Saturday, June 30, 2012

Finding Water Revisited/ House SOLD and Yes, I DO Have an IPad2 Now...

Well, there have been big, big changes in the life of THIS jypsygrrl this month. On May 31rst, I got an offer on my house, the subjects cleared on June 11th, three months less a day since I listed and the possession date was June 19th and since then I've kind of been a homeless bag lady albeit one with a  2002 Mustang convertible loaded to the hilt with stuff bound for my new life in Nanaimo. I also am now also the proud owner of a white IPad 2 that fits right inside the charming carrying case that I got at an upscale mall in Guadaljara last winter so things are coming together quite nicely now after a WHOLE month of upheaval, frenetic activity and yes, chaos and over the top anxiety and stress with an across the Georgia Strait move. But right now I'm safely escounced in a cut rate no-tell motel in Hope, B.C. listening to the rain outside my room as I give thanks for getting me here safely after a few wrong exits and turns on a rain slicked, foggy highway. OMG, the highway conditions are just truly ugly tonight and my night vision is not that great anyway. But I AM safe and my worldly possessions are securely stashed in Mavrik until tomorrow's daybreak when I'll proceed to Horseshoe Bay to board the ferry to my new life as an islandgrrl.!

Upcoming Soul Collage Gathering In Vancouver!

Thursday July 12th
7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

• Are you already familiar with the SoulCollage® process?
• Would you like a time and place to make cards and explore the
process more deeply?
• Are you interested in being with a small community of fellow

The SoulCollage® Studio provides a comfortable place to keep making and using SoulCollage® cards. If
you have done a workshop with me or with another facilitator, please join our community of creative

These monthly sessions are for people who are already making cards. If you have previously attended a
workshop or have been making cards for a while, please join us to make cards together, share readings
and try other experiences with SoulCollage®. I will facilitate your work, respond to your questions and
introduce different ways we can enjoy our cards and access their wisdom.

The studio is not designed for folks new to SoulCollage®, but if you are an interested beginner, please
contact me about future introductory workshops.

Ryerson United Church Memorial Centre Fireside Room (Basement Level)
2195 W 45th Ave, Vancouver
(45th Ave and Yew St, across the street from the Church)

$10 (includes use of all supplies, coffee and tea).
Blank cards will be available for a cost of 3 cards for $5.
*Please let me know ahead of time if you want to purchase more than 3 cards so I can
have them available.

Your SoulCollage® cards.
Old magazines with interesting images (if you have any).
*Scissors, glue etc. will be provided, but if you have favourites that you like to use, do
bring them along.

Please register by e-mail so I will have enough materials for everyone.

If you have any questions about these sessions or anything to do with SoulCollage®
please contact me

Merrilee Thompson

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Betwixt & Between and On the Road Again

“Betwixt & Between” is best described as a liminal state, a midway position, neither one thing nor the other which is filled with ambiguities and contradictions.

I found this very apt definition of what my present life feels like at the moment. I am neither 'here' or 'there' yet...a free agent once more...

I was considering Luna Azul Mixed Media for my new calling card but today the phrase 'Betixt & Between' seems much more appropriate as I head towards my new life on Vancouver Island and my new life not being a home owner/landlord/full time teacher/girlfriend. Hmmm, as nature generally abhors a vacuum I  do want to be open to new opportunities and experiences as I create my new islandgrrl life in Nanaimo! So, am I truly betwixt and between my life in the Okanagan Valley and my life in Nanaimo?  Yes. And am I truly betwixt and between my Canadian life on Vancouver Island in the Harbour City of Nanaimo and my snowbird life in Upper Ajijic for five months (or so) starting October?  Si.

Que sera, sera...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moving Day Tomorrow!

