C’est la Vie. C’est la Guerre


Recently, May May began to return home from her neighborhood rambles with a lone glove of unknown origin. She would tell me “C’est tombe de ciel.”

After several days, she had brought home a black glove, a brown glove, a red glove, a kid glove, and a glove with fur cuffs. This loot did NOT feel like things falling from the sky.

Then she came home four days in a row with doggie toys of assorted sizes and shapes. I asked her where these toys were coming from and she said, “Je l’ai eu pour une bouchee de pain.” I said, “I doubt you got this for a mouthful of bread and why on earth are you suddenly speaking to me in french all the time?”

The next day, in answer to my questions, she returned with an elegant boot. I told May May, “Je ne suis pas ne hier. I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that boot.”

I went next door chez Teddy with May May’s haul and my apologies.

I knew May May had to be raiding Teddy’s home because Teddy is the only one on this hilltop that dresses like she just got off an ocean liner from a trip to Paris.

Ahhhhh Teddy. Teddy has style. Teddy has savoir faire. Teddy has that je ne sais quoi that I will never have. Few of us will. Teddy is more french than the french. She will always be my definition of chic.

It’s more than just the way she dresses. It’s the way she does everything. As I carried May May’s loot to her door, I knew my visit to her house to apologize for May May would include a fragrant cup of interesting tea, some divine, beautifully plated treat and many moments of beauty thanks to her table, the set of her windows in her charming kitchen, and the way she fills her home with beautiful fruits and flowers.

Of course, a visit to Teddy is also a visit with her dogs. As she would say, “Qui m’aime aime mon chien.” Only in this case, to love Teddy is to love her three dogs. And really, given her love of all things french, it’s no surprise that these three are miniature french poodles.

And also no surprise, given what we know about May May, that she loves to tease this coterie of poodles.

To give May May some credit, she is very polite when she runs into this trio of french attitude out on the road. She gets very submissive and lets them jump all over her. This works for the neighborhood because it means none of us have to worry about May May hurting one of the trio.

However, when the poodle trio is stuck on Teddy’s glassed in front porch and unable to get outside to run May May off, well then….. May May likes to sass them. Strut around right outside the porch where they can see her but can’t get to her. What can I say? It’s the oldest dog game on earth. Na na na na na na!

When May May is sassing them, they respond as any self respecting french poodle would. Lots of attitude and barking. All of us in the office can hear the noise from a quarter of a mile away. When we hear that racket, we know what that chorus of three dogs barking means…… May May is torturing the trio…… and probably getting ready to take a souvenir of her adventure. We can almost hear her asking herself, “What shall I take today?” Chacun son gout and we all know May May and Teddy’s taste runs to gloves.

As I handed Teddy back her gloves, boot, and dog toys, she laughed, indicating, “C’est ne pas grande chose”. She also noted that May May had truly outdone herself over the weekend.

Early on Sunday morning, the poodle trio of Winnie, Muffin, and Curly had begun to bark but wouldn’t stop. At first, Teddy thought, C’est toujours la meme refrain” ie its got to be May May doing her usual torture dance outside the window. But the barking did not cease so Teddy felt compelled to check out what particular brand of torture May May was practicing.

Comme un chien dans un jeu de quilles, May May had snuck into Teddy’s home. Like a dog in a game of nine pins. she had pushed open the door to the porch, helped herself to a hearty snack of the poodles’ gourmet food, and then gone to sleep on their couch!

What a sensible dog! Let’s face it, we’d ALL like to eat over at Teddy’s and then settle in for a nap on her wonderfully comfortable couch on her wonderfully comfortable front porch. Of course the dog food is better at Teddy’s than at our house. Of course the couch is more comfortable than any bed at our house. Teddy’s motto is, “Even if NOT in Paris, dress like a Parisian, live like a Parisian, and feed your dogs like a Parisian”.

May May will stop these raids ‘Quand les poules auront des dents.” And until hens DO have teeth, I will be slipping over to offer my apologies, suffering through one fabulous snack after another, then resting in her cosy living room feeling loved and pampered.

