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Quiet Butterfly

Quiet Butterfly


Keeping Quiet

by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,

let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for one second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment

without rush, without engines;

we would all be together

in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea

would not harm whales

and the man gathering salt

would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,

wars with gas, wars with fire,

victories with no survivors,

would put on clean clothes

and walk about with their brothers

in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about;

I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded

about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing,

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.


Quiet. I crave it but never seem to get enough; quiet in my external environment and quiet from an internal dialogue that haunts me. It is only with quiet that I find clarity, especially during periods of great transformation. As in the metaphor of the butterfly, I feel the delicate strands of a self-imposed cocoon restricting at the moment. Discomfort is necessary for growth and I wonder how much I must bear before breaking free and stretching my new found wings. I feel a constant hum of the other, a sound in the distance that beckons me. The sound being the steady march of possibility, the limitation being a tightly wrapped cocoon. I have the urge to burst forth regardless of circumstance, common sense tempers this desire with a litany of questioning. A constant risk assessment visits like a bad habit, it baffles the mind.


Having flirted with uncertainty before,  memory replays moments of flight apart from this ever tightening cocoon. Even so, I am certain that I have stifled transformation by allowing the opinions of others and even myself to further restrict.  It is difficult to admit that in learning how to fly the atmosphere will become unstable. Wings must be taught how to catch the air, glide effortlessly and land softly while still enduring bumpy rides and hard landings. The discomfort of it all is like an itch that can not be scratched, lessened only by the ever present hum of possibility.


“My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.”

― Patricia Highsmith


Tuning into this hum calls for solitude and a clear mind.  Only in this space am I able to separate fear from possibility, often becoming shaken by the speed of impending transformation. Life is so very short and if not soaring what then? I have only myself to blame if I do not escape from this cocoon with a certain measure of immediacy. It is only in flight that all pretense is left behind and beautiful colors that are uniquely mine appear.


“The quiet sense of something lost”

― Alfred Tennyson


In this space I sense those who have come before, living in the most unusual of ways.  Having unabashedly taken flight they experienced both the joy and heartbreak of a life well lived. Feeling the void of sudden departure it is clear someone will fill this space, this vacuum. Someone will be the free spirit that shines deeply, unafraid of the cuts. Someone will live dangerously, taking chances and relishing results. Someone will approach all others with unconditional love, no expectations or judgments. Someone will break free and fly…. Looking to the sky, I smell the air, feel the breeze and absorb the rays of the sun. It is only in failing that one can be transformed. I silently pray that I become this someone. I silently pray for wings.



Feel the Universe

Feel the Universe


“This magnificent refuge is inside you.

Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway.

Step around the poisonous vipers that slither at your feet, attempting to throw you off your course.

Be bold. Be humble.

Put away the incense and forget the incantations they taught you.

Ask no permission from the authorities.

Slip away.

Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.”

― Mirabai Starr, The Interior Castle


Can you relate too feeling you are not living as fully as you could? Having a constant nagging feeling, as if something more is necessary to live authentically? Personally, I don’t think I can recall a time when I did not have these feelings in one form or another. Never one to feel a part of a group, I am a drifter plagued with feelings of loneliness and a specific separateness from all those around me. This feeling creates a constant sense of melancholy, a sense that something is amiss.


Mirabai Starr speaks so beautifully to this with, “Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.” These words bring tears to my eyes. Being well familiar with stillness of the mind, I suffer from a permanent homesickness for this still place that has no geographic identity. The place within that contains all that is and all that will ever be. When closing my eyes and tapping into this energetic freeway, I experience an overwhelming feeling of calm, as if all my nerve endings have been suddenly soothed by the connection.


Observing me when I’m in this place must appear strange to others. It is not mediation, a practice that I do not particularly care for. Rather, it is a visceral connection to the energy of the universe, that which is the creator and the created.  A look of complete surrender and abandon appears on my face. For a few moments all of the shadows of this world are lit up by the light of eternity. Quite spectacular.


