A Year of Solitude & Contemplation

 

The Tree © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan

I walk past the tall, noble Tree and stop to look up, up at her bare, elegant limbs. Everything in the cosmos is contained in the majesty of her presence: The sun, a cloud, rain, earth, and snow lightly burdening her more delicate branches. Small beings live on her limbs and trunk while others burrow into the soil and her expansive roots, carrying on conversations with other trees. Many birds come to rest upon her, singing their distinctive melodies as she hums her eternal tree-song. After a small bow to her, I walk home at a slower pace. The Tree knows me, and I remember something not unknown. Her boughs rustle and wave, yet there is no breeze today. 

Solitude and contemplation opened a portal to me one year ago. The world awakened to Covid, and soon, many of us in the United States sheltered-in-place. While the realities of a global pandemic and its impact on humankind created a degree of seclusion, most of my isolation was self-imposed. I considered others’ plight wrapped in fear and anxiety while I stood at a precipice and finally jumped into contemplating the authenticity of my own life. I focused on what I had and had not given attention to in my heart and soul. It was an awakening and not, at times, ecstatic or joyful. I disciplined my years of playing with meditation into an intentional act and saw more clearly my lingering arrogance and more. It was humbling.

Two themes revisited me in almost every meditation. I pondered them, read what I could find, and found nothing you do not already know. Nonetheless, they are important, and I see them, perhaps, through a different lens.

Reconciliation. We experienced a madness that consumed our country and stunned the globe before and following our election process. Hate and anger spewed sludge in all news and, sadly, from people I know. We versus Them remain the mantra of our times. Observing the riots, I pondered why the hate, why the anger. I reached within for compassion and understanding. After all, we are not born to hate or succumb to the cancer of anger and violence. However, my thoughts scared me for I, too, am capable of violence. It is part of the human condition, which we are here to manage, to overcome.

We know our nation needs to reconcile between warring factions politically, socially, racially, faith beliefs, and most assuredly, one human being’s actions towards another. The fractious behavior among our leaders (not all) continues to perpetuate division, enabling the malignancy of social and economic injustices, we against them, to remain. This discord, this discontent is not our cosmology nor the reason for our existence. I took a hard look into my heart’s understanding of why people hurt and seek vengeance towards a group or individual. Certainly, in my small, singular life, I have hurt, even damaged, others. 

Reconciliation requires a willingness to listen deeply, a genuine wanting to understand the underbelly of another’s point-of-view, and courage to meet face-to-face (not via tweets, zoom, emails, or phone calls) in dialogue with those who hold different views from one’s own.  Reconciliation can be genuine communication if it comes from a brave heart and a mind cleared of one-sidedness. I have no answers to how we heal a nation except for one heart, one extended hand in truth, and again, willingness, courage, and I add kindness. This we need to do one step, hour, and a day at a time.

Oneness: We all share the same cosmic DNA. While I don’t believe in the God of the bible, or in a supernatural Being, I do know there is something, a Great Consciousness, that is vast and loving in our universe. Some call this Consciousness God or Goddess, Jesus, Mother Earth, Great Spirit, Allah—and more names that present us with a Divine Mystery, which cannot be solved. Nevertheless, we are all part of this Mystery, this dance-of-life.

Many of us disconnected ourselves from Mother Earth. She is a great teacher, but one has to want to look, listen, and see. Do we stop to inhale scents of pungent earth and wild Mountain-laurel or feel the heartbeat of billions of living beings we see and cannot see?  How do we listen to the trees and plants communicating as we now know they do? Do we give gratitude for the nutrients our Mother Earth provides to us? Without compassion for Mother Earth’s diversity, can we genuinely embrace one another and our many, various cultures and races with unbiased love saying, you are the same kind of different as me? (A movie title based on a true story.) When we inhale the scent of spring, bursting with renewed life, something stirs within our spirit and sheds hardened shards from our hearts. We remember things that are not unknown. So, yes, we can understand, embrace, and love those not like us. And if for no other reason more powerful than we are all a part of the whole, eternity, we need to learn to reconcile our own hearts and, then, with others.