Well, the day has come to put my worldly possessions in a UHaul truck once more and do a long distance move to my new city of choice, Nanaimo in mid island, Vancouver Island. Still on location Wednesday night packing the last of the boxes to be loaded ON the truck in the morning for the journey across the Georgia Strait to my new life as an islandgrrl. Was at the lawyer's office today signing the papers for the dispursement of the money to the credit union to pay off the mortgage and to ME as reward for surviving almost 17 years in an old house in the heart of downtown Penticton,. It's truly a miracle, really...but I did and I'm gonna take some equity out of this house and put it in the bank to fund my retirement years. A new day dawns...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Assembly of Text in Vancouver on Main Street

Well, this is quite a find for this retrogrrl. A store that celebrates letter writing and typewriters and all things text. It's a shop on Main Street in Vancouver owned and operated by a couple of Emily Carr graduates. Note to self: Once relocated on the coast and ready for  aday trip in Vancouver do spend a day on Main Street and go there on the day they write letters and you can use vintage typewriters to send out change of address cards! Also, I would think it is a good place to meet and mingle with fellow wow. It's always good to find where members of your 'tribe' hang out!

First Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.

Monday, June 11, 2012


My house is now sold and I am going to be free to move into the next chapter of my life on Sunday, June 17th after my relocation via UHaul truck to Vancouver Island this Thursday/Friday  and after I relinquish the keys I have had in my possession for almost 17 years on Sunday. I turned 40 the June I bought this house and now I've just turned 57 when I'm releasing it to the new owners from Port Moody. Will have to change the masthead of this blog! Fait accompli!
fait accompli
lit. accomplished fact; something that has already happened and is thus unlikely to be reversed, a done deal. In French used only in the expression "placer/mettre quelqu'un devant le fait accompli" meaning to present somebody with a fait accompli.

Boxed Assemblage Definition

About Boxed Assemblage 

Artist Statement by Frank Turek

Commonly referred to as shadow boxes or dioramas, I prefer the term assemblage because it's a more accurate physical description and it refers to an art form rather than a folk form. Shadow boxes are generally a sentimental collection of objects cherished or thought interesting to the owner with usually no eye for composition or cultural significance of the items enclosed. Dioramas are, more technically speaking, a way of depicting a scene usually with miniature figures within a small enclosed scenery space. Many theater stage set designers will construct a dioramas as models for their set ideas. The term assemblage is not as specific as the aforementioned terms, yet it is more closely associated with describing a method of art making. And because my work is almost always constructed within the confines of a rectilinear space, or box, I refer to them as "boxed" assemblages.   Artist Statement by Frank Turek

For the past fifteen years I've been working exclusively in the medium of assemblage. Originally, I was inspired by late 19th century optical devices such as kinetiscopes, heliotropes, dioramas and peep shows. These are generally considered pre-cinema devices in their relation to the development of the movies, but for me they became a method of physically bringing the viewer in close. A way to capture the viewers' gaze and attention by forcing them to come up to within inches of a piece in order to get the full effect of a piece. And so, my earliest attempts were viewing boxes lit internally to allow the viewer a peepshow view of the contents. A devoted interest in the dada and surrealists' use of collage and "found" objects gave me the ideas for the contents of these boxes. Originally I used book and magazine texts and illustrations as well as small pieces of trash found in the street. I then began collecting vintage books and magazines, game pieces, and a variety of old and worn odds and ends from flea markets which provided me an accumulation of source material. With these acquisitions my work started to develop a more open "shadow box" format where I often used cigar boxes and desk drawers as the containers of these assemblages. Parallel to the development of my artwork was the blossoming of my own philosophic thought. I was studying the modern hermeneutic thought of Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer, who felt that language was the essence of our being and through a better understanding of our relation to language we can better understand ourselves. What most intrigued me about their thought was that they emphasized that poetry rather than analytic discourse held the truths about language. Relating this to my visual art I found that I could use the misplaced and forgotten pieces of our material culture as a visual poetry to comment upon our own contemporary state of being. My assemblages provided me a method towards a visual philosophy, or in Gadamer's terms a visual hermeneutics. A sense of modern and postmodern philosophic thought has helped lead me to collage as a basis for my assemblages. I use assorted objects in my work and each has a power all its own, demanding the attention a central object deserves. But the underpinning or backdrop to these objects, and my main focus, is how the printed paper elements set up the themes and dialogue of a piece. Most if not all of the surfaces of my boxed assemblages (inside and out) are covered with collaged pages from vintage books and magazines, maps and comics, etc. The oddness of past items for me becomes a useful tool for commenting on the present day. It's removed enough so that we can sometimes laugh at it, but we also recognize it as part of our collective culture, so we listen to it with a certain reverence. Placing these images and text in my assemblages where they can resonate off of each other creates a kind of micro-theater full of humor, pathos and reflection.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Altered Book/Art Journal Workshop in Seattle

