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This morning as I was in the kitchen, preparing breakfast and packing lunch for work today, I heard a distinct rhythmic thump-thump-thump on my living room window. I walked over to see a robin red breast rapidly tapping its wings on the pane. At first I thought the bird had flown into it, not knowing it was glass. I can assure you that my windows aren’t THAT clean. It didn’t appear to be injured and when I approached it, it didn’t fly away. Clearly it had something to say. I told it that I couldn’t let it in, but I would happily listen to its message. It stared me right in the eye and continued to flap away. I laughed as I remembered that my mother used to call them “Robbie Redbreasts” and then launch into the song When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along.  I know that the robin heralds spring and new beginnings. The weather here in Pennsylvania has been predictably unpredictable and I am SO ready for Spring.

According to  Healing.About.com:   “The robin with its red breast and trilling song awakens us to the spring season. When robin totem makes its appearance you can expect new spurt of growth or a new beginning for yourself. This bird is associated with the spring equinox, reaffirming the importance of seasonal changes. Are you honoring change in your life or are you stuck in old patterns. The robin teaches us to move forward and not to be afraid to try new things. The robin gets its nourishment from the earth, pulling earthworms out of the soil. It is true that the early bird gets the worm! Ask yourself, are you taking full advantage of new opportunities? Also, this action reminds us to ground our bodies and pull up life energies from the earth to nourish our spiritual selves.”

This is pertinent for many of the circumstances in my life at the moment. I have been questioning my direction and the steps to take me there. I am growing by leaps and bounds emotionally and spiritually. I am opening to change and stretching comfort zones. Worms?  Hmmmm….sometimes my thoughts get kinda squirmy. I am most certainly an early bird these days, sometimes up before the sun. Needing to ground more, that’s for sure.

The other chuckling moment came because this Sunday I am speaking at a Church of Religious Science on the topic of Spring Awakening and I was thinking about how to open the conversation and I am teaching a workshop later that day on the same subject. Asked and received.  Thank you, “Robbie”. Springing forward!

http://healing.about.com/od/animaltotems/tp/bird-medicine.htm

http://youtu.be/Z3jmMoImXeo  When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along-Whispering Jack Smith and Carson Robison

I am proud to be a Star Wars geek. I watched all of the episodes, although I do have a special place in my heart for the first three released in the later 70’s-early 80’s. The first movie entitled Episode IV  A New Hope, was released in 1977 which was the year I graduated from high school. I actually heard the soundtrack before I watched the film. I had been visiting my friend Joan Wesley in NY and her brother had the music on tape. Having been fascinated with sci fi as a kid (I really DO believe I was an alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep.) I loved the hero’s journey it offered and I was swept into the tale. I imagined myself a Jedi knight and was fascinated with the Force. Years later, as a Reiki Master (still a Jedi in training at this point in my life), I describe Reiki as the ‘life force energy that permeates everything.’  Sometimes I use Jedi mind tricks; watch out.

Tonight on the way home fromy my job as an addictions counselor, I was listening to Kids Corner on WXPN and they were playing Weird Al Yankovich parodying one of the more recent films in the Star Wars franchise. The song was called The Saga Begins and it sets the stage for young Anakin Skywalker to morph into Darth Vader. I was boisterously singing along and shortly afterward pulled into the parking lot of a local supermarket to pick up a few things. As I was walking in, from the other door dances in a boy of around 8 or 9, accompanied by his smiling mother. He was garbed in, of all things, a Yoda t-shirt, with the words Jedi Master emblazoned on it, and wearing a headpiece of what at first looked like ram’s horns. When I asked, his mom informed me that they were Princess Leia’s hair rolls (remember them?). Shorts and flip flops and a plastic rain poncho completed the outfit. Amazed but not surprised, I told them about the song that I had heard moments earlier. I complimented him on his fashion taste.

What gave me such a chuckle, besides the rapidity at which I had manifested a Star Wars connection; the Force is indeed a powerful energy, was how accepting his mother was of her son’s get up. She thanked me for being willing to engage with him in our shared interest. I wish more parents were as supportive of their child’s out of the box thinking, rather than attempting to have them fit a particular mold. Perhaps as a result, this young man will become a Padawan (Jedi knight initiate in the first stages of training/apprenticeship) and be right up there with my favorite little green sage whose image and likeness decorated his t-shirt.

May the Force be with you.

http://youtu.be/hEcjgJSqSRU  The Saga Begins-Weird Al Yankovich

www.xpn.org

 

 

I saw this video posted on the Vivid Life website which is another of the homes for my writing and Blog Talk Radio show called It’s All About Relationships. It was the perfect reminder of how, despite appearances, we may never know what is going on in the hearts and minds of those with whom we cross paths. Filmed at the Cleveland Clinic, it is a day in the life of various patients and family members who walk or are wheeled through their doors. The captions that run across the screen carry with them powerful and poignant meaning with descriptions such as “dreading the appointment”, “just signed a DNR”, “husband was given a terminal diagnosis”, “just found out he is a dad”, “tumor benign”  “tumor malignant” and “coming off of a 12 hour shift”.

Think about your own day. When you woke up this morning, what was your initial thought? Did it have to do with pain, illness or injury for yourself or someone you know? Was it “Thank God, I’m ok or  that my loved one woke up beside me.”?  How about ” What will tomorrow bring?”  The truth is, in a 24 hour period, any or all of those things could be so. Consider your interactions with the clerk in the supermarket who may be ringing up the wrong price for your items or the person driving in front of you who may be going more slowly than you prefer. An initial reaction could be impatience or even anger. What if the reasons for their actions have to do with anticipating or having received unpleasant news? Would that make you feel any more compassion for them?