Let’s face it, at Teddy’s house, nous sommes tous dans la meme bain. And what a lovely bath to all be sharing! May May knows just what she’s doing and it works for me too!


Here is Muffin examining the scene of the break in. Muffin reports that May May has learned how to open this door handle!


Here Winnie and Muffin discuss the tragedy of May May violating their couch. They look heartbroken , don’t they?


Under duress, Curly joins the rest of the clan to discuss the case. If that look isn’t a searing indictment of May May, I don’t know what is.

And May May? That is the fakest look of chagrin ever caught on a mug shot.

In fact, I just heard her whisper in my ear, ‘Le champ est libre.” Good news this! The coast is clear. I can let her out to go get another glove that I will have to return. After all, it’s a cold, rainy day and I feel like a nice cup of tea.

Fall Happens

At night, the clouds have been saturated purples and blues, colors so typical of autumn skies.


With only a few frosts under our belt, the Cosmos close to the house keep blooming.
Riley takes a moment to enjoy the Flowers without MayMay bugging him.


The apple crop has been phenomenal. We eat apples morning, noon, and night and there are still more to harvest, store, freeze, or can as applesauce. Here is the ground beneath a couple of wild apple trees at the top of our driveway. The turkeys and deer should be able to find plenty of food this winter.


I am back at the cider press again. Pear mush is just a dim memory as our freezer fills with gallons of lovely apple cider and our stovetop has a pot of simmering hot mulled cider on it. Not that we need warming drinks. It’s been in the seventies and eighties here.

Nonetheless, the leaves are changing color and looking spectacular as the do so. And we are enjoying every bright leaf.

Wearing Red

Emily has come and she has gone. While she was in the building, I hovered around her like a honeybee to her Flower. I savored the additional household clutter. Wasn’t it nice to see that big pile of laundry? I relished the sweet sounds of her feet pounding around upstairs with William. I listened with delight to the music of her epic showers and found strange joy in her critique of our water pressure. It was all good. So wonderfully good. And then, she was back to school and I was back glued to game seven, a card carrying member of Red Sox Nation.

Today, in the wake of “our” triumph, I muse, “Wednesday is only three nights away. Will “our” men be rested?” Now I wonder, “How good is this upstart Colorado team that was bottom of the league only last year?” Now I consider, “Will “we” play four, five, six or seven games against the Rockies?”

That disinterested little half baked Red Sox nut has flowered into a big nut.

Caught in the fever pitch of the playoffs, by the time the dust settles and the world series are over, I’ll probably be sporting a wad of chewing tobacco and Red Sox regalia from head to toe. Certainly, I will don the requisite BoSox cap per Will and Jim’s instructions. And maybe Ben will lend me his 2004 World Series t-shirt…… Maybe not. After all, he needs to wear this in order for “us” to win.

And all this inner hoopla is because William bugged me to keep knitting at his side while he watched the playoffs….

What started out as keeping the men company during their interminable sports viewing has become well, actually of interest.

Life is like that, isn’t it?

I like Flowers so I begin a garden. I make more gardens because I like the first one I make. In these gardens, I listen to a gorgeous Cosmos Flower who wants me to make some strange thing called a “Flower Essence.” I make a Flower Essence from its lovely petals and I am enchanted by the results. Then I make more. A lot more. Soon my pantry is so full of Flower Essences there is no place for food. Soon, I have an inventory of eight or nine hundred Flower Essences, several buildings dedicated to Flower Essences and a UPS truck that roars down our hill each day laden with packages to all of you.

What an unexpected adventure Life turns out to be! A big, messy, unexpectedly diverse, generous, humorous, continuous, surprise party!

This week I will attend this party wearing red!

Report From Red Sox Nation

Tonight is my seventh inning stretch. While the Sheehan men will be nail biting in front of a TV tuned to the Red Sox game, I will not.

I will not be joining Jim, Will, Ben, and Dick Vitale in yelling “Stock Up” or “Stock Down”. I will not be wearing my Red Sox cap in the just so manner of the superstitious men in my midst. They are sure the fate of tonight’s game four of the American League playoff rests on the feng shui of their caps. This may be so, but I will not be there to supervise cap placement.