Thinking of going on a road trip South to Washington State and the Emerald City seems to be drawing me!  This is on June 23rd a Saturday and it could very well be a motivating force to propel me to tie up the loose ends of my Okanagan Life and take the scenic route via WA to Vancouver Island and my new home base of Nanaimo, the Harbour City!

Lesson Eight / Healing / Fueling My Life Horoscope

Up at dawn as in 5 a.m. because a new dawn literally AND metaphorically IS dawning in my life. My horoscope is spot on today for sure! Not that this is the WORD by any means but every so often it just rings true and today is one of those days!

June 10, 2012

Fuelling Your Life
Taurus Daily Horoscope

You may feel inspired today and perhaps move through the world in a kind of euphoric state. If so, a possible cause of this elation and enthusiasm may be that you are able to glimpse into your future today and see all the possibilities and promises it holds. If you can, try to allow this inspiration to fuel every thought and action you take today as you begin to create your new year. Besides, no matter what context, any thinking you do or any tasks you put your mind to could benefit from your faith and optimism. Today might also be a good day to attend to your to-do list or focus on your work.

When we feel inspired and passionate about the future, we can use that energy as fuel to move us forward. There ends up being a lightness and joy to everything we do and every thought we have when our futures look promising. Tasks that might normally be banal become infused with giddy excitement, as our outlook regarding our plans and goals can't help but be upbeat and hopeful. There is no limit to how much we can create in our lives when we are feeling inspired and passionate. Let your inspired thoughts about the future propel you today, and you will create more opportunities for yourself.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Art Journal Cafe

I'm kind of one the run prepping my house for the third viewing by the prospective buyers but I just want to post the link of this way cool site for future reference. It's called The Art Journal Cafe.

After just a cursory scan/glance it looks well worth checking into as the artists use techniques with a lot of texture and dimensionality which is my style. Flat painting OR collage just doesn't appeal to me anymore after taking the Emily Carr Mixed Media class called, 'The Built Surface.' And now I'm exploring assemblages and shadow boxes and even the upcoming Day of the Dead/End of the World Art Tour in Oaxaca in October with Michael Demeng whose assemblages are beyond 'trippy!' More later; duty calls...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Michael Demeng at The Upstart Crow

The internet is such a wondrous playground for random, non linear people. This is a listing for a class that could be stocked with basically the contents of my  current house as I pack up what's truly important for my impending move to Vancouver Island. Not exactly true but contains some elements of truth as I tend to be a bit of a packrat always in search of shiny or otherwise interesting objects to bring back to my lair.

The name of the artist is Michael Demeng and he sometimes workshops at 

Note to self:  When on the coast do drop by this way cool funky shop!  Michael Demeng comes to B.C. occasionally to do this class and one called 'Through the Looking Glass.'  It's called The Upstart Crow.

Patron Saint of Discarded Things
As far I as know, there is no such thing as a Saint or Deity of Discarded Things, which is a pity because there are many like me who wander the highways and byways looking for bits of detritus to incorporate into artwork. Seems like an activity worthy of guidance or protection. In fact I recall one instance where I was traveling in Oaxaca, Mexico, in a large van with ten or so students. On the side of the road we passed a large dumpsite filled with oxidized goodies…and all of a sudden everyone in the van started oohing and ahhhing. The driver looked a bit bewildered, and wondered what in the world a bunch of gringos would find so interesting about an orange-ish/red heap of metal. Little did he know that to us, it was as if we came across the Holy Grail. The possibilities of creation were endless.

