Sunday, September 30, 2007

Two Self Portraits...

click on either image to view it larger

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Boarder Cat Sisters

Meet two great cats who are here boarding right now. First there is Lena, still a kitten and very busy. She is a purring love puss, and likes giving kisses to humans.

And here is big sister Diva, older and calmer.
What a cute face Diva has!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Death DreamWalking

I wanted to share with my readers that I have been trained as what is known as a 'DreamWalker' for the death trasition. I took the training in the summer of 2005.

What is DreamWalking? You can visit the DreamWalker website to learn more, but I'll quote from it here to give you a quick overview:

"We all die. In spite of this simple fact, our society harbors deep-seated fears and anxieties about death. People don't like to talk about it. It's taboo. Many consider death a weakness or punishment. The sick and elderly are placed in care centers, where care can mean a minimal level of medical prescriptions with little regard for the psycho-spiritual person.

The funeral service traditionally marks the end of the journey on Earth. But it is also the beginning of a new journey for the one who just died. Their spirit lives on in the non-physical realms. What happens in these realms is varied, depending on their beliefs and levels of awareness. This can be a particularly lonely and discomforting time for them.

The DreamWalker Guides are trained to escort their client through the mazes of the non-physical realms. They are there to comfort and reassure their client. They provide a sense of security and balance during the death transition process. If the client chooses, the DreamWalker guides them to the Bridge of Flowers, the cross-over point to the highest angelic realms. This is where the purest of angels – their celestial family – greets and welcomes them back.

This isn't a religious process. DreamWalkers do not get involved in any specific belief systems. They simply act as servants and guides. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or even if you don't have any specific beliefs about afterlife, the DreamWalker is there as a guide and a point of comfort. They are a beacon of light in what can often be a confusing and dark time."

I believe that many humans do this sort of work, in different ways, and with various levels of awareness, guiding and helping those who are going through the death transition. The DreamWalker death school I attended was to teach us to do this with full conscious awareness. Death has been a major theme in this lifetime for me, and I was immediately drawn to attending the DreamWalker death school when it became available. And, no coincidence, the very first school was offered right here in my home town of Taos, so it was easy for me to participate. While I had no fear of death before becoming a DreamWalker, since attending this training I've been even more comfortable in the non-physical realms.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Jaya Doodles...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Photos Of Dad As A Young Man

My Aunt Jean's Daughter, Julie, was cleaning out her Mother's attic, and came across some old photos which she sent to me. Aunt Jean's was my father's sister, and included in the wonderful package of photos from Julie were two of my father as a young man. I'd never seen any images of Dad younger than his mid-twenties, so it was a real treat to get these! The first one, where he looks like a teenager, did not scan well, the background and hair being stained with glue or something, so I did some photo editing of it.

This second photo has also deteriorated over time. The hair is looking peculiar, but I decided not to mess with it. Dad's hair was black, though, not the lighter color it appears to be in this photo. This was taken when he was 21, and a student at Yale University. I think he looks a lot like his mother, Julia, in this photo.

And also, this seems like as good a place as any to include his obituary, taken from the New York Times, May 1967:

click on the image to view
it larger
for easier reading

Friday, September 21, 2007

Abstract Cat Diva With Orb

click on image to view larger.

Yes, I know it's out of focus! I like it as an abstract image. It's of a cat named Diva. And I like the very clear orb in front of her left eye. What's an orb? Depends who you ask. They show up mainly in digital photographs. Some believe they are ghost spirits. Others say they are energetic bits of consciousness. Skeptics say they are mostly flashes illuminating motes of dust. My camera picked up hundreds of them at the Quantum Leap gathering I was just at, both inside and outside. The one shown above seems to have followed me home. It's the first time I recall having an orb show up in one of my cat photos.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hair Levitation?

I'm very pleased to say I have mastered a new skill - Hair Levitation. I'm not yet sure exactly how I will put this skill to use in my day to day life, but, even so, I DO like the peculiar way it makes me feel when I do this! I am thinking about offering classes in hair levitation to others, perhaps as a home study course through e-mail and video classes. Please let me know if you would be interested.