I continue my solitary, contemplative journey. It is what I am given to do. I do not engage with any news or social media. I subscribe to Today’s Edition Newsletter by Robert Hubbell (rhubbell@outlook.com), which provides me with essential headlines and an informed discussion. I live in the rich simplicity that was voluntary at one point in my life and imposed at another. Contemplation and solitude teach me how to reconcile my inner conflicts and those with the world. I haven’t arrived as the Buddha did and never will. However, I have learned every moment is sacred; every task can be an opportunity for contentment and joy.

Following are images I created these past months. They are my offering to you. Enjoy!

THE GALLERY

Isaiah Arrives at Last © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
Ice Branches © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
The Sharp-Shinned Hawk © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
Winter Sunrise Over Mists © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
Winter Sunrise Fire © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
Paws, Ears & Fur © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
Winter Sunset © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan
The First of Spring © 2021 Lee Anne Morgan

For the 500,000 plus lives in our country and more around the world who are no longer with us, may their memory be a blessing.

~ May we embrace All beings as brothers and sisters, for each one of us is a part of The Divine Mystery ~

The Shortest Day

Woody Returns    © 2017    Lee Anne Morgan

I wait for gentle, falling snow with large, lacy flakes landing ever so briefly on my eyelashes. Yes, just enough pristine snow blanketing the landscape with tree limbs outlined, curves of old stone walls disclosed, and aging telephone wires highlighted to reveal those things usually unseen. The woodpecker above and the bluebird in the email you just opened were feathered beauties presented to me after an extravagant blizzard several years ago. Instead of my winter wonderland dream, a nor’easter railroaded through overnight, depositing three feet of snow. Sadly, there were no birds to photograph following this storm’s fierce, gusty winds making ‘Woody’ and ‘Rufus’ even more exceptional.

So, I wait. I look towards the shortest day with its dark, deep mysteries rooted in rich, pungent earth under a hardened crust of land. Since prehistory, the Winter Solstice remains a significant time of year in many cultures marked by festivals and rituals heralding a symbolic death and rebirth of Mother Earth and the Sun.

Winter Solstice arrives this Monday, December 21, the shortest day of our year. Together with kindred spirits, I will celebrate virtually with ritual: Singing, dancing, lighting blessing candles, giving gifts, eating luscious foods, and more! These observances are rooted in unfeigned gratitude to Mother Earth: Her changing seasons, the uninhibited, inherent mysteries and magic that reside in her natural world, and all she provides to sustain life—all life. If these festivities feel a bit like Christmas activities, you are correct. They stem from Winter Solstice celebrations dating from Neolithic times to the Norse traditions (Santa Claus et al.) onward.

Through the millennia, Wisdom Keepers, Shaman, Healers, both women, and men, have not viewed this ‘darkness of time’ with disdain nor grumble for the lack of long, sunny days. They greet this season, knowing that natural life rests, contracts, and restores so that Nature rebirths into its fullness in the next season.

Paints, brushes, and knitting are now collected for personal projects. Books, stacked on my bedside table, wait patiently for me to read. Various music from folk to opera, together with audiobooks for ‘listening times,’ is ready for the choosing. And I am writing my new book! Like Nature, I have begun the process of gathering myself in for the fertile dark time where everything must rest for renewal.

I’ve created a Winter Solstice altar for part of my festivities. Several of the altar items are presented in the Gallery images. A Spirit Wheel (both dream catcher and medicine wheel) handmade by a Navajo artist unveils its aura, confirming that there is life even in the inanimate. Frost clinging to twigs sit in a glazed clay vase. One candle burns swirling beauty and chaos within its faceted holder. Two stained glass candle globes glow with a light that warms the soul, and a clear selenite crystal discloses a hidden universe! Three ceramic cups hold herbs and rose petals, ready to brew for tea. Three blessing candles radiate another life lived when lanterns and candles shone soft light while hearths were ablaze with fire. An abstract painting and a photograph are interspersed among the altar images. Both relate to the earth and its inner core. There are more crystals, incense, palo santo sticks, sage, and other cherished mementos on the altar, but those are not ready for me to share—perhaps, perhaps in another time in another season.

