In Search of…Revisited Again


The Devas hold the schedule, I hold the hose.

I am accustomed to tending my own garden of Psyche daily. I work each morning as a medieval monk tending the medicinal herb garden. It’s solitary work. Strong medicines need quiet voices and patient hands. In this garden of “Know thyself,” and it’s corollary “Know Everyone Else”, the Devas hold the schedule, I hold the hose.

I seek the smallest of keys, the softest of voices whose demands create heaven or hell here on earth. I am a devotee of the siren called Relationship. Without relationship, love is lost, if love is lost; all is lost. The answers to the “good life” quest are all right there, floating in the rich soup of interrelatedness. It is appropriate then, to find myself here. Queries of life should be answered in the field, library research is far too easy, far too clean. It is a shock to witness the deep clouds of aged aloneness that are all around me. Their solitary presence as palpable as the gnat that floats in my coffee, right under my nose.

Why do so many fragile elders live out such lonely endings to their “Well-lived” Lives?

These are the superfluous thoughts that I ponder in my garden. In Florida, the hearing is hard and time runs short-endlessly. Thoughts are cheap; connection requires deep attention and careful listening. If I wish to hear them, I will. Once heard, I will have to listen, and I already know the sound is deafening.



Indo-European, Sanskrit word for God, originally thought of as feminine. The modern word Goddess has changed connotations to represent a lesser form of divinity. Deva had the meaning we typically think of as the word God today, however God was thought to be the Great Mother.In Buddhism Devas are highly evolved beings who inhabit different levels of existence. Devas are commonly associated with great beauty and bliss.Modern New Age versions of Deva’s are thought of similarly to angels, nature spirits, or fairies. Pronounced Day-va.

Is there anybody there?


In the heat of August, our 1960’s era Florida ‘hood seemed nearly abandoned. Air conditioning and cicadas hummed in unison, shades pulled against the relentless sun; we are all hunkered down in our separate oasis. In gentler October, I came to discern the fainter life force: there are many more people here than meet the eye. Empty carport and weekly mowing does not necessarily denote a Michigan snowbird’s empty winter escape. Is it a clever vacation timer changing channels in the late night TV glow across the street? Or is there a gnarled hand on a sticky remote picking endlessly at the arm of a single recliner in that darkened room? When I look at the blank face of that picture window, I wonder what looks back at me.

By November, my own lack of critical agenda mixed with the timeless energies and endless ebbing of those in 30-year retirements. Only then did I begin to hear them. I accepted the possibility that hearts too fragile to be “out and about” lived amongst us; close by and yet unseen. Yes, some of our neighbors have been here a very, very long time. Current wisdom calls this “Aging in place.” With enough resources one can stay home until you die, sometimes alone, sometimes leaving another alone for the first time in many years. Sadness and fear are the concrete reinforcement of loneliness, once hardened, it must be hard to get free.

How can I help and why don’t I want to?

An opportunity to interact with a silent neighbor arrived via Postal indiscretion. West became East and switched mail brought an impromptu visit from a frail neighbor. I didn’t recognize the Deva in the background right away. She stood no taller than my chin. Her razor sharp blue eyes shimmered above the optimistic swash of pink cheeks. Our visitor knocked on the door with authority belying her tiny stature. I was surprised by the friendly face; she took that in stride; she needed to sit down. Lowering herself into the nearest chair, she announced herself and her mission. Panting a bit, she noted my painting of wings on the wall nearby and identified herself as a fellow painter and designer.

Had I not been wearing my Florida Fairy foiling earmuffs, I would have identified her immediately as one of the “nature folk” or “faerie people.” Diminutive in size but powerful in Spirit, these beings are part of mythology worldwide. Mythology means “replaced by a different idea,” it doesn’t mean “extinct.” It has been my experience that occasionally one of these Folk will drop into our amplitude to whisper in our ear


or whack us up the back of the knees while screeching “WAKE UP!” directly into our hearts. She had appeared at our doorstep having trekked down a half block on slippered feet to deliver a bulk rate package gone amiss.

“He” was just out of the hospital that very afternoon from a hernia operation. The timing of this sortie was just so untimely. I was so taken by this elf in my living room and the stream of wordless language flowing out of her that I forgot myself and offered her whatever help I could.

“Oh no, we’re fine. He just isn’t feeling very well.” She said. Another sign of the Wee Folk; reverse hyperbole.

Then I heard the Deva, “She wants you to come with her…”

I walked her home, offering first to drive the span of four driveways and a street. She reminded too much of the gentle gray doves we see splayed out on the road because they just won’t hurry. She told me of his stomach pains and his surgery, her cancer and her painting, “He” was installed on the couch when we got back. There would have been surprise on his face as we walked in together, but it would have taken too much strength. He was saving what he had to speak gently to his partner.


He told me he came here for the small airport; he was a pilot then. She said they bought the house for the pool; so much fun for his grandchildren. He said, “They are grown now, haven’t been here in such a long time, but they used to like to come.”

