Monday, December 24, 2007
The artist for the new cover is Cathy Bennett and her website is: www.artwalaroad.com. I invite you to have a look at her first two pieces: The first is a lovely piece about creating more happiness in our lives -- such an appropriate message for our times and for the holy days, too! The second piece shares a little bit about the new cover and how Cathy came about being the artist for it. You can actually see the cover on her website, too...
Here's to our Good getting even better in this Christmastide and year's end! And in 2008, may we all be about creating more and more joy and happiness in our lives. It's the only way to go -- not to mention moving Out of the Box! Stay beautiful, as my spiritual director used to say. And don't forget to smile :)
Infinite Blessings of Peace, Light, Hope and deLight, Dancing Heart
Friday, December 7, 2007
As I've mentioned in my work, the whole world is "on hospice" these days because things as we know them are not working well on our planet. As long as we continue to "remain in our boxes," doing things the way we're used to doing them, life on planet Earth is not going to change. I believe that the transformative power lies in being able to courageously step outside of the box and try some new things.
One of the signatures of Richard Bartlett is his wonderful sense of humor, his lightness of being. He works closely with the dolphins and the whales, and this energy is apparent when he works, or rather plays with people. Some would call him a weirdo or a "crazy man," but I choose to see his craziness as exactly what we need in these times.
I encourage you to go to www.matrixenergetics.com and see for yourself. Or better yet, purchase Richard's book Matrix Energetics or attend an introductory (free) session to get the idea of what he does. It's likely to change your life for good! Thank you, Richard, and all who are involved in teaching this transformative work...
Thursday, November 8, 2007
This way of embracing death is reminiscent of the wise woman who inspired the title of my book. I met her early on in my hospice work, a woman who'd lived through great challenges in her life and who was now living through the end-stages of lung cancer. She said to me one day, after giving up eating any food (although she kept the fluids and oxygen going), "I'm looking forward to the last adventure of life." Wow, I thought at that time, if only everyone could have this attitude toward the next chapter of life!
How do you view your life, death, and life-after-life? Can you see any possibility of seeing the end of life as a new adventure in living? I pray for all of us, that our "inner eyes" can see and our "inner ears" hear what is available for the seeing, hearing, and believing! May our lives be enriched and en-couraged as we face with openness and trust, the mystery of death -- which may not be as scary as we think it is, after all...
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Many blessings to you on this most special night (The Irish called this the "Vigil of Saman," as the Celtic feast of the dead was known as Samhain.) when we remember those who have gone before us. Their spirits are very close to us, especially at this time of the year...
I've been getting a smaller pocketbook size version of my book ready for distribution and use in my new Soul Baskets business. In this process, I've come across a most interesting "spirit" named Ramprasad. Ramprasad was born in West Bengal in 1718. He was very well educated, but he had no interest in the material life. He was devoted to the Divine Mother, and as a humble accountant, he would write the Mother's name all over the ledgers he handled. His employer recognized a "saint in the making" through this, and sent Ramprasad home with a promise to support him and his family.
Ramprasad is known to have waded into the Ganges River and sing songs in honor of the Mother. River boats going up and down this great River would pause and listen to his songs; it is said that people dying on the banks of the Ganges would ask Ramprasad to sing to them, too. He even became a favorite of the local king! Here's one of his poems that I share in my new booklet version of The Last Adventure of Life:
Listen with inward ear to the music
of her wisdom, teaching all creation.
With inward eye visualize her brilliant name,
Flowing across your heart in letters of molten gold.
Happy Halloween :) Dancing Heart
P.S. If you're interested in seeing my mini-book, just email me at Dancingheart22@gmail.com and let me know. They're selling for $4.50 (plus shipping and handling).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Recently, I was at a neighborhood bookstore and wow, there's so much "stuff" in the bookstores, too! We Americans sure do have a lot of STUFF. I find myself reflecting on my daughter telling me about a conversation she overheard in which two men were having a talk about religion: One of them referred to the fact that we all have "spiritual cancer." Interesting analogy for the traditional word "sin"... I guess one could say that sometimes our glut of material possessions does get in the way and creates barriers to our spiritual wellness. What is it that gets in the way for you to move forward in a good way? What do you need to clear out of your household to feel less encumbered and more at ease to take the next step in your life?
