toon 24th April 2015

soul puppy 4.24




Poor Puppy….    so busy guarding that bone and scared someone or something  will take it from her,  she can’t relax.   Whether it’s a person, relationship, job or experience, – being afraid of loss  and imagining all the different ways what you care about can go away, be lost, be stolen or disappear puts a damper on our ability to enjoy what we really have in the moment.   Sure it’s possible that you could lose the bone, but a far better thing to do with your time is to enjoy the heck out of it while you have it.


Legacy of Kindness; Card of the Week 15th December 2014


card 12.15.2014

I don’t often post about personal happenings in this spot, but this week’s card (in our month-long “Colourful decks” theme) came through the perfect synchronicity of pulling cards, and it ties into something that I have been feeling today, when sad news hit and thinking about through the month.   For some, December is a time of riding high in the saddle, a bounty of progress and making inroads and positive changes – and for some it represents some heart challenges on a deep level and I’m in the latter category.   In a short period of time, two dear friends have passed away seemingly far too soon  and it’s  made me think a lot about life and the legacy that we give to others in our relatively short time on Earth.

No, this post is not supposed to be a bummer that will make you grasp for the egg nog a little early,  it’s something important!  Throughout these untimely losses, I’ve missed my friends (because even though the spirit and experience of someone lives on longer than physical life, the ability to ring them on the phone, or see them again in person… leaves and indelible etching in the heart) but  I’ve also been thinking a lot about what we leave behind when we’re no longer in the physical world.    I used to wonder “What makes us worthy? What makes us succeed in life?  What’s it all about?”    There were times in my life where I’ve tried to figure it out, and to apply some magic formula.  Ultimately, I have decided that the real formula is so much simpler than I ever thought.

Out value of ourselves changes constantly; … from whether we have the sharpest crayons, to whether we are liked in the 2nd grade, to if we have the right clothes, to if we get in the best schools, to if we have enough money, to if we raise our children to be productive and loving members of society, to if so and so likes us….  the list goes on and on.    But, throughout those changes in  how we identify ourselves as successful (or failing miserably) it seems as though others have a view of us that is entirely outside what we think of ourselves and the yard-stick we measure our lives by.   In spite of our efforts, they come to their experience of us in their own way and in their own time.

I think of Robin Williams again, another person who has succumbed to depression and illness in this year — how he must have sometimes felt failed by life, or that he himself failed – and yet in the days and months after his passing people remember and endless list of memories of his generosity and powerful positive  impact on their lives.  Both of my friends now gone similarly have a wave of brothers, daughters, friends, parents and loved ones streaming forward with the memories of a legacy of kindness, talent and loyalty.   During the adventure and excitement of life, it’s a shame that we often don’t get to see the impact we’re making as we play out the game.

See that gentle, floating, apricot coloured feather? Like George Bailey in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”  – you’re seeing how important you are, not by Clarence the guardian angel or being on the brink, but in seeing the important impact you make on others.  This week, no matter how you’re measuring yourself – whether you’re seeing how much money you have to spend on Christmas presents, or whether you’re considering your contributions to humanity, or whether you’re weighing out your value in some other ego way remember:  the impact you have that MATTERS  is through your kindness, your thoughtfulness in a thousand little things you do every day that you don’t even pay attention to.   You matter to people you don’t think remember you, you matter to people who have barely known you, and you’re much more important than you think.  Time and again, over the last month I’ve heard friends regale in tales of small turns of kindness, thoughtfulness or beauty that I KNOW my friends would be surprised to hear, “So and so remembers THAT? “  — but which stuck for years in the envelope of heart and mind.   From home baked meals, arguments to the PTA,  movie nights to heartfelt conversations long forgotten,  everything stays in the memory of the soul.

This is a really good week to remember how kind you can be, how truly wonderful you really are. THAT is what will be remembered and make an impact on the world in  your presence.     At the end of the day (this day and the last) the thing that matters most is the things we do for others in kindness and love.  This expands on the “compassion” card that came up last month.   It doesn’t matter if you made the perfect holiday roast. It doesn’t.  It doesn’t matter if you sold your house, or got that awesome job. It doesn’t matter if you got the best Disney Frozen toy on Black Friday.    None of the children stepped up to the lecturn and said, “My mom got me a Barbie!” –  it was the time spent with them, the kindness, the fearlessness and the personal interest that matter at the end of the day.

During this time of the year it’s easy to lose sight of things that matter as we’re in the home stretch of 2014.  Keep focused on the things (kindness, being here!) that matter most.. not on the ten billion and one things that don’t.    Applaud all the acts of kindness that you perform regularly and for others, and for your caring communication and thoughtfulness.   You matter a LOT to someone…. a lot of someones, in fact.  So keep spreading your kindness and gifts and remember those near and far who have shared those gifts with you too!   (Maybe an angel somewhere is earning their apricot wings!)


