Musings

Four of Cups, Four of Disks

I had a dream last night, a strange dream, a dream where I traveled to an exotic, South American land and encountered an open-air bazaar.

There, in the back, stood a table covered in red cloth. On the table were four clay cups, and four small, clay disks. The seller of these wares sat with his head resting on his crossed arms. He appeared to be crying.

When I woke up this morning, the only thing I could remember were the cups and disks, and the sad young man who was trying to sell them.

These few items were all he had to offer.

I have no knowledge of the tarot, so I don’t know what the meaning – if any – could be. This dream has haunted me all day.

There must be a message in there, somewhere.

Photo credit: iStock

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A new cold weather tradition

As I’ve gotten older, my body is getting used to the hot, humid days of summer in the South.

It hasn’t always been this way. (more…)

On This the Eve of Halloween

This year, Mr. LaVeaux and I will be having a very low key Halloween. At sunset on Halloween, we’ll be cutting a pumpkin and making our first jack-o-lantern in many years, burning a candle and breathing prayers under the night sky, drinking beer and thinking about those who have gone on before us.

The changing season, oncoming cold weather, falling leaves…all of autumn makes me reflect upon the reality of death and our human mortality. And not in a negative, fearful way, either. Watching the Earth as she rolls toward slumber puts me in touch with what is real. It kind of makes the thought of death feel less scary. After all, it is just the final turn of the wheel of time, a wheel we were born to ride to the end.

Halloween, that season where the veil is thinnest, hearkens us to look within ourselves at the core of what makes us human. What makes us Earthlings. As from the Earth we sprung forth, and to the Earth we shall return.

And at the heart of this realization is a beauty so sublime, it can make a soul weep with joy.

Photo credit: wonderopolis.org

 

Hot Tea on a Cold Day

Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing than a piping hot cup of tea on a brisk, cold day.

Tea takes me to other places in my mind, places I’ve never been, places I dream about and conjure in the vast regions of my imagination.

What is it like to stand inside the Taj Mahal? Does it smell sweetly of spice?

What would it be like to walk along the River Thames in London, a mug of Earl Grey tea warming my hands?

I take a sip of my cinnamon tea on this first truly cold day of the autumn and breathe in this season of Halloween.

Mmmm.

Photo credit: baysidejournal.com

Thoughts that Ramble in my Mind

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Sometimes, there just aren’t too many things to be said. Sometimes, thoughts consume me that I cannot express.

This is where I have been. Silent, but with a mind busy trying to understand life.

You would think that as a 50-something who has lived through so much good and bad that I would be at a place where I am settled in my thoughts.

Not the case.

Sometimes I think that maybe I should try writing another novel. Maybe go back to writing poetry and doing my art.

Then I think, what is the point? What purpose would it serve?

Mr. LaVeaux and I had this conversation today over pizza. My wise and loving husband reminded me that even when everything seems pointless in life, our lives are meant to be lived and enjoyed. To not worry about what others think. To do what you want because you love doing it. To not worry that you’re wasting your time when you do what you love to do.

Having him is one of the greatest joys of my life. He keeps me grounded and guides me.

So as I sit here, spilling my thoughts on this blog and probably making no kind of sense as I do so, I think…what difference does it make?

We all need to create. We all need to express ourselves. We all need to do those things that make our hearts sing.

Now that I’ve written all of this down, I see the answer to the question nagging at my soul.

To borrow from occultist Aleister Crowley, I will quote him here: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” While I do not practice Thelema, I do find wisdom in this statement when interpreted in a different way.

In my mind, I see the Law as meaning to live as you wish as long as you’re not hurting yourself or any other living thing.

Thank you for reading these rambling thoughts. Now, time to go out and LIVE.

Photo credit: patrikrowinski.se

Thank you.

The image above shows just how far of a reach this blog has journeyed. At least one person in each of the yellow and red nations has visited me here online.

This never ceases to humble me.

I can’t thank you enough, each of you, for taking time to read one or more of my blog posts. You are the reason I do this. Thank you again.

Those Dark Moments, and the Breath of Light

Dark moments.

Everyone has them, some more than others. While there are those who may be in the midst of one right now, there are others who may be emerging.

No matter what, we all have those dark moments in our spiritual and emotional lives.

How do we cope? We all look outside for answers.

Which book to read?

What podcast to listen to?

Who is the best guru?

While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, the truth of the matter is simple.

Sometimes, we each need to stop, silence ourselves, and look within.

Most people take breathing for granted. However, when stress and worry, depression and doubt, rear their ugly heads, we begin to breathe a bit less deeply. Our entire being suffers because of it.

Breath is life. Breath is love.

That said, the darkest times in my personal life have taught me to use my breath to find a solid space within where I can sit and look at the things that might be bothering me. Usually they are things of which I’m not immediately conscious.

Sounds a bit too simplistic, maybe, but it is a very important thing to make time to inquire within the self. This is especially true during those times when it seems like the sun will never shine upon us again.