I showed my hair levitation skill to Lena, a young cat who is currently boarding with me. Somehow I am not sure she properly appreciated it...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jaya at Quantum Leap

Feeling the New Energy!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Personality Development

The image below is from my baby book, written by my mother, showing my original birth name of Julia. As this is the only notation, we can assume that this is as far as I progressed in my personality development...

It says: "Julia loved to dress up in too-big boots, hats, coats, etc. & parade up and down till we laughed."

I'm just noticing now that she put it in the past tense... so perhaps I did progress beyond this stage, but Mom just never got around to describing it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Quantum Leap!

I wanted to let you all know I may be posting less than normal for the next week or more... I'll be attending the Quantum Leap celebration in Taos this week, something that has been looked forward to for years now! Almost 700 people, from over 26 countries, are gathering for this event! And that is only those coming in bodies... who knows how many disincarnate beings will also be attending? They are harder to count, because they don't have to officially register. But I did register today, and I got this nifty name badge to wear:

Today was just the registration...
the event begins tomorrow.
But the excitement is building!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First Joint Bend

Can you do this??

Green Angel

Green Angel
painting by Jaya

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another Branch of the Family Tree

I'm a very visual person, so my ancestors always become more interesting to me once I've seen an image of them. The couple below were just names in one somewhat obscure branch of the family tree, until my brother Bev found photos of them.

And now, I'm pleased to present, from my paternal grandmother Julia's line, one of my 32 pairs of Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparents, Mary and Thomas Gloster.

Mary Hayes Willis Gloster (1780-1854) and
Dr. Thomas Benn Gloster (1763-1819)

And here is a clearer version of that photo of her, which I found later:

Now, here's a little bit about these two, from info collected by my Cousin Mary, who may or may not actually be a cousin, but either way IS a dear friend, and wonderful at digging up genealogical data.

"Mary Hayes Willis, daughter of John and Mary Willis, was born July 13, 1780, and married in Orange County, North Carolina, May 30, 1795, Dr. Thomas Benn Gloster. The Bible of Dr. Thomas Gloster was taken to Tennessee by his descendants. It gives much information of interest on the family in Warrenton. The following from the Bible:

"Thomas Benn Gloster, son of Arthur and Catherine Gloster, was born in the city of Limerick, Ireland, St. Michael's Day, September 16, 1763, left Limerick July 1, 1785. On February 20, 1786 he arrived in Warrenton, North Carolina, one of the United States of America." He died there January 13, 1819.

Dr. Gloster and his wife, Mary, had two children: Arthur Brehon Gloster, born 1799, and Elizabeth Willis Gloster, born 1796.

That Elizabeth married John Anderson, son of Daniel & Maizy (Mary) Anderson of Scotland in 1815. They had five children, and then moved to Tennessee. My line comes down from their second child, Thomas Gloster Anderson (b. about 1820, d. 1882).

Two things jumped out at me from this --> My Great, Great, Great, Great Grandpa Thomas left Ireland exactly 170 years, to the day, before MY birth in 1955. And he married Mary when she was only 14 years old, and he was 31. That seems a young age for her to get married, but perhaps it was not unusual back then. She had her first child the following year.

UPDATE: Here is a memorial that has been put up for the cemetery where Mary Hayes Willis Gloster and others (including my gr. gr. gr. grandparents John Anderson & Elizabeth Willis Gloster Anderson) were buried:


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Story Waters: 'The Meaning of Life'

I wanted to share this video clip to introduce you to Story Waters. If what you hear in this resonates with you, be sure to visit for more from Story and his partner Lee Harris. There is a wonderful wealth of material on their site!

~ Namaste ~

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Burnt Offerings

Yesterday I was outside and noticed again the box of old letters I'd dragged out of the garage to go through. I'd left it outside because it had been peed on by some industrious cat, and it was stinky. There were still a few old letters left in the box, and I began poking through them. Then I noticed at the very bottom was a case for eyeglasses. I've been wearing older glasses these days, as my fancy newer bifocals keep breaking and I haven't wanted to spend money to buy new ones yet. So I thought I might have found another old pair to wear.

