Go in Peace

Spruce branch with snow

Your hours wane so swiftly away.  We take the best of them and tuck them, with loving nostalgia, into memory’s store.

You brought us trials, and led us to discover our resilience and strength.

You brought us pain, and with it, the kindness and compassion of strangers.

Through your challenges, we found our ingenuity and learned that new doorways always appear.

When we slept wrapped in sorrow, you hung points of light in the darkness, and unfailingly brought us the promise of a new dawn.

You painted every hour with music and beauty.  In your every dancing molecule, the Great Yes sang its song.

You showed us the constancy of change to reveal the path of transformation.  You gave us light and shadow that we might possess the gift of choice.

On the scaffold of your yesterdays, we now rise to fresh tomorrows, strengthened and nourished by all that you gave.

With grateful hearts, we bid you farewell.  Go in peace, passing year.  Go in peace.

Happy New Year, my Friends

Dance of the Dream Seeds

Pine Cones in Snow

Within the still winter, the dream seeds sleep, sparks of possibilities slow-dancing beneath snow.  The hushed tune of Mystery whispers the steps as they glide, directing them.

Just on the other side of time, the tomorrows stand waiting, lined in a row.  One by one, the Mystery will call them.  And each will dawn on cue and lend its light to the dancing dreams and grow them.

All this goes on beyond our knowing.  But within us all, dreams slow-dance, too, growing with each tomorrow.  “Wait and see,” Mystery softly sings.  “Wait and see.”

Choosing Your Way

Choosing Your Way

The morning dawns clean and trackless, its possibilities spread before you in silent invitation.  Ask your heart where it most wants to go.   Who shall you be?  What will you write upon these dazzling hours?  What will be your song?

This is your chance.  Take it.   Sing boldly.  Write large.

Nothing binds you; the past is gone.  Its stories are just that, no more than a dream, gone the way of yesterday.

Here is freedom, freshness and a new beginning.  Ask your heart.  What song would it have you sing?

Packing for the New Year

SimplicityThings to Take With You into the New Year:  

The best memories of the passing year—the love it held, the friendships, the beauty;

All that you’ve learned;

Everything in you that can reach and hope and grow;

Your capacity for acceptance and forgiving;

Excitement for the potentials waiting to unfold;

Faith that you are seen, and known, and loved, and that you matter;

Your striving toward excellence;

Your love of truth;

Your belief in goodness;

A will to be kind;

Your curiosity and humor;

Your sense of wonder;

Your sense of awe.

The Long Winter Sleep: A Happiness Tale

122612 Long Winter Sleep

December had only a few more days to complete her work, and now that the Festival was over, she set about it in earnest.

When Little Pine woke, he could hardly believe his eyes.  It was as if he had landed in a whole new world.  Everything was silent and snow was pouring down.

“Good Morning, Little Pine,” his mother said softly.   “Isn’t it beautiful?  The winter has come.”

“It’s very quiet, Mother,” he said.

“Yes, Little Pine,” she answered.  “It’s time now for our great rest.”

Rest.  That sounded surprisingly good to Little Pine.  He had been so busy with all his adventures, that he hadn’t given a thought to the time that followed the Festival.  But now he remembered.

Every year, when the winter came, most of the forest’s creatures slipped into the world of dreams, the pines among them.  Their earthly forms had much to do and needed all the energy at their disposal.  They had to grow buds to house the new little life-sparks that would be coming to nestle inside them.  And so they slept and let their bodies work.

After he had finished his porridge, Little Pine and his mother reminisced for a while about the year that was coming, now, to a close and about their hopes for the year to come.

Then, as December blanketed the earth with her snow, Mother Pine tucked her little one in for the long winter sleep.  “Sweet dreams, Little Pine,” she said, kissing him on his topmost bough.  “I love you.”

Little Pine yawned and snuggled into the sparkling snow piling deeply around him.  “You have sweet dreams, too, Mother,” he said.  “I love you, too.”  And with a heart full of warmth and sweetness, Little Pine drifted into his long winter sleep.