Please, enjoy the gallery images from a soupçon of my Winter Solstice altar~

The Gallery

The Spirit Wheel    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Altar Vase & Twigs    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Beauty and Chaos    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Where Two Candles Burn    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
The Roots Below    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
A Hidden Universe    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Altar Herbs And Rose Petals    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Solstice Blessing Candles    © 2020    Lee Anne Morgan
Earth’s Inner Core    © 2010-2020    Lee Anne Morgan

It is not my intention to ignore the sadness in our world. I fight hard to hold on to inner peace while acknowledging the pain and sorrow that surrounds us. Consider lighting a candle or build a fire if you are able this Monday. Throw sage into the fire, or smudge with palo santo and sweetgrass to honor the heroes and those people lost to us as well as our Mother Earth’s wounds. Say a prayer, write a poem! Keep a journal, or simply say thank you—all the time.

I wish each of you a healthy, safe, and joyful holiday season, whatever your faith, culture, or personal spiritual preferences. I always look up and reach for the stars. But, also, walk with confidence into the darkness, knowing that our beautiful Mother Earth prepares where it is deep, moist, and fertile to give birth again.

In Memorium

For all those no longer with us, may their memory be a blessing.
“When he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night …"

 -William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

 

This Unbearable, Beautiful Life

Isaiah, The First Time He Sang To Me        © 2016        Lee Anne Morgan

‘Red Bird Explains Himself’

(From Mary Oliver’s Red Bird Poems)

Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow, and I was the song in the summer leaves, but this was only the first trick I had hold of among my other mythologies, for I also knew obedience: bringing sticks to the nest, food to the young, kisses to my bride.

But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen

If I was the song that entered your heart then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed, and thus wilderness bloomed there, with all its followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep for the death of rivers.

And this was my true task, to be the music of the body. Do you understand? for truly the body needs a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work, the soul has need of a body, and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable beauty of heaven where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes, and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.

In my book, I wrote about a red bird, a cardinal I named Isaiah because of his singular song. I wait for him now, for November is when he first sang for me. Mary Oliver’s Red Bird poems sing hosannas in each carefully crafted word of her poetry. I chose this poem because its music stirs the soul, and Red Bird teaches us about our hearts. So many hearts ache today with sorrow and pain: there are too many angels on the streets of heaven.

We are beyond a surreal election yet remain tethered to challenges and difficulties across our nation and the globe. What I’m about to say is not intentionally insensitive to anyone’s pain. It is, perhaps, when I’ve said what I have to say, a poor attempt at helping others look through a different lens, another point-of-view. This long season of trials is impermanent; they are, sadly, part of the dance of life. And that is why life itself is both unbearable yet beautiful.

No longer do flowers, greenery, butterflies grace our days as November lays bare the marrow of our landscape. Leafless trees appear skeletal and creature-like. The absence of color reveals a monochromatic terrain in varying hues of brown. Yet, there is beauty in this uncovered simplicity. My eyes find rest. My brain no longer swirls like a whirling dervish. Nature speaks:  It is time to rest. It is time to gather into ourselves.

The spirals of energies in our country and around the world are unsettled. Many find solace in work, a spiritual life, and in gratitude to be alive when life has become so threatened, so fragile.

I find my calm in nature, especially when November arrives. Clarity and truth stand resolute in the bones of nature’s architecture, the essence of creation. And when cold rain runs in rivulets down my windows, I give gratitude for its cleansing the land.

THE GALLERY 

On a recent early morning walk, daylight danced between the sun and clouds. I pondered the graceful balletic formation of tree limbs, other branches more like spires reached straight for the heavens, and some old, thick boughs stood firm with many stories to tell. I found beauty in tree bark that it is not gray if you closely observe: indeed, it has hues of color.

Another image honors a Thanksgiving ritual of three ‘blessing candles’ used to light and send blessings on things I feel are essential in the given year. I witnessed a sunset I never realized was there to see! There is a Sumi-e ink painting, the Ensō circle. I know I’ll not master this form, yet I continue, nonetheless. And that is okay. It is, after all, in the doing.

The Bones No. 1        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
The Bones No. 2        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
The Bones No. 3        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
Thanksgiving Blessing Candles        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
The Color Of Tree Bark        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
The Way of The Brush No. 9        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan
November Sunset        © 2020        Lee Anne Morgan

Life is unbearable at times, and yet, beauty is a constant. When Red Bird said, and I am both of the earth, and I am of the inexplicable beauty of heaven, know that we are too.

