for the season had just ended and I made a vow to continue working on my own until September when we begin again. True to my vow I approached my easel and decided to dive in and get my brushes really dirty.

Recently I read an article on creativity. The article focused on how artists will often arrive at a point in their work where they come to a crossroads. They start the work going great guns…their creative juices flowing freely and hot as fire and then they hit a wall with a thud. Nothing works. Colors aren’t right; words don’t flow; music is not harmonizing; whatever the expression, it’s just not happening. And it is here where an artist will often stop. They might simply set the work aside and start something new or in drastic cases, in a fit of despair and frustration, they might destroy it completely. Either way…they abandon the work without allowing it come forth fully. The article goes on to say that this is the point of critical mass, the point where the artist needs to be patient and gentle with themselves because this is where the rubber truly meets the road, so to speak. This is the point where an artist digs deeply into their “Courage to Create” (also the title of a book by Rollo May that I read many years ago) and stay the course in spite of the roadblocks and resistance. There is more here than meets the eye.

Back to the painting that sat on my easel – I reached that point of inertia several times. It was working…then not working. I had vision and talent…I had nuthin’. The image was emerging…the image was shit! Like that.

I’ve had this experience more than once. It happened again with the painting. I hit a wall. It was going well for a while and I started to see something emerging that looked like art. I got brave and started to bring the work up a notch and BLAM…it was All Stop. I walked away from it. I had homework assignments and other work to do and used that as an excuse to ignore it. I thought maybe I’d switch to charcoal drawings for a while. You name the distraction and I thought of it. And then I remembered the wisdom of the article I read and put the painting back on my easel. I took a deep breath and kept going. Layer by layer, color by color, the piece began to come to life. I took chances…baby steps if you will…and if I didn’t like the effect I went back and did it a little bit differently. I remembered some of the advice my instructor gave during our classes and applied it to the painting. Before long I was in “the zone” – things were working and time ceased to exist.

I’m delighted to report that this advice works! I pushed through and the painting began looking more and more like the original vision I had. While a painting (or any work of art) is never really finished, I did complete it with some real satisfaction. I saw my way through fairly clearly and my trust in the process, at least for now, is restored. In fact I went on to a second painting and put the same process into play with more confidence. The second one is also “complete” and a third is in the pipeline. What I know is that this will be an ongoing practice for me, as I imagine it is for any artist, or scientist, or musician, or dancer or anyone in the act of creation. And staying the course is the lesson.

Ironically (or perhaps not) the first painting is a study in light and dark. It’s also a study in mystery and the forces of nature. And it is not lost on me that the lesson is very much one that I teach others. In the work that my husband and I teach called “Infinite Possibilities” which is based on author and teacher Mike Dooley’s NY Times best-selling book of the same name, one of the key messages is that when we take steps in the direction of our desires The Universe works in partnership with us in the unseen to bring about the things we hold in our thoughts and dreams. This work teaches that behind the scenes, even when we think nothing is happening in our lives and things seem to be stuck or we seem to be “spinning our wheels” there are indeed wheels turning that we cannot see, moving us toward what we seek. In the case of the creative process, when I reached that moment in my painting when nothing seemed right and I felt like stopping or even destroying it, it was being birthed somewhere just beyond my ability to see it. Hanging in there with it as those wheels kept turning allowed it to emerge.
The working title for my painting is “Light and Dark” but I’m entertaining a few others since it represents a new understanding of the process, at least for me. For now what is re-affirmed for me is that light and dark can live in harmony; trusting the process (whatever the process may be) is vital; The Universe always has my back even when I fall into fear or uncertainty; I am a creator; I love teaching others how to harness their own power; and I love re-learning these lessons and anchoring them ever more deeply in my own being.

~ Franne
woman on fire
P.S. There is a blank canvas sitting on my easel mischievously beckoning me to begin again.