The Gatherer of Praise: A Happiness Tale

Christmas AngelAs the Festival of Light drew to a close, the creatures of the forests and hills, the cities and plains drifted off to sleep.

Their hearts were with filled with happiness and their spirits were singing in praise of the Light that had been born to them anew.

Their songs soared up to the heavens.  And there they caught the ear of the Gatherer of Praise.

It was her duty, and her honor, to collect praise, wherever in the cosmos it arose.  And so she flew to earth and held the small planet in her loving arms.

She listened to the songs rising from the hearts of all the living beings, from the tiniest to the greatest, from the simplest to the most complex.  And she recorded them in her own heart, each and every note, even the faintest.

And when she had gathered every note of every song, she carried them, with utmost tenderness and care, to the absolute center of Paradise and then sang them to the heart of Great Yes.  And its love washed out in waves that spun on and on, forever.

Looking for Rudolf: A Happiness Tale

White-tailed Doe

When Little Pine leaped onto the ridge of the hill, the doe stopped in her tracks and stood perfectly still, hardly breathing.  Then, recognizing him, she laughed.  “Oh!  Hello, Little Pine!  Happy Festival Day!”

Little Pine was as surprised to see her as she was to see him.  They were both heading to their homes after the Grand Procession of the Animals.  Even those who were tucked in for the winter came forth to celebrate this day.  Mice and ground hogs, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, rabbits and deer had paraded through the forest singing their praises to the Light.  It had been a magnificent display.

But Little Pine had stopped for tea and cakes with the elves and thought all the other animals would be with their families by now.

“Hello, Mother Doe!  Happy Festival Day to you, too!” Little Pine said.  Then he blurted out, “What are you doing way over here on the slopes this late in the day?”

“I’m heading home now, Little Pine.  We deer have had quite an evening.  Just as the parade was ending, we received a universal call from Father Christmas.  Tomorrow is the day that many of the world’s humans celebrate the Birth of the Light, you see, and tonight Father Christmas rides his sleigh around the globe and delivers gifts to them as they sleep to remind them that they are dearly loved.

“But as you can see, a fog is setting in, and Father Christmas wants Rudolf to guide the reindeer who pull his sleigh.  Rudolf has a special nose that shines a red light that can pierce through the fog.  But he had run off because the other reindeer were teasing him.  It was all a big misunderstanding.  But nevertheless, Rudolf was lost.  Father Christmas had asked deer everywhere to try to find him.

“Happily, just a few minutes ago, we got the ‘all clear.’  Blitzen found him and coaxed him to come home.”

That was quite a story!  Little Pine was relieved to hear that it had a happy ending.   And he was glad to know, too, that even the humans celebrated the coming of the Light.  They were strange creatures, those humans, with mysterious ways that sometimes puzzled him.  It warmed his heart to hear that they, too, knew about the gift of Light and celebrated its love.

He and the doe wished each other a good evening and set off for their homes.

Over supper, Little Pine told his mother all about the day’s wondrous sights and sounds, and shared the story that Mother Doe had told him.

Late that night, as he fell into dreams, Little Pine heard sleigh bells ringing through the skies and the call of Father Christmas singing, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!”

Why We Sing: A Happiness Tale

Christmas BirdLittle Pine fell asleep with the sights and sounds of the day whirling inside him.

How magical it all had been!  And to think that there was more to come!

It had been more beautiful than anything he had ever experienced.   Yet inside him, questions mixed with the images.  What was it all about?  What did it all really mean?

He sensed that he was right on the edge of understanding.  But before  he could find his answers, the dancing images of the day spun him off to the world of dreams.

The dreams finally faded to darkness as Little Pine entered a deep, peaceful sleep.

And that is when the beautiful bird appeared.

“I have heard your heart’s questions, dear Little Pine,” it cooed.  “And I have come to unravel the mysteries for you.

“Everything in your world is but a reflection of something greater.  Only a portion of who we are takes on earthly form.

“Think of the love that you feel in your heart.  Think of the friendships that you hold dear.  Think of the way that music stirs you, and of the thrill that beauty provides.  These things are all a part of you.  And yet you cannot see them.  They do not show themselves in earthly form.  They are too large, too pure, too high.  And yet you know that they are more real than anything that your eyes can see or ears can hear.