I pray this Thanksgiving and weekend are peaceful, happy, and filled with abundant hope. And, for anyone who has lost a loved one, may their memory be a blessing.

Breathe. Give Thanks. Our Constitution.

October Blossom © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

Take one breath in ~ Let one breath out.

(Repeat three times)

These are turbulent times. In 10 days, we will watch a landmark election unfold. Leading up to November 3rd, we are bombarded by repetitive fear-based commentaries from mainstream media to the extremist conspiracy theorists who seek to sow division and hate. Most importantly, we continue fighting a Quiet War against an invisible enemy that claims lives daily.

I started a Gratitude Journal in concert with ‘breathing meditations’ to help relieve anxiety and the deep weariness that eventually settled within me these past months. I choose one topic each day to write about my gratitude in these uncertain times. As my list grows, it provides a valuable reminder that giving thanks can illuminate overlooked yet nuanced blessings, gifts-of-life, in ordinary daily experiences.

  • I am grateful for my life; all its joys and sorrows.
  • Good health is a blessing. Thank You.
  • A sink filled with dishes to wash is an opportunity to say thank you! Many have too little, or no food at all, let alone a dish from which to eat.
  • As a recluse, my friends are few yet held dear.
  • Each sunrise dances upon my eyes.
  • The praise of morning birdsong and the resonance of nightly insects soothes the soul.
  • For a choir of friends that are no longer in my life, I give thanks. Their presence was at the right time and season in these seven decades.
  • I take pleasure in whimsical, puckish pumpkins. None are alike!
  • A pink blossom among weeds is a gift from the Divine.

I could go on, but won’t. Although … I just looked up from this writing and watched a cluster of leaves in hues of red, orange, gold, and russet float like snowflakes to the woodland floor. Squirrels scamper to gather their store for winter. This ordinary scene reveals the beauty surrounding each of us. Thank You.

When we pause and give attention to the flutter of leaves, the smallest sparrow, lend a shoulder to cry on, dry a child’s tears, call a friend just to say hello, feed a hungry person, and smile whenever and as often as possible, we reflect what the Sacred truly cares about. May we celebrate our diversity, our differences, and the love we truly hold for one another in each sacred moment of our days. Attainable? No, not yet. However, I never give up hope. A mantra for consideration:

Compassion, not judgment. Love, not hate. Justice-with-concern for all.

Breathe deeply starting now through election night, and beyond. There will be uncertainty, perhaps, for weeks following November 3rd. Remember, though, our Constitution will prevail. The Constitution sets a dead stop on December 8th for selecting Electors for the 2020 election. The Electors then cast their final Electoral ballots on December 14th. Therefore, whatever the outcome, by giving thanks for the smallest blessings in our cherished daily lives, we will be better than okay, each in our unique way.

The Gallery

Autumn’s Glory No. 1 © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan
The Puckish PumpkinPuckish Pumpkin © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan
Autumn’s Glory No. 2 © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

Finally

Thank you for visiting my new Blog! Please, leave comments in the “Leave a Reply” section as well as “Follow” … only if you are inclined.

 

Tea with Jesus & The Buddha

 

Gautama      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Several mornings ago, I was invited to have tea with Jesus and Gautama Buddha. Do not think me addled. I am not. I only ask that you read about this experience before forming preconceptions and conclusions.

This is what happened.

I woke early as is my habit. Delighted with the cool morning, following weeks of oppressive heat and humidity, I walked longer than usual, took pictures, greeted other early risers, and made my way home. Once there, I did yoga and then began a meditation period. When I heard the end-chime, I turned it off without opening my eyes for I didn’t want it to end. I took a few breaths to re-center and was back into a mysterious yet comforting place. Then, a journey unfolded unlike any I’ve experienced in my seventy-seven years.

A man walked towards me holding a beautiful, round beeswax candle. Its flame radiated warmth and safety as did the man. I first saw his sandals, then his jeans and a white shirt with billowy sleeves not unlike something worn in Shakespeare’s time. As he walked closer, I saw his olive-colored skin and long, dark hair pulled away from his face tied low at the back of his neck. When he stopped about three feet from me, I looked into his brown, kind eyes looking back into mine with great love. He asked, “How can I help?” I replied, “You are Jesus. I feel ashamed and I have failed. I can do nothing in this world. My heart is filled with outrage at the anger, hate, pain, division, ignorance, and suffering that permeate our lives along with daily death counts. Injustices, racism, and violence I myself was not fully aware of feel insurmountable. My soul cries for help. And, I do not believe I can love enough to help.” Jesus said nothing. He placed his index finger into the candle’s flame, yet it did not burn. It glowed. He touched my heart with his finger and said, “Walk with me.”

