April 29, 2013
While I was living with a wise woman in Patagonia a year ago, I learned about Native American traditions and spirituality, and I learned about the meanings of animals. This wise woman had a deck of cards and book about Animal ‘Medicine’, as the Native American teachings refer to it.
I think that anything that we use to bring meaning to our lives can be helpful – it can be belief systems, astrology, religion, ‘signs’ from the Universe/god, synchronicity, even science (what we think of as modern “science” has really become more like Scientism - just another set of beliefs that makes us feel safe). Anyways, it’s all about the meaning you give to these beliefs, and if you use these ‘clues’ as part of your personal growth, development and expansion.
Twice in the past month while recording videos, I’ve been interrupted by Bumblebees.
Back on March 10, 2013, I was recording a video out in front of the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness in Italy on a beautiful spring day. I was talking about life, about figuring out my calling/purpose, and about attempting to authentically follow my dreams and intuition.
Cue Bumblebee. Later that day I googled the meaning of Bumblebees and meant to blog about it, but never did.
Then again on April 18th a Bumblebee gets right up in my/your/our faces/the camera lens. Ok, ok, I’ll write about Bumblebees!
The fascinating thing is how synchronistically aligned the symbolism of the Bumblebee is with what I’d been talking about in the video, what my focus has been the last month or two (focus itself, and creativity), and the lifestyle I’m living (COMMUNITY! If you don’t know, I’m living in a spiritual community in Italy…).
Creative endeavors (hello making videos!)
The following info was gathered from various websites:
Bumble Bees are focused, industrious, powerful, loud, and proud.
Bee is the ancient symbol of good fortune, joy and harmony. In the dream world, bee comes as a gift from Spirit. He buzzes about in order to awaken us into the moment. Alert and aware, we see that life is sweet and filled with brightness, color and light. Bee also teaches us to engage fully in our creative endeavors. The key is to focus with intention and to be single-minded in purpose.
The bee symbolizes community, brightness and personal power. Follow the bee to discover your new destination.
The ancient Druids saw the bee as symbolising the sun, the Goddess, celebration, and community.
ALL bees are productive, they stay focused on whatever they are doing and do not get sidetracked from their goal.
They hold the power of service. Their movement from one plant to plant represents the interconnectedness of all living things. It’s their drive to contribute to the common good of the community that is noteworthy. The bumblebee is a messenger bringing the secrets of life and service.
If this is your power animal and your energy is scattered, the bumblebee can show you how to become focused again.
If you are stung, the message here is – WAKE UP! Follow the rhythm of your own heartbeat. Listen to your true self, your higher self. Heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Ask for bumble bee help when:
• You need help communicating with other people.
• You question if you are aligned with your goals in life.
• You wish to heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Access bumble bee power by…
• Extracting the sweetness of life.
• Being productive while the sun shines
• Pursuing your dream, no matter how great it seems.
The meaning of bees in dreams speak of:
• communication, and
• our ability to consciously choose the results we want in our lives
When we dream of bees it may be an indication that we are ready to communicate our spiritual gifts, or perhaps we should more clearly recognize the treasures that reside within us.
Fascinating stuff. So I encourage you: look into those little clues that the Universe gives you. If certain animals pop up often in your life, or in your dreams, google their meaning and symbolism. These clues and synchronicities might be mirrors of what you’re seeking to learn.
P.S. Random Wiki fact: Bumblebee colonies are often placed in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of buzzing that a bumblebee exhibits effectively releases tomato pollen.
Is that not AMAZING??!? That a FREQUENCY can release pollen from a PLANT??????
November 20, 2012
I’m still here.
Planet Earth > Europe > Italy > Umbria > Assisi > Nocera Umbra > Ananda.
I’m in Ananda’s “library” with artist Mavis Muller. Mavis traveled from Alaska to Spain to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of an oil spill that happened in Galicia. She wove a basket sculpture in the form of a fractured heart, which was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vigo. The public was invited to begin to tie the heart back together with rainbow-colored ribbons, and the plan was to release the basket by burning it. But the museum was unable to secure a permit from the fire department to burn a sculpture on the streets of downtown Vigo. So, the fractured heart sculpture is being shipped here to Italy. On 12/12/12, we will have a community ceremony to burn the sculpture after Ananda community members have had the opportunity to add their own white ribbons!
The leaves have been turning here in Umbria the last few weeks. I’m loving the blazing colors, the brisk cold fresh fresh air, the smell of firewood burning.
This is my second autumn with the actual seasonal evidence (sorely lacking in Los Angeles), and I love it.
The day after tomorrow will be my second Thanksgiving abroad.
Last year I was in Argentina, and had a big fat steak with an Australian friend (click here for the blog and here for photos of the meal).
This year I will be having a vegetarian Thanksgiving in Italy at an Ashram with Italian, Portuguese, Greek, French, British, Croatian, Swiss, German, Canadian and American friends.
I love my life.
September 25, 2012
Today I did something I’ve been wanting to do for 12 years.
I climbed to the top of the Cupola, the dome of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. 463 steps up.
For once in my life, I have no photos. I somehow forgot my camera at the Academy in Assisi, so the Radiohead concert, this week in Florence, and the Duomo climb are undocumented. Most of you know that I loooove to take photos, but it’s been a refreshing change to just be totally present for life instead of looking at everything through a 3″ screen. The world is more holistic.