No thoughts of baseballs, soccer balls, basketballs, or footballs will cross my mind tonight. Why?

Because, tonight, Emily is coming home for her freshman year October break. I have no idea what we will be talking about, but it won’t be anything like the conversations that percolate through our home now that the ratio of men to women in this household has taken a turn into serious y chromosome territory.

With Emily out of town, it has been a fifty day marathon.

A sports marathon.

I have learned more about Dice-K, Coco Crisp, Manny Ramirez, and Big Poppy than I thought humanly possible.

I also know the roster of the Chelsea Football Club. I too ponder the mystery of Roman Abramovich firing Chelsea’s coach, Jose Mourinho. Ronaldinho is a name that slips easily off my lips and I know that he has decided to stay at F.C. Barcelona through the end of his contract in 2010.

On Sunday morning, I was vetted for Patriot Nation taking on America’s team in Dallas. Memories of Tom Landry were bandied about for my edification, I was given a notable explanation for why the Patriots would beat the Cowboys, an explanation made all the more memorable because it was delivered by a Red Sox fan kept up til 2 am the night before by a brutal lost to the Cleveland Indians in the eleventh inning.

Sometimes, I am an innocent bystander, absorbing this information because there is just no escaping it. Sometimes, I have no one to blame but myself. Last Saturday, before the Red Sox Game and before the Patriots game and after a soccer game attended by me and the Sheehan men, I made the mistake of asking Jim and Will what kind of basketball team the UConn Huskies would have this year.

What insanity! I was the first to mention another kind of ball!! Before this moment, the men had been winding down in their enthusiasm about baseball-football-soccer talk. The atmosphere in the car had grown mellow. Some of us might even have nodded off. But no, I mention a fourth type of ball!

So, my first error was mentioning a fourth kind of ball. My second error was mentioning basketball when we still had an hour car ride ahead of us. And I thought baseball had a lot of statistical analysis! All I can say is I hope the Huskies get their offense on track!

But let’s get back to the topic at hand, the seventh inning stretch. Emily’s break is just a pause in the action. I will be back to hearing about the Rockies’ line up next week and Sundays from now til eternity will mean Patriots football, but during the next few days I will be in a haze of girl talk.

Girl Talk!

I am not sure I remember what girl talk involves, but I am ready to get right in there and toss the conversational ball around like a pro!

Oh my gosh, I need this seventh inning stretch worse than I thought!

Loving What Is

On the Autumn Equinox, this year’s Venus Garden Flower Essence combination was born. The Angels named it ‘Loving What Is’ Here’s my description of this Essence’s vibrational gifts. As ever, the definition is a work in progress, but not this Essence. It is ready to serve you with its sweet and bold healing purpose.

This Flower Essence combination is amazingly straightforward in its purpose, but, as usual, this doesn’t mean I am able to explain it simply.

I share the journey of learning about this Essence with:
A Short Definition
The Culture
Other Reasons Not to Let Your Mind Run Your Life
The Mind as Servant to the Heart
How this Garden Grew
Clutter and this Essence’s support to De-Clutter

‘Loving What Is’ helps us live in our hearts.

This Essence offers a roadmap to move from the mind’s territory of judgment about ourselves and our lives to the heart’s territory of embracing our lives and ourselves with peaceful equanimity and joy.

If we know the way to our hearts already, it supports us to live there more of the time.

The heart is the place we can relish our lives despite the fact that they have not gone according to the mind’s plans or expectations. This is why this Essence is called ‘Loving What Is.’

Our culture puts the mind ahead of the heart. This is because our culture is a construct of minds.

As a creation of minds, our culture believes in the mind’s authority and encourages us to keep our minds in charge of running our lives.

The culture encourages us to listen to whatever mind ideas are screaming loudest on any given day and judge our experiences as good, bad, or ugly in relationship to these mind ideas. No countenance is given to how mind ideas leave us suffering, because the mind really only cares about staying in control.