Without going into a long, detailed description of how to reach that place within, I will share a simple way I use to focus my attention on my inner self and find that place inside where the darkness is brooding.

Take a moment to get comfortable. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, holding each one for as long as possible. Expel the breath slowly.

On the first breath, imagine the light of the universe entering the dark spaces within. Breathe out as much darkness as you can. Sense the burden of that heavy emotion lifting.

On the second breath, imagine more light sweeping into the deepest recesses of your soul. As you hold your breath, see the light filling every corner of your Inner Room. Expel any remaining darkness and hold the emptiness until you simply must take a breath.

This emptiness is the entirety of the Void.

It is the essence and origin of Who You Are.

You are the Universe. Allow that truth to sink into every molecule of your body.

On the third breath, you should feel lighter. Buoyant. Simply breathe in as deeply as you are able, clear your mind of thought, and hold that breath as long as possible. Focus on the light within.

Expel the breath slowly. Open your eyes. If you need to take more breaths, do so. Hold each consecutive breath a little longer than the first. Expel the breath slowly. Hold the resulting emptiness until your lungs demand more oxygen.

By breathing deep, we draw life-giving oxygen deep into our core. And this life-giving breath will heal and nurture you on every level of being.

May peace be in your soul.

Photo credit: Pinterest

That Time When a Rock Star Inspired the Creation of a Character

It was one of those moments I will never forget.

Mr. LaVeaux and I were watching Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” for the first time in December of 2012.

Holy crap, this band.

THIS BAND.

I’d grown up listening to this music but I’d never really seen the band perform before…not until we put the “Celebration Day” DVD on to play.

At this point in time, I’d been working on my first novel and needed a love interest for the book’s protagonist.

Cue Jimmy Page.

What better choice than an elegant, older man with style and English swagger to woo my heroine on the haunted, historic streets of Savannah, Georgia?

Thank you, Jimmy Page. You inspired the character Nigel Blackmore in my novel, Velvet, and all these years later I still think you are amazing.

The point of this short post? Never overlook anything in life. Most anything can be an inspiration for you. Whether you are a writer, artist, poet, chef, sculptor, dancer, musician…keep your eyes and ears open.

You just never know.

Photo credit: jimmypage.co.uk

The Urge to Write: Finding the Time

If you write for a living or – like I do – as a hobby, do you often find yourself struggling to fit in the time? I do, and it can be quite frustrating.

Working a full time job takes most of a person’s energy. It’s so easy to come home from a long day at work and veg out in front of the television or any number of little electronic screens. So many days, the Muse will nudge me to write a little. Just a little. But my body and my spirit do not want to budge.

How do I deal with the urge to write in the midst of exhaustion?

It’s not always an easy thing to answer.

Lately, I have had three novels stewing and brewing in the back of my consciousness. These are stories I’ve planned to write for a very long time. One of them came to me in a dream last year. The others are from ideas conjured up in my head back about 25 years ago.

The problem I’ve had, it seems, is that I have no desire to sit in front of a computer after working in front of one for eight hours a day.

So, instead of writing, I’ve spent a good deal of my time recently reading books by other novelists. Some are classic, some are contemporary, but all are well-written stories that have captured my imagination. They gave me a spark and have inspired me to put something down on paper.

Anything.

So, just last night, I did that very thing.

After my shower, I grabbed a notebook and pen and started scripting out the plot of the dream story.

(It has a title, “Beyond the Blue,” and should be out by the end of the year if all goes well.)

Surprisingly, the fifteen minutes I carved out of my before-bedtime hour yielded a wealth of material from which to work. My scribbles started with one stumbling block after another, blocks I had not noticed until last night.

Questions started forming in my mind:

  1. What is the plot of the book?
  2. You know the dream you had. How are you going to expound on this?
  3. Who are your characters?
  4. You have your protagonist fully fleshed out. Who is the antagonist?

These are questions I had yet to answer. The information flowed from the pen and in a short time I had four handwritten sheets of paper.

Afterward, I laid my head down on the pillow and turned out the light. I felt in some way lighter and focused. Sleep came easy.

I knew I was on my way with this new book.

When I was in the process of writing Velvet, weeks went by where not one word was written. I’d hit the proverbial “wall.” No way out, no idea where to go next. And it was during those times I would read books. Somehow, the act of reading another’s words helped open up my storyline and give me the clarity I’d been seeking.

When you are too close to your project, or you feel in some way unable to write, try reading a book. Anything, fiction or nonfiction, seems to help me get my creative juices flowing. Maybe it will work for you, too.

How do you find time, or make the time, to write? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Photo credit: SelfPublish StreetLib

Read the First Chapters for Free at BookDaily

Curious about my books but haven’t read them yet? Hop on over to BookDaily and read the first chapters of both of my books for free.

Click here for more info. Thanks for visiting me at Echo LaVeaux on BookDaily.

Happy reading!