Sunday, December 25, 2016

Light's Return

Here we are again. Another year has swept us up, spun us around, and deposited us back into the deepest darkness of winter.
This is the season of rest. The aspen and piñon, dormant now after months of raucous growth, know it. Hibernating animals, snug in their dens, know it. We modern humans, though, tend to live life at full tilt, out of sync with the natural rhythms. Yet incessant busyness leads to illness of body and spirit, for we, too, need a time to be still.
As I sit to write, snow falls outside my window. The wind that has plagued our mountain community for days has calmed, at least for now. A hush has come to our valley, and all is still.
This outer quiet hushes me as well. I have been a whirlwind these past few weeks, but like the air currents of our tiny town, my own frenetic pace has calmed. Like the earth outside our door, I too am being blanketed. Peace falls upon me, and I find I can trust once again that, at the deepest level, all is well.
I hear my husband downstairs, puttering about the kitchen. The heater kicks on, fan humming warmth into the morning~cool air of our home. The clock ticks beside me on the nightstand of the guest room where I have come to write, stretched out on the spare bed, back propped against pillows, a richly hued Pendleton blanket covering me.
Amid such soothing, my thoughts turn to the Winter Solstice…and to Christmas, the day picked centuries ago to celebrate the birth of Christ whose actual date of arrival on the planet is lost to history.
The longest night of the year was this past Wednesday. The observant among us will notice the sun beginning to rise and set a bit farther to the north each day, with its arc reaching higher as it travels the sky. And though the cold deepens, the daylight will last longer as the weeks go by.
What better time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and his Light~filled message than when light has just begun its increase in the outer world. Christ urges us to love one another, to practice peace and forgiveness, to care for the least among us. Yes, this is what Light’s return would look like.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we each take a cue from the natural world and be still for at least a few moments. And as winter’s hush falls upon us, may it carry Christ’s message of love more deeply into our souls. May that message take root there as never before, bursting forth with new shoots and blossoms~~in ways we cannot yet imagine~~as we live that love into the future. And may a deep and abiding peace come to us all. Amen.

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and blessed whatever brings you back to joy!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Choose Only Love

Evelyn Anglim, a gifted psychotherapist and an exquisitely beautiful soul, passed from this world two weeks ago. I didn’t know her well, but was touched by the shining light of her spirit and know, without doubt, that that light lives on. It lives, among other ways, in words that embodied her approach to this yin~yang world of ours, words that can guide us now. “Choose only love,” Evelyn urges us. “That’s why we’re here.”

Choose only love. These words resonate deep within me and reverberate across our wounded nation, extending further to wrap the entire planet in a warm embrace. Many good~hearted people are struggling now. As the crudest qualities of the human psyche play out on the national stage, a mix of feelings rise up~~paralyzing fear, dark despair, a maddened rage.

How DO we choose love and only love within such a climate? As beings committed to a spiritual view, what IS a skillful and worthy response to hate? These are questions that have been asked across the ages, questions we must ask ourselves anew, now and repeatedly as we move into an unfolding future. And we must trust that answers will arise. This morning, these are the ones that come to me.

Choosing love means first honoring our own reactions to what is occurring. Turning away from pain does nothing but allow it to seep into our souls unobserved, dampening our light. 

Fear is the emotion that gives rise to hate, and choosing love requires us to continually transform our own fear as a necessary step in finding a constructive response to the outer turmoil for, as Einstein put it, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” 

This sentiment encourages us to zoom out. Fear is myopic. What we need now is a larger vision, the long view of the human story, one that recognizes and participates in the evolution of consciousness underway.

We see now but a snippet of a much greater narrative, one that includes all that is miraculous in the human spirit as well. We are more, far more, than our baser impulses. Choosing love means remembering this. Of course we must also act, but always with humankind’s highest potential in our minds and hearts, held there by a fierce tenderness. Evelyn urges us to choose love, but she does not mean a trite or saccharine love. No, our love must be full~bodied, large enough to hold both our darkness and our light.

If you would like to join with others to find a way to live through these challenging times with souls intact, engaged, and shining, please contact me at I will put something together and be in touch soon.

We can, indeed, choose only love. Even now. Especially now. It is, after all, why we’re here.

Blessings on us all during this time of transformation. And blessings on you, dear Evelyn, wherever you now reside. 

In love and great gratitude,

Leia Marie

NOTE: Please make sure you see John Anglim's comment (Evelyn's brother) below. An essential addition!

Sunday, October 30, 2016


We, the residents of 2016, have been offered a grave opportunity. The shadow side of humanity is playing out before us, and we are seated at the front of the theatre. Atrocities committed across the world and at home. Venom in politics. Greed in business. Incivility and divisiveness seemingly at every turn.

How are we to deal with such realities without devolving into fear or hate, cynicism or numbness? A hint came to me the other day. It was the morning after the second Presidential debate, a spectacle so disturbing I found it hard to sleep. Still uneasy as the sun lightened the eastern sky, I sat to meditate. 

I began with Nayaz, a Sufi prayer song. I sang it through once. Halfway through the second recitation, without thought or decision made, the line, “And I pray…” changed to its plural form, “And we pray…”

What a difference that one word made! Though subtle, it produced a distinct, inner shift leading me from despair. I sang the song a third time, using the plural throughout, then moved into meditation.

As I later thought about this experience, I realized it was really quite simple. In using the word “we”, I was no longer alone. Certainly, there had been no other human being in the room with me. Yet, that small word “we” had acted as a doorway connecting me to a community of caring others.

Throughout time and across generations, there has been an interplay between darkness and light, ignorance and wisdom, the coarse and the refined. And humans have careened all across that continuum, sometimes reaching for the highest good, sometimes not. And so, too, it is today.