But when I opened up the case, much to my surprise, I found a long, musty smelling letter, written about 23 years ago, in my own handwriting. It was an extremely unhappy letter, a desperate letter, written when I felt trapped by cruel circumstances, and frightened by what the future would bring. In particular, there was great anxiety over money matters, as I'd just had a large financial setback.

Reading through the long letter, which I'd totally forgotten writing, brought back an echo of the nasty emotions I'd been experiencing at the time I wrote it. And I thought: "This is no good to keep around here. It is holding the energy of fear and limitation. It should be gotten rid of immediately!" And then that side of me that always has a joke to crack chimed in, thinking: "Well, NO WONDER I haven't won the lottery yet, with this potent storehouse of bad juju overshadowing my life!!" It felt as if desperation and hopelessness was just ooozing out of this letter. It seemed most foul and loathsome.

At once, I lept up with the abominable document and rushed inside, pausing only to grab a butane lighter. I went to the kitchen sink and lit the letter on fire, where it lept into flames as if it had been waiting for the chance to do so! In seconds it was over. The kitchen reeked of burnt offerings, and the energy stored within the letter had finally been released, to find other, more joyful, forms to take. I felt great relief, as if a painful boil had been lanced from my psyche.

And then I brought the blackened remains outside, to photograph their final resolution, as I picked the husk of darkness up and crushed it, leaving only ashes to be blown away by the cleansing wind. And now the future is open for all good to flow my way- rivers of milk and honey, I welcome you; blessings of all kinds, I invite you in, as I smile with gratitude.

The End?


A New Beginning!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Black Widow, Red Rose

These two photos taken at work Saturday morning... first, this lovely but dangerous black widow, who I found hanging, belly up, in her web in the hallway just outside the therapist's office at the Zombie Free Youth Shelter. Although I was a bit nervous taking this close up, she was very cooperative in posing while I photographed her.

And then, as I was leaving work, about 9 hours later, I paused to photograph this last late summer rose, still blooming by the front door. It smells as beautiful as it looks!

click on either image to view larger

Blogging Star Award

Thanks, Lady Banana!

I'd like to thank Lady Banana for honoring me with the Blogging Star award. You can visit her interesting Lady Banana blog by clicking here. This award originated from Skittles' Place and here is what it's all about:

This award is for bloggers who shine their light throughout the Blogosphere. Some do it with humor, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures. We all know more than a few of them so why not give them some recognition?

Now I'm supposed to nominate 5 others...
As usual, I'm flaking out on this part.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Jaya Street

To help local stray cats find their way to sanctuary, I've convinced the town I live in to erect this sign at the end of my street:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Grandma Helen's Débutante Ball

I've been going through the online archives of the New York Times, looking for anything relating to family members, and I've found quite a few items. I realize these may be of little interest to my readers, but I find them weirdly fascinating, and besides, hey, it's my blog! So, here is the first one, about the coming out ball of my maternal grandmother Helen. She died when I was 12, and I only remember her as an old lady who seemed a little scary and disapproved of me because of my poor table manners. But my older brother Richard says he has quite fond memories of her. First a portrait of her, painted after she had already married my grandfather:

Helen Dunscombe Auerbach Emmet
painted by my great, great aunt,
Lydia Field Emmet

NY Times, December 3, 1910
"Mrs. Joseph S. Auerbach gave a dance last night at Sherry's for her débutante daughter, Miss Helen D. Auerbach. The dance was preceded by several dinners, from which the hostesses took their parties to the dance, which was an early one, the guests being asked for 10 o'clock.

Mrs. Auerbach and her two daughters, Miss Katharine H. Auerbach and Miss Helen, the débutante, in white satin, received the guests near the entrance to the small ballroom, which was decorated with pink tapestries and pink roses and azaleas, and where the cotillion was danced.

There was general dancing to the music of the Rosenberg Orchestra until midnight, when a seated supper was served at small tables placed in the adjoining suites of rooms and the cotillion followed.

William Baylis, Jr., dancing with Miss Helen Auerbach, led the cotillion. In the several favor figures, gold pencils and scarf racks were given to the men and the girls received fancy work bags and fans.

