AWE

My intention this week is to be in awe.

This is a pretty lofty intention for a period where I’ve worked 68 hours instead of 40, and when I discovered, at the last minute, that my boss would be sending me alone…to Chile.

Yes, Chile, the country. Santiago, in fact. I leave–TODAY! (Gulp.) I’m in AWE that a humble little mom of two in rural Vermont is heading to South America–for work.

Not only that, but a car is picking me up and taking me to the airport, and when I arrive in Chile, someone will be standing there with a card that says my name…like you see in the movies.

Do you know the feeling of holding a newborn baby in your arms…

That’s where I’ve been this week.

But don’t forget that newborns are proceeded by pregnancy and indigestion and sleepless nights; and  followed by diapers and colic and many more sleepless nights.

Speaking of sleep, I am in AWE with how little I’ve slept this week.

In fact, I only found the time to write a blog post, because it’s three am.

The night before, I was packing toiletries at 2:30 am;

And the night before that… well, I can’t remember…

I’m also in AWE with just how many midwives fostered this dream–a dream to expand into a larger expression of myself–to travel–to experience culture–to find work that helped provide for all of this… From my fabulous Facebook friends, to my dear blog readers, to my gifted healers and treasured life companions, to my precious family–including siblings and parents and aunts and uncles and cousins and sons and most significantly–husband. Then there’s the school will be looking out for my youngest, and the countless others who shed their light on a stranger’s path.

I am in AWE of how ANGELS abound–like the head nurse and the Episcopalian minister–who made a plan so that my boss could leave her husband’s side and come to work yesterday.

Then there was Elaine–who used to have my job (and did it much more efficiently.)  She tossed aside her life and showed up for two days straight so that everything might be ready for my solo departure.

The tech guy next door pitched in too, giving me an hour, instead of the moments he said he had, so that I’d have the technology I needed to pinch hit for my boss.

To say that this week has been grueling, does not do it justice. It has challenged me on every level, including my ability to develop a wardrobe. But I am in AWE, because at the end of all the preparations (whether or not they were done), I scheduled a massage. I made a plan to leave work at 4:45, the day before the trip, and I went and lied down for an hour, an entire hour, despite all that faced me.

I wanted to tell that massage therapist that she was contributing to world peace–not only inside of my body–but in the lives of the 40 others around the globe who would be meeting me for the first time: People whose line of work is to foster world peace by promoting “The Experiment”, a radical program which began in the 1930s develop understanding and peace through educational travel, cultural experiences and homestays.

Instead, I drooled on her table.

I’m in AWE that I set the intention to be in AWE this week; that I took the time (even after my boss called to tell me the news about her cancelled trip) to sit down with my husband among the suitcases and do our weekly page from the Life Organizer where we decide how the days will be shaped in our minds, and hearts, and souls.

What will I let go of: learning Spanish

What could I do: Yoga

What do I have to do: breathe deeply

There’s so much more to mine from the weekly planning page than this, but the intention setting is priceless to me. Each time I’m faced with a decision...Should I go to yoga when I have so much to do? I check it against the intention I have set.

Should I walk my son to the bus and take a stroll up the road when I have to get to the office? Yes. Can I appreciate all the people who are helping me when my to do list is still unbearably long? Yes. Will I allow myself to be in AWE when the work that lies ahead is unfathomable? Yes.

And so, I say goodbye dear friends, and head out into the worldin AWE.

(Gulp.)

Kelly Salasin, April 7, 2001; 4 am.

(Note: this post is part of my Life Purpose Path series, from the Chicken Wing collection, here at Two Owls Calling. To read the previous post in the series, click here: The Lollipop Tree or the follow up post: April 19th

 

40 Days, 40 Angels

Burne-Jones, visipix.com

I’m a spiritual junkie so I feel left out when there are holidays that I don’t know how to celebrate. Take Mardi Gras for instance. I’ve never been to New Orleans so I just don’t get it. Then there’s Ash Wednesday. For the three years that I went to parochial school, they put ashes on my forehead, and I liked it, even though I wasn’t Catholic.

