Death Wish

Hello Friends!


I’ve spent the past two months reading cover to cover Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You’re Meant to Live . I’ve been captivated by crazy talented makers from all over the world, basking in their creative passion, determination, vision and ethos to build lives they cherish by the talent of their hands and vision of heart.

In one of the profiles, I found a quote that I’ve been reading most days as a way to remind me, much like Buddhist monks who contemplate death (and living fully) by sitting in a morgue, that this life has an expiration date.  Remembering we are all headed towards our own ending is a helpful nudge toward making the most of the time we have. 

I find as I creep day by day nearer this final passage, (barring any unwelcome surprises that might deliver me sooner), thinking about what I still hope to accomplish and experience-what I wish for is the fire to make it happen. This quote from Apple icon, Steve Jobs is one such ember:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything-all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure-these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

My heart consistently points me toward achievements and experiences bigger than what I feel equipped to handle, larger than I can accomplish. Maybe you too, have a heart with dreams and wishes that daunt you, but that won’t give you peace until you at least take them seriously, attempt to make something of them.

In that case, let me offer my dear poet John O’Donohue (who himself left this world at the tender age of 52) as another voice to turn to when clear and deep wisdom is needed.   I’ll leave you with his words on courage just in case you need them, and wish for you the joys of a life full of what you came to live for.

When the light around lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world.

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone,
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes,
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!

-John O’Donohue

Name It To Tame It: Name It To Claim It

Soul Collage cards: Goddess, Witch, Freedom-my collection

In ancient cultures shamans learned that to name that which you feared was a practical way to begin to have power over it.

from –A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils & Promises of Spiritual Life, Jack Kornfield

I get some of my most pithy inspirations while walking the treadmill in the morning. I do my best to get to the gym before 7am, with a book of some kind to read that bridges the inner connection while I tromp along. I’ve grown accustomed to being led to passages and pages, sometimes well away from the bookmark where I left off reading. I trust the flow. Once I read that Steven Spielberg got some of his best ideas in the shower, and studies have shown that we can open to a greater wellspring of knowingness, solutions to problems, answers to deep questions, and higher awareness when we are engaged in some repetitive task or routine that doesn’t require our single-minded attention. The combination of reading and walking is hypnotic and induces an almost trance like state that opens my mind to creative possibilities and options I wouldn’t sense in my everyday rational thought mode. It sets me up to begin the day feeling aligned with the something greater, divine.

Lately I’ve been savoring Making A Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick. Devoted to telling stories of makers near and far with story headings like , “A Weaver’s Prayer”, Dyeing For A Better World”, “Curiosity As Wayfinder”, “Work in Progress”, each morning I’m drawn into worlds of artists who are living lives of beauty, meaning, and abundance of their own design. As I clomp along, shaking off the cobwebs of the night, I am treated to viewpoints and lifestyles that broaden and enrich my own, that give me courage and fortify my forward momentum. In tandem with this joyful read, is the deep and nourishing; A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils & Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield. In Chapter Seven, Naming the Demons, Kornfield says:

We talked about the general principle of turning difficulties into practice. Recognizing these forces and giving them a name is a specific and precise way to work with them and develop our understanding. We can begin to name and acknowledge many beautiful states that grace our lives: joy, well-being, peace, love, enthusiasm, kindness. This is a way to honor and nurture them. In the same way, naming the difficulties we encounter brings clarity and understanding and can unlock and free the valuable energy bound up in them.

Making A Life and a Latvian Braid Folk Hat in progress

In the psychotherapy approach, Internal Family Systems, multiple sub-personality/ies within a person’s mental system are identified and addressed. Typically these represent the wounded parts and painful emotions that seek to control and keep a person from the pain of the wounded parts. PsychologyToday.com notes: “The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core and undamaged Self, a concept at the core of every individual, and the essence of who you are.”

Reading the books together raises awareness of the various parts of me waving hands for attention. This year a more focused commitment to developing my education and experience in the fiber art world speaks to the Creatix in me, to the One Who Needs Solitude and Beautiful Space to Create. To follow the at times overpowering urge to make, and most often things I ‘ve never tried before like mixing natural dyes, dyeing yarn and fabric, and stitching and upcycling clothing, messenger bags, home decor, book covers, and accessories. Another possible direction is a movement, Craftivism, “the art of gentle protest”, that may fit in somehow with a course I am co-developing with a friend (more to follow on that). This also plays into what could be a natural fit to offer the combination of making and mindfulness into a class or group experience, so the Teacher/ Maker’s feelers are up.

