On the water

This morning I awoke in a guest bed, blinds pulled, quiet all around. So naturally I pulled out my laptop and went to work. After a bit, I thought, “Hmm, I wonder what the view looks like.”

Amazing, is what the view looked like.


I nabbed a cup of organic peppermint tea (ah, refreshing!) 3 dates, 1 banana and a hand full of nuts and went out to the dock. I made it to one of the terrace walls, remembering how hot a dock can get. And then I watched. Boats, birds, waves, water…..sun glistening…it’s not a cliche, the water glistens……

Some guy on a jet ski came by. And again. Gaining speed, rocking the surface, slowing to take a gentle turn-a-round to then test the power of his machine. How fantastic!

We are born to test the power we ride on. To test the water that sinks us or carries us. To test the heat of the sun (the iPhone has a warning of high temps), and the sting of a bug. To test our ability to pray to wait to meditate

to see God.

The Sacred lingers in the corners, lands on the dock like a Heron, buzzes and then is gone, powers by to initial annoyance as it Divinely disturbs our waters.

But she is here, Hokmah, the mother of creation, the wind and wing and wet.

How will I listen today? Will I take in a visual scan of this creation and thank God, but not see myself as part of it? No. I won’t do that.

Will I assume that star and sun, planets and plants, cosmos and hiickory are just put here for my fancy? For me to oggle? For humankind to use at will? No, I will not.

I am in the breeze, the moss, the shoreline. I am part of creation just as the Heron who is sneaking around the deck with its long legs. I am placed here for a purpose, just as is the kudzu, the summer heat, the rise of Venus in the night sky. I don’t have to understand the purpose, but oh, what neglect and disrespect to assume there is not purpose or impact for life, for Sacred Meaning, for delight.

Hear Hokma/Woman Wisdom speak of creation from Proverbs 8

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work the first of his acts of long ago. 

Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 

When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth— 

when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,  when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 

then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.




Super Moon

Last night, while sitting fireside

we threw symbols into the coals

blown full of what we are letting go.

We watched them, moved them, let them burn away

wondering how long it would take these small logs to go to ash.

She appeared like an amber glow of the streetlight.

There, at the corner of the garage, in the tree branches.

Rising as we watched.

We just sat there and watched the log’s glow, the moon’s rise.

The whole world slowed down.

Together we talked of things, held hands, wondered if we’d see the international space station go by.

Slowed to the space of the backyard, where no usher would tell us it was closing time. A friend had already posted her picture of the super moon, so even that task was removed, filtering away through smoke and the coming of night.

Oh! the space that is created when we slow down! When we move at a moon’s pace, steadily across our own sky.



5 weeks of retrogrades

This could not be better timing. In the hammock swinging days of summer, 5 planets are headed into retrograde to cover a period of 5 weeks. Their “retrograde” is of course relative to earth. Which is where I live. And you. Its our perspective and starting point. A retrograde is a celestial happening when the planets are on a particular portion of their orbit where from the earth’s vantage point it looks like the planet stands still or is going backwards. It isn’t, of course, but it appears so, to those who are paying attention.

This is an astronomcial event.

The astrological event is how it plays out in our lives.

Stay with me here.

I love the planets. I think they are mighty players in our existence that work their work whether we believe it or not, whether we are paying attention or not.

A little like Gravity. We don’t have to think about it too often. Or the moon and the tides, intricately linked. We don’t think about them much, but that doesn’t stop gravity or the moon.

The Creator who thought it would be interesting to have the Cicadas underground for 17 years of their 17 year 6 week life span…..the same Creator who thought into being the various forms of clouds that bring rain or shade…the same Creator who made your circulatory system……formed the planets made of various minerals, gas, and matter……for a reason.

So, when planets go retrograde we can pay attention and use the gift from the Creator and continue our development with purpose, or we can go about our business and wonder why this or that is happening. Go hang in the hammock and ponder what comes up: keep it, or let it go.

In general, retrograde opens up space and energy to reflect on what has been in our lives, so that we can move on into the future without baggage. If you’ve been doing your work, then this is just a brief view through the scrapbook memory, until a photo catches your breath and you are there breathing the scents, feeling the temp, hearing the sounds and feeling the feelings of the event. You then get to decide if you are still caught in a developmental way….stuck…..stagnant…….and if it’s time to release this hold. Or you can say, that is an event which is so formative for my ongoing sense of maturing that I’ll keep it.

If we have not been doing our work, provided by the classroom of the retrogrades, then it can be a very painful time in this stalled and back-traveling time. Likely we’ve put a lot into avoiding facing our pasts. This is an option. But know that it is an option that is not a good one. Forgiveness, release of sadness, understanding the viewpoint or actions of another, seeing how that event/that person has affected your ongoing life…..these are all important parts of living a vibrant life. You deserve a vibrant life.

You don’t have to believe that retrogrades have actual impact on our spirits, psyches, and bodies, like I do.

You can think of retrogrades as archetypes….or metaphors……..which will help you if you have issues with any religious prohibitions toward astrology.( And boy, would THAT be an interesting thing to look at….our fear of moving outside of religious prohibitions., but we’ll save that for another Sunday.)

In the end, the God that you follow desires your growth, your wholeness, your awakened being. Denial and Avoidance are not part of that scheme. Denial and Avoidance work against a Sacred Will in our lives. Covering up, just covers up. Do I deny and avoid? Certainly. And therefore, there are beliefs and wounds which still taunt my better self, my Sacred self, the me that I was created to be.