I make every attempt to take a few moments each day to slip into this space. I try to let these moments go unnoticed as to not cause concern or worry to those around me. They may or may not understand my practice and this is never a consideration for me. Each person has their own rhythm of discovery and I am in no place to judge the speed of another. In this same vein, it is important that others do not judge or raise an eyebrow to my experience. I have no other compass to guide me except this space and the light. It provides clarity, direction and serenity in a world that has very little patience.


Take a few moments today and “Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway…….Slip away”. Let the universe speak to you and communicate back all of your loneliness, trepidation, fear and joy. Let your internal dialogue flourish and ignore the external voices that nip at your heel. Be yourself, feel your energy flowing and remember that your heart speaks in every moment; you just need to tune into the right channel and listen.


The Importance of Solitude

The Importance of Solitude

My emotions move like the tides of the ocean and in any given day I feel these undulations manifesting in an often turbulent emotional landscape. Thankfully, I recognize what I am usually feeling, is an energy shift outside of myself. The uneasy feelings following me are not of my own doing and may be a product of others worries, fears and anxiety.  It has taken many years to understand this by becoming aware of the emotional temperature of my surroundings. One way in which I have learned to calm this energetic storm is by being quiet, retreating into an internal and private space that is mine and mine alone. When the energy is coming from external sources, this is the only way to find balance once again.


“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”

~ Jean-Paul Sartre


To those around me, it may appear I am a bit more quiet than usual.  This retreat does not mean hiding out in a room with the lights dimmed, rather moving about my day in a more reserved fashion. I suspect if another is keyed into energy, they can sense I am not my usual inviting self. As one going through this process, I often feel foggy and muted. I see the world happening around me, with little interest in circumstances. It all seems very dreamlike, and in this state, my mind is sorting and analyzing many pieces of information and resting from the emotional static. I never know how long I will be in this place, and am just as surprised as the next when I suddenly shift back into my welcoming and friendly self.


“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”

~ Franz Kafka


Sitting quietly and finding some semblance of tranquility, going on a hike in nature, reading a good book or sitting on my back porch speeds up this process. I breathe deeply, let my body relax and let go.  I let go of what is not mine, the problems, the worries and the misgivings. I remind myself they are not for me and focus my intention on this letting go. Once I have done this, I feel much better, refreshed and somehow brighter.


“A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you.”

~ Rumi


If I am with someone that does not understand my need for space, things can get dicey. When I require time to recharge and am not afforded it, I can sadly become moody or withdrawn, having had no way to release all of the external energy I have been carrying. For this reason and many others, the importance of solitude for an introspective person cannot be stressed enough. If you have people in your life that require this time, give it to them. Don’t add additional stress to their life by setting limitations on this time. You will also find by carving out some space for introspection, you may become more balanced and open as well. Not a bad tradeoff for some time alone.


Be Still

Be Still


At times I just want the noise to stop. I wish to spend a day lying in the grass, memorizing the sky into a night of brilliant stars. I wish to hear the silence of the earth breathing gently in my ear. I wish to dance with the wind carrying the whisper of secrets only silence can hear. I wish to hear the story of this place written with a distant pen only those knowing where to look can find. I wish all of these things and get frustrated with the distractions of daily life. I want nothing more than to spend some time just being.


Be still and recognize the earth is Divine. No country, town, building or room can hold something so vast and profound. Why do some think they can claim ownership over this other? There is nothing to be claimed, nothing to be had. It is in every breath, every kiss, every song and every thought. The Divine is everything; we are so small in comparison.


“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm,

waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like

worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their

songs never cease.

-John Muir


Be still, unmoving, yet uncontrolled. Rest in ease and relax the mind, allow the spirit to move in you and through you. This is the beauty of quiet. It is an opportunity to feel all that we miss in the cyclone of noise. Everything and everyone is vibrating around you. Listen and you will hear all of the ribbons of connection, creating an intricate web of universal energy. Nothing compares, no job, money, thing or otherwise.