At the same time, those sub-personalities wiggle to the spotlight for their say, and to do their best to save me from the hurts that they are sure will come from new growth spurts, putting myself out in different ways, and rescue me from the not uncommon frustrations that go along with learning curves. And make no mistake there are deep wounds around learning. I had forgotten the shaming that came with being a student over the years. But up it’s popped lately. The Shamed is front and center and so Name It To Tame It is part one of a powerful healing process. Whether shamanism, Buddhism, psychology or Soul Collage, each draws from the common well of getting to the root of what ails us and naming as a way to identify and clarify. Ultimately, when coupled with various activities such as making Soul Collage cards, art or written journaling, soul retrieval work through shamanism, naming and sitting with the energy and feelings, body sensations with Insight meditation techniques, guided imagery meditation to meet the parts that are in conflict with our next steps, we can work to reclaim lost or bound up energy within, and re-access the Self, the core and wholeness always present. We Name It To Claim It.

I’d love to hear about your learning adventures for the year. What are you setting your sights on? Are you doing your own Naming to Tame & Claim? If so, Brava! May you gain your freedom, joy and ease. See you on the path. xx

Wild Wandering: St. Scholastica

Only one hour away from North Andover, but worlds different from my daily rounds, is the St. Scholastica Priory. I first learned of the sanctuary when I needed a mama break, an overnight away from home to rest and regroup when Niko was an infant and while we actually lived in Central Mass. Located in Petersham, nestled amongst 200 acres of woodlands and surrounded by 10,000 acres of conservation land, the space offers a unique experience for retreatants.

Entrance

I stayed at the guesthouse for several days, with only one other occupant so quiet and peace were ample and welcome. The sisters and brothers participate in the seven hours of Divine Office (below, the weekday schedule) :

  • 5:55 AM Vigils (Monks: 5:00 AM)
  • 6:30 AM Lauds
  • 9:30 AM Mass and Terce
  • 1:00 PM Sext
  • 3:00 PM None
  • 6:00 PM Vespers
  • 8:00 PM Compline

and as a guest one is welcome to attend all, sung in mostly Latin Gregorian chant. One is also invited to eat lunch in silence with the sisters (or brothers if male) in their dining hall, with the exception of their Olde English Sheepdog pup who is not silent at all, but adorable nonetheless!

Heading in
Main worship center

I spent my days reflecting, meditating on the coming days of 2020 and doing some deep healing and processing. The first days were nourishing, bathed in the sounds of chanting and the devotional energy shed layers of stress and concern that have blanketed me for months. The rhythms of regular prayer were a salve and comforting. Having the sole purpose of devoting time without other agenda in this way allowed for a shaking loose of constraints and reconnection with essentials; breath, body, heart. The absence of duty, familiar surroundings and routine opened space to be with life and its spirit in undistracted ways.

Guest house with 18 rooms : separate wings for men and women
Guest house entrance
Entrance main worship center
Font door detail
Divine Mother and Child
Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum altar

Purposely setting aside distraction invites the arrival of that which needs attention, and so I spent a fair amount of my retreat sitting with and wrangling with shadowy messengers. And it was as it should be.

Room with a view
Guest house Nativity
Guest house dining hall
Guest house sitting room
Sisters’ quarters built 1929. Where female guests may take lunch with sisters.
Chapel within sisters’ quarters. Here, assembling for daily 3 pm Hour of Prayer called None.
Cozy study within the cloister. One of the novice sisters made the paper fire cut out with faerie lights.
Star to guide one on.

To book lodgings contact the guest mistress. While there is not set fee for visiting, donations are welcome.

to learn more about the sanctuary: St. Scholastica Priory

Witness + Watch but Wait No More

And it matters. Don’t for a second think it doesn’t. Or that you can put it off for another moment. Our world needs all the colour and innovation we can give right now. Our communities, global and local, are hungry for people of vision, projects of hope, people standing fully in their power not dominated by fear.

Lucy H. Pearce

(mixed media altered book page. Deborah Fay D’Onofrio, 2017)

My sense is that we as a species are becoming more aware of our spiritual senses and find our days are richer, more authentic and real as we embrace our divine nature and essence, grounding heaven in these earthy bodies. And for me, that expresses itself through a drive to seek out and write about the mystical, mythical, miraculous and mysterious we encounter on our journeys. I believe we are awakening our inner mystics and miracle makers now like never before, an en-mass quickening, shaking ourselves out of a bad dream in order to dream a new one of our conscious making, one that can re-enchant our existence, restore a wild love, holy inter-connectedness, and natural order to this tender world.

from Wild Wandering St. Anne Shrine blog post

(mixed media altered book page. Deborah Fay D’Onofrio, 2017)

Poet Mary Oliver asks us what will we do with our one wild and precious life- and as most of us are posing that very question as we cycle into a new year, I hope that you will give it its due and not reduce your potential to a few of the same old resolutions that will be broken in two weeks time. I hope you will dive deep below the surface to listen to inner nuances brushing up against your everyday life, willing you to pause and decipher. I propose that there is more for you this year. There is more for you to pull out into the open, to become, to create, to embody, to live.