There were ghosts of good times watching them; the reapers of regret piling their sheaves high. I sat and listened. I learned about life and longing and love. I called on every angel I knew to help them, and to help me know how to leave this house without bundles of baggage that I didn’t pack.

She showed me the pool; vacuum bubbling away on its appointed rounds. When had someone had last jumped into that clear water? Was there ever sand on the floor and food in the fridge? When was there last a child sleeping in the three empty guest rooms with sheets on the beds? My silent questions were sucked into flocked walls and thick carpet and left unanswered. The density in the room dared me to stay longer.

“No food, no wine, no fun!”


She waved at the artwork layered on bookshelves and the cases of small cans of liquid diet stacked in the Formica kitchen. Paints were laid out on a card table in the sun. “Do you paint now?” I asked. She said smiling, “Not in a long time, my back hurts too much.”

I asked if it was hard to not eat food anymore, cancer had taken that too. “No food, no wine, no fun!” she said.

I sat for a while in their living room taking in the dire straits in this home. Health completely gone, mobility quickly disappearing, they were collectively a ship with ravaged sails facing an oncoming storm. I looked for despair but couldn’t find it, neither could I feel anger. It did seem that sadness took up the best part of the couch. The professional part of me asked, “How long could these two support each other and their own disabilities?”

The partner part of me knew the real answer: until “Death do they part”, and probably beyond.

I walked home with my bundle of information in a language I didn’t understand. It was heavy and bulky, it smelled a bit rancid. I resented carrying it home, but I did. I put it in my studio room under an unfinished painting. I hoped they would talk between themselves and get back to me on its meaning.


Well they did. It came to me in the form of a recommended article from a dear old friend from my ancient past. A fellow sojourner in the early days of our “We can do more.” The basic theme was: ideas in the Ether, stay in the ether, unless they are processed via focus and form into concretized products. She wrapped love around that article and sent it out. This my friend, is the product of that bundle. Thank you

To our silent neighbors all around

I know you are there, I hear you and I send you love


January 20,2016

I revisited this story written when we lived in Venice Florida

Our tiny sweet lady’s husband died shortly after this was written, she followed, just a bit later. One of the children moved into all those empty bedrooms with a shiny clean pool.

Our “across the street” invisible TV watching gentleman also died that winter while we were away for a weekend. Turns out he did have family. Shortly after, I was holding the hose on some parched Gardenias when I saw a young man move away from the foul voices of the “house emptying crew. ” He moved behind the dumpster to sit on the back bumper of an old van. Out of sight of the the others, he bent over and sobbed a river of tears into his hands, shoulders heaving; it was a heartbreaking scene.

All that sadness, anger, depression, whatever the emotions that existed in that living room must have been still there. There’s always someone in each family who chooses, or is chosen to hold that basket. The house had been foreclosed upon, those that went in didn’t stay long inside. The living conditions inside were just that bad.

I said a prayer for this sad boy and I thought our tiny neighbor from the wee folk was right there next to me. When we were done, she looked up at me with a look that told me, “You don’t understand now…but you will.” She patted my arm, gave a little wink and walked back up the street to her old house. I was happy to see a bit of Spring in her step now.

January 25, 2020

And Florida continues to teach, thanks for the lessons my friends.

I know you are there, I hear you and I send you love

All paintings by Odilon Redon (

The Card


Yes, yes they do, in ways we cannot imagine. Actions, in the shape of words or thoughts, are the creations and products, of a physical life.  I think these are immortal, where our lives are not. The energy of our thought and word is jettisoned into the world, fueled by our intentions. Once created, their destination and timing is beyond our ken.

Can an act of expansiveness and gratitude operate above time and beyond your life? Can our interrelated connection to others invoke a response, a communication, a communion? This isn’t a casual existential query. I got this answer right between the eyes this week!

 How does a note from my Mother written 10 years ago, to a person no longer earthbound, arrive in my mailbox carrying a response and remedy to my current and immediate inner angst? How does that work exactly?

Could be “The Dance…”

At the still point of the turning world (from The Four Quartets)

by T. S. Eliot

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,

Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,

Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

A few days ago, a pure agent of change was dropped through the center of the wheel of my life, It was a catalyst to remind and inspire,

 “Think connection, think creation, remember there is only the dance!”

It was the last evening of our family gathering. The nostalgic joy of kids and grandkids in one place was intact, but the door was open. Time together was trickling out. I was feeling the loss of the children that had already headed home to the west coast, and anticipating two more “take offs” the next day. There were too many empty chairs, a sad dog, and lots of recycling. 

I could have moved directly into gratitude for what had been shared, but I did not.  It could have been the movement of planets, or the tenacious plaque of personal history.  Whatever the cause, I needed to feel the sadness of not seeing their faces, or feeling their energies in our everyday life. But emotions are weather.  Best not to deny a thunder storm, better to let water and wind have at you, and scrub you clean.