Those invited included a number of the married friends of Mr. and Mrs. Auerbach, and also a number of young married people and most of the débutantes of the season. "

Then it goes on to name a long list of the guests who attended. I've never heard of any of them, and you probably haven't either, so we'll just leave that part off.
One interesting point concerns the other Miss Auerbach, Grandma Helen's sister, Katharine. She was my great aunt, but I didn't know she'd even existed until about 10 years ago, when my Aunt Kate (another Katharine) happened to mention her. She had been presented to society at her own débutante dance just the month before my grandmother was.
These dances happened in 1910. Three years later, Great Aunt Katharine became engaged to William Baylis, Jr, the man my Grandma Helen was dancing with in the article above. And then, five years after that, while still a young woman, she died, in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. My Great Aunt Katharine died, along with over twenty-one million others, of influenza, in the great flu pandemic of 1918.
emergency hospital during 1918 influenza epidemic,
Camp Funston, Kansas
Photo from the National Museum of Health and Medicine

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mystery Meezer Visit

Yesterday, as I was about to leave home to go run some errands, I noticed my orange and white cat Henry strolling through the front yard towards the house. But then I spotted someone following Henry! Who was it? I took a closer look, going back up to the front porch, and saw that a little meezer (siamese cat) had followed Henry right up to the house! I'd never seen him before, but he was a very handsome young fellow. When I said hello to him, he came trotting over to me and flopped down and rolled around on his back in front of me! What a charmer!

Then he wandered off, back down by the irrigation ditch. This goes under the fence and over to where there are some apartments. I figured that was where he'd come from. Henry and I went over to the bank of the ditch, to see if the meezer was still there. He was, and he came and went several times, flirting with us, but also nervous. I went inside to get my camera. When I came back out, Henry was lying on the bank, waiting for the meezer to reappear. I sat down and joined him.

Henry, waiting for the meezer:

Gamma has come out to see too, and the meezer
has returned! The meezer is now noticing that
my dog Lucy is also watching him from behind
the fence. And Gamma is not too sure about our
visitor, and has the fur along her back raised!
She is ready to go into warrior mode if needed.
Henry is mellow, as usual, a born diplomat.

A better view of the meezer, now looking rather alarmed:

Then Boo & Rexie also came out,
and the meezer began growling,
so Gamma decided she’d better watch
the rest of it from on top of the picnic table!

Shortly afterwards the meezer left, and did not return. I went off to town to do my errands, and the cats all went back to whatever they were doing before the meezer appeared. But I am certainly left wondering if we will see our cute visitor again in the future.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Baby J & Gamma Dancin'

Just to show that we know how to have
a good time out here in New Mexico:

(You'll need Flash 9 installed to be able to see this)

With special thanks to Skeezix
for telling us about this!!
What a cool kitty he is.

This Story - The Ghost Of Me

Several years ago, parts of an earlier me, the child me, were coming back around, clinging onto me and demanding attention... Demanding, I suppose, the attention they didn't get in my childhood. For those who like the term 'wounded child'- well, it was she who was with me, haunting me, pressuring me to speak for her, and to listen to her.

And so I began, with surprising difficulty, to write down some memories from the darkest times of my childhood, hoping to exorcise this wounded child from my psyche. Hoping she would forgive me for not traveling back in time and rescuing her from her pain. Ahhh, but then there is that old time travel paradox- if I had gone back to soothe this child that was me, then who would I be now? What would I have changed, if my burden had somehow been made lighter back then? I don't know the answer, but I offer up the memories I recorded in response to the demands of that former child, that ghost of me, in honor of what she survived.

Death Enters (and makes itself at home)…

Looking back, this story seems to have begun in January 1967, when I was eleven years old. Valerie, my mother’s nurse, picked me up from school, along with my older sister, Wylie. I climbed into the front seat of the station wagon, and Wylie got in the back. Valerie did not pull away from the curb right away, but sat still, looking forward through the windshield.