Our times demand much of us. It may take courage like never before, to craft a new role in your family or community. To discard an ill-fitting identity, rock the boat of safety, reshape boundaries that fit your soul’s needs, walk knowingly into the unknown toward a future only you can reveal. If you’ve been standing on the sidelines witnessing, watching, maybe shaking your head at the mess of it all, or wondering how anything you could do could help to stem the hemorrhaging of the world’s heart, earth’s resources, protect her citizens’ sanity, safety, and even lives, or simply how you can restore balance and harmony to your own little life-wait no more.

(mixed media altered book page. Deborah Fay D’Onofrio, 2017)

Let this day, tomorrow, and each day that follows be one where you and I can truly “dream a new dream, one of our conscious making, one that can re-enchant our existence, restore a wild love, holy inter-connectedness, and natural order to this tender world. ” It has been said that changing the world begins with changing ourselves. How might you be willing to change this year? Not to become some idealized or improved version of yourself, but to become more of the already beautiful you that is here right now? The one that is as is, desperately needed?

Where in your life will you wait no more?

(mixed media altered book page. Deborah Fay D’Onofrio, 2017)

Wild Wandering: St. Anne Shrine

Interior view of St. Anne Shrine, Sturbridge (Fiskdale), Ma.

The introduction to the saints and mystics began early on my spiritual path. Theirs were some of the first stories and divine beings I learned about. They stirred my heart especially, thinking about the circumstances many of them endured and lived, loved and thrived through. St. Hildegard of Bingen  (1098–1179) , Benedictine abbess, visionary, composer, polymath was tithed to the Church at a young age-if one can imagine such a thing- and is reported to have become an anchorite, deliberately walled into the confines of a structure with only the barest living essentials, spending her days within the strict enclosure (at least until later in life when she became magistra of her own community of nuns.) in prayer, meditation, studying. She did not come into her own until middle age, as prolific writer, composer, orator, healer and more. Perhaps this restrictive existence contributed to the deepening of her gifts, or at the very least the removal of distraction to face them and surrender to bringing out into the greater world as she did eventually.

Enamored and fascinated by her and others: St. Joan of Arc, St. Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Bernadette of Lourdes, Gobnait, of course, Brigid, Mother Mary and others, I found a deep resonance with the mystic life; challenging no matter the century we find ourselves in. Like Hildegard who is quoted as writing:

 “Although I heard and saw wondrous and mysterious things, I refused to write them down because of self-doubt and my fear of the opinion of others,” she wrote. Weary and frightened, she gathered the strength to begin recording her visions. Once she started to write, her health greatly improved. “

Cynthia Overweg, Hildegard of Bingen: The Nun Who Loved the Earth
St. Anne

I’ve resisted opening up about some of the mystical experiences I’ve had. I, too, have found that as I have given up the struggle, surrendered to the life that wants to come through me, that I feel stronger and more alive. My sense is that we as a species are becoming more aware of our spiritual senses and find our days are richer, more authentic and real as we embrace our divine nature and essence, grounding heaven in these earthy bodies. And for me, that expresses itself through a drive to seek out and write about the mystical, mythical, miraculous and mysterious we encounter on our journeys. I believe we are awakening our inner mystics and miracle makers now like never before, an en-mass quickening, shaking ourselves out of a bad dream in order to dream a new one of our conscious making, one that can re-enchant our existence, restore a wild love, holy inter- connectedness, and natural order to this tender world.

Today Wild Wandering takes us to a shrine I first discovered in 2004: St. Anne in Sturbridge, Ma.

Located at St. Anne and St. Patrick Parish, Sturbridge, Ma.

The Parish website retells:

“In 1879, Monsignor Elzear Brochu, a Southbridge pastor in failing health, pledged to St. Anne that if he were to regain his strength, he would propagate her devotion by building a shrine in her honor. He did recover his health, so he purchased the land and had the present St. Anne Church constructed in 1883. He predicted that great wonders would be worked there. St. Anne Church as built in 1883 as a mission of Notre Dame Parish in Southbridge, MA.  Simultaneously, another mission was established under the patronage of St. Patrick.  Both missions were united in 1887 to form St. Anne and St. Patrick Parish. “

Other healings have taken place over the years and the shrine has expanded to include an outdoor service pavilion, Hall of Saints, Russian Icon Exhibit, Angel of Hope, Generations Statue, a number of outdoor tributes such as a Way of the Cross, large Crucifixion, labyrinth, and a number of assorted outdoor statuary.

I spent time in prayer in front of St. Anne and can tell you there is certainly an energy field held in this space. Even with a few fellow pilgrims coming and going, it was not difficult to stay in the quiet ambiance of the sanctuary.