In this class, we are going to create a found object patron, saint or deity that will aid in our artistic endeavors of finding and re-creating from discarded things. Using some sort of structure to build on (such as an iron, a shoe, a phone, a shadow box…just about anything), we will create a place for our effigy to watch over our undertakings. This shrine will be filled with all sorts of unusual elements as adornment but will also serve as a place to add future bits of randomness.

Enrollment limited to 20 students.
Materials: A complete materials list will be sent upon registration.

OMG!  The artist is conducting a Day of the Dead workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico this year! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Link for Intuitive Painting Workshsop n California

I've been on the Creative Juice Arts mailing list for a while and this very appealing workshop just came into my awareness. 

Excellent Posting About Anxiety from Creative Juices Arts

Anxiety And The Mind

When we are in a state of anxiety we are most definitely not in the present moment and are usually running around in circles inside our head, making up stories about some situation in the future that we are sure is not going to work out well.

We can also intensify anxiety by how we think about it. We habitually and without realizing it give ourselves internal messages that throw gasoline onto an already raging fire of fearfulness. So it's really important to find ways to talk to yourself that don't make it worse.

What you DON'T want to do is say things like "Oh my god, this is never going to end!" or "I'm going to die!!" or  "I am really, really messed up and this just proves it!" or "My life is over!"

One of the best anxiety self talk tips I ever received comes from the cognitive-behavioral therapy world. They have a short and very unglamorous script that I found to be extremely effective when I was in the throes of anxious overwhelm.

Their suggestion was to say to myself something along the lines of:

"I am feeling incredible anxiety right now. It's a tremendously uncomfortable physiological experience. But that's all it is. Nothing is really wrong right at this moment."

There were many times when in the grip of an emotional surge of fear that I would hold onto this phrase for dear life, saying it over and over again like a prayer or a mantra. Repeating it desperately and incessantly until it began to sink in.

Because anxiety WANTS you to think that something is very, VERY wrong and that you need to do something immediately. It puts your whole system into emergency mode. And then your mind starts frantically looking around for where the danger lies.

Except that anxiety isn't about anything real. It's always related to our fantasy about something that hasn't happened yet.

The most important thing I have learned about dealing with the mental level of anxiety is to bring myself into my body and into the present moment. To breathe, walk, dance, eat, get a massage, inhale the scent of one of my favorite lotions or essential oils, listen to music or sit on the earth with my back against a tree. Anything that will get me grounded into a direct sensual experience of the here and now.

Sometimes simply focusing my attention on the physical sensations in my body without commentary can help to calm me down. The story we are continously telling ourselves about being headed towards certain doom is what gets us in the most trouble. So try not to tell yourself those stories.

Anxiety And The Emotions

Anxiety is on the fear continuum.

And many of us have had childhood experiences where we were terribly frightened. I think that having early experiences of trauma is probably one of the factors that makes someone more prone to anxiety in the first place.

So if you are experiencing anxiety there is probably some younger part of you that is crying out for lots and lots of comfort and love and reassurance. That's why it's so important to be very kind to ourselves when we are in an anxious state. We need to make space and time to listen to the child inside who is freaked out by whatever changes our adult self is trying to make.

And we need to address whatever concerns that child might be having. When I was going through my career transition I would regularly take time to talk to my little girl and tell her things like " I can take care of us. I'm an adult now and I've done a good job so far. You can count on me. I can figure out what we need to survive and thrive. And most importantly ... figuring it out is not up to you."

Anxiety And The Body

Anxiety IS a physiological event.

When we are in an anxious state it's because our body starts producing an overwhelming cascade of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that flood our system in an attempt to get us to fight, flee or freeze. When we are in constant states of stress those systems of hormonal delivery become overused and overtaxed and never really get a chance to calm down and replenish.

The sad and ironic truth is that because anxiety IS happening in the body we try to "self medicate" through food or other substances that only end up making it worse. We exhaust ourselves with too much work or worry or overstimulation of sensitive nervous systems. And then we drink coffee or eat chocolate or smoke cigarettes to get the boost that keeps us from crashing into fatigue. Which just taxes our adrenals even more.

Sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates, which we use to comfort our poor overamped and pressured selves, are also directly related to increased cortisol production. So even though these sweet treats may make us feel calmer in the short term, over the long run they keep those stress hormones operating in high gear.

The best thing you can do for yourself when you find yourself plagued with anxiety symptoms is to do whatever you can to eliminate some of these physical anxiety triggers from your life.

Your body will thank you for it by giving you the immediate feedback of calming down. And the thing to remember is that you won't necessarily have to stay on this food path forever! However, you may actually choose to because you are feeling so much better.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you find yourself struggling with anxiety is to not try and deal with it alone.

Isolation around your distress will just feed the shame which will then feed the anxiety in an ongoing loop of suffering.

So please don't be afraid to ask for help. Take the risk to open up to friends, family and health professionals. What you need more than anything during this time is compassion and love. If you start to talk about it I guarantee you will be surprised to find out how many other folks have been or still are right there with you.

And knowing you're not alone can be the greatest healing experience of them all.
Postscript: This article was inspired by a powerful astrological influence between Pluto and Uranus that is beginning soon. I wrote about that in more detail here.

Rainy Day in the Peach City

Dateline:  June 4th

It's a rainy day in the Peach City therefore an excellent day to keep sifting/sorting/discarding and boxing up what's important and still relevant in my yet to be determined newly reconfigured lifestyle. On the weekend a couple of good friends came over and we all flipped through the two coffee table photo books containing my house pictures right from the day I bought the house on the last weekend of June to the possession date August 1rst through to the various theme parties I hosted over the years. A walk down memory lane through Halloween, Casino Parties, International Women's Day Mexican Fiesta Night, Survivor Party, Hotel California Party, NYC Gallery Opening Party, Greek BBQ complete with plates being broken on the outdoor patio and back again to the House Blessing conducted by Laurel Burnham. Three guest books chronicling the life and times of 401 Braid. And there were also pictures of my two feline companions, Mustang Sally who I got on Mother's Day one year and who took off for greener pastures when I moved upstairs and the much loved Marilyn L'Amour who was here on Day One of my house when she and I stayed in our house and slept on a foamie in the back room with no power on in the house and watched and listened as the ghosts of 401 Braid swirled around us checking out the new owner and inhabitants. The friends who helped me move into my house told me they could stay with them since I did not know that you had to got to City Hall to put the power on but I declined. I thought it was important to be IN my FIRST house on the FIRST day of possession power or not.

Little did I know that some years later my cats and I would once again be IN the house without power for five cold weeks starting on Halloween until I was able to secure the funds to do a complete electrical upgrade. This was the fallout retribution from a wacko tenant on a vendetta against me. OMG. As I recall it was a good thing that the natural gas was on as I was able to still take baths and showers in hot water and of course visit, feed and clean the litter box of my perplexed cats wandering around a dark house without their owner who was camping out elsewhere as I was employed full time at Carmi Elementary. Trooper that I was in those days, I still carried on with Halloween when I found out that my power had been cut by the B.C. Safety Authority. I lit a lot of candles and gave out treats as usual until a little girl asked me why all the lights in the house were off. To which I replied thinking quickly on my feet, 'Because it's Halloween, of course.' I gave the girl extra candy and hoped that she would just accept that answer, be happy with her handful of mixed Halloween treats and leave for the next house.  Which thankfully she did.

Okay, breakfast and back to my packing-up-my-life-in-Penticton...

p.s.  And yes, as a matter of fact I do love my elipseses or is that elipsisi?

Monday, June 4, 2012


One of the advantage of being disorderly is one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A. A.Milne


I just love quotations from all sources and frequently use them in everyday conversations, formal and informal writing of all types and even in graduate school when I was composing serious, referenced scholarly papers or blogs.

As synchronicity would have it, I was browsing the Soul Collage site and came upon this fantastic collection of quotations especially useful for soul collagers or for that matter any artists or writers.