The force of “being Mom” is strong. Stepping in and out of that role can be treacherous, an emotional minefield that can render one’s heart into shreds without warning. It is a powerful living archetype that when not in use, should be wrapped gently in gossamer, and settled carefully onto a nearby shelf.  To do anything else is to surrender to a past identity that will continually search for what, and who, is no longer in her care, or subject to her control.  And the world has enough “hungry ghosts.”

On this, our last evening we reached for a “wee bit o’ the past.” Opening the Pandora’s box of “Home Movies,” we stumbled upon a magical video circa 1992. In this ancient time, personal movies had different sensibilities about “recording” an event.  Instead of clipped soundbites reflecting our current attention spans, these recordings were meant to imitate the actual experience of being present. To slog through some of these videos requires perseverance, and snacks.

On the screen was a family gathering not unlike what we had just experienced, siblings, cousins, grandparents; some quiet, some rambunctious.  We had assembled the day after Thanksgiving 1992 at my Mother’s home to celebrate a surprise baby shower for my youngest sister, and her “soon to be born” first child.

In keeping with the thoughtful tenor that is this family, particularly the elders, each blanket and tiny sock generated excitement.  Each was examined and approved with a flavor of innocence and appreciation. I experienced a wave of familiarity with this tribe and recognized some unprocessed grief for my loss of physical proximity to our elders.

 As we watched, a tiny ethereal crack opened and some essence of our family system bled into our 2020 room. From an over-sized TV screen, those “gone from our sight,” arrived in spirit, minus the corporeal baggage, to fill our Florida living room.  There was Grammie on the sofa, Nan in the blue chair. My own Mother and Father moved in cordial avoidance, with their respective partners, my stepmother and stepfather looking mildly awkward in uncomfortable chairs. All the usual suspects, in all the usual scenarios except; I was seeing them through my eyes from their point of view for the first time.  

It was delicious to see them again. They were reconstituted in my soul, their voices and demeanors activating memory, provoking recognition of their influence on my life. I did the Math to determine what my current position would be in this video and found myself as a hologram atop my parent’s age.  This was a jolting realization. “Do they looked older than me?” Their actions were so serious and deliberate, “Do I move like that?”  I wondered. “How skewed is my perception?”  I decided to hug my own illusions more tightly.

To my chagrin, I realized that I had begun to morph into an unrealized manifestation of myself. I began to analyze and overthink. I moved my current self into the 1992 living room and wondered if I would measure up to these icons of grand parenting? They had been always available, always within reach. I began to question my choice to be “of service,” mostly to strangers.  I held up my calendar for the week coming and found no family names. Appointments to do Reiki with Hospice patients, a painting to finish, and a TED talk group, a book to read and several podcasts, but no family for this entire expanse of days. 

“Was I using my time here for the highest good?

That was the question.  I could feel the disturbance in my soul.  It felt as if someone was moving furniture in my psyche, or as Grammie used to say with a shiver, “Someone is walking on my grave.”

My answer came the next day. As we pulled out of the driveway for a final trip to the airport, the mail arrived hours early.  Had I not forgotten my phone, we would have missed him. It was a good moment to share, later would have been too late.

The return address said STILLPOINT, a place of respite and meditation for my Mother when she was alive, and for me when we lived close by.  Opening the envelope, I found a card with a white owl and Southwestern background that looked familiar. It might have come from my Mother’s card box, gathered on a trip to New Mexico during our years there.  And indeed inside was her unmistakable writing, dated April 10, 2010.

She had written to thank the co-creator of STILLPOINT for sharing Reiki with her… when she needed it most. Her words are private, but she shared that this session had opened doors of beautiful healing possibility for her.  Possibilities that she had never imagined. She was very grateful. She wrote these words and sent them out. Years after she is gone the words still hold healing power.

“I want to become part of the DANCE because….There is only the Dance,” 

Was her reference to the TS Elliot poem.

This miracle was facilitated by the thoughtfulness of the Reiki Master’s fellow sisters at STILLPOINT who found this note and sent it on. This much loved, sacred teacher went back into spirit in June of this year. She taught deep lessons about the unnecessary pain we cause ourselves by getting caught in our own web of illusions. Because it is all “illusion.” I read this note and in a moment I saw my ancestors big smiles and hearty waves and I got the message, “I am on the right path, because it is my path.”

How did this 9 year old letter came to arrive just when its message would carry maximum potency? Maybe this is how it always works and always has been, we just stopped listening. Take a look at Entangled time:

Note to the choir: (All of us living “on the fringe” may be vindicated soon!)

Your thoughts, riding on the wings of actions, can be whispered into a questioning ear at any moment. Seems paramount to me to be mindful about the quality of your thoughts. Read the “Entangled time” article a second time and you may wonder about what, or with whom you chose to resonate. Think of the potential, think of the responsibility. Einstein called it “spooky,” wonder how he feels about it now!

Ignore the politics, let’s imagine Peace!

Images by Carol Martell