But Lent is the holiday observance that I just can’t let pass me by. It’s such a cool club–40 days of abstinence from something you love–with participants all around the world! Thanks to Facebook friends, I’ve been inspired to think outside the Lenten box.  After reading the posts of those who have given up “sobriety” or those who have decided to “add” something rather than giving up, I’ve  decided to create my own twist:

For Lent, I’m giving up “self-reliance”

and I’m adding:

Communing with the Angels!

Due to self-reliance, I’m not very familiar with communing. In fact, I typically commune only when I’m feeling especially good, never when I’m down and out. So I put a challenge to myself: What if I communed with a different angel for each day of Lent:

40 days, 40 angels?

Even better, what if I let those angels come to me–in an even greater display of forgoing my characteristic self-reliance. And so I’d like to honor each of those arriving angels with you here. Each day, I’ll add another, enlarging the circle of love.

~MEET THE ANGELS~

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~Michelangelo

ANGEL #1

On the first day of Lent, I stepped up to my dresser and was suspended by the tiny oval photo of my mother. Her eyes locked mine, and held my gaze for minutes, until I felt her presence, and realized that she was:

“Bonnie”

My Mother Bonnie

The Angel Bonnie is renown for her gentle nature. Like Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, Bonnie brings grace and softening to any struggle. Her kindness is legendary as is her place by the sea.

~

ANGEL # 2

Just after midnight, I heard my own voice saying, “Ow, ow…”

“What is it?” my husband asked, disturbed from his own sleep.

“Charlie horse in my foot,” I replied without fully waking.

“Stand on a cold floor. That’s what my grandmother always said.”

And despite my own dreamy state, I realized that my next angel had arrived:

“Grandma Annie”

Anna Wesolowski

The Angel Anna is a companion of Mount Greylock in the Berkshires.  Bringing surprise to each day, Anna shows you that you can even excel in that which you don’t understand.  And if all else fails, she adds laughter and an Oreo cookie.

~

Angel #3

The roads were wet and I was rushing to make it home from work for a meeting. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly woman with several bags waiting to cross the street. I didn’t want to, but I stopped, and painfully waited as she… ever…so…slowly made her way across the road.

What I hadn’t seen were the three others on the opposite side of the street who had also been patiently waiting to cross in this downpour. Just as they passed in front of my car, the one with the cane stopped to look me in the eye… with a beatific smile of gratitude.

“The Stranger”

Goya y Lucientes, visipix.com

The Stranger’s timing is no doubt a “Godsend,” offering a smile or some other unexpected gift of sweetness just when you didn’t know you needed it. Each of us is this kind of Angel for the other, never knowing when our good nature serves as healing balm at just the right time.

~

Angel #4

Despite my decision to let the angels “come to me,” I began to anticipate the arrival of my next guest.

In the afternoon, I went for a walk down our mountain road to see what the rain had washed away of winter. Soon the chatter of my mind was silenced by the awesome current of the stream. My thoughts turned to Japan as I stood transfixed by the force of the water rushing through the dam, carving away the frozen banks of snow. And then I turned…

50 feet away, a dog stood starring at me…

“The Dog”

Tiepolo, visipix.com

I don’t have a single pet, but over the years other dog “angels” have appeared to me–usually near water. They serve as companions for a short while and then are off again to grace others. Dog angels serve as protectors, keeping us connected to the earth and focusing our attention on the “now.”

~

Angel #5

Who can make any sense of the tragedy striking Japan?  How will those who survive ever relate to earth or sea or fire again with peace? Nothing makes sense at times like this. Until everything does…

“The All That Is…”

(Photo: REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak)

The “All That Is” Angel presents herself in the face confusion and despair and fear. Suddenly everything makes sense, the kind of sense that transcends the mind and surrenders to all that is.