To keep us in check, the culture constantly changes its collective mind standards. If we are always running after the new mind ideas of the culture, we have less time to consider that maybe the mind, either our own or the collective mind of the culture, should not be in charge of driving our lives.

The collective mind of the culture and our individual minds have no interest in our happiness. What they want more than anything else, is to stay in charge.

It is grace that mind standards can never be met for more than short tension filled periods of time. This is because life is not a servant of the mind. In those times when our lives do not conform to the collective mind or our individual mind’s ideas of what life should be, the door opens for us to abandon the hold the mind has on us.

This doorway is a blessing, not so much because it alters the abyss between mind ideas and reality, but because it encourages us to shift the place where our consciousness is seated from the ever dissatisfied mind to the peaceful heart.

This Essence is to support us to shift our consciousness to the heart, the only place we can experience peace no matter what is happening in our lives.

We must make the decision to change our habit of living in our minds, a place of judgment and restless discontent, in favor of sinking into the heart’s place of unconditional loving acceptance of what life is.

“Loving What Is” will help us make the shift and help us to stay in the heart even as every construct of the culture calls us back to the mind’s territory of judgment.


What is the problem with the mind?

When the mind is given the reins to rule our lives, it rules from a data base of contradiction and confusion.

This is because the mind is no more than a rag tag bundle of ideas collected from a myriad number of sources including childhood data collected from our family of origin.

The ideas we have collected are based on other people’s unique perceptions of reality as well as our own perceptions. These ideas are always going to be in conflict with each other because no two people can see things the same way.

From the moment we are born, our minds collect conflicting perceptions. Our fathers’ ideas conflict with our mothers’ world view and that is just the beginning of the dissenting opinions we collect and call our minds. No mind has any integrity. The mind is a body of information rife with conflicting ideas.

My mind would like me to belabor this point with lots of mind ideas. My mind would love it if I did this, because the mind has no capacity to be in charge, but wants to be in charge anyways.

It will use any idea in its data base to keep itself in charge. This means the mind has no hesitation to throw out new conflicting ideas if it feels us waver in our allegiance to it. If we momentarily sink into the happiness of the heart and the mind feels its hold on us lessening, the mind will not hesitate to throw a grocery list of worrying, fearful, guilt laden, contradictory and unhappy thoughts into our consciousness in order to stay in charge.

To let our minds drive our lives is self sabotage of the highest order.

No matter what rises up from our tangle of mind ideas as the right opinion of the day, it is always in conflict with other ideas we carry and therefore literally sets up a dynamic of constant inner conflict. The mind, when given the role of running our lives, literally divides us from ourselves.

So what is the solution?

As Einstein said, “the consciousness that created a problem can’t solve the problem.”

The solution to this dynamic lies outside of the minds that created the problem. The solution lies in the heart.

It is in the terrain of the heart that we can love what is, sink into a consciousness that is not in conflict with any other consciousness, and therefore find the peace and harmony we seek. All hearts are kind and loving because the heart is an integrated part of all creation. Few, if any, minds are kind and loving because the mind, by its very nature, is a hodgepodge of conflicting information warring with itself for dominion.

We will never find peace in our efforts to live according to our mind’s myriad ideas of the good life. We will only find peace when we live in our hearts and discover its immense capacity to accept what is.

The shift to the heart opens us to love what is. Being in the heart is not a process or a struggle. It is the experience of love. This is because the heart is the eternal and divine part of ourselves that knows its oneness with everything. A life lived in the heart is the experience of what we were seeking all along, an experience of infinite love and peace.

The dynamic of this Essence supports us to no longer allow our minds’ to drive the show, to leap into the heart, and to stay there long enough for the rewards of this choice to become self evident and we find the motivation to stay there of our own accord. If we have settled into our hearts to some degree, this Essence supports us to abide there as we navigate a world working overtime to call us out from our centered place of joy.

When the mind is given the task of implementing the choices of the heart, it becomes an excellent tool for manifesting these choices. This is the only role appropriate for the mind.