So, what have I been facing? Let me tell you! We are simply on the cusp of these retrogrades, but with the little cosmic mass called Chiron starting out the retrograde ramp up, like a tasty morsel of celestial appetizers……I’ve been deep in old wounds of needing to be loved….having love proved to me. Old old tapes that have not served me for a long time, but they are as sticky as molasses cookie dough that you can’t quite shake off your fingers. My story and imagination is that those old beliefs and wounds are still alive and integral to today’s relationships. Which they are not. They are not. But the only way I can disperse them is to face them, and to see them as false going forward.

And then….and then…..and this is important….replacing those old beliefs and wounds with something life giving. Like the absolute KNOWING that I am loved, or you are fundamentally good, or that God will forgive, or that it is ok to hug your kids and tell them you love them. Fill that old gaping vacuum before something else creeps in, like that same old belief when our backs are turned.

it is work. But oh, it is blessed work. You can do this work. And you don’t have to do it alone. But do it with someone who can step out of their own stories enough to listen fully and deeply to you. Do it with someone who basically shares your belief system but is enough different that they can offer a perspective that just might shake you free of what ails you. Do it with someone who has done enough of their interior development that they know how it feels to be set free and desire the same for you.

I believe in my health and well being as an active, loved, vibrant, right-now-thing.

And I believe in yours.

O Cosmic Christ

Savior of worlds and Compassionate Heart

set the clouds in motion above us in our stratosphere

ride the planetary orbits as you breathe new life upon us

open our eyes to see that the best is indeed within our grasp





Amy eats Pittsburgh

(friends, this is one of my favorite writings from 2008. enjoy. )

It began in Pittsburgh, and a question of where to eat. “Amy wants to eat Pittsburgh.” My friend offered to our host. “Interesting image.” Said he. “No, I want to eat food and experience something that can only be experienced in Pittsburgh.” “Which Pittsburgh? Polish Pittsburgh? Italian Pittsburgh? Working class Pittsburgh?” “I want to eat someplace where we can eat, drinkand be merry.”

“Oh”, said the host, “I have just the place. The Church BrewWorks.” We climbed into the jeep, which sat at the curb overlooking the Cathedral of Learning and the Heinz Chapel.

A good way to start. We drove into neighborhoods that had histories that were shifting and redefining their character. Turning left we entered an old Italian neighborhood, that had bike lanes actually used by bikes and respected by cars, taverns, pedestrians, lights and sights to garner my interest.

We were looking for the former St. Johns Catholic Church. It served the Old neighborhood well, yet when the neighborhood was beset by economic downturn and an exodus of original neighborhood folks, the church dwindled as well. So, it was sold. To a micro brewery. The Church Brew Works.

We pulled into a side lot, looking for parking space. It seems that the restaurant had evangelized their good news well, as there was nearly no parking to be had. As we walked up to the front doors, there was a friendly and welcoming vibe to the place, carried in the dark thick wood and brick of the architecture and on the faces and bodies of eaters going in and out.

Once we entered the outside doorway, we found ourselves in a vestibule. A place for stamping the Pittsburgh winter off one’s shoes, shucking a coat, straightening Sunday finest. We simply walked to the second set of tall, majestic doors. We entered the Sanctuary. Stained glass, raised chancel, wooden pews smoothed by faithful behinds on many a Sunday morning. Instead of ushers and bulletins, we were greeted by a hostess and menus. The wait for main seating in the sanctuary….er…..main dining area would be 20 minutes. But we could wait over in the bar to the side. We slid our own behinds into pew and chair, in a section that had baptized babies. We baptized our delight in discovering that Pennsylvania still allows smoking in restaurants.

Our server came over. She wore the vestments of apron, tightly fitted T, multiple piercings and an engaging smile. She expertly took us through the liturgy of hops and brews, appetizers and main courses, asking us questions in order to be able to highlight the most enjoyable offerings. Her sermon was of flavors, scents, textures and experience. We listened as disciples, so that we would choose well.

I slowly became  aware, at this point, that I was still only observing my surroundings. As though patron, servers, and food were elements of a divine gourmet play that I was attending. Isn’t that how it often is in church? We wait for chorister, worship leader and preacher to evoke God for us, to create space in our sanctuaries so that we can sit and observe. We listen to the parables and texts and hymn tunes as something we agree with and find pleasing….not often presented with too much challenge…..but let it slip past us through lack of making the experience our own.

So, I in haled deeply of the blue swirling tobacco smoke to my side. I felt the vibration of the clinking glasses of we three, as we raised our brews in a yeasty homage to friendship. I heard my own voice speaking the lesson of the day as we passed between us comments of institutional politics, postmodern sensibilities, scholarship of Riceour, Didera, White and Holland….and yes, even the mysticism of Ritchie.

In a state of sedate fullness, my vision wandered to the raised altar in this micro brewery. Where once was chalice and bread, now stood hops and mash, where once the priest robed and latined his way through transubstantiation, now the brewers did their thing in the altar of the brew house to bring tasty pleasures of Celestial Gold, Pius Monk Dunkel, and Pipe Organ Pale Ale….. to our lips.

As conversation and food gave way to dessert and comfortable silences, we gathered our belongings to take leave. And, just as one often takes home a bulletin from a particularly meaningful worship service, a token of the evening came with us.

Our tithes and offerings were left with the bill and we ushered ourselves out into the night: blessed, connected, and indeed in the presence of the Holy who resides in all places.

Look up from your piety, open your eyes without judgement, for the Divine is to be found here and now.