On a lighter note, at the bookstore I found a most wonderful new book: It's called eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I started browsing the pages and found it beautifully written and "choreographed," using the numerology of prayer beads. Elizabeth traveled to three different countries -- Italy, India, and Indonesia -- in one year, and shares a rich collection of stories from her encounters around the world. It looks like one of those books that strengthens and enriches, especially reminding us that in the end, LOVE Is All That Matters.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Speaking of change, there are two healthy signs of change I've discovered recently that I'd like to call your attention to: One is a book by a physician Pauline Chen entitled Final Exam (a Borzoi Book, 2007). I havde just started to read this book, but not only is it a good read, it promises to be the best (and only!) book I've read by a surgeon so far. Pauline gives us an "inside view" of medical school and doctors' training such that we learn why death is handled the way it is in hospitals and the health care system today. This in turn makes me think of Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi who says that it's only in the last 100 years that death and birth have been "pathologized" by having been taken into the hospital.
The other is a movie I read about in Parade Magazine. It's called The Bucket List and will be coming out this Christmas. It stars Morgan Freeman, a mechanic who befriends Jack Nicholson, a billionaire. The interesting twist is that they both receive a terminal cancer diagnosis. Bob Reiner has said about the film: "It's not a downer;" rather, "It's about living your life and finding joy." Hmmm... sounds a bit like my book, don't you think?!?
Enjoy autumn -- with all it's colors, changes, and transforming life! dancing heart
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
There are so many good books to read! And sometimes not enough time to do them justice. I would like to share two of my favorites (besides The Last Adventure of Life) that I often find myself recommending to hospice families and co-workers. They are: Final Gifts and Embraced by the Light. Final Gifts is written by two hospice nurses, describing some of the spiritual and mystical experiences they have had as they serve their people and families. It is beautiful, heart-felt, and a wonderful read. So is Embraced by the Light, an easy read about one woman's near death experience. Betty Eadie recalls an astonishing amount from a very short and profound experience she had after surgery one day. The book is a testament to the power of love, hope, and the interconnectedness of all. I sometimes read portions of these books to people who are dealing with fears around their dying; and this seems to ease their anxiety and fear. In fact, you will find small portions from these books in my book, too.
Let me know if you have books that stand out for you in this area. Which titles have helped you cope with your fears around death and dying, or grief? What are your favorites, and why? There is so much education still needed in this aspect of life in our culture.Blessings of Abundance and Peace on this Full Harvest Moon Day! May we recognize the true gift that being alive is; and may we never take our lives on Earth for granted, dancing heart
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Speaking of which, I am also reminded of hearing about persons who have climbed into bed with their beloveds who are dying. This can be a gesture that brings great satisfaction to both individuals involved. There is reference made to this at the end of the recent film out called Evening, a movie about the timeless love between mothers and daughters. And by the way, I highly recommend this film to anyone who is caring for their loved one as he or she is ill or dying. Our American culture needs encouragement and creative ideas in the area of "conscious dying," and Evening offers both. Blessings of love, courage, and hope in the midst of your caregiving and honoring the power of touch! Remember to hug often :)
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
At this time, I'm also getting ready to launch a new business related to my book. It is a Soul (Gift) Basket business that will incorporate some of the healing tools in Chapter 11 of The Last Adventure of Life. I will develop "healing tool kits" for those who are grieving, caregiving, dealing with a health crisis, and/or end-of-life transitions. The kits (I will be using furoshikis to bring a Japanese flavor to them) will include things like: a small pocketbook version of my book, some Young Living essential oils, a music and/or meditation CD, a candle, and the like. They will be kits that will help "embody" what I write about in my book. Families and friends will be able to honor one another using the items, and they will also help with honoring and encouraging ritual during transitional times.
If you are interested in trying a basket out, please let me know. I'd love to custom design something for you, or try out one of my new ideas. Also, please let me know if you'd like an autographed copy of my book. These books will no longer be available after the end of this year!
Thanks for all your support and prayers, too... during this new adventure of my own :)
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I have three recommendations I would pose in this regard: First, tune in to your inner knowing. Your intuition will let you know when is the best time to open the door to this conversation. Pray or meditate, and ask for guidance, which always follows. Second, remember the courage that is in you. It is not necessarily easy to have a conversation that is uncomfortable for many. Making sure you are approaching this topic with courage and openness will insure that you will not miss opportunities to say what needs saying or respond with honesty and grit.
Finally, do not be afraid to ask creative, even probing questions -- in a gentle way, of course. When the seriously ill or dying person asks a question involving death, rather than skirting the issue of brushing it off, let them know you are open to going deeper. Ask them why they are asking the question, or what significance the person they mentioned has in their life at this time. If it seems appropriate, you might even ask them what they imagine heaven to be like, or what it might feel like for them to be reunited with a loved one who has died.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I highly recommend that no matter what your life challenges are right now, whether they be mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical, go to www.thehealingcodes.com and see if this site speaks to you. My belief is that no matter what, we could all benefit from doing The Healing Codes! And they are so simple to do. They involve placing your hands on or near parts of your face and head and releasing old belief systems by doing so. The Healing Codes are likely to bring more health, wealth, and happiness into your life -- most of all, increased joy and well being. Go to The Healing Codes website and see for yourself. Then, let me know how your life changes as you work these Codes. For me, they have been just like Magic!