Where Ocean Meets Sky © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

He took my right hand as we walked along a white sand beach with ocean water the color of turquoise. Seagulls abounded, dolphins played, turtles and seals bathed on the shore. Soon we entered a cathedral of trees in a small forest. There were trees and foliage of all kinds, flowers, large and small, of all kinds with colors I never imagined. A Bengal tiger approached us calmly nuzzling Jesus for a rub of his head and a scratch of his ears. There were large and small animals co-existing everywhere my eyes could see. I asked, “Am I in heaven?” Jesus answered, “No. You’re in your Soul. You ARE your Soul.” Suddenly we were in a meadow I dreamed and envisioned since childhood…a meadow of yellow and white fragrant flowers. Butterflies of varied colors and sizes flew about me and landed on my shoulders and in my hands. I twirled round and round realizing I was no longer wearing my workout clothes but a long, white gauzy dress with wide flowing sleeves. My hair was raven-black, and it fell in one long sweep down my shoulders and back. A garland of gardenias, my favorite flower, and scent, graced my head.

The Forest Floor No. 1.      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

The Forest Floor No. 2 © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

The Forest Floor No. 3      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Focusing more broadly on the whole scene, I saw a beautiful, grand tree lush with green leaves, flowers, fruit, and birds darting everywhere while rejoicing in song. Behind the extravagant tree was a brook of cobalt blue water babbling, gurgling, never-ending.

Sādhanā (Remastered)      © 2010 – 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Beneath the tree was a wizened old man, or so I thought. When Jesus and I approached, the old man stood with the strength of a strong oak tree. His thick hair was pure white worn in a long braid down the middle of his back. He wore a white T-shirt and light blue yoga pants. His skin was deep brown, and his blue eyes sparkled like sapphires. Jesus said, “Siddhartha, how good to see you, my brother.” With an intense reverence, they hugged one another close. “I have brought Lee Anne.” Siddhartha, also known as Gautama Buddha, took my face in his hands and bent his forehead to mine resting it there for a few moments. My mind, no, my Third Eye! felt like it expanded into the cosmos as I saw galaxies and supernatural events in a flash. Then the vision was gone. Siddhartha asked us to sit and have tea. I was moved to see an old bone china English tea set I once owned set out on a woven white linen cloth. Fruit bread, fresh fruit, and my favorite Assam tea with cream were served. I walked to the brook as Jesus spoke with Siddhartha explaining how I believed my heart was burdened and my soul was not free. I looked into the clear blue water of the brook expecting to see my seventy-seven-year-old face but, instead, saw a lovely young woman with porcelain skin and emerald-green eyes. Who was I? When I returned Siddhartha said, “Remember the monastery bell?” Then he quoted Matsuo Basho: “The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.” I knew this quote well. It has always been my hope when I photograph the precious life of flowers that when the images are looked upon one will hear the monastery bell, the music, a song. I nodded in understanding and gratitude for this work is sacred to me and it is very much a part of my Soul. Then, both Jesus and Siddhartha spoke to me and said these things:

Old Tibetan Singing Bowl      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

The Third Eye © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

“Our dearest daughter, you are a seeker. You have learned many teachings and practiced with sincerity and reverence trying to do your best. You have come to a point, however, where your Soul is now tethered to formalities in teachings whether Christian, Buddhist, or others. While the institutionalized church rules, doctrines, and rituals have merit, and once did for you, your Soul’s lifeforce is reaching for the Divine…beyond unquestioning beliefs. Remaining tied to manmade credos will no longer fulfill your Soul’s needs. You seek the Divine that is outside phenomena, even the supernatural, for your heart and Soul discovered that the Womb of God’s Cosmic Love is so transcendent it cannot be defined or ritualized or reduced to precepts.