About this deck:  The Angel Feather Oracle Card Deck by Michelle Newton is a 44 card deck available as a deck or on Android and iPhone.


If you or a loved one suffer from depression, or a physical ailment, or overwhelm this holiday season please get help.   Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Robin Williams Was Not a Coward; Fear and Blame for Depression and Suicide


*trigger warning* I want to talk about something serious today that many people in the spiritual community are afraid to address,  but it’s important to address dark or frightening emotions so that we can transcend them and deal with them.  This is an important topic to me personally, perhaps especially because I’ve suffered from depression myself.  Not talking about things makes things worse and doesn’t help us heal.

With two recent tragedies in the news, the loss of missing  Oregon mother Jennifer Huston, and beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams, both to apparent hanging suicide,  something really important is emerging in the commentaries on these events: fear… and ignorance.

Jennifer Huston put gas in her car and bought trail mix, she loved her little boys with all her heart. Robin Williams posted a heartfelt happy-birthday message to his daughter Zelda in his last instagram message.  How could anyone do these normal activities and then step through some invisible doorway into death?      That anyone, especially a parent, could love and LEAVE a child is an unthinkable taboo to our society.

When I saw a video of Fox commentator Shep Smith, veritably frothing with derision, and uncomprehending outrage calling Robin Williams a “coward” – I was outraged at such inexcusable, gross insensitivity.  But then I realised that anger, rage and blame is a normal reaction to loss and suicide – and not just for family members or newscasters.

Why does this happen?  Most of us have some experience with depression, clinical depression or a suicide attempt has in some way touched our lives or that of a loved one.    So how can we suddenly turn into a fearful mob about this topic?    Haven’t those experiences made us more understanding?   Maybe not.  Because we are afraid of death and endings, our ego can’t cope with the willing loss of life… we scramble to find logical questions and logical answers, and in the absence of those findings we rage out — “HOW DARE SHE?!  HOW DARE HE?!”   We feel hurt and angry ourselves or on the behalf of family members left behind.   But there isn’t logic in the depth of depression. Depression is a disease that impacts people of all walks of life, from every age, from every economy, from every life circumstance.  Sometimes the system intended to help people in trouble is not a wide enough net, and the way our culture and country deals with the reality emotional trauma leaves much to be desired.

Within the walls of major depression, everything is tilted and the things that make sense to us when we’re rational and not depressed, do not make sense within the darkness of that pain.     It’s not uncommon for someone suffering from suicidal thoughts to be poised between letting go of life and wanting to continue it… indeed, many survivors realise, mid-leap, that they want to live.   There is no rationality that makes a parent leave a child, or buy trail mix, or gas the car.  There is only a disease.   It is tragic and it cannot add up or make sense to our rational minds; but the truth remains – someone can very much love their family and become a victim of depression.   They are not a coward trying to hurt the ones they love, they are sick.  By the same token, those who are suffering from depression don’t want to make others uncomfortable. They didn’t choose it, and they’re not intentionally doing this to their families and friends.  Suicide may seem “cowardly” to us,  but this fear deserves compassion and help, not derision.

Blaming a victim of a disease makes no more sense than blaming a cancer victim or broken-leg victim, but we may do it anyway because we are so hurt, so afraid, so lost.    There’s another option.  Instead, we could continue to allow our compassion and empathy to rise up and defend the victim of depression instead of our fear.     Instead of trying to figure out the spiritual and cosmological forces that will determine the fate of a suicide’s soul… we could be reaching out to those who live and breathe, to those who have passed with love and kindness.

Fear is always an opportunity, in this case – to educate ourselves about how to deal with the realities of suicide and to be compassionate to those who are experiencing it.  We can take suicide and depression seriously instead of marginalizing it with blame and fear.   We can reach out to those who are suffering and to those who have experienced loss.  We can take care of our own mental well-being.  We can send love and light and compassion to Robin Williams, a tremendous actor (O Captain, my Captain!) and to Jennifer Huston and to those who have left this physical world in an act of pain or fear.    We can make the world safer for those who are in high risk groups through acceptance, education and outreach.   (The elderly, those suffering with pain or illness or  trauma, veterans after combat, LGTBQ communities, moms, dads, those suffering from depression, — the list goes on on and on)

If you or a loved one are hurting or considering suicide,  please get help.  Your work here is still important.     If you are a loved one and you believe someone is in danger, address the issue – listen, talk, and do not wait.  If danger is imminent, call 911.   Visit this website for more information if you need to get help for someone else:

In an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

For those who are confused about depression or who have not experienced it , please check out his web-series “Hyperbole and a Half”  because it’s one of the most brilliant and perfect depictions of the illness of depression and it sums up the experience in these two poignant web-comics: Adventures in Depression, and Depression part 2   — They are funny and brilliant, in a sweet and tender way – but they’re very truthful too.