One Year Later

When a beloved dies, the veil between the worlds grows thin. We have all heard some version of this. My experience is that this is true.

The year since my son died unexpectedly of complications from a line-of-duty accident has been blessed with some profound an inexplicable occurrences. Last week taking a solo moonlit walk through a northwest forest an owl flew out of a tree about 5 feet away, circled my head, and landed on the other side of the path. I felt only blessing and a strange reassurance that my son is well.


stock photo, forest owl

stock photo, forest owl

Where I live there are numerous eagles, ravens, owls, and hawks. I don’t think of my son every time I see one. There are birds that fly by; and there are birds that seem to serve as messengers. In the messenger encounters, a feeling of awe and connection accompanies an “unusual” interaction. The animal is both doing what is natural to itself, and engaging with me in ways that seem like a kind of interspecies communication. The feeling is so strong I do not doubt it. I have been called to look up, to pay attention, to notice the extraordinary emerging from the ordinary. My human self feels as though I am standing at the edge of my usual physical world, near to the door of the spirit world.

I don’t understand death or what happens after someone you love dies. I only know it is one of the most heart-wrenching, mysterious things I have ever experienced. And I also know that the feeling I had with the owl last week is the closest I come to confidence that God or Spirit or Mystery is as real as anything else in my life.

For that feeling I am most grateful. It soothes the ache of loss . . .it encourages me to love the days that I am given.

Ann's son Brian

Ann’s son Brian

Seven Daily Cups–loving practice in busy lives

Imagine that every day you have seven cups laid out before you that are full in the morning and empty in the evening.

Each of these cups contains a marvelous and amazing libation that is comprised of just the right combination of delicious ingredients: love, attention, focus, action, kindness, gesture, and forgiveness. These are not cups to chug it down, not something we can order as “a grande double-shot soy milk hazelnut latte´,” a libation cup is a drink poured out for the Divine, an offering to that which sustains us.


We pour, we drink: we give thanks, we partake: we acknowledge source and we imbibe source so that we are nourished and nourishing. These are the cups that overfloweth. Every morning they are laid out before us full. The Star card in the Tarot deck is a depiction of the ever filling cup, the spilling forth of universal energy, which we should never be afraid to expend, because as fast as we can pour it, or drink it, or offer it to the lips of thirst, we are re-sourced.

This version from Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

This version from Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert

I have been thinking about energy as another year of teaching and travel and work comes to a close. I am tired, and I am not tired, depending on the metaphors of energy that run in my mind. When I  draw from personal resources, I experience those resources as though I was licking the last drops of moisture from a nearly empty cup. When I draw from universal resources, I find both energy and a reassuring sense of attachment to something greater than myself.

When I wake in the morning, I often start the teapot heating water as soon as I am out of bed. I get a big mug down from the cabinet, I have several special ones. I remember these invisible cups, and lay them out as well. What do I need to do today? Who do I need to relate to? Where are my priorities? How will I attend to the pace and flow and make good choices?

When I see all seven cups laid out on the counter, not just my mug for tea, then I plan my day much better. Start with time for self and beloveds–our ritual of sitting on a loveseat facing into the view, watching the day rise, writing in our journals and talking gently together. Ahhh, that first cup is so satisfying to sip fully. Then together we prioritize the work parts of the day, and what else and who else we need to tend.

If I get exhausted I know I’ve been drinking from the wrong well, and I remind myself to check the source, to not be stingy, to pour it out and create space for replenishment.

This is our job in the world: to pour forth our energy and confidently drink from these cups every day knowing that we will be replenished over night and the cups will be waiting for us in the light the new day dawn.

May your cups overflow in the holy days upon us.

Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.” –Rumi