On the topic of individuality here is a superb site:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lesson Seven / Authentic Strength

On this Sunday morning this week's lesson resonates as I am now waiting to see if Offer Five will hold on the sale of my house to clear the way for my move to the Nanaimo, the Harbour City.

Authentic Strength

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mixed Media Prayer Flag Project

Link to instructions and pictures for Mixed Media Prayer/Peace Flag Project

Really a super project for future reference a variation of which I've done as Peach Flags (for a Remembrance Day Assembly) in my previous life as an elementary teacher!


I just got this phenomenal email from Caroline Myss this morning and it is EXACTLY what I need to hear/read/comtemplate.

May 2012 Salon
The Gift of Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace
Part #1

Grace comes in many expressions. It intervenes in raging arguments, calming your anger so that you do not say what you can never take back. Grace whispers thoughts of hope in desperate times, giving you the stamina to hold on through the storms of life. And grace delivers inspiration, awakening creative resources deep within your being. The power of grace is endless, silent, and powerful.

A rare and rich but much too brief discussion of the activity of grace given in a graduate school lecture was brought to mind the other day while I was watching a program about the devotion the great opera star, Rene Fleming, has for assisting up-and-coming opera singers. It’s so amazing, really, how and when these flashbacks arise. You have no idea they remain hidden in the vast archive of memories that you are carrying around in your brain, like the words of all the songs from the 60’s that just pop into your head the moment you hear the melody.

First, I’ll share the long ago memory of this graduate class. I was in a class on mystical theology and while we were discussing something or other, the professor noted that one mystical phenomenon is that each person is given the gift of seven extraordinary days of grace each year. The grace given on these days is of the quality that it organizes the events of that day to transform your life – that is, redirect your life – in a most significant way. The rest of the class, as you can well imagine, was immediately devoted to the details of identifying that grace and the content of these extraordinary days. (I’ll get to that later – don’t worry.)

Anyway, I could not turn off this program about Rene Fleming, which actually intrigued me as I am not really an opera fan, but I have seen Fleming perform in person, thanks to my dear opera fan friend, Andrew Harvey. And she is beyond magnificent. During the program, you saw Fleming giving hands-on instruction to four lucky opera students, instructing them on how to advance their voices. She offered them the most interesting techniques that would assist them in perfecting a single note, a precise tone. Their devotion to the art of opera and to the art of their voice was stunning.

Later, Fleming was casually walking through the opera house with her four students when she said, “Remember, you have seven extraordinary days a year. You can’t waste them. You must be on alert for them.” As soon as I heard her say that, the memory of that day in graduate school flooded into my mind. How in the world did she know that? Why did she say that? Did she mean the same thing as my professor? And why don’t I have Rene Fleming’s phone number???

Immediately I dusted off my memory. What were the details of that lecture? I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, leaned back on the couch, and drifted back through the decades of my life to graduate school. I waited,waited,ah, yes. I remember,.

Your Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace

Let’s start with the obvious first question: Why seven? Perhaps it’s because there are seven days of the week, or seven days of creation, or seven chakras, or the scale of life is numbered at seven. Seven is a mystical number that notes a resonance to your soul. Let us, therefore, assume – though we have no proof as such – that this might be the reason and leave it at that. When it comes to mystical theology, we operate on observation, subjective experience, and the nature of law and order as revealed in the order of nature itself. A scale of “seven” is a repeated scale throughout mystical systems of order; therefore, it may well be that this scale functions within this phenomenon.  (That was your first lesson in mystical theology.)

Next, in order to understand the nature and content of these seven extraordinary days of grace, you have to be very clear about what they are not. So, grace is not – repeat – it is not an obvious force. Grace is a silent breeze that enters into your essence, often to protect you from doing harm to yourself. Grace does not protect you from the consequences of your negative or foolish choices; rather, it seeks to prevent you from making those choices in the first place.