After a little while, she softly said: “Your Mum’s passed on”. Valerie was from England, and while I knew that ‘Mum’ meant our mother, I didn’t understand what she was telling us. I said: “What?”, and she explained that our mother was dead. Then she drove us home. I cried, but Wylie did not. A few years later Wylie ‘found’ Jesus, and then became a nun. But on the day Mom died, I think she was very much alone.

We went home, to a home that was broken. Mom had been sick for some time- I don’t know how long, because I don’t remember very well what happened before she died. She had Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS. Her mind stayed clear, imprisoned in a body that grew progressively, relentlessly, more weak and dysfunctional.

To me, she was very frightening at the end. She couldn't talk anymore, could only make groaning noises, and her walk had become a monster’s stagger. I remember once we were both in the front hall, and the clip that held shut her feeding tube popped open, and the liquid stuff they fed her began pouring out onto the floor, spreading out in a brown puddle across the black and white floor tiles. She moaned, and tried to stop it, but her hands didn't work well enough. So I, child horrified, reached out and grabbed the slimy tube, and held it closed, as I screamed for someone to come help.

And how much more horrible must it all have seemed to my little sister, Temple, who was six when Mom died? Temple was the beloved, and spoiled, baby of the family, and Mom craved her affection.

When Temple came home from school each day, Mom would want a hug from her. Temple would stand in the doorway of the room and ask where her present was. If there was no present, Temple would turn away and leave the room. This makes Temple sound like quite the little bitch, but her childhood world also was falling apart then. And it never came back together for her, either. She became a drug addict and alcoholic and finally killed herself in 1990, when she was 33. She died in a bathtub of blood, with a bottle of vodka nearby.

After Mom’s death, Dad gave me a choice. It didn't seem like any choice at all to me. He said our house was being sold. Temple was being sent to live with relatives. I could either go live with him, in an apartment in New York City, or go to a boarding school in upstate New York. I had a pure terror of cities, and couldn't imagine surviving in one, so I had to choose the boarding school.

(The names of the school, and the people there, have been changed for privacy.)

The Cold (enters my heart)…

No Comfort School, in the Adirondack Mountains, was deep in winter when I arrived. It seemed cold, and dark, and hostile. I was in the sixth grade, and the school went from fourth to eighth grade. At that time there were just over 80 students.

And snow, there was lots and lots of snow. I remember having a bloody nose, and going outside and bleeding onto the snow, screaming red on pure white. I buried my blood deep in a snow bank, and dug it up now and then during that first winter there, to find it still bright frozen red. For some reason that gave me great pleasure.

But not much else pleased me during that long winter. I was a fat child, and painfully shy. My first roommate, Annie, was the adopted daughter of a famous actor. At night I thought of my mother, and cried myself to sleep, and this annoyed Annie. She complained about it, and I was moved into a different room, with Bess, a younger, unpopular girl. She had some kind of skin disease, and did not have such a rich daddy.

Before long I stopped crying. Instead of feeling heartbroken, homesick, and scared, I began feeling a rage building up in my core, surrounded by an icy numbness. I had become like the frozen blood. I pushed other children out of my way as I walked down the halls, and before long they moved away from me in fear. I enjoyed the feeling of power that gave me. I needed a target for all the anger I was feeling. The children weren't really worthy opponents, and for the most part I recognized that they were merely other victims- kids who’d been exiled from their wealthy homes because they no longer matched the décor, or because they had grown past the cute and cuddly age. So I set my sights higher, onto the cruel and controlling adults. They, the authority figures, became my sworn enemies. And I, at age eleven, entered into the war zone with a cold determination.

At the top of my hate list was Marr. She was the headmistress of the school. She was, even now, in my memory, a VERY creepy woman. She had a large head, curly gray hair, and false teeth which made an irritating clacking noise. She seemed to take special pleasure in making predictions of the bad end I was heading for.

I’ve always been a loner, preferring the company of cats and books to that of other humans. One day Marr found me in the school library, comfortably curled up, reading a book about a psychotic teenager. She took the book away from me and studied it for a while. Then she returned it, and told me, rather smugly, I thought, that if I kept staying by myself, reading, instead of being outside playing with the other children, I was going to wind up schizophrenic, just like the girl the story. But that was OK with me, at least it was more appealing than playing with the other children, or doing anything Marr wanted me to do.