Be still and know all is well. No matter what ails you, it too shall pass. Life is a balance of joy and sorrow, love and hate, friend and foe. A constant swing of a pendulum back and forth, back and forth. Embrace this rhythm, feel the easy pace of the repetition. Enjoy all of these moments as everything will begin anew as is the way.


“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”

― Hermann Hesse


Be still and know nothing is greater than loving and being loved. A sharing of souls, an exchange of energy that is as magical as the beginnings of this universe. Timeless and never bound, love is eternal. Rest in an open heart, with a knowing that to share your heart, no matter how vulnerable you feel, is living.


Be still and know at the end of this story, our story, all that matters is deep listening. Did we quiet the noise and silence the naysayers. Did we listen for the secrets on the morning breeze and embrace the silence of a dark night. Listen and know you are loved, we are loved. Listen and feel everything, do not be afraid. Close your eyes and feel the breathe of the earth and all that inhabit it, we are one. Never separate, but a beautiful tapestry of energy encompassing all that is and all that will be in boldness and beauty.

Be still and know.

May All Be Beautiful All Around Me

May All Be Beautiful All Around Me

Speak For Me

Watch over me.

Hold your hand before me in protection.

Stand guard for me, speak in defense of me.

As I speak for you, speak for me.

As you speak for me, so I will speak for you.

May all be beautiful before me.

May all be beautiful behind me.

May all be beautiful below me.

May all be beautiful above me.

May all be beautiful all around me.

I am restored in beauty.

Navajo Shootingway ceremony prayer (20th century), USA


I was having one of those days, you know the kind.  I woke up to an onslaught of texts from family, my gym friends were especially chatty, I dropped just about everything that I picked up, I ran into my pantry door bruising my head and my hair dryer sparked and shot electricity at me all before 8 am. This was on the heels of an earlier day filled with unusual workload and an evening filled with a multitude of texts and phone calls resulting in less sleep. Those who know me well are aware that if I answer a phone call, the caller must certainly hold a special place in my heart. I have been known to let my phone go to voicemail on more than one occasion. Sometimes, I just need the sound of silence and on this particular day was ready to throw in the towel, head for the hills and take a vow of silence by hiding from the world.


Thankfully with time and life experience,  I have finally begun to recognize the universal signal for “STOP”. In this instance I knew that I had been working too much, burning the candle at both ends and allowing my mind to run the show by analyzing everyone and everything. All of my stumbling and misfortune that morning was a sign telling me, “Lavinia, slow down and breathe.” When this happens I will often look up and say “Okay! I get the memo”, in a exclamation of resignation for what I already know to be true.


No one is meant to be over burdened with things to the point of collapse. Yes, work ethic is a good character trait as is the willingness to cope well with a certain degree of stress. But, busyness for busyness sake is not commendable and certainly does not denote enviable character in my book.  Excessive busyness is white noise that acts as a distraction from the things in life that are more deserving of our time, energy and talents.


In moments such as these, The Navajo prayer is one that I often read, relishing its peaceful energy and remembering what matters most in the grander scheme of things.  The idea that we are all protected by a Divine power, walking with us when our world feels as if it is imploding, is comforting. Everyone craves protection, security and the experience of being deeply loved. These are all universal desires. When circumstance makes a person feel less than safe or even unloved, this prayer gently reminds that we are all walking this journey with support. We are never alone.


I personally find peace in the second paragraph. Finding beauty in even the smallest of things can be difficult when experiencing a series of “unfortunate events” that leaves one feeling shaken. By stopping for a moment, breathing deeply and reminding myself of the beauty of this moment and this life, I can let go of the agitation and unrest of present circumstance with a knowing that everything is well, I am well.


Take a few moments, sit on the park bench, read a book in the grass, hug someone a little longer, smell the spring flowers, walk in the rain or sit quietly with another feeling their energy and loving spirit.  Do not consider this time wasted, it is nothing of the sort. Gently repeat, “May all be beautiful all around me. I am restored in beauty” and know that you are loved and life is beautiful, always.