It is your mind, ego, and thinking thoughts over and over that prevent inner peace and the freedom your Soul seeks. Do you understand? Actually, we know you do. It is you who refrain at times from setting your ego apart from your Soul life that prevents total freedom to love. That is why you are here. You can now accept and bless all spiritual paths, their goals and rituals and rules, and acknowledge with non-judgment their importance to others. You are free and no longer need anything that separates you from those who live in eternity; who breathe the Divine. This is what you seek.”

Soul Life      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Yes! I felt these truths when Jesus touched his finger to my heart and Siddhartha his forehead to mine. Their acts comprised the first minuscule steps to awakening. Siddhartha and Jesus rose and said, “We must be going. Stay a while if you wish.” Then Siddhartha said, “You are so hard on yourself. Be tender with your wounds, Lee Anne, for they are many. Compassion for yourself will open your heart and enable you to connect soul-to-soul with others.” I bowed deeply watching them walk away, arms on one another’s shoulders laughing and talking. They were, indeed, brothers.

When I opened my eyes, tears soaked my face and shirt. I thought this vision quest, waking-dream, mystical experience, however one might define it, lasted a few minutes. Yet an hour had passed. I knew I could no longer follow rules, biblical stories as literal fact, arcane Buddhist doctrines, or anything spiritually institutionalized for I threw myself headfirst into so many doctrines, so many times, trying conscientiously to do it their way, yet remained hollow.

I’ve wandered to and fro on my spiritual path, changing beliefs like wardrobes. This is why I know there is only one thing that matters and that is to love all living beings: Our planet, animals, trees, creatures large and small, the waters of this good earth, and…one another. My spiritual journeys served to illuminate and understand my Soul life; to try to be love if at all possible. If I make it sound effortless, it is not. Does talking about loving everyone and everything sound contrite? Yes, it does. Yet I still want to try. This is not arrogance on my part, but aspirational.

Cascade of Purity      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Renoir’s Rose (Remastered)      © 2001-2020      Lee Anne Morgan

These are difficult times. It will change. Impermanence is an abiding Law of the Cosmos. Going through the challenges, watching anger, hatred, division, violence, extreme racism on several fronts, and death on a daily basis can cause anyone’s soul to despair. We must not permit darkness to pervade our lives, our homes, our nation. Let us look to the billions of acts of kindness each day that we never hear about. Gandhi said, “Think of the poorest person you know and see if your next act will be of any use to him.” Each of us can offer a smile, listen to a friend’s problems, again and again, share a meal, deliver food to someone in need, and fight to extinguish injustices for all lives matter. We are the ‘same kind of difference.’

We can refuse to be the judge and jury of those who are not like us, for we are all from one Divine Source, and we all live in the same house capable of ‘oceans of love’ as Ram Dass said in his final book, Walking Each Other Home: “Love has no judgment. It is boundless. You are standing on the beach, you put down your shoes and your ego, and then you dive in. If we love well, we will die well…being fully in the moment allows us to lose ourselves in love, in the love of the beauty and awe of the manifestation of God, in the love of ourselves and others, and in the love of everything else…the suffering, the pain, the joy.”

Old Tibetan Singing Bowl No. 2      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

 May you be well. May you be safe. May you be healthy.

May you be happy. May you live with ease and peace.

 May all living beings be free.

Thank you. In Love.

Namasté.

Up From the Ashes, Hope Will Arise

Dawn of Creation © 2010 Lee Anne Morgan

Isaiah 40:31 says…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. My reaction when I read this verse was Are you kidding? A monolith of unbelief stood before me. Images and statistics from the past few months flashed through my mind. We all know them: a global pandemic ending almost 500,000 lives; unarmed Black Americans killed because of the color of their skin; police using force against peaceful protestors. I am reliving a nightmare of past decades steeped in abuse and hatred and division together with an invisible enemy that continues taking lives. HOPE while we bear witness to the absence of compassion, kindness, and love for others who are not exactly like us? And, all amidst the fear of dying or infecting someone else? HOPE? Really?

There has always been a Dark Thing, coiled in corners known and unknown as well as in some peoples’ hearts and souls and minds. Now, it has unwrapped itself slithering into the light of day stirring fear, division, and anger unhinged.

