2014 Word: Safari


Celestial Gift, New Year’s Day

Is it too late to say Happy New Year in February? The first part of the year has flown by. Our family closes 2013 in a new country, having celebrated our first Christmas with a few tears of homesickness, but mostly joy and gratitude for our new lifestyle, friends, and adventures.

It’s summer here in sub-saharan Africa, as polar storms cover the U.S. with heavy snowfall. My mind recognizes the heat, but my body wants to go into winter hibernation. I feel fortunate, however, to have hot sun after a long rainy season, where villagers rarely had dry clothing, and heavy rainfall washed away the leaves, stones, and dirt used to fill potholes the size of bathtubs.


The rains brought gorgeous, dense and verdant foliage, and in our “surprise” garden, (not knowing what former tenants planted), new flora and fauna bloom and delight us. And, recently, a migration of hundreds of white butterflies fluttered through the tree canopies in our back yard, tumbling in erratic flight patterns like white rose petals falling from the sky. I see movement in the bushes, too, sometimes…is that scampering shadow a mongoose or a huge monitor lizard? Africa constantly feeds our imaginations and keeps us guessing.

Like New Year’s, my birthday is always a time to stop and reflect about the past year, and what’s to come. I received a philosophical birthday wish last week from Dalton, who fills our car at the Engen Petrol station. He jubilantly wished me many more years ahead, and told me to remember, ” Life First.  Problems Later!”  I couldn’t agree more, Dalton. Thanks!

In little nooks and crannies of time since New Year’s, I’ve made it a priority to start going through a slowly accumulated pile of excerpts highlighted in books, articles torn out of magazines, and lists of podcasts, website references, and blogs to peruse. A few messages keep recurring:

  • re-educate yourself to listen and trust the inner-truths
  • follow your intuition, and if it’s really your intuition talking, (your idea or activity) it will lead to a feeling of greater aliveness and power
  • choose how you want your day to unfold, and where you put your energy (not on negativity and all things soul-draining)

I’d love to get up every day and set positive intentions. I suppose it’s like exercise: you just have to get into the habit. Are there days where your head hits the pillow and you wonder where the day went, and how you never found time to X-Y-Z?

Several blogs I enjoy have mentioned choosing a “word for the year.”  What is the word I want to represent 2014? Several words and phrases resonate: authentic. centered. letting go. permission to create. But I think my word for the year will be Safari, as it has connotations of exploring, forging new paths, and discovery.  Which word, image, or quote would you choose for your year?

A quote that speaks to me:

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?
Source: “The Box”, Terma Collective


Wishing you an amazing soul safari in 2014.



Tend Your Garden


“Tend Your Garden.” This phrase keeps popping up in my life lately, in conversation, books, and in magazines. Tend your art garden, tend your soul garden (self-care), and literally, planting and tending to flowers and herbs. It seems appropriate this time of year, with Spring and soul renewal.

With Spring cleaning and busy schedules, there are so many thing to tend, but as my best friend reminds me, as they say on planes, “put on your own oxygen mask first, so you can help others.”  This is hard, sometimes, as it feels selfish to take time for hobbies when laundry and dishes are piling up like a Shell Silverstein Poem, but it isn’t good, either, when the house is immaculate, but the creative well feels empty.  My floors are always clean, so our little one can crawl and not get gritty hands or eat dust bunnies, but today, Mama needs some Mama time.

(Do you know this Shell Silverstein poem? It’s funny…

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out! She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans, Candy the yams and spice the hams, And though her daddy would scream and shout, She simply would not take the garbage out. And so it piled up to the ceilings: Coffee grounds, potato peelings,… it goes on, but you get the point).

So, today, like Sara Cynthia Stout, I did not take the garbage out.  Instead, I bought a window box for the balcony, and filled it with baby seedlings of rosemary, basil, parsley, and lavender.

IMG_1209 Gardening is not my strength, but this was a simple project, and it felt good to touch the potting soil and smell the earth, nestling the roots into their new home. The contrast of bright green stalks against the black dirt is pretty.  I’ve watered and tucked them in securely, and hope nature will help them to grow.

And, to tend my art garden, I signed up for an on-line mixed-media art course with Jeanne Oliver, one of my favorite artists.  Whatever your week is like, may you remember to put on your own oxygen mask first, and tend to the garden of YOU.

Happy Soul Gardening.  ‘Til next time,