“Behind the sweet earthly being who is Little Pine is a vast, magnificent Pine that you might call your soul.  Only a sliver of it can become dense enough to experience this earthly adventure.  And that little sliver is you.

“You know that your Festival celebrates the sun.  Well, the Sun behind the sun is Love, a love so deep and vast and pure, that it causes worlds upon worlds to come into being, worlds as small as the tiniest particle and as large as all the heavens.  This is the source of light, this Love, and of life itself.  And the miracle is that it lives within us, and is us, and calls us by our names.

“And that is what we celebrate, Little Pine.  That is the reason for our ecstatic joy.

“We forget, when we descend into the darkness of our heavy earth forms, that we are the children of this Love and its Light.  We get lost in our illusions of separateness and suffering.   And so, every year, just when the night is longest, Nature sings anew the eternal promise of the Light’s return.   It reminds us that the Light can never die, for it springs from the Love that is everything, and beyond all things and within them.

“And that is why we dance, Little Pine.  That is why we sing.”

And when it had spoken, the beautiful bird faded away, and Little Pine sank into a deep and  dreamless sleep and floated in its peace.

Festival Day: A Happiness Tale

Holly Tree

The first song that Little Pine heard as he stopped outside was the carol of the holly tree that grew on the bank of the lake.  Its melody spilled across the gently rippling waters and rose from them, perfuming the air with its sound.

He stood still and drank in the clear, sweet notes.  They filled his heart with tenderness, and once again he was entranced by the beauty of the world and felt its joy and peace.

He bowed to the holly, and she laughed in delight.  He laughed, too, and ran off to see what other treasures the day would hold.

The rows of tall pines stood at attention while chickadees and red headed peckers played their fifes and drums.  And accompanying them, he heard the merry tapping of fairy feet dancing on the decorated drums that the elves had prepared.  The sound seemed to come from everywhere and filled the whole forest.

Before long, Little Pine came to the slope where the Queen of the Fields stood, more radiant than ever with her light dusting of snow.   “Hello, Little Pine,” she sang to him.  “Have a lovely Festival Day!”  He stopped to chat with her a bit, telling her how lovely she looked.  He asked if she might know how he could find the Snow Queen.  He wanted to thank her, he explained, for her beautiful gift of snow.

The Queen of the Fields said the Snow Queen herself couldn’t take on an earthly form, but that she would happily pass along his thanks when she spoke with her later.

“Have you been to the ballet yet?” the Snow Queen asked.  Little Pine told her that he was headed there right now.

As he turned toward Holly Trail, Little Pine came to the great oak that had given birth to his friend Red Leaf, and stopped to thank the mighty tree for that gift, which had so blessed him throughout the past year.  From high in the oak’s branches, he heard the happy chatter of the squirrels, who were feasting today on their Festival meal.

Little Pine traveled on, and as he rounded the next bend, he caught his first glimpse of the delicate tree performing her graceful ballet.  The dance itself seemed to create the wondrous music that surrounded her.   Her leaves were snow-capped now and glistening as she leaped and twirled, the very picture of joy.

He took a seat by his elf friends who had come to see the show, and they erupted in applause and loud whistles when the little tree took her final bow.

Then, to Little Pine’s amazement, the elves themselves took to the stage and danced a jig so fast and intricate and lively that the whole audience broke into laughter and clapped until they could clap no more.

It was beginning to grow late now.  But the elves asked Little Pine to join them as they delivered presents to the birds.  Their mother had packed great bags full of nuts and seeds for all the jays and cardinals and other winter birds who kept the forest singing in the winter.  And so they trooped off, the elves whistling their merry tunes.

A light snow was falling as Little Pine turned toward home.  What an extraordinary day it had been!  He could hardly wait to share its adventures with his mother.

As he neared the door, he smelled the fragrance of the special meal that Mother had prepared, and he heard the faint carol of the holly, still wafting from the lake.  And his heart was filled with tenderness and joy.