Happy Mother’s Day – from Beyond . . .

I just spent a week at a Robert Moss writing retreat where we used shamanic drumming and other techniques to tap into deeper creative dimensions. While there, I explored a writing project that’s been in the back of my mind for several years. It’s an all-ages fairy tale titled Fallen, The Adventures of a Deep Water Leaf. Through the metaphor of a single leaf’s journey from tree, to pond’s surface, to a brave and enlightening exploration of the deep, the story explores what it means to be human and to choose to live more deeply.

Back home now, I’m struggling with the inevitable “re-entry” period – the return from the magical realm into mundane everyday reality and the challenge of keeping the momentum and creative juices flowing. I had put off tackling the overflowing basket of advertisements, letters and bills that arrived via snail mail in my absence until today, which happens to be Mother’s Day.

Imagine my surprise to find a small package labeled “Requested Sample Enclosed” and addressed to Cameron Perkins, my son who died 9 years ago this May. It was a free sample of FINISH QUANTUM dishwasher detergent. I opened it up to find a goofy looking foam smiley face with two dishwasher tabs for eyes.

I’m bursting out laughing at this unlikely Mother’s Day message from beyond. I’m quite sure it’s no mistake that Cameron’s name was on it and that I didn’t open it until today. I think Cameron is letting me know he’s thinking of me and also egging me on to FINISH what I’ve begun and to continue tapping into QUANTUM realms for inspiration.

Thanks, Cameron! For the humorous kick in the backside and clean dishes, too!

The Universe in an Orange Shirt

Did you ever think that maybe the Universe is talking to you all the time?

There used to be a show on TV called “Joan of Arcadia.” Joan Girardi was a typical high school kid – except that God was always showing up as random people in her life. These people (who were really God in disguise) would challenge her to do things she probably would not otherwise do. Sometimes God was the cafeteria lady, sometimes a little girl, sometimes a goth kid at school. The theme song was Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” (What if God was one of us? / Just a slob like one of us / Just a stranger on the bus / Trying to make his way home).

I had a Joan of Arcadia experience this morning when the Universe (my preferred name for God) showed up in the form of a city utility worker. On the last leg of my morning walk, I rounded the corner from the busy main street into my peaceful neighborhood and saw that I would have to skirt around a huge fallen eucalyptus branch. A City of Mesa utility truck was parked next to the mess. I removed my iPod’s earbuds as I was greeted by a smiling man in a bright orange shirt who’d been scratching his head and looking over the debris and the ravaged remains of the tree.

“Good morning!” he said jovially with a twinkle in his eye (think Morgan Freeman in “Bruce Almighty” or “Evan Almighty”).

“Did that fall down in the night?” I asked, stupidly pointing out the obvious.

“These eucalyptus trees do this all the time,” he replied, with a kind of pleased enthusiasm that didn’t seem warranted given that he’d likely be the one to have to cut it up and haul it off.

It was certainly true, I reflected, remembering when our neighbor’s eucalyptus had come crashing through our fence a few years back. Not just a branch – the whole tree. And my own eucalyptus in the front yard split in two one day and had to be cut down. Eucs tend to suck up all the water they can, growing faster and heavier than their frames can manage. When there’s not much water to be had, their giant limbs grow brittle. They’ll weather all kinds of wind and heat and then one day, when not a breeze is stirring, a humongous branch will come crashing down with no warning.

“Heat’s coming on us today,” he observed, not ruefully but with the attitude of a man about to do battle and relishing the thought.

“Yep. Supposed to hit 100 today,” I said over my shoulder as I resumed my walk.

It was just a brief, random exchange. Except that as I’d rounded that corner, I’d been stewing over some financial challenges my family is facing right now. I’d been feeling like things might come crashing down at any moment. I’d been worrying whether we could stand the heat, or if we’d have to get out of the kitchen. Like the eucalyptus, our national economy had grown top-heavy and it seemed like a great big branch of it was about to fall right on us.

Then I ran into the Universe wearing an orange shirt and a big smile and pointing out to me that these things happen all the time. The Universe, standing ready to clean up the aftermath of anything that might come crashing down, heat be damned. Suddenly, I felt better. There might be some hard work ahead, but I’m willing to roll up my shirtsleeves and see it through. And I know the Universe has my back.

I quickened my pace just a bit and started singing out loud to the tune on my iPod: Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.”