However, in pondering Isaiah’s words and promises, I realized he was right. HOPE thrives in the fire of the Holy Spirit and helps us embrace courage and strength to stop racism, end chokeholds, not tolerate abuse or oppression of any kind. Healthcare inequities experienced by people of color and all marginalized citizens require unequivocal equality. Let us drive these horrors back into the Dark Thing to swallow and allow the fire-of-the-Spirit to burn it into nothingness.

I needed to push through my unbelief. The first step was to turn off the news and resume my personal chats with God. The second was prayer. Lots of it. I believe the world is experiencing an awakening to something bigger than our mere, little selves. People are looking upward and asking for help. We see our inadequacies and are finding courage…seeking to be better human beings. HOPE is alive! Right-action is on the move!

The third step is to praise God.  So, today I raise a hallelujah and sing a little louder as I share these Creation Images from a magical six years on an island off the mid-coast of Maine where I touched the face of God every day. Hopefully, these images, and the music to follow, will inspire our better emotions and better angels. Reach for the stars! Let our souls soar to the heavens on the wings of eagles in harmony with the beauty and mystery of all God’s Creation.

Creation Anthem     © 2010     Lee Anne Morgan

In The Beginning No. 1 © 2010 Lee Anne Morgan

God’s Mystery © 2010 Lee Anne Morgan

Echoes and Memories © 2010 Lee Anne Morgan

In The Beginning No. 2     © 2010     Lee Anne Morgan

Follow Him © 2010 Lee Anne Morgan

 

In The Beginning No. 3    © 2010    Lee Anne Morgan

The music is from Bethel, an American Christian Worship group. If you’ve never heard contemporary Christian music, do give this a chance. If you are not Christian, please give this a chance. It rocks. Allow the lyrics and music, this inspired alchemy of elements, to minister to your heart without judgment. You may find yourself clapping your hands, stamping your feet, and raising a hallelujah! Join me, please, for…I’m gonna sing, in the middle of a storm/louder and louder you’re gonna hear my praises roar/up from the ashes, HOPE will arise!


My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and salvation, my stronghold;
I shall not be shaken.
~ Psalm 62:5-6

🌺🌸🌺

God’s blessings and sending love to each of you. Thank you for visiting! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy Sings In The Silent Storm

While Christians and Jews embark on solo journeys through Holy Week and Passover, a friend sent me this inspiring music video that serves as my message of hope and joy through this unique and stressful Holy Season.  Shalom to all!

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain (Vivian Greene). I spent a lifetime learning to do just that as a professional dancer. I still dance during most melancholy moments. Given this is a Spiritual Season for so many linked with the advent of an apex-of-loss, the circumstances almost demand that we burst forth with song, acclaim our heroines and heroes, and pray to God whom many have forgotten or just set aside.

I believe this musical offering is everything God wants us to be: Love. Strength. Courage. Hope. Selflessness. Yes, this is overflowing with His love. Spero ti piaccia!

Nothing in this blog post is mine except for the few words I’ve penned. Even so, I press back the invisible enemy and sing with Roby Facchinetti and whirl around in dance during the height of The Silent Storm. And, most assuredly these songs and dances are prayers for our Jewish brothers and sisters whose Passover season, in part, is to remember the past, learn from their long history with God, and move forward with hope. Christians honor the Resurrection of Jesus Christ remembering the past, His sorrowful Passion, yet ‘Raise a Hallelujah’ for the renewal of our hearts, our souls, our salvation.

Let’s sing and dance in praise for everyone across the whole earthly globe never forgetting to pray for the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, give hope for those in despair while asking for His Divine Mercy. God has not left us. We need only to trust and ask. He will answer and provide.

We will embrace one another and walk arm-in-arm again. And, yes, we WILL meet again.

Blessings always ~ 💜 ~

A Quiet War

Finale
Finale © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

A final snowstorm visited us last week. The snow’s light, fluffy flakes swirled playfully, even flirtatiously, only to morph into a steadfast force blanketing a brown, barren landscape. The image above complements the whimsy of the snowfall. The lights reflected in my window appear to be joyful, bouncing balls-of-light that I imagined angels tossed back and forth in the woodlands outside. The snow melted quickly as the landscape returned to its former monochromatic brown. However, within days little green shoots poked out of garden soil already prepared for the blossoming of new blooms and the welcome return of old perennials.