I arrived at the Duomo at 8:15am in order to avoid the crowds. I took the bus from my couchsurfing host Dario’s house, using a trick he showed me – I bought a bus ticket with my cell phone. With my cell phone!!! What you do is send a text with the letters “ataf” to 4880105. It texts you a ticket and charges 1.20 Euros to your phone. The virtual bus ticket is good for 90 minutes.
I love technology.
There is no technology at the Cupola. No new technology anyways. Ie, no elevators.
The entrance to climb the Cupola is on the left side of the cathedral when you’re facing the front, and it costs 8 Euros. There was a group of about 20 dewy-faced German girls in front of me, and a Taiwanese woman wearing heels. She exclaimed over my Vibram Fivefinger barefoot shoes, as did a few other people I met during the climb. They all agreed that my footwear was the most suitable for the occasion.
We all huffed and puffed and worked up a sweat – I consider myself to be in fairly good shape but this was a workout. Not recommended for claustrophobics. It was fascinating being inside the sides of the dome itself – you could see the walls curving overhead within arm’s reach overhead – and there are walkways that ring in interior of the dome so you can check out the details of the frescos of naked people getting their skin flayed open and being strangled by pitchfork-wielding devils and demons. There are also depictions of heaven and cherubs and god and all that, but the hell scenes are much more fun.
Construction on the dome was started in 1420 and completed in 1434, making the Cupola 578 years old. FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD!!! The Duomo (the whole cathedral) is even older, started in 1296. From the pavement to the top of the dome is almost 300 feet, about a 30 story building (no wonder we were huffing and puffing).
It wasn’t as windy as I expected at the top. The sun was still low in the east and there were few clouds in the sky. The giant shadow of the Cupola stretched west across Firenze, and I felt a bit bad for the people who lived in its shadow and probably don’t get any direct light until almost midday.
Chaotic harmony is what Firenze looks like from above. The colors are uniform – warm golds and yellows, umber and sienna and terra cotta. But the architecture is chaos. Hundreds – thousands? – of years of building on top of buildings, chopping down neighboring towers, adding on rooms and passageways. Done with skill and a strong aesthetic, but still chaotic.
I spent a long time up there, longer than the German girls or the Taiwanese woman in heels. I wasn’t taking photos, obviously, as I was without camera. I just absorbed it. I tuned into the presence of the city. I identified all the buildings I knew, and picked out the general area of the apartments I’d lived in on Via San Zanobi in 2000 and 2001. I stared at the towers on the hillsides I remember staring at and sketching in art class so many years ago. I watched the early sunlight reflecting like shining liquid silver off the Arno river. At one point my eyes filled with tears at a wave of joy and gratitude that surged within – the joy of being in Italy, the joy of this wonderful life. High up above in the center of it all, I felt love. I’ve loved Florence since I set foot in it in 1997, at age 18, and its consistent reliability, its beautiful lack of change, is reassuring, intimately familiar, calming.
And then the bells began to ring, all around me, from Santa Croce Basilica, from San Lorenzo. 9am. They rang as they have for hundreds – thousands – of years, as they will for hundreds – thousands – of years more.
September 21, 2012
This week I heard someone say that trees generate wind so they can talk to each other.
This idea completely fascinated me. What if it were real! How much more magical would it be to live in a reality where the trees create wind in order to talk, rather than the wind being caused, unintentionally, by differences in temperatures due to the sun.
Yes, it’s also fascinating that we’re on a giant spinning ball that gets partially warmed by photons of light that take 8.5 minutes to reach us from a gigantic flaming star, but still… I want talking trees. I want intention. I want consciousness.
Living in Patagonia I loved the sound of the wind in the tall golden cottonwood trees, and here in Italy I’ve had a pine tree outside my bedroom window that makes a lovely rushing sound in the night.
Perhaps it’s not just air moving through the needles. Perhaps that sound is the voice of the tree, as it chats with the olive trees on the hillside, and the giant fig tree that spreads along the fence.
Perhaps they’re talking.
I wonder what they’re saying?
September 17, 2012
Kittens. Nature’s antidepressant.
When we moved into our apartment, we were greeted by a small, sleek, cuddly calico cat. We decided to name her Bella – I know, cliché, but it’s fun to come home and say “Ciaooo Bella!!!” We later found out her real name is Matilda, but we still call her Bella.
One day, about two weeks after we’d moved in, Bella showed up with these two little fluff balls following her. We immediately tried to grab them, as you do with kittens, and they hissed at us and tried to puff up and look ferocious. This, of course, elicited a lot of squealing from us girls.
We called the orange tabby Zenzero l’Impavido (Ginger the Fearless) and the white one Neve la Timida (Snow the Timid).
When we sit outside for breakfast in the mornings they’ll scamper about, pouncing on twigs and leaves, pouncing on each other, and generally spazzing out.
After living with a wise woman in Patagonia (yes Ginny, that’s you! ) and learning about Native American animal symbolism, I wondered – what can kittens teach us?
Observing them, I see that through playing they develop what later become skills – focus, courage, determination, secret attack strategies. I see that they grow a little, day by day.
They’re full of energy, they’re curious. They’re present.
They encourage me to be more playful, to be ok with risking looking silly.
Then, of course, there’s the pure joy that you feel when you see a spunky, wobbly little kitten bounding around aimlessly. Feeling this joy, this wellbeing is, I think, the main point of life.
How can we have more fun, today? How can we be more present, more joyful, more playful? How can we enjoy life a little more than we did yesterday?
Having kittens around is a good start.