Tokens of thanks, worship and crutches of the healed left behind.
Leg braces with dates worn and then, not.
Another attached shrine
Russian Icon Exhibit
Our Lady must be busy these days

Arch Angel Michael
Way of the Cross

Long view of the Way of the Cross
Joan of Arc
The Labyrinth- take note: the stones are currently mixed and difficult to walk, unless you walk your own path….
Hall of Saints
Tribute to the First Peoples
St. Patrick Shrine

The Shrine is open daily and masses are held throughout the week. Plan on spending some time, lots to take in.

Peace on you

Deborah Fay

Welcome!

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Hello Friends!

Welcome to our first blog, here at the brand new deborah-fay.com. This is a fresh approach for us and we ‘re happy for it. Join the hive here as the latest posts are available or be informed right away by subscribing to us HERE.

TODAY ONLY! Leave a comment below or join our deborah fay Facebook Group and you will be automatically entered into our Opening Day Raffle to win your choice of Spiritual Counsel or Elevated Energy session. Both are available either via phone, Skype or in person.

So,what will greet you at Weaving the Wild Wanderings? Part muse, travel journal, nest for beauty and nature connection, outlet to share creative, artful and expressive projects, meeting place for kindred spirits and space to visit with luminous places and people all over the globe. We are a refuge from the insanity of humanity, bridging higher and deeper energies for transformation, teachings for soul awakening, growth and expression.

COMING SOON: Mysticism, miracles and mystery revealed. What are we human beings really capable of? Are we living in times that are priming us to dismantle accepted conventions, cultural limitation, scientific norms and unleash our true potentials as an evolving species? Are we able to perform healing miracles, or welcome divine assistance to realign us? Are we moving into an era where illness and disease will become outgrown manifestations of suffering, separation, vibrational anomalies? Are we willing to be the mystics of a New Age, reaching levels of awareness, intuitive capacity and presence once only achieved by past masters? Are we on the tipping point of coming together to demonstrate miracles of global peace, unity, coherence as we practice the power of mysteries once known by an exalted few?

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To begin, through site visits to shrines, holy places, sacred ground & thin places across New England and beyond, I intend to witness and engage the energy, healing and to create my own tales of discovery bringing you along each step of the way. Because we now host a proper blog forum, we’ll be able to interact through the comments feature and create community in new ways. Through discussions, sharing ideas, writings and resources we can perform our own experiments, compare notes and manifest our own personal and planetary (r)evolutions. Opening to the flow of Life, who knows what we can accomplish?

I welcome you to share your thoughts or response, include your own travel photos, or creative project images, and spark conversations with other readers, weaving connections in real time, making room for deeper listening, finding common ground and bonding at the same time.

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Please make yourself at home and browse around the site, there’s lots to take in!

Ok, Universe: We're In

My heart consistently points me toward achievements and experiences bigger than what I feel equipped to handle, larger than I can accomplish. Maybe you too, have a heart with dreams and wishes that daunt you, but that won’t give you peace until you at least take them seriously, attempt to make something of them.

-from Death Wish blog

Chimney Top, mountain of my ancestors, TN. May they grace me with their unwavering faith, determination, ingenuity to scale the heights. May I remember your strength, perseverance, and agility, and know it runs through me and in me, too.

Know that you are not alone,
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes,
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

-from John O’Donohue’s poem on courage

First, a thanks to those of you who reached out to me to share your thoughts about the Death Wish blog. Thanks to you who show up to read, and who let me know it is worth your while. Many of us seem to find death a motivator for living fully! Hitting the send button released an arrow into the heart of the many loves I have yet to breathe life into, and for those who felt that sting too, I am so glad you let me know. To whatever place in your life it speaks, I am comforted and bolstered to know you are here, too. Talking with friend and fiber art mentor, Zwitsa over my lesson this week (embroidering my first pair of texting mitts), I once again realized how essential the act of writing is in sorting out and revealing the deeper workings of my heart. We laughed now that I’ve outed myself, there’s no turning back. I hadn’t intended the post to be a call to action in the way now just a couple days later it has become. But, as the saying goes, one thing leads to another……

First pair of mitts made with GORGEOUS naturally hand dyed wool from Lana Plantae in Maine. I. am. addicted.
Lupine flowers. Photos don’t do justice to the richness of color and texture, drat morning light.

My birth chart book backs up this need to go boldly forward. Seems the stars are aligned and there is nothing for it, but to strap on the climbing gear, throw on the rucksack and begin. “A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
.” We can remember O’Donohue’s assurance as we step onto this path together.

Birth Chart book by KV of Aquarius Nation. (Sadly, I don’t think she is producing personalized books anymore, but you may enjoy seeing how she might interface with you.)

So. Ok, Universe: We’re In. Where do we go from here?

Dr. Suess as Trailguide. Today is our day, we’re off to great places, we’re on our way!

More soon….xx