Summer blessings of peace and abundance. (If you're in Connecticut, you can see me at the Yale Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Harry Potter Day -- this coming Sat.!)
Friday, July 13, 2007
It is with sheer pleasure and delight that I introduce to you the Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund, a warm, gracious woman of spirit, magic, and awesome power! She's one of the gentle women of the Earth who's leading our fragile world toward wholeness, peace, and harmony.
Maria was born and raised in Japan and is totally bilingual and bicultural. She can move gracefully between the two cultures, and has tutored as well as taught both languages in both countries. She has also served as an interpreter and translator, sometimes in hospitals and clinic settings; she's also served as tour guide for Japanese folk visiting the United States and Canada.
Maria is multi-faceted: Due to her deep interest in spirituality, she attended seminary and became a Christian minister. She served as a parish minister (with the United Church of Christ) for ten years in parishes in Hawaii as well as the Great Northwest. Although she no longer serves a parish, Maria is sometimes found preaching, leading worship, conducting weddings, funerals, memorial services, baptisms, and the like.
About twelve years ago Maria stumbled upon her true passion, hospice spiritual and bereavement counseling. After serving as a hospice worker for six years, she felt compelled to start compiling a book entitled "The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Transition." After four years of dedication to this project, she self-published the work just two years ago. This book is bound to knock anyone's socks off! It is a rich collection of stories, poetry, and spiritual material that will allay most people's fears around death and dying, not to mention grief. Everywhere Dancing Heart takes her book, it seems to sell effortlessly. Many spiritual seekers are letting her know how much they appreciate her putting this collection together. Dancing Heart's book could be featured on The Oprah Winphrey Show any day now :)
Dancing Heart is getting herself ready to meet Oprah by leading and facilitating workshops, classes, and retreats on the spiritual life and end-of-life care. She also consults and guides people who are interested in growing spiritually. She thinks "outside the box"; she has universal appeal and a deep and abiding passion for world peace. Currently, her book is being prepared for a second edition by a unique publishing house in Findhorn, Scotland. Dancing Heart is also preparing for some true Magic when she will share her work at her alma mater at the Yale Barnes and Noble on Harry Potter Day (!) in just over a week. Please remain on the lookout for her on Oprah. You'll recognize her as the one dressed in purple. If you're lucky, you may even see her donning her gorgeous purple hat!
Shared in the spirit of deep Hope, Love, and abiding Light.
Monday, June 25, 2007
The second blessing for me these days is JOY. I am reminded that at any moment, I can go within and tune in to the joy, love, and peace that resides in the All of Life. While going through some of my books to weed some of them out, The Joy Book popped out of a bookcase. This is a very bright yellow book with blue letters on it. I had read and used much of it some years ago; it's been a delight to find and use at this particular time in my life as well. Just having it out and seeing it on my table is a joy!
The third and final blessing for me these days is humor, and along with it LAUGHTER. When I can remember the humor, the ironies, and the "lightness of being" in my life, this helps me stay in the joyful, "lighter" aspect of life. While at an introductory session with Richard Bartlett of Matrix Energetics recently, something rather special occurred. An older gentleman got up to work (play!) with Richard. Richard did his special "magic" on the man -- the way only Richard can -- and pretty soon the man was on the floor, chuckling and laughing his head off. I found myself quickly "catching the fever" and laughing, too. The man kept laughing and giggling, on and off, while Richard kept talking rather humorously, which is his nature to do. I kept feeling the urge to laugh, and found great joy and blessing in those minutes! I had not laughed so hard in a long time; just thinking about it now allows me to tune in to the joy and levity again.
In that moment I was reminded of a section in the Mary Poppins movie when Uncle Albert, the old, balding man with glasses, is up near the ceiling, doubled up in laughter. Pretty soon Dick Van Dyke, then Michael and Jane, and even Mary Poppins herself, join Albert up under the ceiling. They even enjoy a tea party together up in the rafters! What an absolute delight. I've been able to locate the movie now, so I can tune in to this "laughter medicine" whenever I need it.