In January, when I was planning this season’s gardens, the Angels told me that this year’s Venus Garden would be, among other things, about water. I spent time with the Angels figuring out which plants best represented the dynamic of water and was given a beautiful design that included juicy watery cucumbers, melons, parsley, nasturtiums, sweet peas, and a White Lotus. Seven glazed blue pots encircled the Lotus, each one representing one of the seven seas.

The garden was easy to plant and very elegant in its early weeks. When the Nasturtiums started their display, the garden became a veritable mass of Flowers. The Angels asked me to leave various “volunteer” annuals including a mass of gorgeous deep blue Chinese Forget Me Nots and a big swatch of White Nigella, How well these contrasted with the dizzying oranges, yellows, reds, creams, and mahoganys of the Nasturtiums.

Oh my mind was so pleased with myself. What a splashy garden! How clever was I!

Then the flowering ground to a halt. The Sweet Peas that had ringed the garden in abundant and fragrant blossom turned brown and died in the summer heat. The Angels asked me to leave every crisp brown vine in place. How my mind disliked this untidiness! Then the Nasturtiums did what they do when put in good soil. Their leaves got enormous and they stopped blooming. Soon there was not a Nasturtium Flower in sight. The garden looked as unimpressive as any I had ever planted. When I was in my heart, I felt the peace of knowing all was well and the garden was serving something is some way. But I allowed the appearance of the garden to sometimes pull me off balance and back into my critical mind.

Then one day, very late in the summer, as I passed the garden with all its weeds, overgrown Nasturtiums and unflowering plants I burst into laughter. Quite abruptly, I fell in love with the garden just the way it was. As I rubbed against this garden in passing, its vibration had helped me fall completely out of my mind and into my heart. I was so happy to have made such radical peace with the garden. I was completely in love with this big brown weedy mess. In that moment, I experienced the gift of this Essence to move us from mind to heart. I knew there would be a lovely Essence born from this garden and that it would be about loving what is.

Why a connection to Water?
The Overlighting Deva of Water speaks, “ Water represents the territory of navigating life from the heart more fully than any other element. This is because the flow of water has the least resistance to what is. It may experience the constraint of other elements defining it as a pool or river, but it never experiences separation or boundaries, being completely malleable in its own structure. Within this construct of formlessness, it never rests in its movement towards the manifestation of oneness, pouring itself into union in seas and sky. It is the perfect balance of loving what is while simultaneously moving towards a manifest oneness.”

During the time when I was mulling over this Essence’s purposes, a Green Hope friend called to ask for a remedy that would help him with his clutter. He knew a new life was pouring into him and he wanted a clean canvas for what was being born. For some reason, I was sure that “Loving What Is” would help him to let go of clutter.

To answer his question, I had to look first to my own clutter. I noticed that it involves attachment to stuff that has no real connection to my actual life. It either hangs on from my past or reflects some notions I hold onto about what will be in my life. Someday I will use that gewgaw. Someday I will write the great American novel. Someday I will knit a coat of a thousand skeins of saved bulky yarn, even though I have never liked bulky yarn. After this friend’s call, I realized my clutter is the outward manifestation of my mind ideas about things that should have been, mind ideas about things that should be, and mind expectations of the perfect life. Supported by ‘Loving What Is’, I encouraged myself to assess my clutter while grounded in my heart. I accepted that some things I expected to have or do in my life are not meant to happen and with that acceptance I found myself able to move clutter on its way. It was not the painful process of agonizing over each scrap of paper that de-cluttering has sometimes been for me. I was at peace while letting go effortlessly of some external stuff that was connected to things that weren’t happening in my life.

For example, grounded in my heart, I experienced the truth that it would never be in my best interests to write about my earlier life. It would be too difficult to go over what happened without reigniting the bitterness of the mind. I felt at peace when I realized this. Afterwards, in that peaceful place in my heart, I could let go of certain papers, a manifest form of this project. My mind had been attached to this project. My mind had kept a pile of stuff related to this project. Yet I felt the truth that letting go of this project served my deepest self. This was a different direction than I expected in my life to take, but I could accept and love this twist. The unburdening was both literal and figurative.