Now, let’s think about an ordinary year of life, beginning from January to December. During that year, you will plan or attend a handful of special occasions or trips that rate as extraordinary. Among these are: weddings, vacations, parties, dates with someone special, surprise events, holiday gatherings, birthday parties, spa trips, etc. What these have in common are the following:

·         You know about them ahead of time;
·         You will have expectations of how the event will play out;
·         You will either exaggerate the good time you intend to have or the bad;
·         In either case, your expectations will be disappointed;
·         The event will not go as expected in some way.
·         For all the above reasons, these days do not qualify as one of your Seven Days of Extraordinary Grace because you are fully convinced you are in charge of the event or you are directly influencing the psychic field with your attitude. In other words, you are exerting too much control toward wanting a certain outcome.
·         Finally, days burdened with expectations translate to you having to get what you want, the way you want it. From another perspective, these are days that reveal a sense of loss of control and personal insecurities.

The Nature and Character of Extraordinary Grace

Yet another mystical theological teaching is discernment: to look through the eyes of your soul into a situation in order to see and understand the significance of what is unfolding in front of your eyes. Discernment is unlike judging a situation, which tends to be an immediate and reactive response. A discerning response is one that requires reflective thought. With this teaching in mind, we now proceed into the deeper waters of discerning the nature of extraordinary days of grace.

You have no authority over your seven days of extraordinary grace; that is, you cannot decide when these shall be given to you. They come as they come. They are considered “gifts of the spirit,” bestowed upon you at a particularly advantageous time in your life – the operative word being advantageous. Now, how would you define advantageous? If I had you in a classroom at this moment, I would stop the lecture and ask all participants to answer that question in their notebook as I have little doubt that none of you has ever asked yourself this question. What do you consider a spiritually advantageous moment? Are you even prepared to give an answer to that question? Or should I begin with this question: Do you even understand the significance of that question?

This is the type of question that is introduced in a class on mystical theology. Inevitably the discussion that it opens up is intriguing, to say the least. A spiritually advantageous moment is one in which the “agents of change” in your life come together in such a way that only one spark is required to set them off. You may have several change agents at work in your life, none of which has the potency to motivate you to a next step. One more is required. Perhaps all that is needed is one more conversation, or a delayed flight that would allow you to make one more phone call to exactly the right person, or running into an old friend who happens to be the link to exactly the person you need to meet. You are not able to calculate when you have amassed a sufficient number of change agents in your psyche. You are able to discern, however, that an event or opportunity carrying an extraordinary potential of power has just been introduced into your life. As a result of making that phone call or running into that old friend, something new was provided to you. Maybe it was a suggestion, maybe it was positive feedback, or maybe it was a new contact. But you are left feeling renewed, as if you’ve just been rebooted in your own skin. One spark of grace lighted at the perfect advantageous moment is all it takes and life feels good again. Your life feels good again.

Let us examine the characteristics of a day of extraordinary grace:

·         An opportunity that requires a spontaneous response comes along. The ingredient of spontaneity is required, lest you begin to project fear and failure into the opportunity, thereby self-sabotaging the potential to redirect your life. While other opportunities come and go, one surrounded with extraordinary grace fills your solar plexus and not just your mind, making your “head swim” with greed and ambition. Grace goes to your gut, right into your sense of who you are and what you should do. It symbolically “grabs” hold of your identity.
·         Another expression of an extraordinary day of grace can come through finding out that plans you had set in motion months or even years ago, which you had given up as failed, have been resurrected. The time wasn’t right and all of a sudden, the time is right. A day of grace is the day everything “fell into place.”
·         Yet another expression of a day of grace occurs when you encounter a past love only now both of you are available to be together. A day of grace is the day when life begins again.
·         A day of grace delivers an unexpected path of healing, which could be in the form of a renewed inner resilience or hope, or meeting a person who knows exactly how to understand and treat your condition. A day of grace is day when the tide turns in your favor.
·         Another expression of grace is endless delays, confusion, and chaos shattering all of your plans. You can only give up and survive the day, bit-by-bit, going wherever the road leads you. A day of grace is when all the wrong things deliver you to exactly the right place.
·         Yet another expression of grace is the day you discover that somehow a great mistake was righted through something else that you did. Perhaps it was something conscious or maybe not, but on a day of extraordinary grace, the forces work in your favor and a mistake is made right. A day of grace is when the rules are somehow bent in your favor, just once.
·         Another day of grace is when your life is saved, perhaps from a car accident or something exploding in your face or a random street incident. A day of grace is when your life is shielded from physical harm, knowingly or unknowingly.