I remember another time when Marr had called me into her office. There had been many of these little chats. Mostly I would refuse to speak, and just stare at her with silent hatred. This time Marr began to talk about strength of character, and emotional strength. She explained to me that some children were strong in a good way, but that I was strong in a bad way, a very bad way. I was pleased. It is always good to hear your enemy admit you are a powerful adversary.

One day, after I’d been at the school for about three months, I was told Marr was in my room, waiting to talk to me. I went to my room and found her sitting on my bed. She patted the bed, and told me to sit down. I remained standing. She told me that my father was dead. I broke down sobbing with grief, before I remembered myself and regained control. I was furious with Marr. She, my enemy, had violated me by bringing me such intimate and devastating news.

One friend I made that first year at the school was another sixth grader named Kitt. She was an exceptionally beautiful little black girl, with lovely long hair waving down to her waist. She was a sweet and kind child, with none of the darkness and anger that I was so filled with. One day in the spring she was out in the woods riding in the pony cart. A dog suddenly darted out from the trees, barking. The pony, scared, leapt forward, swerving, and the cart it was pulling tipped, and Kitt tumbled out. The leg of her pants got caught in the cart’s wheel, and she was dragged along down the trail.

When they got the cart stopped, Kitt was unconscious. She died later that day in the hospital. I remember a week later, when we were having a memorial service for her, a small group of us students who especially loved her had gathered together, crying. When Kitt’s mother saw us, she came over to us and comforted us. Kitt’s little sister was with her, and she looked exactly like Kitt, only smaller. Her mother told us that Kitt would not want us to be sad, but rather would want us all to remember the happy times we’d had with her. I remember being very impressed that this woman was able to comfort us, in the midst of her own great pain. I thought of it a lot afterwards.

Another time, early in my second year at No Comfort, when I was in the seventh grade, I was told that my older brother, Richard, was on the phone for me. He had never phoned me before. I got on the phone and said: "Who's dead?". It was my grandfather. He had shot himself. His wife, my grandmother, had died a little while earlier, and he didn't want to go on living without her. My cousin Jerry, who had Hodgkin's Disease, had also shot himself, just before my mom died. So suicide, especially by gunshot, has become something of a tradition in my family.

And, by this time I had gotten the message, learned the lesson, that if you love someone they are quite likely to die. So, it was better all around not to love anyone. Thirty years later, when my lover said she was dying of cancer, it made perfect sense to me.

Chickens (and chicken shit)…

No Comfort School was ahead of the times in the area of nutrition. They said: ‘A healthy mind needs a healthy body’. They served us all organic food, no refined flour or sugar, and much of the meat was raised on the school property.

We had our regular daily chores to do, and there were also certain special chores that happened once in a while. One of these was the dreaded and disgusting Chicken Plucking Day. This was when the chickens were killed, beheaded, de-gutted, and plucked. Even now, thirty-seven years later, I can remember the smell of it.

And I remember the time one spring when I tried to ditch Chicken Plucking Day. I had hidden in a bathroom, but I was found by one of the male teachers. He told me I had to get out there, NOW. I replied that I’d go as soon as I put on my shoes. He said no, I had to go NOW, without shoes. So, fighting the urge to vomit, I went and stood barefoot in the blood and feathers, plucking chickens.

Another time, I was hanging out in a hallway on a Saturday afternoon, doing nothing in particular, with a red haired girl named Sally. A teacher saw us, and advised us to find something worthwhile to do with ourselves. A little later, the teacher saw us again, still doing nothing. He said that since we hadn’t found anything to do, he would find something for us. Then he ordered us to go up to the barn and shovel out the chicken coop. The chicken shit was thick and stinky. There was a LOT of it. Sally was so discouraged by the sight, and smell, of it all, that she collapsed in sobs right onto the enormous compost pile. But I was beyond that sort of release by then. I was hardened. I was a half grown puppy, bearing her teeth and growling with fear and mistrust at the world around me.

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