Goodness exists in a multitude of forms, each extending from the eternal harmony at the heart of all things, the Source that most call God. It’s easy, though, to forget that loving core when the flames of hatred are being so deliberately fanned by some. We need others to help us remember, to buoy us when we feel ourselves sinking. 

As we re-member ourselves into that larger web, we are less likely to lose heart and believe the lie that hate puts forth as truth. The seed of fear exists within each of us. In difficult times such as these, it is apt to take root and produce its deadly fruit. This is what we’re seeing now across the globe…and perhaps in ourselves, as well.

So for our struggling species, grappling with the choices that free will allows, here is Nayaz, in its plural form, for us all.
Beloved Lord, through the rays of the sun,
through the waves of the air,
through the all pervading life in space,
purify and revivify us.
And we pray
heal our bodies, hearts and souls.
And we pray
heal our bodies, hearts and souls.
Perhaps this is what healing looks like, darkness rising from the it can be we can choose. May we see clearly and choose well.


Leia Marie

Monday, October 3, 2016


The evidence is everywhere. Dawn arrives later each day. The nip in the air extends until midmorning and returns when dusk descends once again. The sun slides farther to the south in its sweep across the sky, and birds wing their little hearts out as they head for warmer climes. And sure enough, the calendar confirms it. Autumn has come again. This is its 11th day.

As I write, it’s a cool and glorious morning, the sun beaming from a mountain sky so richly hued that it makes a “sky blue” Crayola seem washed out. A yearning comes over me and grows insistent as I move through my morning chores. I make breakfast, tidy up the kitchen, hang clean white sheets on the line to dry. And still it whispers to me.

If I were to give this longing words, they would be these: “Get ye to the aspen!” I resist no longer. My husband agrees to accompany me, and we throw food in a pack, hop in the car, and head up into the mountains.

The road curves as it climbs past rocky outcroppings and fields dotted with freshly baled hay. Stands of aspen are visible on the mountainside, smears of flaming gold amid the pines. But I don’t want a view from afar. No, I want to be among them.

Finally, we arrive, and sit on sun~warmed rocks at the edge of a twisting stream, slender aspens surrounding us. Water rushes so loudly over the rocks that my husband mutes his hearing aides against a sound that electronics makes uncomfortably crackly. It also drowns out the rustling of the aspen, which I only now realize I need to hear.

So after a lunch of cheese, crackers, chips and salsa, I cross the stream to an open patch of ground beneath a stand of aspen. I take off my boots and socks, lay on the soft earth amid pale trunks flushed with green, and look up into the leaves backlit by sunlight. Vaguely heart~shaped, they shine in shades of yellow~~chartreuse, lemony, gold and amber.

As the leaves quiver in a light breeze, the unique sound of quaking aspen fills the air. These leaves dance with an inner joy, as though each tree has stored up the summer’s sunlight and now offers it back in praise and thanksgiving.

Lying beneath that sky and those leaves, I settle into stillness once again, though like the aspen themselves, it is a stillness that thrums with vitality and enormous gratitude.

The Autumnal Equinox has just passed. Marking the balance between day and night, it is an astronomical reminder to seek that balance point, that still place within ourselves.

No matter the season or the wild swing of our lives, that still point exists. And as we learn to live from that place, we, too, can dance~~like golden leaves of aspen~~no matter which way the wind blows.

Blessings galore as you glow golden like the aspen, in your own way and according to the dictates of your spirit!

Leia Marie

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Leaven In All Things

The family was working quite hard. Mom and Dad were stretching themselves to look beyond their preteen’s opposition to recognize and encourage his growing ability to reason and articulate. The son was moving beneath his sense of unfairness to discover why he felt as he did and to translate strong emotion into words that communicated effectively.

What had begun as conflict opened into something fresh and productive. As each family member looked more deeply, the felt sense of the interaction shifted entirely. It was a beautiful example of what we can all do in each moment. Whether an experience is to our liking or not, we can move past our surface assumptions and knee~jerk responses to perceive a deeper reality.

Looking into the heart of things is a venerable spiritual practice. In fact, it could be seen as the only one, the one that lies at the core of every sacred text and each technique passed down through the ages, with applications aplenty.

The critical boss who rejects your every idea. A spouse whose wants and needs differ from your own. The telemarketer who interrupts the dinner hour, and the cashier who’s a wee bit cranky. All are sparks of the divine, here to learn valuable lessons.

As are you and I. Pausing to look deeply, we can discover learning and growth in any situation. And as we act from that deeper awareness, a harmonious interchange is more likely. Yet even if nothing seems to shift within the interaction, attending to the highest good is never wasted.

Of course, this practice isn’t only for difficult times. We can be just as alert when all is well, fully receiving the gift rather than merely skimming the surface. Whether in joy or sorrow, anger or contentment, fear or delight, we can develop eyes to see, ears to hear, and an ability to touch the divine in all things. We can reach behind the mask to the spark that lies within.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is quoted as comparing the kingdom of heaven to a woman who “took a little leaven, concealed it in some dough, and made it into large loaves.” Whether we like a particular loaf or not, we can attune to the leaven in each thing, that living essence that finds its expression in a multitude of forms.

This morning, as I sat on the moist earth beside a swiftly flowing stream, I was reminded of the beautifully filmed and wonderfully named movie, A River Runs Through It. A river, indeed, runs through it all. We can learn to see and to hear its living waters, be they turbulent or calm.

And as we are ready, we can leave the apparent safety of the known riverbank and drench ourselves in that vibrancy. And we can do it again and again and again.

Leia Marie