As you can tell, you cannot coordinate these days. You cannot make them happen. They happen because of other circumstances you have set into motion. In other words, your extraordinary days of grace come into your life because of choices that you have made that have created gaps and needs – open spaces – that require filling.

Your challenge is to realize that you are experiencing a day of extraordinary grace and to appreciate the meaning, power, and significance of that day. Further, it is vitally important to act on opportunities offered to you on that day. Suggestions for your new business venture, for example, that came from a synchronistic meeting between you and another person should be followed up on. Merely telling friends about this incredible synchronistic conversation you had with someone is a waste of an extraordinary day of grace, to be direct. It’s up to you to follow through, to take action, to make things happen for yourself.

Remember, grace does not do work for you. It will not “heal” you if you are not doing your part in your own healing. Grace will not interfere with the law of cause and effect; that is, for every choice we make, there is an effect or a consequence. If we make a foolish or stupid choice, we pay a price by having to deal with the consequence of our choices. Grace does not compensate or erase our stupid or foolish choices, any more than prayer does. In order to appreciate the nature and power of grace, and the gift of an extraordinary day of grace, you have to grasp how the power of grace manifests in your life and how it does not. Grace is not a “fix-it” force. It is an inspirational, mystical power that awakens you from within.

As I thought about this subject, I queried a few friends on this question: Would you want to be in charge of determining when you received your seven days of extraordinary grace each year? We had such a fun discussion. One friend said, “I’m very frugal. I would hold on to them.”
Another friend determined that she would be very nervous about having that type of “wealth in a safe in her own home.” What a great analogy, I thought, yes? She was exactly right, as seven days of grace is exactly like having gold in a safe at home and you left to determine when and how to spend it. A third person said he would absolutely use all seven days in one month. He would “go for the gold” in one blast.

I asked each person, “Would you be more inclined to use a day of grace in the midst of a crisis or when you are calm and undistracted?” Would you see your days of grace as financial crisis solvers or a day of soulful renewal? Which is of more value to you?

Those questions ended up leading into one more fascinating area of discussion after another. It seemed like this subject opened a vast discussion. For that reason, I am carrying it over to the June Salon, which will be Part II on this topic. In the June Salon, I will explore those questions along with:

·         A discussion of grace and prayer.
·         What would most people do: take charge of their seven days or let heaven determine when they receive the gift of a day of grace?
·         Merging the Seven Days of Grace with Your Seven Chakras, just for discussion
·         Could each day contain this grace?

Let me encourage you to think about the days of this year – just this year – that have been game changers for you. They have contained certain ingredients that have motivated you to move ahead, to make positive changes, to do something you’ve been postponing, but on that day, you acted. See if you can identify the presence of grace in your life that day:

·         What was it about that day that made it different?
·         Do you remember how you felt that day?
·         What types of choices did you make that day that you would call “out of character?”
·         What results have occurred in your life as a result of those choices, and would you consider these results as special or surprising?
·         Have there been any changes in your life that qualify as “beyond your expectations” as a result of acting on a grace that you identified?

I’ll close this Salon by asking you to reflect on whether you would want to be in charge of when to receive your Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace, or whether you would leave the wisdom of that decision to the heavens. We’ll continue with this discussion in the June Salon.

Meanwhile, Happy Summer,


Our CMED Healing prayer for one and all:

Hold on to what is good
  Even if it is a handful of earth
Hold on to what you believe
  Even if it is a tree that stands by itself
Hold on to what you must do
   Even if it is a long way from here
Hold on to life
   Even if it is easier to let go
Hold on to my hand
   Even if I have gone away from you,.

-          Pueblo blessing

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