~

Angel #6

“Mother Mary”

Madonna, detail, Gentile da Fabriano

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let It Be.  And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me… And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer.

~

Angel #7

Apparently Mary isn’t finished with me yet which shouldn’t come as much surprise given our history.

“Madonna”

unknown, visipix.com

“Mother Mary, Madonna, Lady of Mercy, Holy Mary, Our Lady, Blessed Mother, Mother of God…”

~

Angel #8

In light of recent Earth events, this angel is a welcome sight, even if I do question her ways.

“Gaia, Earth Mother”

detail Raphael, visipix.com

“We have such a beautiful Mother. Look around you. Open up your eyes and sing Her Praises,”

Praises, Deva Premal

~

Angel # 9

“Top of the Morning to you, Kel,” that’s what my Gram would be saying today. She’s the one who taught me all the Irish ditties, from Tora Lora Loo to Just a Little Bit of Heaven to Oh Paddy Dear, they’re hanging men and women here for the wearing of the Green…

“Loretta”

Loretta

The Angel Loretta pours you a pot of tea and tells you stories that’ll make you laugh until you cry.  She’ll check to be sure you’re wearing your green before she sends you on your way, Tora Lora Loo, then she’ll climb back into bed with her reading glasses and a delicious pile of books.

~

Angel #10

Each time the anguish of Japan rises up inside of me, I bathe myself in Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem, and I am softened and soothed into our shared grief.

“Music”

Klimt, visipix.com

The Angel of Music is fluid enough to find us in our most hidden places, smoothing all that is rough inside.

~

Angel #11

*

“Silence”

 
Klimt, detail, visipix.com

…………

~

Angel #12

As the March winds begins to below, I am reminded that each Season is associated with an element. Summer with Fire. Autumn with Water. Winter with Earth. And Spring with Air.

“Air”

Serusier, visipix.com

“I envy the wind, that whispers in your ear, that howls through the winter, and freezes your fingers, that moves through your hair, that cracks your lips, chills you to the bone. I envy the wind,” Lucinda Williams

~

Angel #13


“Space”

Hodler, visipix.com

~

Angel # 14

At an women’s gathering on the Equinox, a friend surrounded this small garden statue with paper cranes she had folded for Japan.

“Kuan Yin”

Kuan Yin photo: Luanne Marie

May the Goddess of Compassion be with all those who suffer.

~

Angel # 15

This may be the most unlikely angel of all…

“The Teenager”

Watts, detail, visipix

Some angels require greater discernment to fully appreciate their gifts. This angel offers tenderness when you least expect it.

~

Angel # 16

The first time I felt my son move inside was at a performance by locals clowns Gould & Stern.  I felt the same quickening inside on the Seine in Paris when a street mime had a entire cafe in stitches.

“The Clown”

Fouquetm, visipix

Perhaps there is no greater angel that one who brings us laughter.

~

Angels # 17-34

The promise of color…

Degas (visipix)

The movement of women welcoming spring…

Giometti/detail (visipix.com)

Feeling the growing sun on my skin…

Being Aware of the Awakening beneath the Earth…

Greuze/detail visipix.com

Remembering to pray…

Macke (visipix.com)

Opening to the path of dreams…

Bonnie Kelly Salasin Bradley, December 25,1942-September 8, 2000

Softening into the spirit of my mother…

Hodler (visipix.com)

Showing up for the work we need to do…

Dore, "Dante & Beatrice" visipix.com

Transcendent time with my partner…

Photo: Robin Salasin Cramer

The gift of an embrace…

photo: Bonnie Salasin

Children…

child sea scene, Keller

ART…

Indulgence…

Fuessli, visipix.com
The ending of winter…
Hodler, detail, visipix.com

Surrendering to self…

Last Minute Laundry, Casey Deane

Remembering…

Moderhsohn, detail, visipix.com

a soft spring snow…

Angels # 35-40: are all yours. Add them & more in the comments below!

Kelly Salasin, the 40 Angels of Lent, 2011