It Is Revealed
It Is Revealed     © 2016     Lee Anne Morgan

Prelude
Prelude     © 2016     Lee Anne Morgan

We are enmeshed in a Quiet War. The enemy is invisible. And, it is silent. The governor of the state of New York said This is a Long Day. Most of us are at home now except for those courageous, essential workers in healthcare and other services as well as volunteers bringing food and aid to those in need. While we are not under Martial Law, we are self-quarantined. This requires staying within our four walls, taking walks, exercising outside, gardening, cleaning our homes a bit more than usual, both inside and out while limiting errands to only what we absolutely need to do. People are impatient, scared, worried, and we have at least another month in which we will live as those did abroad, and here too, during WWII. Grocery shelves are bare and as the stores restock they empty in less than a day.

stop
Stop     © 2020     Lee Anne Morgan

Our country, the globe, is almost at a full stop. Yet we cannot abdicate our faith and endurance to fear, worry, panic. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) However, there is a ‘but’ to this scripture verse for so many. It lives in the reality that there is vast, rising unemployment, climbing numbers of those who become ill and hospitalized, and hardships not experienced in generations. Nevertheless, we were created with free will: The right to choose whether or not to ponder, even obsess upon, the rapidly soaring death tolls. We are but mere humans. Though fearfully and wonderfully made, we are vulnerable. 

Inner Life
Inner Life     © 2016     Lee Anne Morgan

God Moves In The Mists © 2017 Lee Anne Morgan

I have no control over what is happening so I remain calm, patient, and at peace. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) What I can do is be responsible and stay home. I pray for others: my family, friends both near and far, neighbors, those with whom I normally worship on Sundays, and the sick, dying, and brave ones on the front lines. How I wish, oh how I wish, I was not among the “vulnerable” due to my age. I ask, How can I help?  The only way I know is, hopefully, to warm your hearts and lift your spirits with stirring images and inspiring words: For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have Divine Power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

As a woman of faith, God is at the center of my life. I spend a lot of time in prayer with a well-worn Bible open in my lap. Not all of you believe in God, but one doesn’t need to in order to enjoy my images from seasons now past.

There were long morning walks showing me things again and again that finally came to life while the Still Small Voice guided my eye and the shutter release of my camera.

A Patterned Language © 2017 Lee Anne Morgan

Sky © 2017 Lee Anne Morgan

Petals © 2018 Lee Anne Morgan

Outside my windows, precious life visited me. One of whom I wrote about in my book, A Time to Mourn & A Time to Dance, a very robust cardinal I named Isaiah!

Isaiah     © 2018     Lee Anne Morgan

Dove and Friend © 2017 Lee Anne Morgan

Memories unfold of a nighttime scene in a place once called Witten Pond where one could touch the face of God in the light of a full moon.

Long Ago, the Garden Bench at Witten Pond © 2016 Lee Anne Morgan

Inside my apartment, one cat, Lily, shared her short life with me. The other, Abbey, remains steadfast in her companionship, hearty purr, and one eye open while she sleeps.

Lily © 2013 Lee Anne Morgan

While we have no mortal weapons with which to fight an unseen enemy, we can embrace faith, courage, and peace during this trial most of us probably thought we would never see in our lifetimes. We must overcome fear for neither love nor light can exist where fear lives. And we need both.

With One Eye Open © 2014 Lee Anne Morgan

Keep people safe by being responsible for ourselves, pray for those on the front lines, and others who struggle. Help the helpless if you are able, adapt to the new normal without complaint, accept only our fair share (maybe even less)—living more simply so some can simply live, and refrain from blaming anyone or anything. Let us move forward and keep our hearts and minds on the following: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Au revoir pour le moment     © 2013     Lee Anne Morgan

I light a prayer-candle in my heart in honor of all who are on the front lines of this Quiet War and for those who are abandoned, frightened, confused, and lonely during the Long Day ahead. My candle will continue to burn and my prayers will not end.

Thank you for spending time with me. I hope you were able to pause, breathe, and ponder enough to lift your hearts and raise your thoughts to the sacredness of Creation and know, deep within, that we will overcome this Quiet War and be ready for new beginnings. Trials forge character, even change character—for the better. With God’s love, mercy, and grace we can do this. We will do this.

I love you!

God’s blessings to you and yours,

~ ♥️ ~