What is it that encourages you to stay tuned to the joy, peace, and love around you? Even in the midst of challenges, and changing, uncertain circumstances, we can choose to maintain the "higher frequencies" of life, like light, joie de vivre, and laughter. They help to heal and release us from those things that might otherwise get us bogged down. May we learn to find and stay in the higher frequencies... By the way, Richard says that "Frequency 16" is the frequency of the whales and the dolphins, some of my favorite creatures :)
Monday, June 18, 2007
It’s most interesting that I have rather suddenly been thrust in the middle of a major change this month; it does seem to be a month full of “shifts”! Due to my daughter’s educational needs, we find ourselves needing to move back to the Mainland. So, we are house hunting, getting ready to place our home on the market, and preparing to relocate. Day by day, I’m realizing what a huge undertaking this all is. It takes a little extra effort some days to keep my equilibrium.
However, change has much to offer in the way of opportunities. Without change, we could stagnate, we might lose the excitement and “tension” of life; life could get mighty boring without the changes and interruptions that come up. This move that my daughter and I are embarking on is offering us another opportunity to let go of the old and embrace a new adventure. Literally, we are going through our belongings and discarding what we no longer need. It’s a wonderful opportunity to clear out the clutter and simplify, focus our lives. It is also an opportunity to do new things we didn’t earlier realize that we could do, and face our fears and doubts around old beliefs and thought patterns.
There’s a parallel here with what happens at the end of our lives. When we prepare to die, we are preparing for a new adventure on a very large scale. And we don’t have to go house hunting, either; the “spiritual home” where we’re headed is already prepared and waiting for us J The Tibetan Buddhists remind us that all goodbyes and experiences of “letting go” are a preparation for the Great Letting Go, our “graduation,” if you will, from the Earth plane. So if we can consciously be aware of this through our smaller goodbyes, how strengthening this can be: All of our grief work becomes part of our spiritual growth.
Thank you, Infinite Life, for the gift and opportunities for growth that change brings.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
One person who's helped me expand in this area is Bret Treadwell. He's taught me about "the jars" and the Autobiographical Feedback Language and more abundant ways to use and invest my dollars. If you're interested in learning more about his work and how to train your neuro-linguistic patterns to behave differently, I invite you to go to www.treadwelltechnologies.com.
Monday, May 21, 2007
One of the movements in my healing these days is to move from my tendency to excessively "do" to more generously "be" in my life. This is why I'm spending more time on the beach, doing energy work, daydreaming, and yes, meditating, too. By my cultural standards I sometimes feel as though I'm "wasting my time." However, my inner knowing tells me otherwise: I'm actually doing what's most important in my life right now -- to cultivate and honor my Inner Presence and Being. This heightened awareness of Who I Am is strengthening and healing me. I'm tuning in to a power I was not aware of before -- a more subtle and energetic power that is mystical, but at the same time very real.
Are you connected to this power/presence in you? Do you ever take the time to rest in your Love-Light Presence? It's worth taking the time to do this, however you choose to do so. If you'd like to see a magnificent picture of this, I invite you to go to www.saintgermainpress.com. Go into the "I Am" Teachings section and look for "The Mighty I Am Presence." I guarantee that you'll have a new sense of who you really are.
Blessings of Peace and deLight; Peace is prevailing on Earth!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
What is something you could do, today, or at the latest tomorrow, to take better care of yourself? Remember, you're the only one who really knows you and how best to take care of you. Whatever comes to mind, I en-courage you to take action on it, as soon as possible. You and your needs are the most important thing in the world; believe it, and know it. Some of the things I am doing these days -- as much as possible, every day -- to take care of me are: Walking the beach, or a beautiful place, spending some time writing or "being creative," cleaning and organizing my "stuff," and meditating or doing some kind of energy work first thing in the morning. It's also been helping to tone with (the chakras). I find that it helps me move into a "higher vibration" whenever I can do this. Sometimes I use a CD by Osho called Chakra Sounds Meditation which my teacher White Eagle (keeper of the Grandmother Drum) told me about. Blessings of Abundance and Peace to you as you move toward radical self care :)
Happy Mothers Day!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
There's a particular musician from Ireland who's recently come to my attention. Her name is Denise Hagan; her new CD is called For Those Who Hear. For me, Denise's music is profound. It "awakens" and heals me on some level as I listen to it. The first night that I sat down and really payed attention to the lyrics and the whole experience of the music, I wept; my heart was pushed open. I believe this has to do with the spiritual alignment of Denise's pieces. The words and the music combine so powerfully to connect me to the Divine. If you're interested in hearing a touch of this magnificent music, I invite you to visit www.denisehagan.com. I would love to hear from you if you have heard any music that brings you this kind of joy.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
It is my personal experience that the more I become aware of my grief and express and release it, the more free and whole I become so as to be able to live more fully in the Present Moment. Not too long ago, I discovered a very deep grief-and-betrayal pattern in my life that had gradually shut down my heart. After this, I believe it became habitual for me to live and operate predominantly in my head -- and in judgment -- more of the time than I care to admit. Only as this reality came into my awareness have I been able to gradually release the pain and grief (and the old pattern) and begin to open up my heart (Love and Joy!) again. (No accident, I guess, that Spirit gave me the name "Dancing Heart" some years ago.)