I am flashing back 14 1/2 years ago when my husband was a patient in the ICU of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia for the last 5 1/2 weeks of his life while awaiting a liver transplant that never occurred. Those 40 days and 40 nights (what I called my ‘Biblical travail’) that I lived there with him, I had several of those thoughts as I strolled the hallways. I got to know many of the families whose loved ones were in the care of those I thought of as ‘angels in scrubs’. We became family of choice and chance as a result and for a few years after Michael passed, I remained in contact with some of them. I blessed the staff and wondered how they managed to maintain their pleasant personae while they themselves might have experienced vicarious traumatization in the course of doing their jobs and who knows what their personal lives were like?  As a medical social worker, I know that health care workers can fall to prey to it. As I took an occasional foray out into the world, I would watch folks doing ‘normal people things’ such as eating in restaurants, going to work, playing with their children, taking their dogs for a walk, bicycling, roller blading, going to the movies and wondered if they had any clue what was going on behind the walls of the hospital. Had they once been where I was and eased their way back into their daily lives, leaving the struggle behind them or were they still carrying their burdens? I smiled at them too, knowing that someday I would join their ranks and create a ‘new sense of normal.’ I have, but hold onto the sense of empathy for those in throes.

I encourage you to watch this short video and put yourselves in the place of each of these people knowing that “it came to pass, not to stay.”

 

http://youtu.be/Wl2_knlv_xw  “IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHERS’ HEARTS”: LIFE, in 4 min”

www.vividlife.me

http://youtu.be/bNerk3_hdlE Try A Little Kindness-Glen Campbell

 

“It’s APRIL’s FOOLS Day.. Where are you fooling yourself that you are unworthy, undeserving, unloved or unable to reach for what you dream of????”-Jan Schneider

This silly holiday celebrated world wide has its origin 7 centuries ago. “The custom of playing tricks on friends on April 1st is believed to have originated in France in the middle 1500s when King Charles IX adopted a new calender and those that refused to accept January 1st as the new years day became the butt of jokes. Read further on http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/how-did-april-fools-day-begin-and-how-did-it-get-its-name

People set up elaborate hoaxes and play jokes on unwitting family, friends and co-workers. I can’t recall the last time I did either, but I am amply aware of the mischievous job I do of fooling myself into believing I am less than worthy, successful and enough to have my dreams and desires come to fruition. Recently, my dreamlife has been telling me that this is so. As I was napping on Saturday, I found myself on my radio show interviewing Barbara Marx-Hubbard (from her website:  “Barbara Marx Hubbard has been called “the voice for conscious evolution of our time” by Deepak Chopra and is the subject of Neale Donald Walsch’s new book “The Mother of Invention.” A prolific author, visionary, social innovator, evolutionary thinker and educator, she is co-founder and chairperson of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She is the producer and narrator of the award-winning documentary series entitled Humanity Ascending: A New Way through Together and has recently partnered with The Shift Network as a global ambassador for the conscious evolution movement; a shift from evolution by chance towards evolution by choice.”  In  all my years as a journalist, I had not had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara, but she symbolizes a powerful woman with world wide impact who has been a credible voice for a sustainable future. When I do the show, I am here in my home in the Philadelphia area, connected via laptop and skype, headset on and my guest is wherever in the world they happen to be and my engineer is in Canada. In my dream, I took a walk without being tethered to the computer, and the headset seemed to have no limit. I was wandering through a small town, speaking with Barbara and  a little boy who I felt was around two, was tugging at me and repeating what sounded like ‘Amanda Rideout’.  Then an older man in his 70’s was trying to get my attention too and I kept waving him off and pointing at the headset. After the interview, I walked into my childhood living room and saw the man casually lounging on the sofa.  I say to him “When I have this headset on, it means I am on the radio. Please don’t talk to me then.” He smiles, leans back and says “Don’t you recognize your own father?” I dissolve into tears and collapse in his arms and then I wake up.  Whew!  The 5th anniversary of his passing in April 3rd, so it’s no surprise that he showed up in my dream.

Then, when I woke up, I went on to Facebook and this video was the first thing that popped up on the feed.  Is the Universe speaking or what?

Here is the trailer for a new video….Can you feel the impulse of evolution? We are ONE. Enjoy this trailer – a wonderful film by Planetary Collective. What, if any, perspective shifts occurred for you after watching this? http://vimeo.com/55073825

On Easter Sunday, I had lunch with friends, one of whom is Ken Kaplan whose calling is dream interpretation. I have shared numerous nocturnal meanderings over the years and he has impeccably perused them with me and assisted me in clarifying the messages. Yesterday was no exception. What became apparent was that I have become increasingly comfortable with expanding my horizons, untethered by previous limiting thoughts and beliefs. I was ready for my ‘walkabout’ in the world. Aligning with Barbara’s vision was on the agenda as well. We figured out that the little boy represented the child part of me and the reason he showed up as a boy and not a girl was that when I was young I did ‘kid’ stuff with my dad, not stereotypical girl activities, such as digging in the dirt, bicycling, skating, kite flying and helping him in the garage. I sensed he was telling me that I needed to return to more just for the heck of it, with no particular purpose play time.

The older man represented the ‘old school’ way of thinking that women aren’t supposed to be successful and he kept trying to distract me from what I was focused on and getting the job done. It was when I faced him, that he turned into my dad who was always supportive of my endeavors.  Not sure still the significance of the name Amanda Rideoout, except if I break it down, it sounds like ‘a man to ride out.’ Wondering if it connects with the idea of a partner with whom to ride out into the world.

This morning, I am entering into the day with eyes wide open, unwilling to be fooled any longer.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8tLeBmD28A Fool On The Hill-The Beatles