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