Therefore, the next time you become aware of a grief, betrayal pattern, or old wound, I invite you to not push it away. Rather, be curious. Invite it in, befriend it, and see what wisdom it might have to share with you. It could be the catalyst to re-open your heart. As we know, the heart, especially the Sacred Heart that connects us to the Oneness of All, is full of grace and wisdom; it is also the Seat of Love.
I've been reading a powerful book by Ken and Treya Wilber called Grace and Grit. In this moving work, Ken's beloved Treya tells about one of their spiritual teachers Da Free John, who encourages people to "practice the wound of love." The point is that the ego tends to want to avoid relationship. It reacts and contracts away from relationship, defending itself against what it sees as insults or hurts. If we can stop reacting, rejecting, and punishing others, we would be much better off. We must continue to love and keep from dramatizing a situation as betrayal, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and "suffering ourselves to be wounded" (forgive!). This reminds me of the song sung by Mary Black, written by Steve Cooney, that I've included in my book at the end of Chapter 6 (Reflect), called "Bless the Road". It's a haunting, moving song that could uplift anyone who's dying or "leaving" a relationship or place; but it's actually one of the most generous-hearted (parting) love songs I've ever heard. Another popular song along these lines that I've been hearing on the radio is "The Heart of the Matter", sung by India.Arie (originally Don Henley): "I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness... Even if, even if you don't love me anymore."
[By the way, I learned today that Dr. Richard Bartlett of Matrix Energetics (see entry below) has just released his first book called Matrix Energetics, which promptly sold out on Amazon!]
Happy May, dancing heart
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I've found at least four ways I can help motivate myself to let go of the old "garbage" in my life. In case you might be struggling with some shifts in your life, too, I offer these suggestions as ideas you might play with (note the word "play" -- I feel it's important to get away from heaviness and seriousness these days as much as possible!):
- Work with a trusted teacher and/or healer who can help you bring up and release things that need releasing. Matrix Energetics is a new healing modality that's helping me tremendously!
- Check out the book or website Radical Forgiveness. This is a book by Colin Tipping, mentioned in Chapter 6 (Reflect) of my book, which helped me look at forgiveness in a whole new way. I began to see that there was a pattern in my life that kept coming up. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or victimized by this pattern, I learned to see it as an overall misconception that needed to be healed. Colin's website offers a worksheet that you can use to work on this. Relatedly, I recently attended a forgiveness workship with Dr.Carol Scott-Kassner connected with Spiritual Eldering. Carol names the people who we need to radically forgive as the "severe teachers" of our lives. Question to ponder: Who have been the Severe Teachers of our lives? Are there ways you can begin to forgive and release them?
- Another book that has helped me immensely is Feelings Buried Alive Never Die..., by Karol K. Truman. In her book Karol offers a "Script" which can be used to help release old negative belief patterns that have bound us up. By using this Script over and over, repeating it to oneself with feeling, one can gradually release old negative patterns of judgment, anger, self-criticism, and/or self-hatred, for example. You may also want to visit Karol's website.
- Essential oils are a wonderful, fun, and creative way to work with releasing old feelings. For starters, I invite you to go to the YL Oils page on this site and order some of the oils that you are attracted to. Some oils which I have found very helpful are: VALOR, FORGIVENESS, RELEASE, and JOY blends, or FRANKINCENSE, LAVENDER, BERGAMOT, and SAGE single oils. At first, I would invite you to simply start using them and enjoy getting them out and playing with them. Later, I can offer you a more refined way of using them. There's a book that VisionWare Press publishes called Releaving Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils, by Carolyn L. Mein, D.C. that has bundles of information on how to use the oils in this releasing process.
P.S. I have recently returned from Guatemala where I spent a beautiful two weeks with the Grandmother Drum, her drum keeper White Eagle, and new friends honoring and celebrating the Oneness and Interconnectedness of All! To look at some of my reflections related to this adventure, click here. Visit The Whirling Rainbow Foundation for more details on the Grandmother Drum Project, and see this story that was posted from our trip related to the Law of Attraction. Here's a link to see some beautiful pictures related to the story and websites I shared above.